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4.12.2021:

Monday Myths: Were Lasix-Free Derby Preps Less Predictable?

Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities.Assumption:Lasix-free racing will make the 3-year-old Derby preps unpredictable and untrustworthy to handicap.Background:With the announcement late last year that all Kentucky Derby qualifying points races would award points only if contested Lasix-free, many wondered (some aloud) about the performances to come. Would the lack of the anti-bleeder medication create chaos? Could you trust the results of the races? Just what exactly were we getting into for the first time in decades?Data Points:I crunched the numbers in the Betmix database for every Thoroughbred 3-year-old graded stakes dirt route race in North America over the past 4 complete seasons. I skipped 2020 due to the schedule changes resulting from the pandemic. Years included were 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021. We looked at not only the performance of the favorites in those races, but also all horses 5-1 or less who were considered logical contenders.2017 favorites had a 24: 7-2-6 record with 29% wins and 63% in the money.2018 favorites had a 22: 9-5-3 record with 41% wins and 77% in the money.2019 favorites had a 23: 8-4-5 record with 35% wins and 74% in the money.2021 favorites had a 21: 8-1-5 record with 38% wins and 67% in the money.//2017 contenders 5-1 or less had a 62: 16-12-9 record with 26% wins and 60% in the money.2018 contenders 5-1 or less had a 57: 15-13-12 record with 26% wins and 70% in the money.2019 contenders 5-1 or less had a 56: 15-11-13 record with 27% wins and 70% in the money.2021 contenders 5-1 or less had a 50: 13-7-11 record with 26% wins and 62% in the money.Overall Findings:The number of winning favorites only varied between 7 and 9 each of the 4 years studied, and the number of winners 5-1 or less varied between 13 and 16, but was proportionate to the number of starters in that odds category. By looking at these 2 comparative lists, you can deduce the number of longer-priced winners at more than 5-1. You’ll easily spot that 2017 had 8, 2018 had 7, 2019 had 8 and 2021 had 8.Overall Findings Verdict:Looking at the prior 3-year run in similar races, favorites won 34.7% from 2017-2019 and finished in the money at 71%. The 2021 favorites at 38% and 67% performed equally well. The horses backed at 5-1 or less over the past 3 years won 26% and were in the money 66%. The 2021 'logical contenders' won 26% and were in the money 62%, offering similar results.Bottom line:This study merely looks at the predictability of betting Lasix-free races within this popular sub-set of races and does not address any of the medical concerns associated with either side of the practice. And, of course, it's a small sample size where a couple of finishes either way can sway the data. But bettors performed equally as well this year deciphering the Lasix-free races and contenders as they have in any of the recent Triple Crown trails of similar sample sizes. In fact, it was nearly an identical performance. The total study looks at 90 races, which begins to paint a clearer picture.Additional Details:You can go into Betmix and run your own queries for a deeper dive into this theory and any that you can create. For instance, rank the horses in this set of races by biggest upsets, and you’ll find that among the 10 total payoffs at $40-plus, 2017 was responsible for 3, 2018 had 2, 2019 had 3 and 2021 had 2. We get a few bombs every year in these races, and 2021 was right in line. Because of a study-high $146.50 payoff for Bourbonic in this year’s Wood Memorial, the average odds of these race winners by year does skew highest in 2021 at 9.75. Previous years bounced around at 7.69 (2017), 5.63 (2018) and 8.57 (2019).

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4.12.2021:

Monday, April 12: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis-$20,000 Guaranteed Pool

Pompano Park has 13 races scheduled with the 0.50 Early Pick 4 starting in Race 6. The sequence has a $20,000 guaranteedpool with a 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Don't Chip Me (2-1)-One move type needs to take advantage of a cozy trip to get the job done. That could happen from this post at this class.5-Skyway Venus (7-1)-Offers a nice price and can compete with this kind. Looking for Ingraham to leave and get a close-up trip, then take a shot down the lane.6-American Arrow (9/5)-Will include on the ticket but will offer little value. Not sure Arrow can win unless in the pocket or on the engine. Same could be said for the other short price #1. Hennessey has a way of squeezing into a good seat and that shouldn't be overlooked.Race 73-War-N-Munn (6-1)-This 8-year-old has kept his speed over the years. Got on the engine last week from post 8 and was never challenged, drawing off by 10-lengths in 151.4. This field is deeper but if the effort is the same it could be an encore at a square price.6-Millennial (4-1)-Beaten chalk versus $25K claimers in last is not in for a tag tonight but fits with this field. The pace could be hot and if so chances to cash the top check go up but will need a sharp steer.7-Agedchedar Hanover (3-1)-This is another Jim McDonald and Hennessey combo as in the last race and they are similar in needing a quick start and a cozy trip. Has the gate speed to land on top or to be sitting behind #3 and either trip can work well.Race 81-Oreo Dream Xtreme (3-1)-Form has been dull since being claimed for $12,500 on 2-3 but drops to a very soft spot. Boyd should be able to protect the rail and be on the point or in the 2-hole and this could be a wake-up call.5-Hesallaboutthebass (3-1)-Doesn't win often but at this level could be in the mix. Does have decent gate speed, might get the jump on the program chalk #6 and make the most of an efficient trip to take a picture.6-Beach Forecast (8/5)-Beach 3-year-old didn't race as at 2, has 1 win in 2 starts and will be a very short price. Drops after racing from the back against better. Hennessey could be more aggressive here and looks like a threat, but not a lock.Race 91-Beyond The View (1-1)-Beaten chalk won in March versus $5K claimers and now drops in for a $4,000 tag. The drop could be because the meet isn't almost over or something might be wrong. Raced 1st over into hot fractions 2 back and was bet last week and just missed. So, leaning towards an easy spot for a win and should be dialed on high.My Ticket Race 6) 1,5,6 Race 7) 3,6,7 Race 8) 1,5,6 Race 9) 1Total Ticket Cost) $13.50 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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4.11.2021:

Al Cimaglia: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis-$25,000 Guaranteed Pool

Cal Expo has an 11-race card scheduled and the 0.20 Pick 4 starts in Race 8. The sequence has a $25,000 guaranteed pool with a 16% takeout, and it will be my focus.On Saturday night Rick Plano led the drivers with four pictures. Emilio Cisneros was the top trainer with two trips to the winner's circles. On the 10-race card, every winner except one was within three lengths of the leader at the 3/4 pole.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 85-Some Playa (5-1)-The Plano barn did well last weekend and this 10-year-old tried hard but couldn't hang on at 11-1. Thinking the plan could be different and will look to come off cover instead of racing on the lead.7-Stanhope (5/2)-Comes off a game try from the 8-hole to cash a 3rd place check. Roland sticks and this time the journey shouldn't be as bumpy.9-To The Limit (6-1)-Svendsen's pick over #8 and is another who comes off a tough trip. The Plested barn has been cold but this veteran should be rolling down the lane and would benefit from a solid pace. That could happen as the 6 and 7 may blast out.Race 92-Cowboys Dirtyboots (15-1)-Even effort in last but was off since 3-6 and draws inside so will use for those two reasons. Stewart could get sucked around and there could be a few leavers to make for an honest pace.4-Outlaw Blue By You (7/2)-Kerwood steers as Svendsen stayed true to Johnson and drives #6. Stayed inside last week but when good has shown the ability to pass similar down the lane.5-I'm An Athlete (2-1)-Beaten chalk now makes his 3rd start since a double scratch and last was better. Did race the back half in 56.3 and meets a field with little form.6-Almost Cut My Hair (8-1)-Even effort at this class last time but was off for almost a month. Svendsen has taken a picture in the past and should be tighter tonight. Will need a big effort but is not alone. The entire field hasn't had recent success at this level.Race 101-Senseless Beauty (5-1)-Has been closing well but needs to be in striking range at the top of the lane. Cutting will be steering for the 3rd straight time. Might be closer to the lead tonight and then use one nice move to roll by.3-Three Grand (3-1)-This 5-year-old hasn't won at CalX and is 0-26 in 20-21. But did race the back half in 56.3 to finish 4th and now makes the 3rd start for the Schneider barn. Looking for the upswing to continue in a race that's difficult to decipher.Race 111-Catchmeinadream (3-1)-Comes off a pair of 3rd place finishes and now makes the 4th start off the bench. There isn't much gate speed in this field and Kerwood could be on the point or in the pocket behind #6 and trip out. This pilot did have 3 wins on Saturday.6-Cal's Hope (5-1)-Faded down the lane last week but may not have to work hard to get a cozy seat. Best to respect beaten chalk and has notched 2 recent wins at this level.7-Liveonadreneline (4-1)-Dropped in for a tag in last but lost all chance after breaking stride at the start. Before that was a winner in 3 straight, and the Graham barn keeps rolling. Roland takes a seat for the 1st time and that shouldn't hurt chances.My Ticket Race 8) 5,7,9 Race 9) 2,4,5,6 Race 10) 1,3 Race 11) 1,6,7 Total Ticket Cost) $14.40 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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4.11.2021:

Sunday, April 11: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Aqueduct – First Race – Post time: 1:20 ET6-After the Party (5/2)Sophomore filly brought $750,000 as a yearling and makes her debut from a comfortable outside draw in this maiden special weight sprint in which the known element doesn’t appear to be too imposing. Out of a stakes winning mare and half-sister to a stakes winning juvenile, the daughter of Into Mischief has done some excellent work in the a.m. for barn that is quite capable of winning with a first-time starter, so we’re expecting good things right off the bat from this Jeremiah Englehart-trained filly. A recent Belmont Park training track drill in 48 seconds breezing was the eighth fastest of 314 for the distance on that day, so we’ll assume she’s fit and ready. At 5/2 on the morning line she’s a win play and rolling exotic single.Keeneland – Ninth Race – Post time: 5:30 ET4-Dancefortheempire (7/2)Didn’t get the best of runs in her debut at Far Grounds when shuffled back early and then forced to race wide throughout but found her best stride late and wound up a much-better-than-looked third in a similar two-turn maiden grass affair last month. The daughter of Empire Maker comes from a barn that has superior stats with the second-time starter angle, so we’re expecting a huge forward move today from this B. Walsh-trained filly. There’s good value in the win pool and in rolling exotic play at or near her morning line of 7/2.

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4.11.2021:

Sunday, April 11: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.View Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B-Single: 6-Big PassionForecast: The Sunday opener is a low-level maiden claiming main track miler for older fillies and mares. In a borderline inscrutable affair that we’re not planning on getting too involved in, let’s zero in on the sprinter-stretching-out Big Passion. If she’s ever going to handle two-turns, it will be in her first try, so if the daughter of Mr. Big can get loose on the lead under bug girl E. Ellingwood she may get brave and roll all the way to the wire. If it’s not her, it could be anybody.RACE 2: Post: 1:40 PT Grade: C+Use: 2-Kenzou’s Rhythm; 3-Justin’s QuestForecast: Justin’s Quest has never been one to trust, and after being claimed for $35,000 two runs back the son of Justin Phillip shows up today in a bottom-rung $10,000 affair. F. Prat stays aboard - good sign – so against this bunch the T. Yakteen-trained gelding may have found his friends, though at 6/5 on the morning line he’ll offer very little value. Kenzou’s Rhythm returns to his proper level and rates a look off his good runner-up try two runs back. The veteran gelding always has liked this main track – he’s been first or second in seven of 12 career starts – so we’ll consider him the one to fear most.RACE 3: Post: 2:13 PT Grade: XSingle: BarrazaForecast: Here’s another short price favorite that seems logical but won’t be offering any real wagering value. Barraza has displayed improvement in the morning and shows up in an expensive maiden claimer that should be well within his capabilities. Second to his highly-regarded stable mate Triple Tap while well clear of the rest last time out, the son of Into Mischief is realistically spotted, has little to beat, and should take full advantage of the opportunity to earn his diploma.RACE 4: Post: 2:45 PT Grade: XUse: 5-Flat Out Joy; 7-Bristol BayouForecast: First off the claim for S. Miyadi, Bristol Bayou lands the cozy outside post, picks up F. Prat, and will be a short price to duplicate her easy maiden $20,000 score less than two weeks ago while being wheeled back on short rest while seeking an immediate return on investment. This seven furlong trip seems made to order for her stalking/prompting style, but she’s 4/5 on the morning line so there’s not much we can do with her. Flat Out Joy finished in the frame in all six of her starts over the Santa Anita main track and should produce her usual honest effort again. The R. Ellis-trained mare has trained well since raced and projects to be close up throughout in what likely will be a soft early pace. You can use her as a back-up or a saver in rolling exotic play while reserving the main punch to Bristol Bayou.RACE 5: Post: 3:17 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Shanghai Sunrise; 3-Dancing Dana; 4-Warren’s MemorableForecast: There are three main players in this starter’s optional claiming sprint for 3-year-old fillies, with slight preference on top going to Shanghai Sunrise. The M. Puype-trained daughter of Shanghai Bobby has improving speed figures and a pair of sharp recent workouts that indicate she’s ready for a significant forward move. Dancing Dana is genuine, consistent, and solid on speed figures. She’ll have every chance from a good pace-stalking position. Warren’s Memorable is back sprinting where she belongs and with some help up front could be quite dangerous from off the pace. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Shanghai Sunrise.RACE 6: Post: 3:49 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Invictatatus; 5-Go Daddy GoForecast: Go Daddy Go shows up in a soft restricted (nw-2) $32,000 for the first time and should be able to take full advantage of the opportunity. He’s plenty fast enough on speed figures to beat this field; however, his career record of one-for-15 makes him somewhat unreliable and at 8/5 on the morning line he’ll offer little in the way of wagering value. Therefore, for protection, we’ll also include in our rolling exotics Invictatatus, who’ll very likely attempt gate-to-wire tactics from his rail draw. The Strong Mandate has run reasonably well on dirt in the past and may enjoy this return to the main track.RACE 7: Post: 4:21 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Ginja; 4-Stressed; 6-CaparegimeForecast: Ginja and Stressed both have credentials to win this maiden $100,000 claiming sprint for sophomore fillies but so does Caparegime and she’ll be the best price of the three, so we’ll put her on too while including all three in our rolling exotics. The V. Cerin-trained daughter of Street Boss appeared in dire need of the outing when flashing speed before fading in her debut and we’re expecting a much better performance today with that tightener behind her. J. J. Hernandez, the barn’s “go-to” rider, stays aboard and should have her in an ideal stalking position outside the other two committed speed types. Stressed is listed at 6/5 on the morning line while exiting the same races as Caparegime and clearly is the one to fear most. She makes a major jockey switch to F. Prat and could very well be the quickest of the quick. Gina was beaten by subsequent stakes winner Soothsay in her debut after flashing speed and then weakening in the final furlong to wind up a respectable fourth. The daughter of Quality Road certainly has a right to move forward off that effort for a barn that always has good stats with the second-time starter angle.RACE 8: Post: 4:53 PT Grade: B-Use: 5-Trina; 7-Time for Ebby; 8-Li’l GrazenForecast: Here’s another spread race, this one for first-level allowance state-bred fillies and mares. Time for Ebby makes her 61st career start and is back at her winning level after being pitched too high in open company last time out. She continues to train eagerly and is reunited with “win rider” T. Baze, so we’re expecting to see her best stuff. Li’l Grazen is a first-off-the-claim play for P. Miller (27% with massive ROI) and therefore is an automatic “must use.” She’s back with F. Prat, who’s always gotten the most run out of her. Trina is a sharp Bay Area invader with speed figure that fit on this circuit. If she can duplicate her synthetic track form on this dirt surface she’ll be a threat.RACE 9: Post: 5:25 PT Grade: -B-Use: 2-My Tigress; 6-Uncaged KittyForecast: My Tigress missed at even money when a disappointing third vs. similar maiden $50,000 foes last month but has worked quite well since, so we’ll give the R. Baltas-trained filly another chance with F. Prat staying aboard. She had a legitimate excuse in that race - she had a bad stumble at the start – but with a clean journey today she should be able to handle this soft task. Uncaged Kitty represents stranger danger from San Luis Rey Downs and is bred to win early (Smiling Tiger) for the clever P. Miller outfit. She shows a couple of recent gate drills that catch the eye, so we’ll toss her in for protection but use My Tigress as the main punch.

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4.11.2021:

Sunday, April 11: My Late Pick 4 Ticket at Golden Gate

Here’s hoping Exceed Speed Limit lives up to his name in the finale on Sunday in the Late Pick 4 on the Golden Gate Fields cards. He’s a single on the $64 suggested ticket.The ticket goes to the other extreme in the seventh race as the ALL button is utilized in the field of eight.Here’s a look at the sequence that starts at 6:50 p.m. ET:Race 6 (6:50 p.m. ET, claiming)FLOAT ON has had the lead in the vast majority of his races and stretches out. He’s bred to stretch out and to run well over grass.IMA RUMBLER took command and held on well for a maiden win going two turf. He moves to the turf and has the pedigree that could make it happen successfully.COPPER HALO stretches out and moves to the turf as well. He came home an impressive winner last out and his only grass appearance produced a third-place finish.COLAVITO goes for his third straight win and is on the turf for the first time since November, when he finished second. Can be a threat for every bit of this one.Race 7 (7:20 p.m. ET, maiden claiming)ALL.Alma Spirit will probably have the betting support as she was second in her only start. However, there is so much speed in here that anything is possible, especially with a multi-horse battle out front. Therefore, a plunge into ALL is the strategy I’ve taken here.Race 8 (7:50 p.m. ET, allowance)LET’S REJOYCE won at Santa Anita three races back and ran a solid third in his first one this year at Golden Gate. He’s been on the board in all six local starts.SQUARE DEAL just missed after a difficult head-and-head battle and will be a headache for others attempting to get the early lead. Turns back to 5.5 furlongs and that could be what it takes here.THE LITTLE H MAN showed a good closing move in his last two races and will make a run.TORPEDO AWAY faltered last time but has a chance to secure a perfect stalking position.Race 9 (8:20 p.m. ET, maidens)EXCEED SPEED LIMIT ran well in both starts, first on the first end (when he held on for third) and most recently from just off the pace (when he closed for second). Get Kyle Frey (27 percent) aboard and can time it right in this one. Worthy of being a single on the ticket.My TicketRace 6) #2 Float On, #3 Ima Rumbler, #5 Copper Halo, #7 Colavito.Race 7) ALL (8 horses)Race 8) #1 Let’s Rejoyce, #3 Square Deal, #5 The Little H Man, #6 Torpedo Away.Race 9) #3 Exceed Speed Limit Total Ticket Cost) 2,3,5,7/ALL (8 horses)/1,3,5,6/3 = $64 for $0.50

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4.10.2021:

Saturday, April 10: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight at the Meadowlands the co-featured sixth race kicks off the 0.50 Early Pick 4. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 64-Nows The Moment (5-1)-Came off the bench as the post time favorite and then had a bumpy journey. Raced wide into a .27 opening quarter, then was pulled at the top of the stretch and was game to the wire against a strong winner. Major player with a decent trip.7-JL Cruze (2-1) Was used hard in a quick mile at DD after being off for 24 days, and that didn't work well. Now returns to his favorite track, and M1 record is 27 wins in 65 starts. Dunn is back aboard and should be put in play at the word GO.Race 74-Franco Totem N (7/2)-Came off a sick scratch with a 54.3 back half to win. Steps-up but fits well with this group. Dunn makes a return between the pipes and he knows well. Best to respect and does like the track winning 10 of 34 starts.5-U S Captain (9/2)-Raced an even 3rd in last, now drops and draws well. Winner in 6 of 23 Big M starts should be a main player here and the Lare barn is batting a hot 35% in the last 30 days.7-Harambeo Deo (3-1)-Beaten favorite steps-up but has downed better than this in the past. AMac is back in the bike and is this another who likes to take pictures at M1. Should be on the engine or in the pocket and either trip could work nicely.Race 82-Reign Of Honor (3-1)-Melander trainee comes off a sharp gate to wire win and now steps-up. Tetrick should have this lightly raced 5-year-old dialed on high. Anything close to last week's 152.1 mile should be tough to beat.3-Emma Town Bud (6-1)-Trotted a 55.3 back half in the 1st start off the bench. Winner of >$101K last year should be tighter tonight. Does meet better but Hoosier invader shouldn't blush at the company.5-Winnerup (9/2)-Twice beaten favorite will need to be at his best versus this kind. In the last 2 starts Gingras raced near the top, this time it may work best coming off cover. Burke trainee should offer a fair price and if so, it would make sense to use in gimmicks.Race 93-My Pal Joe (9/2)-Ships in from YR and has taken pictures in 4 of 9 starts at M1. Can show big speed and this post draw won't hurt chances. Could be a solid price and might be overlooked at the windows.4-Levine (10-1)-Will take a swing at this price shot and will shoot against #1 who is the morning line chalk. Zeron had big tries with the #7 and #9 last time but owns this 4-year-old and his girl friend trains. Should be in the hunt throughout and has the gate speed to get an efficient trip.9-Stone Hanover (8-1)-Returned last week from Pompano and rallied with a 53.4 back half to cash a 3rd place check. My take is #1 will be challenged early and the pace should be lively. Toscano trainee is usually in the mix and Dunn could close fastest of all.My Ticket Race 6) 4,7 Race 7) 4,5,7 Race 8) 2,3,5 Race 9) 3,4,9Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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4.10.2021:

Saturday, April 10: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Oaklawn Park – Sixth Race – Post time: 2:55 CT5-Edgeway (9/5)Was quite successful in her 4-year-old debut at Santa Anita in early February, easily winning from an overmatched allowance field with strong speed figure while under wraps near the wire. The J. Sadler-trained filly surely will benefit from that tightener in today’s $250,000 Carousel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, and while better will be needed she appears more than capable of accepting the challenge. Listed as the second choice on the morning line at 9/5 behind favored Frank’s Rockette (7/5), the daughter of Competitive Edge projects to enjoy an ideal stalk-and-pounce trip under J. Rosario. We know she likes this track, as she won twice at Oaklawn Park last year.Golden Gate Fields – Seventh Race – Post time: 4:20 ET4-Cheater’s Waltz (9/2)This straight maiden sprint for sophomore fillies is begging to be won by a fresh face, and Cheater’s Waltz – with speed breeding a series of good workouts – fits the bill quite nicely. From a stable that boasts superior stats with the first-time starter angle, this daughter of Grazen attracts the barn’s “go-to” rider W. Antongeorgi III while showing a healthy work tab that includes a recent bullet five furlong workout (1:01h) to have her fit and ready. At anywhere near her morning line of 9/2, the S. Miyadi-trained 3-year-old is worth a gamble in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.

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4.10.2021:

Saturday, April 10: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.View Santa Anita Daily Workout ReportView Lexington Stakes-G3 Video AnalysisView Arkansas Deerby-G1 Video AnalysisRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B-Use: 6-Littlebidamedal; 4-PosterizeForecast: Littlebitamedal and Posterize meet again after finishing one-two in a recent starter’s allowance ($25,000) affair over this track and distance last month. ‘Medal is a prototype late-running sprinter and got plenty of help up front to compliment his style in that victory but today’s pace flow may not be so favorable and that, coupled with a small a two pound shift in the weights, could bring the two together. These will be the two main players in this six-runner affair for $40,000 older sellers so we’ll pass the race but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Lone Scout; 5-PapaleForecast: Lone Scout is improving with racing and shows speed figures moving in the right direction, so we’ll put the son of Tonalist on top in this maiden optional claiming miler that attracted just five entrants. He’s back on the main track and his pedigree suggests he’ll be more comfortable on dirt, so with the switch back to J. J. Hernandez the R. B. Hess, Jr.-trained colt appears capable of producing the last run. Papale actually finished first in a race last November but was disqualified, so he’s still a maiden. The Frosted gelding retains F. Prat, shows a sharp recent half mile workout, and is another with numbers that have steadily risen in recent outings. These are the two we’ll be including in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to Lone Scout.RACE 3: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: XUse: 2-Gerlach’s; 4-Luckys Last StandForecast: Luckys Last Stand is listed as the 6/5 morning line favorite in this five-runner maiden claiming abbreviated sprint for state-bred sophomores and on paper looks even shorter than that. In the frame in both of his career starts and five lengths clear of the rest when narrowly missing in a similar event last month, the son of Lucky Pulpit really won’t have to improve much at all to handle this modest task. Gerlach’s may be a bit better than shown and represents a bit of a danger from off the pace. He’s probably worth including on a ticket or two as a back-up but the main push should go the Luckys Last Stand.RACE 4: Post: 2:41 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Stormin Ranger; 6-Your Royal CoilForecast: Your Royal Coil, first off the claim for A. Lerner and waiver protected in her first outing since August, returns with blinkers on, a comfortable outside post, and a work tab that should have her fit and ready. Her previous form over the Santa Anita main track was strong and consistent, so we’re expecting the daughter of Coil to be extremely well-meant in this restricted seller for $20,000 claiming fillies and mares. We’ll also toss in Stormin Ranger, also returning off a layoff from last summer and waiver protected for A. Kitchingman, whose record with comebackers in a small sample is outstanding. The work tab at San Luis Rey Downs should have her plenty fit, so if she can avoid trouble from the rail the daughter of U S Ranger will be heard from late. Your Royal Coil gets the edge on top but both should be used in rolling exotic play.RACE 5: Post: 3:15 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Moon Mischief; 5-Prince MagicianForecast: Prince Magician drops to his lowest level ever in this maiden $25,000 claiming sprint and has speed figurers that are better than par for this level. He’s already had nine chances and therefore may not be one to trust, but if shows up with his best stuff the H. Palma-trained colt will be right there, especially with the switch to J. J. Hernandez. Moon Mischief is another class dropper with a big look and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. The switch to F. Prat is significant as is the addition of blinkers, so as the 9/5 morning line favorite the J. Sadler-trained son of Into Mischief is clearly the one to beat.RACE 6: Post: 2:48 PT Grade: XUse: 1-Exaulted; 4-Colt FictionForecast: The 6/5 morning line favorite Exaulted is most effective as a late-running sprinter and gets ideal conditions in this entry-level allowance extended dash. A good third vs. considerably stronger in the San Carlos H.-G2 over this track and distance last time out, the son of Twirling Candy has finished in the money in all five of his starts over the Santa Anita main oval and with good racing luck from the rail should be along in time. For protection, you may want to have a back-up ticket that includes Colt Fiction. The W. Spawr-trained gelding is fairly fast on speed figures and has a good stalking style that makes him ideally suited for this seven furlong trip.RACE 7: Post: 4:19 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Conquest Cobra; 6-ColosiForecast: Conquest Cobra is double-jumped in class in a sign of confidence after a highly-rated win vs. $12,500 foes here last month. F. Prat stays aboard and should have this tough-as-nails gelding in a good stalking spot, ready to pounce when called upon. Colosi is another class riser in good form, though his recent speed figures aren’t quite to the level that ‘Cobra has been producing. The City Zip gelding is stretching out again and projects to be forwardly placed throughout with clear sailing outside. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics and then have a few extra tickets keying Conquest Cobra on top,RACE 8: Post: 4:51 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Lambeau; 3-Charlito; 7-Bold EndeavorForecast: Here’s a fairly competitive second-level allowance main track miler that requires a bit of a spread in rolling exotic play. Bold Endeavor is racing in razor sharp form and will be tough if he can add another strong race to the string. Worn down late over this track and distance last time out when almost four lengths clear of the others, the Bernardini gelding has a good stalking style that should produce a clean journey and with the switch to F. Prat the M. Glatt-trained veteran is the one to beat. Lambeau, away since last July, has run well fresh in the past and his recent workouts should have him fit enough. He’s most effective on the front end and seems likely to employ gate-to-wire tactics. Charlito is a progressive type fresh from a nice allowance win vs. lesser here in late February and with good workouts in the interim. With another forward move, the son of Feb Biz will be right there.RACE 9: Post: 5:23 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Big Al’s Princess; 5-Ensleys Dream; 9-Kind But She LiesForecast: Big Al’s Princess produced a good forward move when a game runner-up in her second career start last month and if she can improve again the V. Garcia-trained filly should be capable of earning her diploma in this modest maiden claiming sprint for sophomore fillies. Assuming she breaks well from the rail, the daughter of Bionetti could find herself as the controlling speed. Ensleys Dream adds blinkers for the first time after displaying early speed before fading as the favorite in a tougher maiden $50,000 event here in early March. She should stick better with these and has previous speed figures that put her right there. Kind But She Lies drops in class, shortens up, and returns to the main track. Look for her to be running on late.

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4.9.2021:

Saturday, April 10: Eddie Olczyk's Keeneland Spot Plays

1/ST and NBC Sports handicapper Eddie Olczyk returns for his Saturday, April 10 spot plays at Keeneland. While there's an all-stakes pick four later in the card, featuring the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley, the undercard is where Edzo will be looking to make his bankroll moves.KEENELAND // RACE 4 (2:45PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 1 1/16 MILES (TURF) EDDIE'S PICK: #2 ETHICAL JUDGEMENT (3/1)  This is a a race where you take your shot; it's wide, wide open. Ethical Judgement gets first Lasix for Brendan Walsh. He has a bullet workout in his most-recent morning move for a trainer who doesn’t really set his horses down in the a.m. That's a good sign by me. His lone grass start was good and 4-1 odds or better will make for a decent win wager. His price could rise off the morning line with Aviano and Floriform expected to be bet. KEENELAND // RACE 6 (3:51PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 1 1/16 MILES (DIRT)EDDIE'S PICK: #2 WEST WILL POWER (2/1)  Going 2 turns is the key for me with this horse. His last race was a rough assignment in a 1-turn mile against strong competition. I say follow the speed of Noren, who is the speed of the race, and make one run at him. West Will Power could get bet as low as 9/5 and it would be okay with me. Win bet.

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4.9.2021:

Friday, April 09: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Keeneland – Eighth Race – Post time: 4:57 ET3-Aloha West (7/2)Lightly-raced 4-yerar-old colt has been victimized by poor starts at Oaklawn Park in both of his career outings so if he can learn to leave with his field the son of Hard Spun will have a chance to develop into a very good sprinter. After winning at first asking in pleasing style, the W. Catalano-trained colt lost all chance in his most recent start when pinched back and impeded at the break and did well to finish as close as he did when rallying to be fifth, beaten less than three lengths. At this extended sprint distance he’ll have plenty of time to overcame whatever early difficulties he may encounter, so with the switch to F. Geroux and at 7/2 on the morning line he’s a strong win play and rolling exotic singleKeeneland – Ninth Race – Post time: 5:30 ET5-Darain (8-1)This talented European import appears ambitiously placed in this year’s edition of the Maker’s Mark Mile-G1 but his recent allowance victory at Fair Grounds was so visually impressive that we’re expecting this well-bred son of Dubawi to be highly competitive against this much tougher group. A winner of three of six career starts, the English-bred colt packs a powerful stretch kick, so with some pace to chase and clear sailing from the top of the stretch to the wire the B. Cox-trained 4-year-old offers a good gamble at or near his morning line of 8-1.

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4.9.2021:

Saturday, April 10: 1/ST BET AI Picks for the Arkansas Derby & Lexington Stakes

This Saturday’s Triple Crown prep races toward the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes will be the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn and the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. To help you handicap the premier stakes 3 weeks in advance of the Kentucky Derby, the 1/ST BET app’s artificial intelligence provides its look at the data for both races. Selections provided by the 1/ST BET app measure each contender against the 10 leading factors for each race. The 1/ST BET app looks at 52 handicapping factors and more than 200,000 past races to determine its AI selections. You can use the automated handicapping factors, or create your own factor filters to incorporate angles you prefer. KEENELAND // RACE 9 (5:30PM ET) // Grade 3 Lexington Stakes  #10 Starrininmydreams // 23%W // 38%P // 49%S #2 Swiftsure // 16%W // 28%P // 35%S #9 King Fury // 15%W // 27%P // 48%S #7 Proxy // 15%W // 25%P // 36%S #8 Ultimate Badger // 8%W // 23%P // 37%S #6 Hockey Dad // 5%W // 17%P // 25%S #5 Unbridled Humor // 5%W // 11%P // 21%S #4 It’s My House // 5%W // 10%P // 16%S #1 Noble Reflection // 4%W // 13%P // 18%S #3 Bezos // 4%W // 10%P // 16%S OAKLAWN PARK // RACE 12 (7:41PM ET) // GRADE 1 ARKANSAS DERBY  #5 Concert Tour // 32%W // 57%P // 71%S #3 Hozier // 18%W // 59%P // 72%S #1 Super Stock // 15%W // 31%P // 53%S #2 Caddo River // 14%W // 21%P // 50%S #4 Get Her Number // 12%W // 20%P // 35%S #6 Last Samurai // 8%W // 13%P // 18%S

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4.8.2021:

Friday, April 9: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Betting Strategy

LEG A // LAUREL, RACE 8 (4:45PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 7 FURLONGS (DIRT) SHANE'S JEWEL, 37/9-7-5 on dirt, ran three winning races when fresh like he is today; however, he is 0-3 at the distance and was overhauled by stablemate SHANGHAI SUPERFLY in his most recent start. EVEN THUNDER won route races at four tracks in his last eight starts and is worth longshot consideration on the class hike off the claim. LEG B // GULFSTREAM, RACE 8 (4:50PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF) "Layoff" is the key word in this turf route. SHIFTY SHE returns 15 months after a promising 3-year-old season and debuts for a barn that boasts a 24-percent win rate with 90-plus day layoff types. HOTSY TOTSY rallied to win at the distance on the Gulfstream grass course after eight months on the shelf for a high-percentage 'repeat' barn. LEG C // LAUREL, RACE 9 (5:16PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT) BUZZHOUND, outrun until the quarter pole in a well-bet debut, rallied widest and fastest on a sloppy strip to finish third. PORTAL ONE moved to command on the final turn but blew a commanding stretch lead in the final furlong of a longer sprint. LEG D // GULFSTREAM, RACE 9 (5:22PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 7 1/2 FURLONGS (TURF) We're going deep in this turf route, with an eye on a pair of longshots. DEM A WONDER, by multiple graded stakes-placed router Hello Broadway, is the one to catch on the stretchout in his turf debut. SERENADE A KITTEN is 3-for-5 on the grass and won off the claim for an 18 percent 'repeat' barn. LEG E // GOLDEN GATE, RACE 3 (5:27PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (ALL WEATHER) REAL KEEPER was content to track MOON ROCKET, loomed boldly at the top of the stretch but couldn't get past the stubborn winner. The duo has combined to finish first or second in 15 of 30 starts at the track. BEE EINSTEIN out-sprinted the 1-to-9 favorite to the lead and never looked back. He has good tactical speed and can use it well from the outside post. SUGGESTED $1 STRONACH 5 TICKET Leg A: 1, 6Leg B: 1, 7Leg C: 1, 2Leg D: 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 11Leg E: 1, 6, 7 COST: $144

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4.8.2021:

Johnny D's Arkansas Derby Contender Analysis + Picks

It’s challenging being the champ; walking (and running) around with a bullseye plastered on your hind end. Ever since being honored as the nation’s top 2-year-old in January, Essential Quality has worn the crown well. He appeared to be on-the-ropes Saturday in the Keeneland stretch, when Highly Motivated proved a surprisingly stubborn foe in the Blue Grass but, in the end, Essential Quality did what champs do: he won…again. Trainer Brad Cox has to feel confident as his charge has cleared the final hurdle toward the Kentucky Derby still unbeaten. It would appear, as they say around the racetrack and at family holiday barbeques, ‘there’s more in the tank.’ How much more? Good question. If the champ really was rocked by Highly Motivated’s punch, it would be a negative heading toward the big race on the first Saturday in May in Louisville--hometown of ‘The Greatest’ and World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali. But, perhaps, in true Ali fashion, Essential Quality might have merely been playing ‘rope-a-dope’ in the Blue Grass, seemingly in trouble while actually in total control? Either way, the consensus number one-ranked challenger to Essential Quality’s championship belt is in action Saturday at Oaklawn Park in the Arkansas Derby. Concert Tour hails from the Bob Baffert outfit--the top stable for 3-year-old champions ever—and, based on his last two workouts at Santa Anita, he appears ‘loaded for bear.’ Baffert has used the Arkansas Derby as the perfect launching pad toward Louisville success before and has a mind to do it again. If there’s a stumbling block in Concert Tour’s path Saturday, we can’t see it. He should put his high cruising speed and developing talent on display for all to see. It’s notable that even though this race carries 170 points toward spots in the Kentucky Derby starting gate there are no fresh faces shipping in while attempting to add Louisville digits. That’s partly because connections nationwide were repelled by Concert Tour’s vigor in winning the Gr. 2 Rebel Stakes. Even if he proves dominant in Razorback country, come May 1, the son of Street Sense probably won’t be favored in Louisville. That’s because there’s an unwritten rule that says you’ve got to knock out the champ before you can wear the belt. And, even though Highly Motivated got in a few good licks through the Blue Grass stretch, the referee triumphantly ultimately raised Essential Quality’s hoof for the fifth time in as many bouts. Below is one man’s opinion of Saturday’s Arkansas Derby with a suggested play. GRADE 1, $1,000,000 ARKANSAS DERBYOAKLAWN PARK (RACE 12 @ 7:41PM ET) // 1 1/8 MILESKentucky Derby Points: 100-40-20-10 1. SUPER STOCK (ASMUSSEN/TALAMO) - 6/1 This guy finished a well-beaten fourth in the Gr. 2 Rebel last out behind the Baffert duo of #5 Concert Tour and #3 Hozier. That was his seventh lifetime start and first since October. He has one win—a five and one-half furlong restricted stakes at Lone Star in August--a pair of seconds and a pair of thirds to his credit. He finished third in the Gr. 1 Breeders Futurity at Keeneland, over four lengths behind 2-year-old champ and current sophomore leader Essential Quality. This son of Dialed In was 40-1 in the Rebel and outran his odds. In fact, he didn’t run badly at all. From the far outside 8-hole, he was four-wide into the first turn, steadied briefly early down the backside, and raced between horses throughout. He finished ok in the lane and barely got up for fourth, just three-quarters of a length behind runner up #3 Hosier. If he improves off that race and has a better trip, which he might while moving from the outside starting post to the inside one, he should be part of the exotics. Exotics. 2. CADDO RIVER (COX/GEROUX) - 7/2 Last out in the Gr. 2 Rebel Stakes, jockey Geroux and #2 Caddo River left from the number one post position. From the seven-hole, the race’s other speed horse, #5 Concert Tour outbroke the field. That left Geroux hustling and scrubbing on #2 Caddo River to hold the rail position into the first turn. They couldn’t. #5 Concert Tour was too quick for them. A similar situation appears here in the Gr. 1 Arkansas Derby. #2 Caddo River again is drawn inside #5 Concert Tour. Obviously, much depends on how alertly they break from the gate. But here’s the issue for #2 Caddo River: He wasn’t good enough to stalk #5 Concert Tour and still hang around. In fact, he faded to fifth, beaten more than six lengths. That suggests that even if #2 Caddo River outbreaks #5 Concert Tour, the latter will just stalk and take over when desirable. A more critical question for horseplayers is: When #5 Concert Tour asserts his domination, how will #2 Caddo River react? Will he hang around for a piece of the exotics or fade away in the lane? He had no answer late in the Gr. 2 Rebel Stakes. Bottom of Exotics. 3. HOZIER (BAFFERT/GARCIA) - 3/1 He’s finished behind stablemate #5 Concert Tour twice in three races and there’s no reason to think he’ll flip the script this time. This son of Pioneerof the Nile had a rail skimming, dream trip in the Gr. 2 Rebel last out and finished well enough to hold second. Jockey Martin Garcia will attempt to drop back a bit early, save ground and maintain another rail-skimming trip. If that works out, this colt could get another nice check for his owners. The morning line price isn’t attractive but he’s a Baffert pupil and was second to the favorite last out. He’s also made just three lifetime starts, so he could have upside. Must use in exotics a bit but is no bargain at the listed price. Exotics Defensively. 4. GET HER NUMBER (MILLER/ARRIETA) - 6/1 He comes out of the Gr.2 Rebel along with everyone else in the field except for #6 Last Samurai. That was this son of Dialed In’s first start since September and he appeared to need the race. He was running ok until he was sideswiped at the eighth pole, losing all momentum and shifting back to his right lead. This colt showed ability at two and is a Grade 1 winner—American Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita where he defeated Rombauer and Spielberg—two colts of some repute. He also won a maiden turf sprint first time out going five furlongs at Del Mar. Jockey Arrieta replaces Hall of Fame member Javier Castellano in the saddle but no worries, the replacement knows his way around Oaklawn. This is a runner that could improve while having a race under his belt and a clean trip. Count him firmly in exotics. Exotics. 5. CONCERT TOUR (BAFFERT/ROSARIO) - 1/1 Unbeaten in three starts, this colt appears as Bob Baffert’s best chance to win the 2021 Kentucky Derby. The son of Street Sense faces much the same group he soundly defeated in mid-March and there’s absolutely no reason to think he won’t do the same Saturday. He’s got speed, a great post position, the ability to get the distance and he’s already dominated all but one of these foes. Is he a cinch? There’s no such thing. But he’s as close to one as you’ll find. There may be some concern that he could become embroiled in a speed duel with #2 Caddo River early and that such a confrontation might open the door for a closer to take advantage. We don’t see that. #5 Concert Tour is quicker than #2 Caddo River and a better horse. If #2 Caddo River outbreaks him, #5 Concert Tour can just sit off that one and take him whenever jockey Joel Rosario decides it’s time. All considered, a victory in this race will set this colt up perfectly for a big run at the brass ring in Louisville May 1. Win Only. 6. LAST SAMURAI (STEWART/COURT) - 15/1 Trainer Dallas Stewart is not opposed to taking a shot in graded stakes races. And he’s had some successes at huge odds. Don’t see that this is one of those occasions, but Stewart’s triumphs often are invisible just before appearing in the exacta at boxcar payoffs. This colt was 56-1 last out in the Southwest Stakes when fifth, beaten over 13 lengths over a ‘sloppy’ track. That was his first start since he beat one horse in an allowance race at Churchill in October. Pass. BOTTOM LINE This really isn’t much of a betting race, but you could play around with Tris or Supers for some action. #5 Concert Tour is best. The wonder is how to stack the rest in the proper order. Two runners who could improve off previous efforts in the Gr. 2 Rebel are #1 Super Stock and #4 Get Her Number. #3 Hosier should run well again, but he got a perfect trip in the Gr. 2 Rebel and he’s a shorter price than the preceding pair. #2 Caddo River may hang around for an exotic slice, but he didn’t last time going a shorter distance and he’s probably not going to be much price. Suggested Wager $1 Superfecta ($12 Bet Total) 1st: #52nd: #1, #43rd: #1, #2 #3, #44th: #1, #2, #3, #4 Race On!

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4.8.2021:

Expert Kentucky Derby Top 10 Lists as of April 7, 2021

It’s Arkansas Derby and Lexington Stakes Week, the 3-week outpost until the 2021 Kentucky Derby. This pretty much will be last call for contenders to announce their credentials before the Run for the Roses. Our resident historians and handicappers with 1/ST BET and Xpressbet check back in with their mid-April Top 10 contenders for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. We’ve included the projected next start for each horse in parentheses (subject to change). Jeff Siegel | @jsiegelracing #1 Essential Quality (Kentucky Derby) #2 Rock Your World (Kentucky Derby) #3 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby) #4 Known Agenda (Kentucky Derby) #5 Hot Rod Charlie (Kentucky Derby) #6 Highly Motivated (Kentucky Derby) #7 Medina Spirit (Kentucky Derby) #8 Midnight Bourbon (Kentucky Derby) #9 Helium (Kentucky Derby) #10 Soup and Sandwich (Kentucky Derby) Jon White | @PostTimeJon #1 Essential Quality (Kentucky Derby) #2 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby) #3 Rock Your World (Kentucky Derby) #4 Hot Rod Charlie (Kentucky Derby) #5 Known Agenda (Kentucky Derby) #6 Highly Motivated (Kentucky Derby) #7 Medina Spirit (Kentucky Derby) #8 Midnight Bourbon (Kentucky Derby) #9 Mandaloun (Kentucky Derby) #10 Helium (Kentucky Derby) John DeSantis | @XBJohnnyD #1 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby) #2 Essential Quality (Kentucky Derby) #3 Hot Rod Charlie (Kentucky Derby) #4 Known Agenda (Kentucky Derby) #5 Rock Your World (Kentucky Derby) #6 Highly Motivated (Kentucky Derby) #7 Medina Spirit (Kentucky Derby) #8 Midnight Bourbon (Kentucky Derby) #9 Bourbonic (Kentucky Derby) #10 Helium (Kentucky Derby) Jeremy Plonk | @HorsePlayerNow #1 Essential Quality (Kentucky Derby) #2 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby) #3 Known Agenda (Kentucky Derby) #4 Highly Motivated (Kentucky Derby) #5 Medina Spirit (Kentucky Derby) #6 Rock Your World (Kentucky Derby) #7 Hot Rod Charlie (Kentucky Derby) #8 Midnight Bourbon (Kentucky Derby) #9 Hozier (Arkansas Derby) #10 Proxy (Lexington Stakes)

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4.8.2021:

Jon White's Arkansas Derby and Lexington Stakes Picks

This Saturday’s Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park is the final race offering 170 points toward a spot in the starting gate at this year’s 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby on May 1.Also Saturday, Keeneland’s Grade II Lexington Stakes has 34 Kentucky Derby points up for grabs to the first four finishers.The 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby (100-40-20-10 points to the first four finishers) and 1 1/16-mile Lexington (20-8-4-2) are the only two races still left to be run this year in which precious points toward Churchill Downs’ coveted Run for the Roses can be earned.Before passing along my selections for the Arkansas Derby and Lexington, let’s take a look back at my selections for last Saturday’s Grade I Santa Anita Derby, Grade II Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and Grade II Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.Medina Spirit was my top pick in the Santa Anita Derby. He finished second as the 9-10 favorite. I picked Dream Shake second and Rock Your World third. The horse I picked fourth, Roman Centurian, scratched.Rock Your World led past every pole and prevailed by 4 1/4 lengths. Dream Shake finished third in the field of nine.Boxing my top three picks in the 50-cent trifecta cost $3 and returned $30.25.Essential Quality came through as my top pick in the Blue Grass, but it was far from easy. He won by just a neck as the 1-2 favorite to remain undefeated in five lifetime starts. Highly Motivated ran a heckuva race, but he had to settle for second in the field of nine.This was what I wrote last week when looking ahead to the Wood Memorial:“I honestly don’t like my chances of picking the winner in the Wood Memorial. I see it as a wide-open affair.“I am not particularly bullish on Prevalence. Sure, he might win. Prevalence is two for two and a definite contender. Who knows? Maybe he will go out there and win big.“But until I am proven otherwise, I think Prevalence is somewhat overrated.”How did Prevalence do? He finished sixth at odds of 3-1. Risk Taking, the 2-1 favorite, ran even worse and wound up seventh in the field of nine.My top pick in the Wood was Crowded Trade. He finished third at odds of 5-2.The winner turned out to be Bourbonic, who rallied from last to win by a head in a shocker. He paid $146.50 for each $2 win wager. Dynamic One finished second at odds of 15-1.Daily Racing Form’s David Grening noted that $146.50 was the highest win mutuel in the 96-year history of the Wood Memorial, eclipsing the $129.50 Manassa Mauler paid in 1959.Obviously, hardly anyone picked Bourbonic to win the Wood.For Xpressbet.com in late January, I began making selections in the U.S. races offering points toward the Kentucky Derby.Of the 19 such races to date, I have picked the winner in nine of them, as noted below:Date Race (Selection) Finish, $2 win payoff if applicable01-30-21 Holy Bull (Greatest Honour) WON, $7.6001-30-21 Robert B. Lewis (Medina Spirit), WON, $4.0002-06-21 Sam F. Davis (Candy Man Rocket), WON, $8.2002-06-21 Withers (Donegal Bay), finished 7th02-13-21 Risen Star (Senor Buscador), finished 5th02-13-21 El Camino Real Derby (Rombauer), WON, $4.4002-26-21 Battaglia Memorial (Gretzky the Great), finished 3rd02-27-21 Southwest (Essential Quality), WON, $3.8002-27-21 Fountain of Youth (Greatest Honor), WON, $4.0003-06-21 Gotham (Freedom Fighter), finished 4th03-06-21 Tampa Bay Derby (Hidden Stash), finished 2nd03-06-21 San Felipe Stakes, Life Is Good, WON, $3.0003-13-21 Rebel Stakes, Concert Tour, WON, $5.4003-20-21 Louisiana Derby, Proxy, finished 4th03-27-21 Jeff Ruby Steaks, Hockey Dad, finished 3rd03-27-21 Florida Derby, Spielberg, finished 8th04-03-21 Wood Memorial, Crowded Trade, finished 3rd04-03-21 Blue Grass Stakes, Essential Quality, WON, $3.0004-03-21 Santa Anita Derby, Medina Spirit, finished 2ndCONCERT TOUR SEEKS TO REMAIN UNDEFEATEDConcert Tour, who has yet to lose in three career starts, heads the $1 million Arkansas Derby, which has attracted a field of six.Five of the six Arkansas Derby entrants exit Oaklawn Park’s Grade II Rebel Stakes on March 13. Concert Tour won the 1 1/16-mile Rebel by 4 1/4 lengths at odds of 8-5 when racing farther than seven furlongs for the first time. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert trains the Kentucky-bred colt by 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense.Hozier, also trained by Baffert, finished second in the Rebel as an 18-1 longshot while making his stakes debut.Among those scheduled to face the Baffert duo in the Arkansas Derby are Rebel also-rans Super Stock, Caddo River and Get Her Number. The only Arkansas Derby entrant who did not run in the Rebel is Last Samurai.Super Stock ran fourth in the Rebel at 40-1. He was followed across the finish line by Caddo River in fifth as the 6-5 favorite and Get Her Number in seventh at 14-1.When last seen under silks, Last Samurai competed on a sloppy track in Oaklawn’s Grade III Southwest Stakes on Feb. 27. Dismissed at 56-1 by the bettors, he finished fifth, 13 1/4 lengths behind the victorious Essential Quality, who was voted the 2020 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male.Caddo River went into the Rebel off back-to-back big wins accomplished in front-running fashion. He registered a 9 1/2-length victory in a one-mile maiden race at Churchill on Nov. 15. At the end of Oaklawn’s one-mile Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan. 22, Caddo River was 10 1/4 lengths in front.With Florent Geroux in the saddle, Caddo River broke from the rail in the Rebel. Most people expected that Caddo River again would go right to the front. But seizing the lead at once were Concert Tour and jockey Joel Rosario.When Concert Tour drew clear going into the clubhouse turn, Geroux moved Caddo River off the rail and to the outside of Concert Tour.While Caddo River pressed the pace outside Concert Tour, Caddo River was difficult to handle due to being quite headstrong. Meanwhile, Concert Tour was rolling smoothly and comfortably along on the lead through the early stages while rating kindly for Rosario.Turning for home, it became clear that Caddo River was in deep water. Rosario was still sitting like a statue on Concert Tour. While Geroux was busily pumping his arms, he was not getting the needed response from Caddo River.In upper stretch, while Caddo River was retreating, Concert Tour was drawing away without being asked. Concert Tour passed the eighth pole with a four-length advantage. While Rosario repeatedly looked back in the final furlong, Concert Tour sauntered home to win by a little more than four lengths.After Concert Tour completed the opening quarter in :23.42, the methodical manner in which he kept clicking off quarters in :24 and change was impressive. After the first quarter, he steppped the ensuing quarters in :24.11, :24.47 and :24.65, followed by a final sixteenth in 6.53 seconds for a final time of 1:43.18.Up to this point, Concert Tour’s initial three races have been quite similar to the first three starts of Nadal’s career.Concert Tour and Nadal both did not race at 2. They both won a Santa Anita maiden sprint at first asking in January at 3, followed by a seven-furlong victory in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes by less than one length in February, followed by a Rebel triumph in March. Nadal’s Rebel was contested on a sloppy track.After Nadal’s Rebel victory, he won a division of the Grade I Arkansas Derby on May 2. It turned out to be the final start of his career. It was announced on May 28 that Nadal had been retired from racing as a result of a condylar fracture in his left front leg following a four-furlong workout in :48.80 that morning at Santa Anita.Baffert had high praise for Concert Tour’s Rebel performance, calling it “kind of an American Pharoah-type run.”American Pharoah kicked off his 3-year-old campaign by splashing home to a 6 1/4-length victory on a sloppy track in the Rebel. He would go on to win the Arkansas Derby before sweeping the Triple Crown to end a 37-year drought.Again, when Concert Tour won the Rebel, these were his fractions and final time::23.42, :24.11, :24.47, :24.65, :06.53, 1:43.18When Nadal won the Rebel on a sloppy track, these were his fractions and final time::22.89, :23.11, :25.38, :27.06, :06.53, 1:44.97When American Pharoah won the Rebel on a sloppy track, these were his fractions and final time::24.41, :25.22, :25.59, :24.54, :06.02, 1:45.78It’s interesting to see how Rock Your World’s fractional times in the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby compare with those above in 1 1/16-mile races::22.42, :23.69, :24.53, :25.63, :12.90, 1:49.17CADDO RIVER LIKELY TO BE SENT THIS TIMETrainer Brad Cox and owner John Ed Anthony (Shortleaf Stables) have stated publicly that they intend to have Geroux send Caddo River away from the gate and go as hard as they can to hopefully get the early lead this time, rather than let Concert Tour “call the tune,” like he did in the Rebel.The feeling expressed by Caddo River’s connections is that when it was attempted to rate him, that was a big boo-boo. They have expressed the notion that the Kentucky-bred Hard Spun colt had his best weapon, his speed, taken away from him by trying to rate him instead of letting him roll early. They know sitting off Concert Tour did not work last time. That’s why they want to see what happens in the rematch if Caddo River is the early leader this time.Caddo River drew post 2 for the Rebel. Concert Tour again begins outside that rival, this time leaving from post 5.If Caddo River goes like a bat out of hell early, I do not anticipate Rosario getting into a crazy speed duel that could cook both Caddo River and Concert Tour. When Concert Tour won Santa Anita’s San Vicente, he sat nicely in third early while close up behind the pacesetting Freedom Fighter (also trained by Baffert).Assuming Caddo River does show the way early this time, I look for Rosario to put Concert Tour into a stalking position. But even if Rosario does concede the early lead to Caddo River, I fully expect Rosario to keep a very close eye on that opponent.If Caddo River sets the early pace, I expect Rosario to ask Concert Tour to go after him at some point. Then we will find out if Caddo River turns the tables on Concert Tour or if Concert Tour is able to keep his unblemished record intact.My belief is that Concert Tour again will be victorious.My selections for the Arkansas Derby are below:1. Concert Tour2. Hozier3. Caddo River4. Get Her NumberLEXINGTON HAS A FIELD OF 10Proxy was my top pick in the Louisiana Derby on March 20. The Kentucky-bred Tapit colt finished fourth, but he still managed to record a 93 Beyer Speed Figure. Prior to that, Proxy had been credited with a 91 Beyer when second in the Grade III Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 26, then a 97 Beyer when second in the Grade II Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 13.From a Beyer Speed Figure standpoint, Proxy is a standout in the Lexington. No other horse in this race has ever recorded a Beyer higher than an 89.Michael Stidham, who recently won the Group I, $12 million Dubai World Cup with Mystic Guide, trains Proxy.Swiftsure, Bezos and Hockey Dad also belong on the list of contenders in the Lexington.Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Swiftsure is two for two and makes his stakes debut in the Lexington. The Kentucky-bred Uncle Mo colt takes Beyer Speed Figures of 86 and 87 into this Saturday’s race.Bezos is a wild card. Trained by Baffert, the Kentucky-bred Empire Maker colt was hyped to the moon when he made his career debut Feb. 7 at Santa Anita. Pounded down to 3-5 favoritism, he ran a clunker. But keep in mind that was an especially strong 6 1/2-furlong maiden contest, as evidenced by the victorious Dream Shake subsequently finishing third in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes and Grade I Santa Anita Derby.After Bezos’ disappointing first race in which he received only a 64 Beyer Speed Figure, he showed improvement to win a one-mile maiden race by 4 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita on March 26. His maiden victory, in which he received a 76 Beyer, certainly was a step in the right direction.Hockey Dad was my top pick in the Grade III Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park on March 27. Off at odds of 7-1, he finished third. Like the King won by one length. Sainthood edged Hockey Dad by a head for the place.Trained by Doug O’Neill, Hockey Dad returns to dirt in the Lexington after competing on a synthetic surface last time out at Turfway. Prior to his March 27 start in Kentucky, the California-bred colt by 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist had reeled off three straight wins at Santa Anita. One of those three victories came on dirt, the other two on turf.My selections for the Lexington Stakes are below:1. Proxy2. Bezos3. Swiftsure4. Hockey DadROCK YOUR WORLD SPARKLES IN DIRT DEBUTRock Your World took his Santa Anita Derby opponents on a merry chase at the odds of 5-1 when racing on dirt for the first time in his third career start. He previously had won a pair of grass races.After the Santa Anita Derby, trainer John Sadler quipped that they had been lying in the weeds with Rock Your World going into the Santa Anita Derby.Rock Your World kicked off his racing career by winning a six-furlong grass dash by 1 3/4 lengths at Santa Anita on New Year’s Day. As I watched him that day, I was impressed enough to think that he could be someone to keep an eye on vis-a-vis dirt races such as the Santa Anita Derby and/or Kentucky Derby.Next, Rock Your World won Santa Anita’s one-mile Pasadena Stakes on turf Feb. 27. Exhibiting marvelous acceleration during the stretch run that day, he quickly kicked clear to prevail by 2 1/4 lengths, then kept on going strongly when he galloped out far in front of those left in his wake.To be sure, Rock Your World’s back-to-back 82 Beyer Speed Figures were nothing to rave about. But I also thought those figures did not come anywhere close to being a true reflection of Rock Your World’s ability. In both races, it appeared to me that he had much potential.I also thought there was a very good chance that Rock Your World would do just fine when racing on dirt. I wrote this on March 24:“Look out for Rock Your World in the Santa Anita Derby. The $650,000 auction purchase is two for two. The Kentucky-bred Candy Ride colt will be switching to the dirt following back-to-back victories on the grass. Most recently, he generated a powerful stretch kick to win Santa Anita’s one-mile Pasadena Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths on Feb. 27.“Candy Ride in 2003 broke the track record when he won Del Mar’s 1 1/4-mile Pacific Classic on the dirt in 1:59.11. The mark still stands all these years later. In the Pacific Classic, Candy Ride drilled Prevalence’s sire, Medaglia d’Oro, who had to settle for second.“Empire Maker, who is the sire of Rock Your World’s dam, won the Belmont Stakes on the dirt the same year that Candy Ride was victorious in the Pacific Classic.”In Rock Your World’s final workout before the Santa Anita Derby, he had a bullet workout on the dirt March 28, five furlongs in :59.20. Not only was it the fastest of 76 works at the distance that morning, it was two full seconds faster than the average time that day of 1:01.20.Something else that got my attention was when Sadler said after the Pasadena Stakes that Rock Your World would be running next in the Santa Anita Derby. There was no hemming or hawing on the trainer’s part despite the fact that, at the time, running in the Santa Anita Derby meant having to face the brilliant Life Is Good.On the morning of March 29, the Santa Anita Derby suddenly became much more winnable for everyone except Life Is Good. On March 29, Life Is Good emerged from a bullet six-furlong workout in 1:11.40 with a left-hind ankle issue that required surgery and knocked him out of this year’s Triple Crown races.Even with Life Is Good out of the Santa Anita Derby, Baffert still sent out the odds-on favorite in Medina Spirit, winner of Santa Anita’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Jan. 30.Going into the Santa Anita Derby, Medina Spirit had won two of four career starts. He would have been undefeated if not for finishing second twice to Life Is Good.Medina Spirit raced close up through the early stages of the Santa Anita Derby, but he was no match for Rock Your World when the real test came. Medina Spirit had to settle for second while finishing 2 1/4 lengths clear of Dream Shake in third.As was the case in the Pasadena, Rock Your World galloped out far in front of everyone after crossing the finish line in the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby. This would seem to bode well for Rock Your World in terms of being asked to race a furlong further in the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby.Baffert was seeking his 10th Santa Anita Derby victory last Saturday, but he didn’t get it when Medina Spirit and Defunded lost. Defunded ended up fourth in only the third start of his career and his stakes debut.Rock Your World was the second Santa Anita Derby winner for Sadler, who also won the race in 2010 with Sidney’s Candy, another son of Candy Ride. The Santa Anita Derby that year was run on a synthetic surface. Sidney’s Candy went on to finish 17th in the Kentucky Derby, which was won that year by Super Saver.GO WITH BAFFERT OR A TRAINER NAMED JOHNPlonk of Countdown to the Crown recently pointed out that Baffert has won almost all of Santa Anita’s 3-year-old graded stakes races going back to the 2019 Santa Anita Derby. The only two exceptions to a Baffert victory in these races during this period were wins by trainers John Sadler and John Shirreffs:Trainer, Race, Winner--John Sadler, 2021 Santa Anita Derby, Rock Your World--Bob Baffert, 2021 San Felipe Stakes, Life Is Good--Bob Baffert, 2021 San Vicente Stakes, Concert Tour--Bob Baffert, 2021 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, Medina Spirit--Bob Baffert, 2021 Sham Stakes, Life Is Good--John Shirreffs, 2020 Santa Anita Derby, Honor A.P.--Bob Baffert, 2020 San Felipe Stakes, Authentic--Bob Baffert, 2020 San Vicente Stakes, Nadal--Bob Baffert, 2020 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, Thousand Words--Bob Baffert, 2020 Sham Stakes, Authentic--Bob Baffert, 2019 Santa Anita Derby, RoadsterGREATEST HONOUR OUT OF KENTUCKY DERBYGreatest Honour currently is on a farm and will not be running in any of this year’s Triple Crown events.“The potholes that can be found on the road to the Kentucky Derby knocked out one of the top contenders Wednesday, when Greatest Honour was ruled out of the race,” Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman wrote.Greatest Honour won Gulfstream Park’s Grade III Holy Bull Stakes and Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes earlier this year. He then finished third as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade I Florida Derby on March 27 for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey.“McGaughey, in a telephone call Wednesday, said he wasn’t satisfied with Greatest Honour exiting the Florida Derby and had him examined ‘the other day’ in Kentucky by noted equine veterinarian Larry Bramlage,” Privman wrote. “The decision was made to give him 60 days off, with the first 30 days turned out at the farm.”MY UPDATED KENTUCKY DERBY TOP 10While Essential Quality holds on to the top spot on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week, there are four newcomers: Rock Your World, Highly Motivated, Mandaloun and Helium.Rock Your World debuts on my Top 10 this way all the way up at No. 3 following his Santa Anita Derby triumph. Highly Motivated is new this week at No. 6 after being narrowly defeated by Essential Quality in the Blue Grass Stakes. Mandaloun, who seems to be training well after finishing sixth as the 2-1 favorite in the Louisiana Derby, makes it back onto the Top 10 at No. 9. Tampa Bay Derby winner Helium also is new on the Top 10 this week at No. 10.Exiting the Top 10 this week are Greatest Honour, Keepmeinmind (who finished fifth in the Blue Grass), Risk Taking (who finished seventh in the Wood) and Dream Shake (who finished third in the Santa Anita Derby).My Kentucky Derby Top 10 for this week is below:1. Essential Quality2. Concert Tour3. Rock Your World4. Hot Rod Charlie5. Known Agenda6. Highly Motivated7. Medina Spirit8. Midnight Bourbon9. Mandaloun10. HeliumREMEMBERING A COUPLE OF BIRTHDAYSSecretariat, who swept the Triple Crown in 1973 to end a 25-year drought, was foaled on March 30, 1970. He ranks No. 2, behind only No. 1 Man o’ War, on my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America: No. 3 is Citation, followed by No. 4 Kelso, No. 5 Spectacular Bid, No. 6 Native Dancer, No. 7 Dr. Fager, No. 8 Seattle Slew, No. 9 Count Fleet and No. 10 Affirmed. Ruffian is the leader among females at No. 11.Turbulator, a one-time world-record holder and one of the best Thoroughbreds to ever race in the Pacific Northwest, was foaled on April 6, 1965.UPDATED STRIKES SITUATIONMy Derby Strikes System (DSS) consists of eight categories developed to try and determine a horse’s chances to win the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May from both tactical and historical perspectives. When a horse does not qualify in one of the categories, the horse gets a strike. The eight categories are listed at the end of this column/blog/article.A number of the categories in the DSS are linked to the Kentucky Derby being run in May. Consequently, when the race was switched from May 2 to Sept. 5 last year due to the pandemic, it rendered the DSS unworkable.The DSS is back now that the Kentucky Derby is returning to its traditional spot on the calendar in 2021.According to the DSS, going back to 1973 and excluding the Kentucky Derby of 2020 when the race was run in September, the vast majority of Kentucky Derby winners have had zero strikes or one strike.Since 1973 (again excluding 2020), 39 out of the Kentucky Derby winners (81%) have had zero strikes or one strike, while just seven have had two strikes.The seven Kentucky Derby winners with two strikes were:Cannonade (1974) Categories 3 and 4Ferdinand (1986) Categories 2 and 4Sea Hero (1993) Categories 3 and 5Funny Cide (2003) Categories 2 and 8Giacomo (2015) Categories 2 and 5Justify (2018) Categories 1 and 8Country House (2019) Categories 2 and 3The only Kentucky Derby winner with more than two strikes was:Mine That Bird (2009) Categories 1, 4, 5 and 8In the 2019 Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security had zero strikes and finished first by 1 1/4 lengths. However, the stewards disqualified Maximum Security and placed him 17th when ruling that he had committed a foul by veering out sharply nearing the five-sixteenths marker to cause interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy.It is not until a horse’s next race will be the Kentucky Derby that a horse’s number of strikes can be determined.These are the strikes for horses with 10 or more points on the leaderboard listed by Churchill Downs as possibilities (as of April 7) to start in the Kentucky Derby:Points Horse (Strikes)140 Essential Quality (0)110 Hot Rod Charlie (1) Category 4104 Like the King (0)102 Known Agenda (0)100 Rock Your World (2) Categories 1 and 7100 Bourbonic (2) Categories 1 and 374 Medina Spirit (0)66 Midnight Bourbon (1) Category 460 Weyburn (2) Categories 4 and 552 Mandaloun (1) Category 450 Concert Tour (TBD)50 Highly Motivated (2) Categories 2 and 450 Helium (1) Category 540 Panadol (2) Categories 2 and 740 Soup and Sandwich (2) Categories 2 and 740 Dynamic One (3) Categories 1, 2 and 440 Crowded Trade (3) Categories 2, 4 and 740 Sainthood (2) Categories 2 and 734 Rombauer (3) Categories 1, 2 and 334 Proxy (TBD)32 Hidden Stash (2) Categories 2 and 530 Dream Shake (3) Categories 2, 4 and 725 O Besos (2) Categories 2 and 320 Hozier (TBD)20 Hockey Dad (TBD)18 Keepmeinmind (2) Categories 3 and 517 Spielberg (1) Category 514 Nova Rags (3) Categories 2, 4 and 510 Get Her Number (TBD)10 Caddo River (TBD)THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLSGamine moved up to No. 8 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll following a facile five-length win as a 1-20 favorite in Santa Anita’s Grade III Las Flores Stakes last Sunday in her first 2021 start. Gamine had been No. 10 last week.The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll:Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)1. 346 Mystic Guide (24)2. 320 Charlatan (7)3. 306 Monomoy Girl (6)4. 248 Swiss Skydiver (1)5. 225 Knicks Go6. 188 Colonel Liam7. 113 Idol8. 93 Gamine9. 57 Maxfield10. 37 ShedaresthedevilAfter Rock Your World won the Santa Anita Derby, he debuts at No. 4 in this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll.The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll:Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)1. 371 Essential Quality (31)2. 319 Concert Tour (5)3. 239 Hot Rod Charlie (1)4. 238 Rock Your World5. 233 Known Agenda6. 160 Greatest Honour7. 151 Highly Motivated8. 96 Medina Spirit9. 69 Life Is Good (1)10. 35 Midnight BourbonMY DERBY STRIKES SYSTEM’S CATEGORIESWhat are the eight categories in my Derby Strikes System? They are listed below:1. THE GRADED STAKES CATEGORY. (The horse ran in a graded stakes race before March 31.) This points out horses who have competed against tough competition prior to March 31 rather than at the last minute in April, enabling the horse to be properly battle-tested. (Exceptions: Since the introduction of graded stakes races in the U.S. in 1973, only Genuine Risk in 1980, Sunny’s Halo in 1983, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Always Dreaming in 2017 have won the Kentucky Derby without running in a graded stakes race at 2 or early at 3 before March 31.)2. THE WIN IN A GRADED STAKES CATEGORY. (The horse has won a graded stakes race.) This points out horses who have shown they have the class to win a graded stakes race. (Exceptions: Ferdinand in 1986, Alysheba in 1987, Funny Cide in 2003 and Giacomo in 2005 are the only exceptions since the introduction of U.S. graded stakes races in 1973; Alysheba in 1987 did finish first in the Blue Grass, only to be disqualified and placed third.)3. THE EIGHTH POLE CATEGORY. (In either of his or her last two starts before the Kentucky Derby, the horse was either first or second with a furlong to go.) This points out horses who were running strongly at the eighth pole, usually in races at 1 1/16 or 1 1/8 miles. By running strongly at the same point in the Kentucky Derby, a horse would be in a prime position to win the roses. Keep in mind that 52 of the last 55 Kentucky Derby winners have been first or second with a furlong to run. Since Decidedly won the Derby in 1962 when he was third with a furlong to go, the only three Kentucky Derby winners who were not first or second with a furlong to run were Animal Kingdom, third with a furlong remaining in 2011 when only a half-length from being second; Giacomo, sixth with a furlong to go in 2005; and Grindstone, fourth with a furlong to run in 1996. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the Kentucky Derby winners who weren’t either first or second at the eighth pole in his or her last two starts have been Tim Tam in 1958, Carry Back in 1961, Cannonade in 1974, Gato Del Sol in 1982, Unbridled in 1990 and Sea Hero in 1993, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.)4. THE GAMENESS CATEGORY. (The horse’s finish position in both of his or her last two races before the Kentucky Derby was no worse than his or her running position at the eighth pole.) This points out horses who don’t like to get passed in the final furlong. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the exceptions have been Venetian Way in 1960, Cannonade in 1974, Foolish Pleasure in 1975, Ferdinand in 1986, Silver Charm in 1997, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Super Saver in 2010, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.)5. THE DISTANCE FOUNDATION CATEGORY. (The horse has finished at least third in a 1 1/8-mile race or longer before the Kentucky Derby.) This points out horses who have the proper foundation and/or stamina for the Kentucky Derby distance. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the only exceptions have been Kauai King in 1966, Sea Hero in 1993, Charismatic in 1999, Giacomo in 2005 and Mine That Bird in 2009.)6. THE NO ADDING OR REMOVING BLINKERS CATEGORY. (The horse has not added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her final start at 3 before the Kentucky Derby.) This seems to point out that, if a horse is good enough to win the Kentucky Derby, the trainer is not searching for answers so late in the game. (Since Daily Racing Form began including blinkers in its past performances in 1987, no horse has added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her last start at 3 before winning the Kentucky Derby.)7. THE RACED AS A 2-YEAR-OLD CATEGORY. (The horse made at least one start as a 2-year-old.) (Exceptions: Apollo in 1882 and Justify in 2018. Since 1937, horses unraced as a 2-year-old are a combined 1 for 63 in the Kentucky Derby. During this period, the only horses to finish second or third in the Kentucky Derby without having raced at 2 were Hampden, who finished third in 1946; Coaltown, second in 1948; Agitate, third in 1974; Reinvested, third in 1982; Strodes Creek, second in 1994; Curlin, third in 2007; Bodemeister, second in 2012; and Battle of Midway, third in 2017.)8. THE NOT A GELDING CATEGORY. (The horse is not a gelding.) (Exceptions: Funny Cide in 2003 and Mine That Bird in 2009 are the only geldings to win the Kentucky Derby since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929.)

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4.7.2021:

1/ST Look GP Stats: Gonzalez's Speedy Start

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Gulfstream Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in South Florida. And be sure to support Gulfstream by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Gulfstream Park.HeadlinesRacing returns Thursday through Sunday this week with a $284,967 carryover in the Rainbow 6 jackpot ($500,000-guaranteed pool) … Florida Stallion Series In Reality winner Boca Boy meets Hutcheson Stakes 3-4 finishers Lauda Speed and Real Talk in a Race 7 allowance Friday … Gulfstream alumni aiming for the May 1 Kentucky Derby include Known Agenda (Todd Pletcher), Soup and Sandwich (Mark Casse), Greatest Honour (Bill Mott), and the Apr. 3 Wood Memorial runner-up Dynamic One (Todd Pletcher). Local maiden performer and Jeff Ruby runner-up Sainthood (Todd Pletcher) also is possible … 20-year-old Panamanian jockey Jose Morelos won his first US race April 4 at Gulfstream in his 10th local mount … Gulfstream’s next round of stakes will be May 1 with the Big Drama and Honey Ryder. Nominations close April 18.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $2,752 to 42 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, April 9, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:45 ETLeg B – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:50 ETLeg C – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:16 ETLeg D – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:22 ETLeg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:27 ET1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Gulfstream Park last week, each winning at a 30% or greater win rate. Speed factors have been among the most impactful over the past 4 weeks.Avg Best 2 of Last 3 Speed% Horses BeatenAvg. Speed Last 3Trends Last Week-- To no surprise, trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. started the spring-summer meet with a bang last week, going 7: 3-1-0. He was 2-for-2 with favorites but also added a $15 score. Joseph won with both 6-furlong dirt sprinters he sent out on the week.-- Trainer Kelsey Danner put together a strong 6: 2-2-0 week. The all-turf battalion included a $12 winner sprinting on grass.-- Trainer Diane Alvarado was on point with limited starters at 3: 2-0-0. She had $17 and $22 winners when paired with jockey Leonel Reyes.-- Jockey Edwin Gonzalez topped all riders with a 26: 7-4-2 mark. That’s 27% wins, 42% in the exacta and a $1.44 ROI for every $1 bet. Most impressively, the 7 wins came for 7 different barns. He was 2-for-2 aboard favorites.-- Jockey Paco Lopez struck with precision at 7: 3-1-1 before heading to Keeneland for weekend stakes mounts. He’s back at Gulfstream this Thursday.

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4.7.2021:

1/ST Look SA Stats: Favorites Flexing

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Santa Anita Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Southern California. And be sure to support “The Great Race Place” by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Santa Anita Park.HeadlinesRacing this week will be a Saturday-Sunday schedule with no Friday card in an effort to help protect the turf course … 8,246 on-track attendees for last Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby Day card help produce an all-sources pari-mutuel handle of $24,282,400, the highest Runhappy Santa Anita Derby Day handle since 2007. Congrats to the connections of Rock Your World ... This week’s feature race will be Saturday’s $75,000 Mizdirection Stakes for filly & mare turf sprinters … Santa Anita’s Rainbow 6 has a 1-day carryover in the jackpot pool of $53,590. A mandatory payout on April 3 lured more than $3.7 million in new money … San Vicente Stakes winner Concert Tour and stablemate Hozier will be on the road Saturday in Oaklawn’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $2,752 to 42 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, April 9, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:45 ETLeg B – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:50 ETLeg C – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:16 ETLeg D – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:22 ETLeg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:27 ET1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Santa Anita Park last week, each winning at a 34% or greater win rate. The factor Best Speed at Track won 44% and produced a $43.40 profit if you bet $2 win on each top choice in that category for the week. The 1/ST BET app’s AI picks pointed to $12.40 Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World as the top choice.Best Speed at TrackBest Lifetime SpeedAvg. Speed Last 3Trends Last Week-- Trainer Bob Baffert always puts up potent numbers, but he’s particular hot right now. His 8: 3-3-0 record last week gives him a 2-week run of 16: 7-3-2. Baffert and Flavien Prat are 10: 7-2-0 in tandem since February 14.-- Trainer Michael McCarthy enjoyed a big week everywhere, going 6: 2-0-1 at Santa Anita, winning a pair of races at Golden Gate and finishing third in the Grade 2 Blue Grass with his Kentucky Derby hopeful Rombauer.-- Trainer Ryan Hanson had another solid week at 2-for-4, including an $18 turf sprint allowance winner. The barn is 11: 4-2-1 since March 13 with a $2.26 ROI for every $1 bet.-- Jockey Kent Desormeaux had perhaps the best week of his latest comeback when going 6: 2-1-0. His winners paid $9 and $40 and he added a 9-2 runner-up. He’s riding for lesser outfits than he once did, but scored for Rafael Deleon and Quentin Miller.-- Favorites dominated the scene at 29: 14-8-4. That’s 48% wins and 76% in the exacta. Turf chalk hit 53% on top with dirt favorites at 43%.

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4.7.2021:

1/ST Look GG Stats: Ayuso Pilots Prices

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Golden Gate Fields. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Northern California. And be sure to support GGF by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Golden Gate Fields.HeadlinesThe Thursday-Sunday racing week starts with a $64,697 Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot … Turf racing returned last Thursday to Northern California, a welcome sign of spring … 2021 El Camino Real Derby winner Rombauer may have punched his ticket to the Kentucky Derby when the Michael McCarthy trainee finished third in the Grade 2 Blue Grass on April 3 at Keeneland. Rombauer has 34 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, and owns a Preakness automatic berth via his El Camino Real Derby win … GGF is gearing up for its Gold Rush Weekend April 24-25, featuring the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile among 8 stakes in all. Nominations close April 15-16 … Grade 1 winner Keeper Ofthe Stars returned a popular winner here Apr. 3 in allowance company, her first start since August.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $2,752 to 42 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, April 9, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:45 ETLeg B – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:50 ETLeg C – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:16 ETLeg D – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:22 ETLeg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:27 ET1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 2 of the 52 handicapping filters for Golden Gate Fields, each posting at least 34% winners and a flat-bet profit.Lifetime EarningsBest Lifetime SpeedTrends Last Week-- 10 races were held on the turf last week, the first such action of 2021. Favorites were 10: 6-1-2 on the green, and 9 winners were 5-2 or less odds. But a $130 claiming bomber on Friday blew up the tote.-- Jockey Armando Ayuso not only orchestrated the big $130 upsetter last week, but was 14: 5-0-2 overall in a very strong showing. He also had a $74 longshot winner on the main track. His ROI was $8.51 for every $1 bet.-- Trainer Michael McCarthy went 3: 2-0-1 on the grass last week, scoring with a couple of mile favorites. Kyle Frey, who posted a 9: 4-0-3 turf mark on week, was aboard both McCarthy victors.-- Proving it can be a humbling game, trainer Steve Sherman’s runners were 0-7 last week, just 1 week after he won 7 races from 13 starters.-- Favorites were 16-for-34 (47%) last week at Golden Gate, and have remained stout at 41% throughout the 2021 season.

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4.6.2021:

Arkansas Derby Post Position Draw Rapid Reaction

Rebel Stakes winner Concert Tour makes an encore trip to Oaklawn for Saturday’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, headlining a field of 6 that was drawn today in Hot Springs. A victory by Gary and Mary West’s undefeated colt would put the Bob Baffert trainee in the favorite’s discussion for the May 1 Kentucky Derby – along with undefeated Blue Grass victor Essential Quality.But first the 1-1/8 miles in the Arkansas Derby, where the favorite starts from post 5. Concert Tour, sired by Kentucky Derby and Travers winner Street Sense, looked no worse for the wear at the end of the March 13 Rebel Stakes at 110 yards shorter trip. He cruised wire-to-wire with tepid interior fractions. The 5 rivals looking to knock off Concert Tour will have to make him work harder early in the Arkansas Derby if they want to run by him late. Baffert has won this race with Bodemeister (2012), American Pharoah (2015) and Nadal (2020).Xpressbet and 1/ST BET will offer up to a $20 money-back guarantee on Arkansas Derby win bets that finish second or third. Visit Xpressbet.com and the 1/ST BET app for details.Caddo River and jockey Florent Geroux opted to sit just off of Concert Tour in the Rebel to no avail. The 10-length winner of the Smarty Jones to open Oaklawn’s Arkansas Derby trail was ineffective in that role and wound up fifth on 8. Expect a more aggressive tactic in the rematch from post 2 as Caddo River is 2-for-2 when going to the front and 0-for-3 when unable to secure the early lead. Merely relaxing off Concert Tour and hoping to secure second money and second Kentucky Derby qualifying points is not a gimmee after his Rebel retreat. The only way to shake the Rebel result is for Caddo River to take the race to Concert Tour, and from the inner post of the pair, that has to be the gameplan.The lineup Saturday also includes Rebel runner-up and Concert Tour stablemate Hozier. He surprised when second here last month in his first attempt in stakes company. Hozier has trained brilliantly fast at Santa Anita for his third chance against Concert Tour (he finished fourth by 14 lengths to that one in the Jan. 15 career debut for both). Hozier is working strongly enough that he could turn the tables if he were to get any pace help up front. Check out all the morning moves at XBTV’s Triple Crown Trail section. Oaklawn-based Super Stock will look to improve on his Rebel fourth, which came after a nearly five-month layoff for trainer Larry Jones. Californian Get Her Number also floundered off the bench in the Rebel when seventh. Longshot Last Samurai returns from a fifth-place finish in the Southwest Stakes, where he was middling throughout at 56-1.2021 Arkansas Derby Post Positions1-Super Stock (Ricardo Santana Jr.)2-Caddo River (Florent Geroux)3-Hozier (Martin Garcia)4-Get Her Number (Francisco Arrieta)5-Concert Tour (Joel Rosario)6-Last Samurai (Jon Court)The Arkansas Derby will be Race 12 on a program that includes the Count Fleet Sprint, Oaklawn Mile and the Carousel Stakes. First race post time Saturday will be 1:00 pm ET / noon CT.

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4.6.2021:

Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis-$20,000 Guaranteed Pool

Tonight, Pompano Park has an 11-race card ready to go with the 0.50 Pick 4 starting in Race 6. The sequence has a $20,000 guaranteed pool with a 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 64-Ey Cowboy (2-1)-This 8-year-old left to get position for a close-up trip and was a winner at this class in last. Same script could lead to the same outcome at a small price.7-Guys In The Band (9/2)-Sweet Lou 4-year-old has had trouble making two starts in a row without a scratch in between. Pompano record is 1-15, 2021 record is 1-10 but Hennessey steers for the 1st time and faces easier so will use in a suspect field.8-Sporty Mercedes (9/2)-Here's another who wins about as often as leaves change colors but has the gate speed to be forwardly placed. Also, comes off the 2 best finishes in months.Race 76-Muscles For Life (6/5)-Got the perfect 2-hole trip in last to take a picture after being scratched sick. Should be on the engine or in the pocket again and is a big threat at a short price.7-Toy's For You (5/2)-Winner of 3 straight beat the Open I kind last time coming off cover. In great form and could down the morning line choice as long as Hennessey isn't able to walk a quarter or two.Race 83-Iam What I Am (3-1)-Drops into a lower condition and this was the pick of Wallis over the 1/6. Hasn't had any breaking issues in the last 5 and could be put in play early on with this post draw.4-Brilliant Bob (9/2)-Has been cashing checks versus tougher but has trouble passing foes down the lane. This is a beatable field and should offer a square price for a barn that has been rolling along.6-She Matters (3-1)-The case could be made to dismiss but over the past 2 years this mare has won more races than anyone in the field. Hennessey takes a spin as Wallis picked #3, and he could leave, squeeze into the 2-hole and trip out.Race 95-Entranced (7/5)-Was used hard until the half and then couldn't catch #7 who was a well-meant winner. Beaten chalk will need best to win and may not offer any value. But will respect chances in the 3rd start for the Kreiser barn.7-Pittsburgh Hanover (5/2)-Got a nice steer to overtake #5 and then sped away in the last 3/8's to score a sharp win. Has won 9 of 26 at the Pomp and the Poole barn is batting 27% over the last 30 days. Looks like a must use at anything close to the morning line price.0.50 Pick 44,7,8/6,7/3,4,6/5,7Total Bet=$18Check me out on Twitter!

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4.6.2021:

Jeff Siegel's 2021 Triple Crown Tracker Power Rankings

Our Triple Crown Tracker Power Rankings identify the best 3-year-olds of 2021 in order of preference, with each horse given a theoretical weight assignment starting at 126 lbs. based on past performance and projected development. The horses listed are assumed to be candidates for at least one of the Triple Crown races.1 - ESSENTIAL QUALITY (B. Cox) – 126 lbs.Pedigree: Tapit – Delightful Quality, by Elusive QualityLifetime record: 5-5-0-0 ($2,265,144). Derby points: 140Last start: April 3, 2021, Keeneland, 9F Blue Grass S.-G2, finished firstNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, 10F Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: None since racedThe skinny: Godolphin homebred; dam graded stakes-placed sprinting half-sister to champion 2yo filly Folklore; 2020 Eclipse Award winning 2-year-old enters the Kentucky Derby-G1 with a perfect record in five starts, most recently when fully extended to win the 9F Blue Grass S.-G2 (by a neck from Highly Motivated) while enjoying a trouble-free pace-stalking trip; had reappeared in top form in late February with an authoritative victory over sloppy going in the 8F Southwest S.-G3 (by four and one-quarter lengths from Spielberg and Jackie’s Warrior); completed his 2-year-old season with back-to-back Grade 1 victories at Keeneland in the 8.5F BC Juvenile-G1 in November when rallying from nine lengths back with the help of the fast-early race-flow to win by three-quarters of a length from 90-1 Hot Rod Charlie and before that with a three and one-quarter length score in the 8.5F Breeders’ Futurity-G1 (from Keepmeinmind); speed figures have risen with every start but without a significant leap and with a career top Beyer number of a good-but-not-great 97; proven so far to be genuine and versatile while giving indication that the Derby’s 10F trip will easily be within his range; in top hands and with every expectation that he’ll continue to develop during the spring of his 3-year-old season.2 - ROCK YOUR WORLD (J. Sadler) – 125 lbs.Pedigree: Candy Ride – Charm the Maker, by Empire MakerLifetime record: 3-3-0-0 ($546,600). Derby points: 100Last start: April 3, 2021, Santa Anita, 9F Santa Anita Derby-G1, finished firstNext start: May 1, 2021, 10F Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: None since racedThe skinny: $650,000Y; third foal, lengthy colt with plenty of scope; full-brother to California Gr.3-placed She’s Our Charm; dam multiple stakes winner from a high class staying turf family; unbeaten in three starts, most recently in his first try on dirt when registering a gate-to-wire victory in the 9F Santa Anita Derby-G1 (by four and one-quarter lengths from Medina Spirit), setting fast fractions and then repelling all challenges to drew clear in the final furlong with complete authority (and galloping out far in front) while earning a career top 100 Beyer speed figure (tops among intended Kentucky Derby starters), previous two wins were accomplished on grass, the listed 8F Pasadena S. in February in visually pleasing style (by two and one-quarter lengths from Cathkin Peak) and a maiden over 6F on grass on New Year’s Day (by one and three-quarter lengths while appearing to toy with his opposition); pedigree suggests he’ll thrive over a classic distance and farther; has proven to be effective on the lead or from a stalking position though he’s yet to experience dirt kickback; will enter the Kentucky Derby-G1 at least among the first three favorites; not a particularly willing performer in the morning and is still a bit green in the p.m. (switched leads twice in the stretch in his most recent start) but has the kind of potential that could reach a championship level.3 - CONCERT TOUR (B. Baffert) – 124 lbs.Pedigree: Street Sense – Purse Strings, by TapitLifetime record: 3-3-0-0 ($756,600). Derby points: 50Last start: March 13, 2021, Oaklawn Park, 8.5FF Rebel S.-G2, finished first.Next start: April 10, 2021, Oaklawn Park, 9F Arkansas Derby.-G1Latest workout: April 3, Santa Anita, 6f, 1:12.4hThe skinny: Gary and Mary West Stables homebred; second foal; dam 6F maiden special weight winner at Churchill Downs in 12th (and final) career start; no black type in first two generations; third dam is the granddam of Stardom Bound (champion, BC Juvenile Fillies-G1); unbeaten in three career starts, most recently a dominating gate-to-wire victory in the 8.5F Rebel S.-G2 at Oaklawn Park (by four and one-quarter lengths from stable mate Hozier), quickly establishing the pace from his outside draw and then, after disposing of favored Caddo River, drawing clear under mild urging to win with plenty left; earned solid but not great 94 Beyer speed figure; previously successful with a pace-pressing trip as the 2/5 favorite in five-runner 7F San Vicente S.-G2 (by one-half length from stable mate Freedom Fighter) after winning his debut three weeks earlier in 6F maiden sprint in a highly impressive performance at Santa Anita (forced pace, then kicked clear with power and with plenty left); pedigree suggests a classic distance could be within his capabilities; has so far followed the identical pattern/schedule as B. Baffert’s top class colt from last year, Nadal; likely to use the Arkansas Derby-G1 (April 10) as his final springboard to the Kentucky Derby-G1 three weeks later and seems certain to be a heavy favorite; based purely on speed figures still has some doubters but seems likely to enter the spring classics with an undefeated record.4 – KNOWN AGENDA (T. Pletcher) – 123 lbs.Pedigree: Curlin – Byrama, by ByronLifetime record: 6-3-1-1 ($541,700). Derby points: 102Last start: March 28, 2021, Gulfstream Park, Florida Derby-G1, finished firstNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: None since racedThe skinny: St. Elias Stable homebred, dam Gr-1 9F dirt winner in California; verified the highly favorable impression he made in an 11-length 9F allowance victory at Gulfstream Park in February by returning the following month to capture the Florida Derby-G1 over that same track and distance with complete authority (by two and three-quarter lengths from Soup and Sandwich); earned a career top speed figure in that race and appears to be developing with maturity, experience and distance as is typical of offspring of Curlin; was thought of early in his career as a long-winded, plodding type but has displayed improved tactical speed and late acceleration in recent starts; seems certain to enjoy the 10 furlong trip of the Kentucky Derby-G1 and is likely to step forward again and be a major player in the spring classics.5 - HOT ROD CHARLIE (D. O’Neill) – 122 lbs.Pedigree: Oxbow – Indian Miss, by Indian CharlieLifetime record: 7-2-1-02 ($1,00,700). Derby points: 110Last start: March 20, 2021, Fair Grounds, 9.5F Louisiana Derby-G2, finished firstNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, 10F Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: April 3, Santa Anita, 4f, :49.2hThe skinny: $110,000Y, half-brother to champion sprinter Mtole; non-winning dam a half-sister to Davona Dale S.-G2 winner Live Lively; versatile colt has been successful on the lead or from off the pace and returned to winning form in his second 2021 outing when making all in the 9.5F Louisiana Derby-G2, relaxing without undue pressure to the top of the lane and then fighting off all challenges to register two length score (from Midnight Bourbon) while establishing new track record (1:55.06) and earning a career top 99 Beyer speed figure; had displayed plenty of promise during his juvenile campaign, beating maidens in his fourth start before finishing second (with the help of the race-shape) to champion Essential Quality in BC Juvenile-G1 by three quarters of a length at 91-1 after striking the front in mid-stretch; performed well when third (beaten a neck) behind Medina Spirit and Roman Centurian) in his 3yo debut in late January in the Robert B. Lewis S.-G3 while appearing to have winning momentum inside the furlong pole but then losing his punch close home while likely needing the outing; doesn’t have a great turn of foot and may be most effective as a stalker or pace presser; will be trained up to the Kentucky Derby with six weeks in between starts.6 - GREATEST HONOUR (C. McGaughey III) – 121 lbs.Pedigree: Tapit – Tiffany’s Honour, by Street CryLifetime record: 6-3-1-2 ($351,940). Derby Points: 80Last start: March 26, 2021, Gulfstream Park, 8.5F Florida Derby-G1, finished thirdNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: None since racedThe skinny: Was entered but withdrawn from 2019 Keeneland fall sale, second foal, dam unplaced half-sister to four SW’s including Rags to Riches and Jazil (both winners of Belmont S.-G1) and to BC Marathon S.-G1 winner Man of Iron; second dam Broodmare of the Year Better than Honour; impressive come-from-behind winner of the 8.5F Holy Bull S.-G3 (by five and three-quarter lengths from Tarantino) in January and then the Fountain of Youth S.-G2 (by one and one-half lengths from Drain the Clock) the following month but finished a non-threatening third (beaten nearly six lengths) in the 9F Florida Derby-G1 in his most recent outing at odds of 4/5 when racing in some traffic to the head of the lane but then lacking a solid closing kick; has never been particularly fast on speed figures (has yet to earn a Beyer speed figure in the 90’s) leading to speculation that he’s been a tad overrated all along; notoriously lazy in morning workouts; will enter the Kentucky Derby-G1 with the potential to produce a major bounce-back effort, but also with serious issues to answer.7 – HIGHLY MOTIVATED (C. Brown) – 120 lbs.Pedigree: Into Mischief – Strong Incentive, by Warrior’s RewardLifetime record: 5-2-2-1 ($320,050). Derby points: 50Last start: April 3, 2021, Keeneland, 9F Blue Grass S.-G2, finished secondNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, 10F Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: None since racedThe Skinny: $240K though the ring as a weanling (retained by his breeder); first foal, dam a Canadian-bred sprint SW at 3; in the frame in all five career starts and earned a career top speed figure in early April when second (was five and one-half lengths clear of the rest) as the controlling speed in the 9F Blue Grass S.-G2 by a neck to Essential Quality, giving way grudgingly close home but with a trip that may have flattered the performance; previously appeared a tad rusty when third (by a length and three-quarters to Weyburn) when making his seasonal bow in the 8F Gotham S-G3 the previous month; displayed plenty of potential when easily capturing the listed 6.5F Nyquist S. on the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Keeneland in November; pedigree suggests a classic distance will be stretching his limit; not likely to enjoy the same type of soft trip in the Kentucky Derby-G1 that he did in his most recent outing and thus his chances must be viewed as somewhat suspect in the spring classics despite the quality and consistency he’s displayed so far in his five-race career.8 - MEDINA SPIRIT (B. Baffert) – 119 lbs.Pedigree: Protonico – Mongolian Change, by Brilliant SpeedLifetime record: 5-2-3-0 ($315,200). Derby points: 74Last start: April 3, 2021, Santa Anita, Santa Anita Derby-G1, finished secondNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, 10F, Kentucky Dereby-G1Latest workout: None since racedThe skinny: $35,000 OBS 2yo; from first crop of multiple graded SW son of Giant’s Causeway, dam a synthetic maiden special weight winner at Presque Isle Downs; light female family (no SW’s in first three generations); was no match Rock Your World when second (beaten four and one-quarter lengths) in the 9F Santa Anita Derby-G1 in early April when favored at 4/5, enjoying an ideal pace-stalking trip outside but then proving unable to quicken when the pressure was turned on at the head of the lane; previously had finished a well-beaten second to unbeaten Life Is Good in the 8.5F San Felipe S.-G2 in late March, going down by eight lengths though gamely saving second money after stalking the winner throughout and before that displaying extreme courage when winning 8.5F Robert B. Lewis S.-G3 in late January (by a neck from Roman Centurian and Hot Rod Charlie) despite being under heavy pressure from the far turn to the wire; speed figures are decent but have stagnated in recent outings; pedigree suggests he’ll handle a classic distance but though he’s clearly a reliable and consistent sort his lack of progression and his one-paced style indicate he may have reached his ceiling.9 – MIDNIGHT BOURBON (S. Asmussen) – 118 lbs.Pedigree: Tiznow – Catch the Moon, by Malibu MoonLifetime record: 7-2-2-3 ($461,420. Derby points: 66Last start: March 20, 2021, Fair Grounds, 9.5F Louisiana Derby-G2, finished secondNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, 10F Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: April 4, Churchill Downs, 5f, 1:01.1bThe Skinny $525K yearling, half-brother to three black-type performers, including Girvin (Haskell Invitational G1, etc.) and Cocked and Loaded (Iroquois S.-G2, etc.); never off the board in seven career starts with his most notable win the 8.5F Lecomte S.-G3 at Fair Grounds in January (gate-to-wire, by one length from Proxy); subsequently finished third (by one and three-quarters lengths to Mandaloun) in 9F Risen Star S.-G2 in February and then most recently second in the 9.5F Louisiana Derby (by two lengths from Hot Rod Charlie) the following month; perhaps most effective when able to make the running though he has performed well in a stalker’s role; good recent Beyer speed figures indicate there’s better likely to come; will enter the Kentucky Derby-G1 following a six week layoff; clearly a genuine and consistent type though on resume not quite up to the level of the leaders in the division at this stage.10 – HELLIUM (M. Casse) – 118 lbs.Pedigree: Ironicus – Thundering Emilla, by Thunder GulchLifetime record: 3-3-0-0 ($287,763). Derby points: 50Last start: March 6, 2021, Tampa Bay Downs, Tampa Bay Derby-G2, finished firstNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, 10F Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: April 3, Palm Meadows, 5f, 1:01.2bThe skinny: $55,000Y; fourth foal, half-brother to Peruvian Gr. 1 winner Emilia’s Moon (by Malibu Moon); dam G3 SW in Peru; undefeated in three starts including the 8.5F Tampa Bay Derby-G2 in his 3-year-old debut (by three-quarters of a length from Hidden Stash), producing a steady bid (was 10th early) to secure the win in good style from a moderate field; previously had won both of his starts as a 2-year-old over the Woodbine synthetic surface (both at seven furlongs), a maiden in September (by three and one-quarter lengths from Excellorator) and then the listed Display S. the following month (by four and one-quarter lengths from Gospel Way); versatile colt has won pressing the pace and from far off the pace; bred to handle any surface and apparently does; should stay a classic distance; speed figures aren’t yet close to being competitive with the tops in his division and will have two months in between races while training up to the Kentucky Derby-G1; obviously is a colt of some quality but the strategy from his connections appears to place a higher emphasis on making the Derby field than actually providing him the proper preparation to have a chance to win it.Also eligible: Soup and Sandwich (M. Casse); O Besos (G. Foley); Bourbonic (T. Pletcher); Dynamic One; (T. Pletcher); Dream Shake (P. Eurton); Rombauer (M. McCarthy); Mandaloun (B. Cox); Crowded Trade (C. Brown); Like the King (W. Ward); Hozier (B. Baffert)

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4.5.2021:

Monday Myths: Does Turf-to-Dirt Deliver?

Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities.Assumption:Turf-to-dirt surface changes can be a positive move for handicappers to follow.Background:Saturday’s Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby blitz by Rock Your World turned heads in that colt’s first start on the dirt after 2 turf victories. While you’ll often hear horseplayers tout the “turf-to-dirt” angle, can we validate that as a positive move overall, or in certain situations?Data Points:I crunched the numbers in the Betmix database for every dirt Thoroughbred race in North America over the past 5 years, going back to April 5, 2016. The study looked at last-out turf runners making their surface change to dirt. I separated horses by class, from maidens to claiming to allowance to listed stakes to graded stakes. I also looked at turf-to-dirt movers of various expectations in terms of odds.Maiden claiming horses going turf-to-dirt won 13.7% and had a $1 ROI of $0.75.Maiden special weight horses going turf-to-dirt won 12.5% and had a $1 ROI of $0.76.Claiming horses going turf-to-dirt won 12.4% and had a $1 ROI of $0.77.Allowance horses going turf-to-dirt won 12.2% and had a $1 ROI of $0.76.Non-grade stakes horses going turf-to-dirt won 10.8% and had a $1 ROI of $.69.Graded stakes horses going turf-to-dirt won 10.4% and had a $1 ROI of $.86.//Favorites going turf-to-dirt won 37.1% and had a $1 ROI of $0.83 (dirt-dirt 38.5%, $0.84).Horses 5-1 or less going turf-to-dirt won 24.8% and had a $1 ROI of $0.79 (dirt-dirt 26.5%, $0.82).Horses 6-1 to 10-1 going turf-to-dirt won 8.9% and had a $1 ROI of $0.77 (dirt-dirt 9.3%, $80).Horses 11-1 to 15-1 going turf to dirt won 5.1% and had a $1 ROI of $0.70 (dirt-dirt 5.7%, $.78).Horses 15-1 or more going turf to dirt won 2.5% and had a $1 ROI of $0.63 (dirt-dirt 2.2%, $0.59).Overall Findings:In terms of race classes, turf-to-dirt movers won at a higher percentage in the cheaper class of races and dropped at every single rise up the class ladder. The ROI betting turf-to-dirt runners was consistent up until the stakes class, then took wild swings.In terms of public expectation, turf-to-dirt movers had a lower win percentage and lower ROI at every studied betting level, including the actual race favorites, until you got to the longest of longshots. The drop in productivity was consistent.Overall Findings Verdict:Consistently the statistics show that betting horses moving from turf-to-dirt is a long-range uphill battle. If you’re going to do it, the mostly likely winners come at the cheaper levels, but the most profitable approach is in the graded stakes in terms of ROI, such as we saw with Rock Your World in the Santa Anita Derby. All things being equal, in terms of betting odds and probabilities, you’re better off betting dirt-to-dirt runners than turf-to-dirt at any odds level up until a slight edge for the surface changers when looking at the longest of longshots.Bottom line:The myth of successfully betting horses turf-to-dirt is anecdotal and may work in some cases, but there’s more than enough statistical evidence to show that it’s not a consistent winner. Use turf-to-dirt statistics with particular trainers to uncover ones who have made the most with success in the past, but don’t project it to be a winning move without individual numbers to back it up.Additional Details:You can go into Betmix and run your own queries for a deeper dive into this theory and any that you can create. For instance, take a look at the tracks you play most often to see if they fall in line with this study’s conclusions, and certainly a turf-to-dirt trainer angle with a particular barn may be far more successful than others. For instance, the database shows Finger Lakes and Thistledown among the best places to bet a turf-to-dirt mover (neither track has grass and gets shippers on the drop in class).

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4.5.2021:

Monday, April 05: Pompano Park Early Pick 4 Analysis-$20,000 Guaranteed Pool

The feature at Pompano Park rolls in Race 9, an Open Handicap with an $11,000 purse. The 0.50 Early Pick 4 starts in Race 6. The sequence has a $20,000 guaranteed pool with a 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.The leading drivers on the Sunday night card were Wally Hennessey and Kevin Wallis with two wins. The top trainer was Leon Cable with two pictures.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Beyond The View (2-1)-Chances for a win last time went up in smoke after working hard into a 54.4 opening half. This journey should be smoother and probably won't need to pace in 152 to win.3-Maddelle (3-1)-Drops to a much better level and also gets needed post relief. Boyd can work an effective trip and be within striking range at the top of the lane.4-Play To The Crowd (5-1)-First start off the claim and returns to the Kreiser barn where this mare had success in the past. Should be a player at this condition if returns to the same form as before the claim.Race 76-Windemere Ryan (7/2)-Looking to beat #5 the 9/5 choice and not sure this guy will go off a low as 7/2. My take is there will be some value and this 4-year-old has faced better. Boyd will need to provide a sharp steer and looking for him to leave to get an up-close seat. If that happens the speed is there to beat this field.8-Captain Malicious (5-1)-Wallis trainee is only 1-20 since last year but will swing for a price and leave the two morning line favorites off the ticket. Has the gate speed to get the pocket behind the chalk and look to roll by late.Race 81-Intoview (7/2)-A winning record of 1-35 in 20-21 isn't inspiring but is worth using at this class if not all in on #6. This was the level of last win on 3-18 and that came from post 7.2-Rocklindarock (4-1)-Did pace the 2nd half last week in 56.4 and should be in play at the top of the lane. The fractions could be lively with the morning line choice likely to blast out. Will need the right trip but should be a square price.6-Cenaltafirecracker (7/5)-Winner of 4 of last 6 at this level and finished 2nd in the other two starts. If Hennessey gets the top without much strain it could be picture time again.Race 92-Villiam (9/2)-Steps-up after a sharp win at 2/5 in 150.3. This won't be as easy and chances for a picture depend on how easily Hennessey can get on the engine with #6. There is a chance this 4-year-old could get a great trip and upset.3-Lets Roll (5-1)-Similar to #2 as could get a cozy trip, and has the gate speed to get the pocket behind the chalk. Looks like a price worthy of a swing.6-Rebellious (2-1)-Did miss a start and could be bet down off the morning line but it's difficult to ignore. Hennessey will probably leave to get the top but could win coming off cover. Short field shouldn't hurt chances.My Ticket Race 6) 2,3,4 Race 7) 6,8 Race 8) 1,2,6 Race 9) 2,3,6Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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4.4.2021:

Sunday, April 04: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis-$30,000 Guaranteed Pool

Tonight, Cal Expo has a 12-race card scheduled with the 0.20 Pick 4 slated to begin in Race 9. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 94-Marys Pretty Girl (5/2)-This mare is 0-9 this year but has cashed checks versus better recently. Steps-up but fits and last was an improved effort. Could be sitting on a big try in 3rd start after a sick scratch.6-Roaring Home (4-1)-Plano steers as Svendsen stayed true to Plested but this mare can be in the mix. Needs a trip and should get one from this post and could roll by down the lane.7-Kiss On The Lips (4-1)-Steps-up after a win and Cutting will take a seat tonight. Has been a consistent player at this level and beat 5 from this crew last week.Race 102-Contemporay Legend (7/2)-Has battled at different classes, looks like a fit here and this barn is batting 26% over the last 30 days. Cutting has had success in the past and he should have this 7-year-old in play off the gate.4-Rockinscience (4-1)-Team Plano entry has been facing better and should be a player at this level. Barn has been cold but this 4-year-old has done well at CalX, winning 6 of 17 starts and could offer a square price.5-Giggle Monster (2-1)-Winner of 3 straight and 9 of 10 this year looks like the one to beat a again. This field doesn't look to be a bigger challenge than last few. But streaks end and did miss a start, so will include others with more value.Race 111-Hi Fidelity (8-1)-Back in with $4k claimers and that's the level of last win. This was Plano's choice over the Bertrand entry #5 the program chalk. Will take a swing with this price shot in a race with those in best form stepping up.5-Catchmeinadream (5/2)-This is the 3rd start off the bench and drops in for a tag so will look for a big try. This race could set up better and might have more gas left to finish off the mile.Race 122-Bombay Hanover (7/2)-Comes off an even effort in the first race at CalX after being off since 2-5. Drops and best to respect, could be tighter and Svendsen should be in striking range at the top of the lane.3-Impressive Art (8-1)-Tried hard versus straight $8k claimers and couldn't get the top but did race evenly down the lane. Plano steers his own (#4), so Stewart gets the drive and he could get a cozy trip and sneak by late.4-Ridonkuloso (7/2)-Steps-up after a sharp score from the 9-hole in the first start for the Plano barn. Won't be 25-1 this time but could take another picture with the same kind of effort.My Ticket Race 9) 4,6,7 Race 10) 2,4,5 Race 11) 1,5 Race 12) 2,3,4Total Ticket Cost) $10.80 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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4.4.2021:

Sunday, April 04: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click here to view today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade:Use: 5-Queen’s Code; 8-Storm SeekerForecast: The Sunday opener is a state-bred turf sprint for older horses. Queen’s Code had a troubled run when fourth in a similar spot as the favorite last time out but a repeat of his debut grass dash last fall at Del Mar will allow him to make amends. We’re expecting the son of Desert Code to settle in the second flight and then have his chance to seal the deal from the quarter pole home. Storm Seeker adds blinkers and returns to what we suspect is his best surface. He had a right to need his recent comeback (speed/fade on dirt) but should be fitter and tighter today. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: XSingle: 1-GamineForecast: Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint S.-G1 winner Gamine makes her seasonal bow in this four-runner affair and is listed as the 1/9 morning line favorite. You can use her as a free bingo space in rolling exotic play and better yet just pass the race.RACE 3: Post: 2:12 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Kalon; 5-Honey JarForecast: Honey Jar is the best of the speed and Kalon is the best of the stalker/closers in this extended sprint on grass for maiden fillies and mares. ‘Jar, an excellent runner-up in her debut while four lengths clear of the rest, should move forward off that race for a stable that has superior stats with the second-time starter angle, while Kalon has numbers that can win and should get the patient ride she requires from U. Rispoli. In a race that we’ll otherwise leave alone, both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 4: Post: 2:46 PT Grade: XSingle: 6-Simmer DownForecast: Simmer Down has a huge edge in the speed figure department, so unless she regresses or something in this field improves dramatically the R. Hanson-trained daughter of Into Mischief should earn her diploma in this modest maiden claiming main track miler for sophomore fillies. However, at 8/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower she’ll offer very little wagering value. You can use her as a rolling exotic single or simply sit out the race.RACE 5: Post: 3:20 PT Grade: BUse: 5-Westward Breeze; 6-Squared ShadyForecast: Westward Breeze shortens in trip, adds Lasix, exits a pair of stakes races and is reunited with “win rider” U. Rispoli so we’re expecting this daughter of Munnings to regain her winning form in this allowance optional claimer for state-bred 3-year-old fillies. She’ll most likely settle in the second flight and then take hold when given her cue at the head of the lane. Squared Shady earned a career top speed figure when a respectable fourth in a similar grass dash here last month and will be tough to contain if she duplicates that effort today. The daughter of Square Eddie projects to be on or near the lead from here cozy outside draw over a turf course that she’s shown she really likes. Both should be used in rolling exotic play with a slight preference on top to Westward Breeze.RACE 6: Post: 3:53 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Brilliant Bird; 3-Uno Trouble Maker; 4-Kirsch TruffleForecast: We’ll go three-deep in our rolling exotics in this modest $10,000 claiming sprint for older fillies and mares. If you find the need to use a few more, go right ahead. Kirsch Truffle, away since last summer but training quite well for new trainer J. Periban, may be as good as any at 6-1 on the morning line. She gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug girl J. Pyfer and has back numbers that are good enough to beat this field;. We’re expecting her to fire a big shot fresh. Uno Trouble Maker overmatched when facing $32,000 foes up north but returns to her claim level today and should be capable of bouncing back over a main track she’s always loved (seven wins from 15 starts). The veteran mare will be on or near the lead throughout. Brilliant Bird, nosed out by ‘Maker when they squared off here in mid-February, has finished first or second in 15 of 30 career starts and, rail and all, should be set for her typical effort today.RACE 7: Post: 4:26 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Moonhall Milly; 2-On MarsForecast: The main players in this 10 furlong turf affair for entry-level allowance fillies and mares are drawn inside and are assured of ideal ground-saving trips. Moonhall Milly likes to settle and rally late and should really appreciate this longer distance. She earned a career top speed figure when a good third at this level last time out and should run at least as well if not better today. On Mars, always genuine and consistent, is another that should greatly enjoy mile and one-quarter trip. She finished a head in front of ‘Milly when they met over a mile last month and it may simply boil down to whoever gets the smoothest journey today.RACE 8: Post: 5:30 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Paid Informant; 2-Kelani KimForecast: Kelani Kim has trained like she’s fit and ready to pick up where she left off 11 months ago and the daughter of Union Rags will be able to outfoot this group if she does. The M. Glatt barn has solid stats with layoff runners and protects this filly in her first start back in a sign of confidence. Paid Informant is listed as the 4/5 morning line favorite, and while she’s certainly a major contender that price seems a tad short. Nonetheless, we’ll include the P. Miller-trained daughter of Into Mischief on our ticket due to the class drop, the addition of blinkers, and the switch to F. Prat.RACE 9: Post: 5:30 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Ultimate Hy; 6-Pistachio Princess; 8-WishtheyallcouldbeForecast: The nightcap is a turf miler for older maiden state-bred fillies and mares. Pistachio Princes has the pedigree to handle the extra distance in her first outing since being claimed by J. Periban for $50,000 last month. She’s trained well for her new connections and could find herself as the controlling speed while sporting the always-dangerous two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern. Ultimate Hy closed well to be second in a promising debut over this course and distance in January and makes her first start since. The layoff is a bit concerning and there’s a five week gap in her works, so she may not be totally trustworthy, but if she repeats her first race she’ll be the one fear most. Wishtheyallcouldbe, away since November and trying grass and two-turns for the first time, is a first-time Lasix user for a good outfit and has a right to return at least as well if not better than she left. At 4-1 on the morning line the M. Puype-trained daughter of Grazen is a “must use.”

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4.4.2021:

Sunday, April 04: My Late Pick 4 Ticket at Golden Gate

Golden Gate Fields has put together some challenging races in the late Pick 4 on Sunday, including one in which the ALL button is utilized.The sequence runs from races 6-9 and the top challenge of the four races seems to be the seventh which is a mile turf races for 3-year-old fillies. It’s an optional claiming race, and under the conditions has drawn an even field. Seven fillies are in the field, and it’s so competitive that the case can easily made to take ‘em all.The ticket amounts to a 4x7x2x2 approach and a $56 total on the 50-cent play.Here’s a look at the main players:Race 6 (6:50 p.m. ET, maiden)SAWASDEE ran a good second two back and returns as the favorite, only to falter late. Can get back to a front-end position and should be tough all the way.HANDR’SDREAM moves up from maiden claiming and was haltered by Tamayo. Has excellent early speed and could battle out front.JIMMY IRISH worked a bullet five furlongs for his debut and races for the powerful Wong stable, which is hitting at 29 percent. Will get a ton of play.NERVES OF STEEL lost a photo on turf at Santa Anita last out and has been in good races. Capable of a big effort in her first move up to the Bay.Race 7 (7:20 p.m. ET, allowance optional claiming)ALLIt’s a take-your-pick proposition in the seventh. FREEDOM FLYER and QUEEN MOLOTOV could rate an edge in the betting. FREEDOM FLYER comes out of strong races at Santa Anita and QUEEN MOLOTOV was a romping winner in her only start, which came over this strip.Race 8 (7:50 p.m. ET, claiming)RIGHTEOUSLY ran an even third in her return to Golden Gate after a visit to Santa Anita. Won here two races back and is a big player at this level.WILDLY DRAMATIC has been a solid player in all three career starts – all here. She comes off a second, finishing just ahead of RIGHTEOUSLY. Those two will again give their best all this level.Race 9 (8:20 p.m. ET, maiden claiming)LEMON DROP TINI has had 15 chances to get win No. 1 and has been second in four of her last seven. Roman returns aboard and gives her the best shot she’s had at success.QUICK AND DIRTY ran third in her first local start after three in southern California. The drop from maiden special to maiden claiming could get it done for her today.Golden Gate Fields Late Pick 4 on Sunday:My TicketRace 6) #2 Sawasdee, #4 Handr’sdream, #5 Jimmy Irish, #9 Nerves of Steel.Race 7) ALL (7 runners)Race 8) #1 Righteously, #7 Wildly Dramatic.Race 9) #1 Lemon Drop Tini, #2 Quick and Dirty.Total Ticket Cost) 2,4,5,9/ALL/1,7/1,2 = $56 for $0.50

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4.3.2021:

Saturday, April 03: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has a 13-race card ready to go tonight with the 0.50 Early Pick 4 starting in Race 6. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Barrage Hanover (4-1)-Has been in fine form and battled in last at this class from post 7 but couldn't catch #6. There's no reason to dismiss with this inside post draw, should get the right trip to get revenge.5-Sombodyitreasure (3-1)-Absolutely flew home in 53.2 in 1st start since 11-1 to come 2nd to this week's morning line choice. Has never missed the board in 5 starts at M 1 recording 2 wins. Looks like a main player tonight.6-Always And Again (9/5)-Comes off a determined effort but got a really nice steer from AMac. Best to not overlook but will be a short price and not sure the journey will be as good.Race 72-Ima Real Ladys Man (9/2)-Will need the right trip and doesn't win often but drops to a better spot. Miller can get a cozy ride from this post and roll by down the lane at a square price.3-Sawyer's Desire (6-1)-Raced fine in 1st start since 12-14 and this Burke trainee drops to a spot to shine. Did pace the 2nd half in .54 in last, could be tighter in 2nd Big M start and should like the company. Can be in the mix at a fair price.4-Lyons King (7/2)-TMac takes a spin and maybe he can squeeze a little extra to capture the 1st win of 2021. Looks like a player and is tough to leave off the ticket but is only 1-12 here.8-Jesse Duke N (3-1)-Jesse didn't race like a 4/5 shot last week but has hit the board in 7 of 10 in East Rutherford with three pictures. Should be a much better price and Dunn could find some live cover to be in the hunt at the wire.Race 89-Nows The Moment (7/2)-Qualified on the engine last week in 152.4 and drew off with a 26.3 last quarter. Winner in 5 of 19 at M1, has banked over $110K last year and fits well with this crew. The post makes the price and if dialed on high could get the top and not look back.10-Pikachu Hanover (3-1)-This won't be as easy from post 10 and not crazy about missing a start but still seems like the biggest threat to my top choice. Will need a sharp steer but price should be fair and has been in the hunt versus this kind in the last two starts.Race 91-Paternity Suit A (8-1)-Loses Zeron but Joe B knows how to be aggressive and protect the rail. Has cashed checks versus better and is in sharp form, using at what could be a good price.3-Harmbe Deo (3-1)-Makes 1st start since 1-2 and does come off a nice qualifier at M1 on 3-27. Drops to a soft spot and loves the Big M winning 10 of 33 starts. It could be a good night for the Cullipher barn if this 6-year-old is ready to battle.7-Covered Bridge (7/2)-Comes off a sharp qualifier not letting #3 get by down the stretch. Burke trainee looks ready for a big try. Fits with this crew, has won 3 of 9 starts at the Big M and Gingras knows well.My Ticket Race 6) 2,5,6 Race 7) 2,3,4,8 Race 8) 9,10 Race 9) 1,3,7Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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4.3.2021:

Saturday, April 03: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click here to view today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportClick to view our Wood Memorial S.-G2 Video AnalysisClick here to view our Blue Grass Stakes-G2 Video AnalysisClick here to view our Santa Anita Derby-G1 Video AnalysisRACE 1: Post: 12:00 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Cinnte Winnte; 6-Shezaghost; 8-Crazy SpeightyForecast: Cinnte Winnte attracts the stable’s preferred rider (U. Rispoli) for her U.S. debut and this Irish-bred 3-year-old filly – a promising runner-up in her only European outing before being sent to California – looks well-placed to graduate at 4-1 on the morning line. A first-time Lasix user with a series of better-than-looked recent main track workouts that should have her fit and ready, the P. Gallagher-trained filly earned a Timeform rating (80) last fall in Ireland that makes her capable of handling this assignment. Crazy Speighty shows rising speed figures with each outing for P. D’Amato, and despite her outside draw is the one to fear most. Sparingly raced, making just her fourth career start and her second off a long layoff, the daughter of Speightstown had a good recent sprint tune-up that should have her primed for a significant forward move on the stretch-out. Shezaghost adds blinkers, continues to work well and projects to have a strong pace presence. She’s another likely to improve with experience and is worth including at least as a back-up or a saver on your rolling exotic ticket.RACE 2: Post: 12:33 PT Grade: C+Use: 1-Pubilius Syrus; 4-Zestful; 6-KershawForecast: We’ll pass this race other than to use three in our rolling exotics without any real preference. Pubilius Syrus is guaranteed a good ground-saving, second flight trip and have every chance from the quarter pole home. A real pro and apparently fond of the Santa Anita main track (three starts, two wins, one second), the ex-classer is a prototype miler, having won four of five career outings at this exact distance. Zestful prefers the front-end going long and if he can inherit the role as the controlling speed he should be hard to catch. A winner of 10 races in 31 career starts, the Ghostzapper gelding can be hard to beat when he’s feeling good. Kershaw, claimed for $62,500 by P. Miller (off-the-charts stats with the first-off-the-claim angle), switches to F. Prat and looks to be the most dangerous of the closing types.RACE 3: Post: 1:06 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-I Will Not; 3-Bedrock; 7-City RageForecast: Here’s another spread affair, a first-level allowance turf sprint with several legitimate possibilities. I Will Not earned a career top speed figure when a sharp runner-up in a similar affair on the main track last month and should run just as well today over a turf course he’s won on in the past. The Square Eddie Colt has a good stalking trip that will afford him every chance when the pressure is turned on. City Rage, in the frame in each of his five most recent starts, is a three-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course and is solid in the speed figure department. F. Prat fits him best, knows him well, and stays aboard. Bedrock overcame trouble to beat a much softer $25,000 claiming field over this course and distance in late February. He’s protected today in a sign of confidence and with clear sailing and some help up front should make some noise in the final furlong.RACE 4: Post: 1:39 PT Grade: BUse: 3-Today’s Flavor; 4-Laurel River; 5-Bobby Bo; 7-Patron d’OroForecast: This appears to be one of the strongest maiden special weight sprints for 3-year-olds in quite some time. We’ll go four deep with preference on top to Bobby Bo, the 9/5 morning line favorite who has trained like one of the best prospects in the loaded B. Baffert barn. The son of Speightster lands F. Prat and probably will be doing his best work from off the pace, and at this extended sprint trip he should have every opportunity to produce the last run. Stable mate Laurel River was disappointing in his debut last fall when bet down to 6/5, but he acts like a much better type now and it wouldn’t be surprising if the son of Into Mischief turns out to be the quickest of the quick. If he breaks running, he may never look back. Today’s Flavor has done everything required in the morning for the D. O’Neill barn and seems prepared for a monster performance first crack out of the box. We suspect he’ll get outrun early but then take hold late. Patron d’Oro flopped when well-backed in his debut, flashing good speed but then fading late to wind up a weary sixth. We suspect he’s much better than the race shows and is worth giving another look to, especially from his cozy outside draw. He’s 8-1 on the morning line and at that price is a “must use.”RACE 5: Post: 2:14 PT Grade: B+Use: 4-Going Global; 5-Royal Address; 6-Closing RemarksForecast: Royal Address offers good long shot value at 12-1 on the morning line in this year’s edition of the Providencia S.-G3 for 3-year-old fillies over nine furlongs on grass. Below her best when never landing a blow in the Sweet Life S.-G3 in her U.S. debut sprinting in mid-February, the N. Drysdale-trained filly seems certain to improve with that effort behind her and this stretch out in trip. The blinkers off angle is yet another positive factor, and recent workouts indicate the Irish-bred filly is set to produce a significant forward move. Going Global and Closing Remarks finished one-two in the recent China Doll S. over the local lawn and neither should have an issue with today’s extra furlong. There’s a four pound shift in the weights favoring Closing Remarks in addition to a sharp recent half mile workout, so we suspect the daughter of Vronsky will step forward in a big way. ‘Global is hard to fault; she’s won stakes races in both U.S. outings since being imported from the Ireland, retains F. Prat, and owns a wicked turn of foot that should make her hard to contain from the quarter pole home.RACE 6: Post: 2:48 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Moraz; 2-Brilliant CutForecast: The Santa Anita Oaks-G2 drew just five entrants, and each has a right to win. You may choose to buy the race for rolling exotic purposes or try to survive and advance by cutting your ticket down to one or two key horses. Let’s try the latter strategy using the inside two runners, Moraz, and Brilliant Cut. The former, a developing daughter of Empire Maker, is strong in the speed figure department and should find herself saving ground in a pace stalking/pressing position. ‘Cut, listed at 8-1 on the morning line, stretches out again and could become the controlling speed if her connections choose. She’s a fit on numbers and gives every indication in her workouts that she’s ready to step forward considerably.RACE 7: Post: 3:32 PT Grade: BUse: 7-Rip City; 8-Coast of RoanForecast: Rip City is thoroughly genuine and consistent and at this nine furlong distance in a race that should produce comfortable early splits he could take control early and never look back. The City Zip gelding was more than five lengths clear of the rest when an excellent runner-up over a mile at this level last month in a race that produced a career top speed figure. Nothing much more will be needed today. Coast of Roan, a three-time winner over the local lawn, could be sent from the gate to make the running, or, more likely, draft in behind Rip City and stalk that one to the head of the lane. The James Street gelding is reunited with “win rider” U. Rispoli and after a brief freshening should be primed for a major effort.RACE 8: Post: 4:15 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Dream Shake; 3-Rock Your World; 7-Medina SpiritForecast: Medina Spirit has won two of four career starts with both of his defeats courtesy of stable mate Life Is Good, who would have been an odds-on favorite in this year’s Santa Anita Derby-G1 had he been able to remain on the Triple Crown trail. With Life Is Good recuperating from a rear ankle chip, ‘Spirit can resume his winning ways, and from his cozy outside draw in a field without much pace projects to fold into an ideal pace-stalking trip outside and then take control when given his cue. Dream Shake, third in the same race that Medina Spirit just finished second In (the San Felipe S.-G2 won by Life Is Good), continues to train superbly while giving indication that he’s ready to produce another significant forwards move in just his third career start. The son of Twirling Candy should draft into a second flight, ground-saving, stalking position and then make his presence felt from the quarter pole home. Rock Your Worldis an extremely talented son of Candy Ride – he’s perfect in two starts including a sharp score in the Pasadena S. last month – and gives every indication that the longer they go, the better he’ll like it. But what we don’t know is whether he can transfer his superior grass form to today’s dirt surface. He’ll be a legitimate Kentucky Derby candidate if he can, but that’s a big if.RACE 9: Post: 4:46 PT Grade: B+Single: 3-Chrmaine’s MiaForecast: Charmaine’s Mia is on the verge of becoming the best middle distance turf performer in the North America among fillies and mares. Since joining the P. D’Amato barn, the five-year-old mare has registered back-to-back victories in graded stakes company, both performances earning speed figures that the others in this field simply can’t match. She continues to train in superb fashion, retains F. Prat, is comfortably drawn inside and can be placed just about anywhere her jockey wants her to be. At 8/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, the daughter of The Factor is a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 10: Post: 5:17 PT Grade: BUse: 5-Becca Taylor; 9-Pray for My OwnerForecast: Becca Taylor is unbeaten in three starts and has the perfect stalking style for this extended sprint distance. She picks up F. Prat and appears quite capable of extending her winning streak in a field of state-bred sophomore fillies that doesn’t appear to be particularly strong. Pray for My Owner won at first asking in clever fashion while earning a speed figure that is one point better than Becca Taylor’s career top. Drawn comfortably outside and training well since raced, the daughter of Temple City should be stalking or pressing the pace throughout and be tough to catch if she can manufacture some separation when the field turns for home. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with a very slight edge on top to Becca Taylor.RACE 11: Post: 5:48 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Almost a Factor; 4-A New Peace; 9-Nice Ice; 10-LavenderForecast: We’ll go four-deep in this competitive turf miler for entry-level allowance fillies and mares over a mile on turf while hoping to get a price home. In her present razor-sharp form, Nice Ice is the one to beat, having won three of her last four starts in strong fashion while using a pace-setting or pressing style. Similar tactics will be employed again and if she can get over from her nine-hole post without having to be sent hard the veteran mare seems likely to fire another winning shot. Lavender is the most dangerous of the closing types. Effective at any distance as long as there is sufficient pace to compliment her style, the J. Sadler-trained mare will get the patient ride she needs from U. Rispoli and will be heard from in the final stages. A New Peace is a progressive mare making just her sixth career start at age five. She’s a first-off-the-claim for S. Knapp (massively good stats with this angle) and, following a recent sharp workout, is protected in a sign of confidence. She’s better than her morning line of 20-1 suggests. Almost a Factor produced a visually pleasing performance when winning over this course in late January and has been kept on edge since with a healthy series of workouts. She can turn it on late and at 10-1 on the morning line is worth including somewhere on your ticket.RACE 12: Post: 6:19 PT Grade: XSingle: 3-The Chosen VronForecast: The Chosen Vron is simply better and faster than these – both of his outings were outstanding including when third to unbeaten and major Kentucky Derby-G1 contender Concert Tour in the San Vicente S.-G2 in early February – and with this return to state-bred company the son of Vronsky should have little difficulty regaining his winning form in this year’s edition of the Echo Eddie S. On pure speed figures he’s a standout and likely will go lower than his morning line of 8/5. The E. Kruljac-trained gelding is a logical rolling exotic single.

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4.3.2021:

Saturday, April 03: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Keeneland – Sixth Race – Post time: 3:51 ET2-Spanish Loveaffair (2-1)Was miles the best when finishing first in the Herecomesthebride S.-G3 at Gulfstream Park in her most recent appearance but had her number taken down for causing interference approaching the far turn, a mistake on the rider’s part that in no way diminishes this filly’s outstanding performance. If she can maintain a straight course today, the daughter of Karakontie will do to this field what she did to the last one, so at 2-1 on the morning line she’s a strong win play and rolling exotic single.Keeneland – Tenth Race – Post time: 6:02 ET5-Kumari (5/2)Capable on any surface but unbeaten in three starts on the main track, this talented daughter of Munnings has the proper style for this extended sprint distance and should be along in plenty of time after earning a career top speed figure in her recent Oaklawn Park comeback outing. The W. Ward-trained filly shows one prior race over the Keeneland main track – a 15-length romp in her 2-year-old debut at four and one-half furlongs - so we’re expecting the W. Ward-trained filly to be close to a moderate early pace before kicking clear when called upon. We’d love to get close to her morning line of 5/2 on the tote but won’t be surprised if we have to settle for something less.

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4.2.2021:

Friday, April 02: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click here to view today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: CUse: 2-Sugar Pickel; 4-Goodtingscomeinpink; 6-So Much HappyForecast: The Friday opener is a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming turf miler for fillies and mares. Goodtingscomeinpink and Sugar Pickel, two-three finishers in a similar race over this course and distance in late February, square off again, and while they appear to be the logical main players neither one trustworthy. The former, now in the D. O’Neill stable following a claim, should run at least as well today for a barn that hits at a strong 21% with this angle, but her lack of a winning punch (one career victory with 10 seconds/thirds) is a concern. ‘Pickel was a race shape-aided third when clunking home with her usual one-paced, grinding style but retains F. Prat and should enjoy a mid-pack, ground-saving trip. Also worth tossing in is So Much Happy, a class-dropper removing blinkers and with numbers that fit; however, she’s winless in eight starts over the Santa Anita turf course and comes from a low-percentage outfit. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: C+Use: 1-Another Chapter; 4-BetitoForecast: The logical top pick in this bottom-rung maiden claiming middle distance affair is Johan Zoffani but the pattern hardly inspires confidence. Beaten at 70 cents on the dollar up north in mid-February, the D. Blacker-trained gelding plummets in class while clearly being culled from the stable and will be making his first start on dirt. To be truthful, he hasn’t trained all that well on the main track, so while the Irish-import may simply outclass this modest bunch he’s worth trying to beat at 6/5 on the morning line. Betito has a pedigree to allow for improvement over a distance of ground, and in his first try around two-turns the K. Mulhall-trained gelding should find himself on or near the lead throughout in what projects to be a slowly-run race. His numbers are gradually rising and he exits a couple of better-than-par races for the level. Another Chapter is a first-timer bred to run long (Mucho Macho Man) and with workouts that indicate he has at least some ability. In a race in which the known element doesn’t inspire, the E. Truman-trained colt won’t have to be a world beater to act with these.RACE 3: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: B-Use: 4-Factorial; 5-Black Storm; 7-Rickey BForecast: Black Storm scored under similar conditions two races back and as a five-time winner over the Santa Anita main track the son of Treasure Ride can be counted on for an honest effort in this $10,000 claiming dash for older horses. He’s most effective as a late-running sprinter so with good racing luck and a little help up front he may be capable of producing the last run. Factorial drops to his lowest level ever, adds blinkers, and gets a weight break with the switch to bug girl E. Ellingwood, so if he can shake loose early the R. Hanson-trained gelding could get very brave. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to Black Storm.RACE 4: Post: 2:44 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Italiano; 5-Castle; 6-Psycho Dar; 8-BlackoutForecast: Here’s a grass grab bag for mid-level claiming sprinters with several possibilities. Psycho Dar gets a very slight edge on top after being badly overmatched in his last pair. Freshened since mid-February and showing some spark in a recent main track workout, the K. Mulhall-trained gelding can win on the lead or from a stalking position and always has been dependable when properly spotted. Blackout is re-equipped with blinkers and projects to enjoy a good second-flight, stalking position and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. F. Prat stays aboard the French-bred gelding for P. Miller, a jockey/trainer team that hits at a remarkable 35%, Castle has form over this course and distance that makes him a major player and is a six-timer winner from just 17 career starts so you know he can be counted on, while Italiano, a first-off-the-claim play for D. O’Neill (powerful stats with this angle), looked quite sharp in a recent drill and is worth tossing in even though his grass form doesn’t really inspire.RACE 5: Post: 3:15 PT Grade: B-Single: 7-Traffic StopperForecast: Traffic Stopper graduated vs. bottom-rung maiden $20,000 competition in game style last month in what was her first start in more than a year and is realistically spotted right back in this restricted (nw-2) $16,000 extended sprint for fillies and mares. Drawn comfortably outside and retaining F. Prat, the M. Puype-trained filly is ensured a comfortable stalking trip and if she can produce even a slight forward move this field should be within her capabilities. If it’s not her, it could be any of the other six entrants so rather than spread deeply (or even take the safe route and buy the race) we’ll try to survive and advance by taking a stand and somewhat reluctantly singling the daughter of Cross Traffic.RACE 6: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: BUse: 6-Equal Measure; 7-GallovieForecast: Gallovie stretches out again and clearly will be the controlling speed in this restricted (nw-3) $35,000 claiming turf miler for fillies and mares. With just two victories from 18 career starts and winless in six outings over the local lawn, the English-bred mare isn’t one to trust, but the F. Prat/R. Baltas barn always has been a powerful combo (37%) and a recent bullet workout indicate she’s on edge. Let’s hope she can relax on the front end and roll all the way to the wire. Equal Measure is the most dangerous of the closing types and can be along in time if our top pick goes too fast too early. A solid runner-up under these conditions two races back when more than five lengths clear of the rest, the daughter of Speightstown is a strong fit on numbers and should benefit from the switch to T. Baze.RACE 7: Post: 4:15 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Crystal Ball; 5-Pharoah’s HeartForecast: Pharoah’s Heart has the classic two-sprints-and-stretch-out pattern and is quite fast in the speed figure department, so in this five-runner first-level allowance main track miler for fillies and mares let’s go with the M. Glatt-trained daughter of American Pharoah on top. She’s been relaxing nicely in her recent workouts so we’re expecting that she’ll have no trouble handling the extra distance while possibly inheriting the role as the controlling speed depending upon how committed Crystal Ball will be early on. ‘Ball was good enough to finish second by a head in the C.C.A. Oaks-G1 last summer and broke her maiden in gate-to-wire fashion over the local main track last year, so if she’s cranked up and ready in her first start since August the B. Baffert-trained filly obviously will be hard to beat. Both should be used in rolling exotic play.RACE 8: Post: 4:45 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-McWherter; 4-Nazare; 5-Nerves of SteelForecast: The finale is a messy maiden $50,000 claiming turf sprint for older horses that points to Nerves of Steel as the logical strong favorite after he was nosed out while five lengths clear of the others in a similar affair last month in his first local start for new trainer P. Miller. F. Prat stays aboard, so it all adds up, though it must be pointed out that the Speightster gelding was also entered on Sunday at Golden Gate Fields in a maiden special weight event and might opt for that spot. Others to consider are McWherter, a troubled fourth vs. similar on dirt, switching to U. Rispoli and with a prior good run on grass, and Nazare, a first-timer with a nice recent workout that indicates a fair amount of ability.

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4.2.2021:

Friday, April 02: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Keeneland – Sixth Race – Post time: 3:51 ET2-Stand By You (6-1)Let’s take an educated guess with a first-timer starter vanning down from Pen National in this below standard maiden special weight sprint for 3-year-old fillies. The daughter of Munnings displayed good speed when breezing a quarter mile in a very quick 21 1/5 seconds at the OBS Open 2-year-old in training sale last summer and finally makes it to the post after producing two recent bullet workouts and attracting J. Rosario. The known element doesn’t inspire so let’s gamble on a fresh face that promises to offer good wagering value at or near her morning line of 6-1.Keeneland – Ninth Race – Post time: 5:30 ET6-Earls Rock (Ire) (3-1)West Coast shipper is a perfect two-for-two since arriving from Ireland, first breaking his maiden in sharp style over a mile at Santa Anita in January and then shortening to six furlongs when repeating on the raise vs. allowance foes. Training in superb fashion in the interim, the P. D’Amato-trained colt gets tested for class in this year’s edition of the Transylvania S.-G3 but should be up to the challenge, so at 2-1 on the morning line we’ll make him a win play and rolling exotic single.

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4.1.2021:

April 3, 2021: 1/ST BET AI Picks for the SA Derby, Wood Memorial & Blue Grass

This Saturday’s Triple Crown prep races toward the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes will be a cross-country triple of the Grade 1 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, the Grade 2 Blue Grass at Keeneland and the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. To help you handicap the premier stakes 4 weeks in advance of the Kentucky Derby, the 1/ST BET app’s artificial intelligence provides its look at the data for all 3 races.Selections provided by the 1/ST BET app measure each contender against the 10 leading factors for each race. The 1/ST BET app looks at 52 handicapping factors and more than 200,000 past races to determine its AI selections. You can use the automated handicapping factors, or create your own factor filters to incorporate angles you prefer.Bet the Santa Anita Derby with Xpressbet and 1/ST BET and take advantage of our $20 Money-Back Special if your win bet finishes second or third.AQUEDUCT // GRADE 2 WOOD MEMORIAL // RACE 10 (5:58PM ET) #1 Brooklyn Strong // 30%W // 50%P // 61%S#4 Risk Taking // 19%W // 37%P // 52%S#2 Crowded Trade // 15%W // 26%P // 43%S#8 Weyburn // 12%W // 29%P // 44%S#7 Candy Man Rocket // 8%W // 15%P // 31%S#5 Dynamic One // 5%W // 13%P // 18%S#3 Bourbonic // 4%W // 10%P // 17%S#6 Prevalence // 4%W // 10%P // 17%S#9 Market Maven // 4%W // 10%P // 17%SKEENELAND // GRADE 2 BLUE GRASS STAKES // RACE 11 // 6:35PM ET#4 Essential Quality // 30%W // 50%P // 62%S#9 Keepmeinmind // 19%W // 37%P // 52%S#3 Highly Motivated // 15%W // 26%P // 43%S#5 Rombauer // 12%W // 29%P // 44%S#6 Leblon // 8%W // 15%P // 31%S#1 Hidden Stash // 5%W // 13%P // 18%S#2 Untreated // 4%W // 10%P // 17%S#7 Hush of a Storm // 4%W // 10%P // 17%S#8 Sittin On Go // 4%W // 10%P // 17%SSANTA ANITA // GRADE 1 RUNHAPPY SANTA ANITA DERBY // RACE 8 // 7:15PM ET#7 Medina Spirit // 32%W // 47%P // 58%S#2 Dream Shake // 16%W // 37%P // 49%S#9 The Great One // 14%W // 25%P // 35%S#8 Law Professor // 10%W // 21%P // 27%S#10 Defunded // 10%W // 15%P // 35%S#3 Rock Your World // 6%W // 15%P // 31%S#1 Roman Centurian // 4%W // 13%P // 29%S#6 Ottothelegend // 4%W // 11%P // 17%S#4 Parnelli // 4%W // 7%P // 10%S#5 Back Ring Luck // 4%W // 7%P // 10%S

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4.1.2021:

Friday, April 2: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Picks

LEG A // GULFSTREAM, RACE 8 (4:50PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT) FRANK ALONE dueled through solid fractions and held second, gets a favorable post switch and tries again at this level for a 25-percent trainer-jockey combo in the last year. I KICKN loomed boldly off a perfect stalking trip against the top one but hung in the stretch as the favorite. LEG B // SANTA ANITA, RACE 3 (5:13PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT) Going with the 'key race' angle in here. BLACK STORM won at this distance two starts back in a race that yielded two next-out winners and two runners-up. He has more wins at Santa Anita than the rest of the field combined. JAN'S RESERVE is 3-36 lifetime, but he finished second in 3 of his last 4 starts and the fourth and sixth-place finishers came back to win out of his most recent race. LEG C // GULFSTREAM, RACE 9 (5:22PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF) THREE AMIGOS (8-1) debuts for Walsh and his sire, Kendargent, produced 19 turf winners from 65 runners, several in stakes company. BLUE LOU BOYLE ran first-time tagged off a one-year layoff and battled throughout to just miss in a longer grass route. ASTROTURF chased a fast pace in a 5-horse MSW route at Tampa and finished third, now makes his third start as a 4yo. LEG D // SANTA ANITA, RACE 4 (5:44PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (TURF) ITALIANO starts fresh off O'Neill claim, returns to turf and gets plenty of pace to rally into at a big price. IAN GLASS was resilient in one-mile victory two back, gave way on the lead in a long sprint last out and must be used on the ticket. CASTLE rallied into a torrid pace, led briefly and held second off nearly a year layoff. LEG E // GOLDEN GATE, RACE 4 (5:59PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF) SPACE ODESSEY was outrun in a comeback $80k maiden claimer at Santa Anita, but the race winner ran a scare into the 3-to-5 winner in a follow-up allowance. STORMIN GALILELO tries turf after a pair of useful MSW sprints and could take some catching from the rail with Frey getting the mount. J C EXPRESS posted solid speed figures while no factor against Cal-bred MSW turf routers, then gained some confidence with a second-place finish in a $12,500 sprint. SUGGESTED $1 TICKET Leg A: 5, 8Leg B: 1, 5Leg C: 2, 3, 5Leg D: 2, 3, 5Leg E: 1, 2, 8 Cost: $108

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4.1.2021:

Saturday, April 3: Johnny D's Triple Crown Prep Picks

The rubber meets the road Saturday when a trio of critical Kentucky Derby points races are decided from coast to coast. In New York, the historic Gr. 2 Wood Memorial ought to help sort a crowded group of contenders, including Withers winner Risk Taking and Gotham hero Weyburn. Unbeaten invader Prevalence adds intrigue. In California, trainer Bob Baffert, marching toward a record seventh Kentucky Derby victory, sends out Robert B. Lewis winner and Santa Anita Derby favorite Medina Spirit as ‘the other next man up’ among Baffert’s deep roster of talented sophomores. In Kentucky, Essential Quality, the consensus number one-ranked Kentucky Derby hopeful, hopes to use the Gr. 2 Blue Grass at Keeneland to springboard toward becoming just the fourth 2-year-old Champion since 1999 to win the Kentucky Derby. When the dust settles Saturday evening, the Gr. 1 Arkansas Derby, a week away, will remain as the only major Derby prep race on the map worth a total of 170 points toward spots in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. The Lexington at Keeneland is the final pre-Derby event scheduled with 34 total points. Last week, Known Agenda leapfrogged a host of others toward the top of everyone’s Kentucky Derby contender list with a dominant tally in the Gr. 1 Florida Derby. Gulfstream’s Championship Meet leading trainer and jockey, Todd Pletcher and Irad Ortiz, Jr., respectively, combined talents with the son of Curlin for the Florida Derby victory at generous odds of 5-1. It was the third win in six starts for Known Agenda and his second consecutive score over the Gulfstream strip. Lasix and blinkers were added for Known Agenda’s previous score, an 11-length mile and one-eighth allowance victory, following a mediocre effort as favorite in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay. Favored Greatest Honor had no real excuse and failed to fire for the first time in four races as his third-place Florida Derby finish ended a streak of three consecutive victories, including the Gr. 3 Holy Bull and Gr. 2 Fountain of Youth. Post-race, Hall-of-Fame trainer Shug McGaughey suggested the Tapit colt may not have enjoyed being stuck inside of other horses and that blinkers will be sampled in an upcoming workout. Longshot Soup and Sandwich stayed on honestly for second, his only loss in three starts. Racing greenly through the stretch in his previous start, the son of Into Mischief clearly bested just two rivals for victory in a Tampa Bay allowance race. Saturday, at Gulfstream in a Gr. 1 event, he bettered all but one in the field of 11. Below is one man’s humble horse-by-horse opinion of runners in the Gr. 2 Wood, Gr. 1 Santa Anita Derby and Gr. 2 Blue Grass, including suggested wagering strategies. GRADE 1, $750,000 RUNHAPPY SANTA ANITA DERBYSANTA ANITA PARK (RACE 8 @ 6:30PM ET) // 1 1/8 MILESKentucky Derby Points: 100-40-20-10 1. ROMAN CENTURIAN (CALLAGHAN/HERNANDEZ) Second to favored #7 Medina Sprit by a neck in the Gr. 3 Robert B. Lewis and a nose in front of eventual Gr. 2 Louisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie, Roman Centurian actually fits in here. Unfortunately, he didn’t fire in the Gr. 2 San Felipe Stakes and finished fourth, several lengths behind runner-up #7Medina Spirit and third-place finisher #2 Dream Shake. He showed no early speed from the seven post and passed a few tired runners. Can he bounce back to his Lewis performance level or did that race do him in for a while? We prefer to see a forward move from this son of Empire Maker before backing him. Move from outside to inside should help a bit. Pass. 2. DREAM SHAKE (EURTON/PRAT) At 20-1 odds, he dominated a loaded Santa Anita maiden sprint race in February and then was tossed to the wolves in the mile and one-sixteenth Gr. 2 San Felipe next out. He didn’t run badly, as he was lapped on #7 Medina Spirit through the lane until he understandably tired, to be third, two lengths out of second, behind former Kentucky Derby Future Book favorite Life is Good. He has been working well for his return to the races. It’s always a difficult call with this type after just two races. Will his San Felipe experience move him forward? Or, will that demanding effort in only his second start set him back? Top jock Flavien Pratt helps his chances. Exotics. 3. ROCK YOUR WORLD (SADLER/RISPOLI) He has looked fantastic in two 2021 turf scores at Santa Anita. Connections figure he’s sharp, talented and unbeaten…why not take a shot in the local Gr. 1 $750k Derby? In turf starts, he’s been close to the early pace and then been able to explode through the lane at six furlongs and at one mile. We’re generally not a fan of horses switching surfaces after showing ability over a certain layout. ‘Horses for courses’ mantra applies. Also, very few horses are as good on one surface as they are on another. Rock Your World is excellent on turf. He’ll have to show us he’s excellent on dirt, too. Pass. 4. PARNELLI (SHIRREFFS/MALDONADO) Second in three starts before breaking maiden going one mile at Del Mar, this son of Quality Road was a well-beaten third in the Gr. 3 Sham and then a poor fifth in the Robert B. Lewis. He really needs to turn around his recent stuff to have any say in here. Pass. BACK RING LUCK (SADLER/T. BAZE) Expect this new arrival to SoCal to show some early pace in this race. He won a $62,500 allowance/optional claiming race at Oaklawn Park last out in early March. He closed out his 2-year-old season with a $30k maiden claiming victory at Churchill Downs in November and was claimed. Before that he had a second and a third at the $30k maiden claiming level. He would be a major surprise in the money in this race. Pass. 6. OTTOTHELEGEND (ASMUSSEN/GUTIERREZ) This son of Uncle Mo invades from starts at Fair Grounds and Oaklawn Park. The latter effort was a winning one in a mile and one-sixteenth maiden race in March. It’s asking a lot for him to ship to SoCal and display the same strong closing style that proved effective in Hot Springs. Pass. 7. MEDINA SPIRIT (BAFFERT/VELAZQUEZ) Second in the Gr. 2 San Felipe behind former Kentucky Derby Future Book favorite and stablemate Life is Good, this son of Protonico was purchased for just $35k. That’s a pittance when compared to some of the price tags associated with other major 3-year-old contenders. Off that race and considering three other performances where he’s been no worse than second, with two wins, he’s the one to beat. Both of his losses came at the hooves of Life is Good and he’s not in this race while recovering from surgery. Medina Spirit’s got enough speed to be close early and he’s shown a determined, grinding style that served him well when denying #1 Roman Centurian and eventual Gr. 2 Louisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie in the Gr. 3 Robert B. Lewis. Since that race he had a slight throat procedure that figures to help him breathe adequately. A better breathing Medina Spirit is not good news for his challengers. Beat him to win it. Most Likely Winner. 8. LAW PROFESSOR (MCCARTHY/DESORMEAUX) An impressive two-turn, mile maiden tally on the heels of a poor first-out effort in a loaded maiden sprint won by #2 Dream Shake encourages connections to take a shot with this son of Constitution in the Santa Anita Derby. While the maiden score was impressive—he was wide the whole way—this is a huge step up in competition. He’s sharp, fit and trained by a talented conditioner. He deserves some respect at a price. Exotics. 9. THE GREAT ONE (O'NEILL/CEDILLO) It took this son of Nyquist a while to get going before he demolished a Santa Anita mile maiden field by 14 lengths in his first start of 2021. He followed that up with a weak outing in the Gr2 San Felipe Stakes behind Life is Good, #7 Medina Spirit, #2 Dream Shake and #1 Roman Centurian. He was lapped on #7 Medina Spirit most of the way early but couldn’t keep up late. As a 2-year-old, he started by finishing sixth in a turf sprint stakes at Santa Anita. Two fourth-place finishes in one-mile races, one dirt and one turf, were followed by a start in the Gr. 2 Los Alamitos Futurity at one mile and one-sixteenth where he lost by a nose to Spielberg. He has shown speed in most of his races and is most effective when he’s involved early but he’ll need to show more ‘stick’ this time out. Pass. 10. DEFUNDED (BAFFERT/SMITH This son of Dialed In is the ‘other’ Baffert in the race. SoCal racing fans know to always beware of the ‘other Baffert.’ A sparkling maiden score while sprinting second time out suggests that the future is bright. He raced mid-pack before closing the gap off the turn when he was bumped solidly while splitting horses. He actually lost action for a moment under Joel Rosario, then found his best stride and flew home under a hand ride. The win came off a layoff since August and a third-place finish in his maiden voyage as favorite. Stretching out from six furlongs to one mile and one-eighth and a stepping up from a maiden victory to a Grade 1 stakes race are indications that this guy has impressed connections. A bullet 1:12 4/5 six-furlong work March 24 encouraged them, as well. This guy has lots of ability. He’s dangerous in here and he’s the ‘other Baffert’ with ‘Money Mike’ Smith up. Don’t know if he’s seasoned enough to handle his stablemate and post #10 doesn’t help, but he’s worth a look. Win Candidate. BOTTOM LINE: #7 Medina Spirit is clearly the one to beat. He’s got the best ‘paper,’ a nearly unbeatable trainer, and a Hall of Fame jockey. He’s got enough pace to be close early and he’s shown ‘stick’ at the finish. He’s also had a throat procedure designed to help him breathe. #10 Defunded has nowhere near the experience one would think necessary to win this race. OK. So, what’s he doing in here? King of the 3-year-olds Bob Baffert already has the race favorite and top 10-ranked Kentucky Derby candidate in #7 Medina Spirit. Why hurry this colt along? Our guess is that this guy has real talent and that he’s faced some obstacles getting here. However, if he can finish among the top three, he’s got a spot in the Kentucky Derby for owners Pegram, Watson or Weitman, some of Baffert’s most loyal supporters. #2 Dream Shake has talent, but he’ll need to hang on much better than he did last out and he won’t be much of price with top jock Flavien Prat. WAGERING STRATEGY: $10 Exacta ($30 Total) 1st: #72nd: #2, #8, #10 $5 Exacta ($15Total) 1st: #102nd: #2, #7, #8 GRADE 2, $750,000 WOOD MEMORIALAQUEDUCT (RACE 10 @ 5:58PM ET) // 1 1/8 MILESKentucky Derby Points: 100-40-20-10 1. BROOKLYN STRONG (D. VELAZQUEZ/FRANCO) - 6/1 Winner of three of four races, he hasn’t been to post since early December when he won the Gr. 2 Remsen Stakes over a ‘sloppy’ track. He’s based at Parx and has a sparkling bullet, best-of-16, five-furlong work in 59 3/5 for this. He’s a New York bred and won the Sleepy Hollow, a state-bred race, at Belmont in October. His style should put him close to the early pace saving ground on the rail. It’s asking a bit much for a gelding that broke maiden in a $40k claiming race at Delaware Park in September to win a Gr. 2 3-year-old New York stakes in March, but he’s already proven himself in the Big Apple by winning the Gr. 2 Remsen in the slop! Still, coming off a layoff since December, he’ll need to prove he’s matured as much as the rest of these. Pass. 2. CROWDED TRADE (BROWN/CANCEL) - 4/1 With just one start under his belt—a six-furlong maiden win in late January--this son of More Than Ready stretched out to one mile last out in March and just missed winning the Gr. 3 Gotham by a nose to the more experienced #8 Wayburn. Crowded Trade broke a bit awkwardly and had to make up ground in the early going, he moved outside the leaders off the turn and appeared to have dead aim on #8 Wayburn in the stretch but wasn’t able to follow through completely. Top jock Eric Cancel returns in the saddle for multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown and this one has every right to improve. Win Candidate. 3. BOURBONIC (PLETCHER/CARMOUCHE) - 30/1 Poor efforts in his first two races—sprinting on dirt and routing on turf—demanded a class drop to a $50k maiden claiming race at Aqueduct over a ‘good’ track. That did the trick and this son of Bernardini won that race and his next at the starter $50k allowance/optional claiming level. Last out he was a well-beaten second behind #9 Market Maven at Parx in a $50k allowance/optional claimer. There’s little on paper to suggest this one can hit the board in this race. Pass. 4. RISK TAKING (BROWN/ORTIZ JR.) - 5/2 Blinkers were added two races back and this son of Medaglia d’Oro is unbeaten in two mile and one-eighth races since, including a maiden win and a strong victory in the Gr. 3 Withers at Aqueduct. He was unremarkable in his first two starts, finishing seventh and sixth in a sprint and turf race, respectively. Multiple Eclipse Award winning trainer Chad Brown combines with fellow multiple Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz and they are a potent winning team (30% at Aqu). This colt has come from off the pace in his previously strong efforts. Top Win Contender. 5. DYNAMIC ONE (PLETCHER/J. ORTIZ) - 12/1 Winner of a maiden race last out in his fourth try, this son of Union Rags claims a close, runner-up finish to highly regarded Greatest Honour in a second time out maiden route race. That was at Gulfstream, the first of two starts there in December and January. His maiden win came when returned to Aqueduct in March at one-mile and one-eighth. He stalked a longshot pacesetter that afternoon, took over off the turn and drew clear by more than five lengths. Perhaps, he’s seen the light? He has been favored in three of four starts and was even money in his last two. That suggests talent probably is lurking somewhere beneath the surface. Exotics. 6. PREVALENCE (WALSH/GAFFALIONE) - 3/1 Unbeaten in two starts, this son of Medaglia d’Oro first raised eyebrows when he broke maiden at Gulfstream Park going seven furlongs in late January. Unfortunately, after the race he had a fever and lost some training time. He didn’t make his next start until mid-March when he romped home in a one-mile allowance optional claiming race at just 10 cents to a dollar. It’s not clear how good this colt might eventually be. He’s sharp and has solid connections in trainer Brendan Walsh and jockey Tyler Gaffalione. Of course, this will be his first race away from Gulfstream Park, but there’s no reason to think he can’t handle the Aqueduct surface. Win Contender. 7. CANDY MAN ROCKET (MOTT/ALVARADO) - 12/1 Favored in the Gr. 2 Tampa Bay Derby last out, this son of Candy Ride laid a huge egg when finishing next to last of 12. Public support was based on back-to-back wins in previous races—one of them at Tampa in the Gr. 3 Sam F. Davis and one at Gulfstream for a maiden win. Hall-of-Fame trainer Bill Mott is willing to give this guy another shot at making it to the Kentucky Derby and the conditioner certainly knows what he’s doing. However, it’s difficult for us to back a horse that ran so poorly last out in a recent effort. We’re okay with sometimes drawing a line through a poor race but that one was too bad to excuse. Pass. 8. WAYBURN (JERKENS/MCCARTHY) - 9/2 This son of Pioneerof the Nile made his first 2021 start a winning one when he gamely prevailed by a nose over #2 Crowded Trade in the Gr. 3 Gotham in March at nearly 50-1 odds. He had been off since December, when he won a seven-furlong maiden race. In the Gr. 3 Gotham, he pressed the early pace going one mile, took over and held. Today’s one mile and one-eighth test will be his first around two turns. According to his connections, distance shouldn’t be an issue, but he really did lay it all on the line last out off a long layoff and it might be difficult for him to repeat that effort. Pass. 9. MARKET MAVEN (PEARCE/HADDOCK) - 30/1 This will be Market Maven’s first try outside the friendly confines of Parx where he has won two of four starts—a PA-bred maiden race going seven furlongs and a ‘sloppy’ mile and one-sixteenth $50k allowance/optional claiming race. This is a big step up from that competition where #3 Bourbonic was second to him, four lengths back, last out. Market Maven has speed and basically went wire-to-wire for both of his wins. He’s sharp and a big price. Pass. BOTTOM LINE: This race is unlike the other two major 3-year-old races on Saturday’s docket. There is no clear choice in this race. #4 Risk Taking seems most likely to win but he’s far from a cinch. #2 Crowded Trade, stablemate in the Chad Brown barn to the favorite, has upside. The new face in the lineup is #6 Prevalence, an unbeaten Florida invader who also appears to have upside. #8 Wayburn had his day in the sun last time at 46-1 and we don’t feel he can repeat that big effort right back. #5 Dynamic One from the Todd Pletcher barn is very interesting. Granted, the jump from maiden to Grade 2 stakes is huge, but this colt may be ready to move forward and get a piece of this. WAGERING STRATEGY: $2 Trifecta ($24 Total) 1st: #42nd: #2, #5, #63rd: #1, #2, #5, #6, #7 $1 Trifecta ($12 Total) 1st: #2, #5, #62nd: #43rd: #1, #2, #5, #6, #7   GRADE 2, $800,000 BLUE GRASS STAKESKEENELAND (RACE 11 @ 6:35PM ET) // 1 1/8 MILESKentucky Derby Points: 100-40-20-10 1. HIDDEN STASH (OLIVER/BEJARANO) - 20/1 Liked this closer’s chances in the Gr. 2 Tampa Bay Derby at 3-1 and in mid-stretch he looked a certain winner as he closed ground on longshot Helium. Unfortunately, Helium kept going and Hidden Stash was denied victory. Perhaps, a five-wide move around the turn took too much out of this son of Constitution? He’ll probably still need to come wide in here and he’s got an extra sixteenth of a mile to deal with. Jockey Bejarano has ridden the colt three times and won twice with him. He’ll probably attempt to save ground early from this rail post. There’s not much pace in the race to aid this Vickie Oliver runner but, as far as finishing in the money is concerned, he’s golden, with five out of six finishes no worse than third. He’s a big price to maybe use in exotics. Exotics at a Price. 2. UNTREATED (PLETCHER/ROSARIO) - 8/1 This son of Nyquist didn’t raise a hoof as odds-on favorite first-out going six furlongs at Gulfstream Park in early January. Off until March, he returned fresh as a sprint day to win a one mile and 40 yards maiden race at Tampa Bay under Luis Saez by nearly nine lengths. Saez, obviously, sticks with race favorite #4 Essential Quality in here and it’s interesting to note that the replacement jockey aboard this colt is the red-hot Joel Rosario. There’s nothing on paper to suggest that this colt has a chance to hit the board in this race but the presence of Rosario hints that the barn is hopeful of his chances. What’s he doing in a Gr. 2 stakes race off two starts, including a maiden win at Tampa Bay? This is Hall of Fame shoo-in Todd Pletcher picking the spot, not some 8% shoot-for-the-moon conditioner. Somewhere down the backside at Tampa the light went on for this guy and he swept to victory. Lots of upside here. We’ll go along for the ride at a price. Exotics. 3. HIGHLY MOTIVATED (BROWN/CASTELLANO) - 7/2 The Gr. 2 Wood Memorial will give us an idea of how strong the New York-based 3-year-old contingent is this year and this Chad Brown runner is one of the best of that group. He’s won two of four lifetime starts, one of them at Keeneland in the Nyquist Stakes at six and one-half furlongs. The son of Into Mischief has been favored in all three starts since finishing second first out at 4-1 in the mud at Saratoga. Odds-on last out in the Gr. 3 Gotham Stakes, his first route going a one-turn mile, he broke a bit slowly, steadied inside leaving the chute, angled out for the drive, changed leads late and finished ok. It was the kind of race that suggests more is in the tank. But how much more? And how will he handle two-turns? Those are tough questions to be asking in April. Exotics, but not much Price. 4. ESSENTIAL QUALITY (COX/SAEZ) - 3/5 After winning the BC Juvenile and being named Eclipse Award winner as North America’s top 2-year-old male, Essential Quality made his first 2021 start a winning one over Spielberg and five others in the Gr. 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn. It was a dominating performance that extended his lifetime unbeaten streak to four. Jockey Luis Saez has been aboard for the last three. Trainer Cox has said that all systems are go for the champ and there’s no reason to doubt him. Two of Essential Quality’s wins have come over the Keeneland surface, including his BC Juvenile triumph, so there’s no ‘there’ there. This race doesn’t have much early speed, but this son of Tapit has been able to race close-up in most cases. It appears as if he will extend his unbeaten record to five and move toward the Kentucky Derby as possibly the race favorite. Strictly One to Beat. 5. ROMBAUER (MCCARTHY/GEROUX) - 15/1 This son of Twirling Candy came alive over a synthetic surface in winning the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate. He made a furious late charge to get up by a neck. Before that he had one notable try out of three stakes races. He finished second in the Gr. 1 American Pharoah. Following that he was fifth, beaten over six lengths, in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, a race common to others in this field. His only other victory came first time out in a maiden mile turf race at Del Mar. This colt has talent but with his only wins coming on turf and synthetic surfaces, we’ll limit his use to the bottom of exotics. It is noteworthy that trainer McCarthy, who vacillated between the Wood, Santa Anita Derby and here, has engaged top jock Florent Geroux for the mount. Bottom Exotics Only. 6. LEBLON (LOBO/JIMENEZ) - 30/1 He’s won one race in five starts and doesn’t stack up with the rest on paper. He appears to be a long-fused runner that will appreciate added real estate. He broke maiden in his fourth start, the first time he went one mile and one-sixteenth. Last out, going one mile and one-sixteenth in an allowance race at Oaklawn Park, he steadied early in the race, rode the rail down the backside while being steadied repeatedly, was behind horses off the turn and never really was asked late. It was a troubled trip, for sure. Don’t know if he’s good enough to hang with this crew, but he’s a big price and may be running at the end. He appears to have enough speed to be mid-pack early. He’s a real reach on paper but we like that last race. Maybe the mud moved him up? He’ll be in our exotic mix at a huge price. Bottom Exotics. 7. HUSH OF A STORM (MOREY/GONZALEZ) - 15/1 His only dirt race going seven furlongs at Churchill downs for a $150k maiden claiming price was a disaster as he circled the field in eighth place out of 12 starters. Then he found Turfway Park and a synthetic surface. That made all the difference to him. He won his next three starts, including the Battaglia and was one of the ones to beat in last Saturday’s Jeff Ruby Steaks. Trainer Bill Morey scratched this Creative Cause colt from the race and points him here. No doubt the move is to see if, now that he’s on his game, he can handle dirt and gain starting gate points toward the Kentucky Derby. We’re guessing he’s not quite as good on dirt as he is on synthetic. Pass. 8. SITTIN ON GO (ROMANS/LANERIE) - 30/1 This son of Brody’s Cause won the first two races of his career as a 2-year-old, including the Gr. 3 Iroquois at Churchill, and hasn’t been close since. He would be a major surprise in any Kentucky Derby points earning position. Pass. 9. KEEPMEINMIND (DIODORO/COHEN) - 8/1 This deep closer added blinkers three starts back in the BC Juvenile and the addition proved helpful as he was third in that race, behind #4 Essential Quality and Gr. 2 Louisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie. On the heels of that score, he returned in late November to win the Gr. 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. He finished no worse than third in four of five lifetime starts. Trouble is that his worst finish came in his last race, his first of 2021, when he was sixth of eight behind Concert Tour in the Gr. 2 Rebel Stakes. His closing style puts him behind the eight-ball to begin with and there’s not much speed in this race. Those are two strikes against him. He has shown an affinity for the track, so that’s a plus, but that last race really sticks in our craw. He was wide most of the way, made a brief move on the turn and didn’t follow through in the lane. Maybe he needed the race? Maybe he didn’t like the track? Or, maybe he hasn’t matured along with his classmates? All things considered we’ll pass on him. Pass. BOTTOM LINE: From where we sit, there aren’t many ways to go in here. #4 Essential Quality passes the ‘eye’ and ‘paper’ test. He’ll be an extremely short price to win and he will be used on top in an overwhelming majority of exotic wagers. Our advice is to ‘stay loose and bet a deuce’ in here. Well, maybe a bit more than just a ‘deuce.’ #1 Hidden Stash and #2 Untreated have longshot chances to finish in the exotics underneath #4 Essential Quality. #6 Leblon is a bomb with long-range and big price capability. #3 Highly Motivated could hit the exotics but is too short a price to combine with the favorite in any legs except, perhaps, in the bottoms of tris and supers. WAGERING STRATEGY: $1.00 Superfecta ($40 Total)1st: #42nd: #1, #23rd: #1, #2, #3, #5, #6, #94th: #1, #2, #3, #5, #6, #9 Race On!

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4.1.2021:

Expert Kentucky Derby Top 10 Lists as of April 1, 2021

It’s Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass and Wood Memorial Week, the 4-week outpost until the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Between now and next week’s Arkansas Derby, the field for the first Saturday in May will take much of its shape.Our resident historians and handicappers with 1/ST BET and Xpressbet check back in with their mid-March Top 10 contenders for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. We’ve included the projected next start for each horse in parentheses (subject to change).Jeff Siegel | @jsiegelracing#1 Essential Quality (Blue Grass)#2 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby)#3 Known Agenda (Kentucky Derby)#4 Hot Rod Charlie (Kentucky Derby)#5 Medina Spirit (Santa Anita Derby)#6 Risk Taking (Wood Memorial)#7 Greatest Honour (Kentucky Derby)#8 Prevalence (Wood Memorial)#9 Rock Your World (Santa Anita Derby)#10 Helium (Kentucky Derby)Jon White | @posttimejon#1 Essential Quality (Blue Grass)#2 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby)#3 Hot Rod Charlie (Kentucky Derby)#4 Known Agenda (Kentucky Derby)#5 Medina Spirit (Santa Anita Derby)#6 Greatest Honour (Kentucky Derby)#7 Midnight Bourbon (Kentucky Derby)#8 Keepmeinmind (Blue Grass)#9 Risk Taking (Wood Memorial)#10 Dream Shake (Santa Anita Derby)John DeSantis | @XBJohnnyD#1 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby)#2 Essential Quality (Blue Grass)#3 Greatest Honour (Kentucky Derby)#4 Hot Rod Charlie (Kentucky Derby)#5 Known Agenda (Kentucky Derby)#6 Medina Spirit (Santa Anita Derby)#7 Midnight Bourbon (Kentucky Derby)#8 Highly Motivated (Blue Grass)#9 O Besos (Kentucky Derby)#10 Risk Taking (Wood Memorial)Jeremy Plonk | @HorsePlayerNow#1 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby)#2 Essential Quality (Blue Grass)#3 Known Agenda (Kentucky Derby)#4 Greatest Honour (Kentucky Derby)#5 Medina Spirit (Santa Anita Derby)#6 Hot Rod Charlie (Kentucky Derby)#7 Proxy (Kentucky Derby)#8 Midnight Bourbon (Kentucky Derby)#9 Prevalence (Wood Memorial)#10 Risk Taking (Wood Memorial)

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4.1.2021:

Saturday, April 3: Jon White's SA Derby, Blue Grass & Wood Memorial Picks

Three biggies with Kentucky Derby ramifications will be run this weekend. They are the Grade I Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, Grade II Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and Grade II Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. The first four finishers in these three 1 1/8-mile races will collect Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a 100-40-20-10 basis. The 147th running of the Grade I, $3 million Kentucky Derby will be held at Churchill Downs on May 1. Before getting to my picks for the Santa Anita Derby, Blue Grass and Wood, let’s review my selections for last Saturday’s Grade I Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park and Grade III Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park. I had the right approach to take a stand against the favorite in both of those races. Unfortunately, I did not go with the right horse in my attempt to beat the chalk. Greatest Honour was backed down to 4-5 favoritism in the Florida Derby. I picked Spielberg first and Known Agenda second. Spielberg was sent away at 7-1. Known Agenda was 5-1. I opted for Spielberg mainly because Southern California shippers had been doing so well lately in graded stakes races on the Kentucky Derby trail. I picked Spielberg even though he had drawn post 10 (not good) and had been inconsistent. “Despite Spielberg’s unreliability, I’m going to stick with him as my top pick” in the Florida Derby, I wrote. After Spielberg finished a respectable second in Oaklawn Park’s Grade II Rebel Stakes, I thought maybe he finally would put together back-to-back good efforts last Saturday. He didn’t. Spielberg lost the Florida Derby by 17 1/4 lengths while finishing eighth in the field of 11. Known Agenda won by 2 3/4 lengths. He paid $12.80 for each $2 win wager. Oh, how I am kicking myself for not making Known Agenda my top pick. I consider it a golden opportunity to have slipped through my fingers. (Insert frowny face emoji.) This was trainer Todd Pletcher’s record sixth Florida Derby winner after Scat Daddy in 2007, Constitution in 2014, Materiality in 2015, Always Dreaming in 2017 and Audible in 2018. Always Dreaming followed his Florida Derby victory by capturing the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby. Pletcher also won the 2010 Kentucky Derby with Super Saver. In last Saturday’s Grade III Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park, I also was on the right track to not go with 5-2 favorite Tarantino. He finished last in the field of 11. Hockey Dad was my top pick. Hockey Dad ran well, but he had to settle for third at odds of 7-1. The winner was Like the King, who likewise was sent away at 7-1. For Xpressbet.com in late January, I began making selections in the U.S. races offering points toward the Kentucky Derby. Of the 16 such races to date, I have picked the winner in eight of them, as noted below: Date Race (Selection) Finish, $2 win payoff if applicable 01-30-21 Holy Bull (Greatest Honour) WON, $7.6001-30-21 Robert B. Lewis (Medina Spirit), WON, $4.0002-06-21 Sam F. Davis (Candy Man Rocket), WON, $8.2002-06-21 Withers (Donegal Bay), finished 7th02-13-21 Risen Star (Senor Buscador), finished 5th02-13-21 El Camino Real Derby (Rombauer), WON, $4.4002-26-21 Battaglia Memorial (Gretzky the Great), finished 3rd02-27-21 Southwest (Essential Quality), WON, $3.8002-27-21 Fountain of Youth (Greatest Honor), WON, $4.0003-06-21 Gotham (Freedom Fighter), finished 4th03-06-21 Tampa Bay Derby (Hidden Stash), finished 2nd03-06-21 San Felipe Stakes, Life Is Good, WON, $3.0003-13-21 Rebel Stakes, Concert Tour, WON, $5.4003-20-21 Louisiana Derby, Proxy, finished 4th03-27-21 Jeff Ruby Steaks, Hockey Dad, finished 3rd03-27-21 Florida Derby, Spielberg, finished 8th 10 TO CLASH IN RUNHAPPY SANTA ANITA DERBY Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert had planned to run Life Is Good in the Santa Anita Derby. The undefeated multiple graded stakes winner undoubtedly would have been an overwhelming favorite. But Life Is Good currently is on the mend from a left-hind ankle injury. Undaunted by Life Is Good’s defection, the powerful Baffert barn still will be represented in the Santa Anita Derby by the likely favorite in Medina Spirit. Medina Spirit, unlike Life Is Good, is not undefeated. Medina Spirit has won two of four career starts. But Medina Spirit would be undefeated if not for finishing second twice to Life Is Good. Medina Spirit began his racing career with a three-length maiden win in a Los Alamitos sprint on Dec. 11. The Florida-bred Protonico colt then finished second to Life Is Good in Santa Anita’s Grade III Sham Stakes on Jan. 2. Four lengths off the lead at the eighth pole in the Sham, Medina Spirit came on thereafter to lose by just three-quarters of a length. That is the closest anyone has come to defeating Life Is Good. After the Sham, Medina Spirit won Santa Anita’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes in game fashion by a neck on Jan. 30. He then again took on Life Is Good in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 6. Life Is Good trounced Medina Spirit in the San Felipe. Life Is Good won by eight lengths, while Medina Spirit came in second. Even though Medina Spirit did not win the San Felipe, he showed heart late in the race by retaking second after having been passed by Dream Shake. It’s all the more impressive that Medina Spirit finished second that day because he did so despite a throat issue. After the San Felipe, Medina Spirit “had a little ulcer in his throat and looked like he was starting to entrap, so they did a minor procedure on it and he’s doing great now and has since turned in two works,” Secretariat.com’s Steve Haskin wrote. One of the reasons I am not going to pick against Medina Spirit in the Santa Anita Derby is his trainer’s stellar record in this race. Baffert has won the Santa Anita Derby a record nine times (Cavonnier in 1996, Indian Charlie in 1998, General Challenge in 1999, Point Given in 2001, Pioneerof the Nile in 2009, Midnight Interlude in 2011, Dortmund in 2015, Justify in 2018 and Roadster in 2019). Moreover, as Jeremy Plonk of Countdown to the Crown recently pointed out, check out which trainer has won almost all of Santa Anita’s 3-year-old graded stakes races going back to the 2019 Santa Anita Derby: Trainer, Race, Winner --Bob Baffert, 2021 San Felipe Stakes, Life Is Good--Bob Baffert, 2021 San Vicente Stakes, Concert Tour--Bob Baffert, 2021 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, Medina Spirit--Bob Baffert, 2021 Sham Stakes, Life Is Good--John Shirreffs, 2020 Santa Anita Derby, Honor A.P.--Bob Baffert, 2020 San Felipe Stakes, Authentic--Bob Baffert, 2020 San Vicente Stakes, Nadal--Bob Baffert, 2020 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, Thousand Words--Bob Baffert, 2020 Sham Stakes, Authentic--Bob Baffert, 2019 Santa Anita Derby, Roadster My selections for the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby are below: 1. Medina Spirit2. Dream Shake3. Rock Your World4. Roman Centurian With a furlong to go in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe, it looked like Dream Shake was going to run second after he had passed Medina Spirit. Dream Shake would go on to weaken a bit late and finished third. But the Kentucky-bred Twirling Candy colt certainly had a right to weaken some late in that it was only his second career start and it was his first race going farther than 6 1/2 furlongs. Now, with two races under his belt, including a start in a 1 1/16-mile contest, it will not be surprising to see a big effort from Dream Shake this Saturday for trainer Peter Eurton. Rock Your World is something of a wild card in the Santa Anita Derby. He’s two for two and appears to have a ton of talent. But both wins have come on the grass. So, the question is, how will Rock Your World do when racing on the dirt for the first time this Saturday? He did record a bullet workout on the dirt last Sunday for trainer John Sadler, five furlongs in :59.20. Not only was it the fastest of 76 works at the distance that morning, it was two full seconds faster than the average time that day of 1:01.20. John Sadler trains Rock Your World, whose sire, Candy Ride, set a track record of 1:59.11 when he won Del Mar’s Grade I Pacific Classic on dirt in 2003, a mark that still stands. Roman Centurian finished fourth in the San Felipe, a race he lost by 13 1/2 lengths. But the Kentucky-bred Empire Maker colt is dangerous in the Santa Anita Derby off his effort in the Lewis when he lost by just neck to Medina Spirit. In the Lewis, Roman Centurian nosed out Hot Rod Charlie for second. Hot Rod Charlie subsequently won Fair Grounds’ Grade II Louisiana Derby by two lengths. BLUE GRASS STAKES TOPPED BY ESSENTIAL QUALITY Essential Quality looms a short-priced favorite in the Blue Grass. This drf.com headline was correct when it stated: “Essential Quality draws post 4 in nine-horse Blue Grass field.” However, DRF writer Marty McGee once again was mistaken when writing that “Essential Quality has been assigned post 4 as the heavy favorite in a field of nine 3-year-olds in the Grade II, $800,000 Blue Grass Stakes, to be run Saturday at Keeneland for the 97th time.” Assigned post 4? Just who did the “assigning?” Was it the racing secretary? Did someone else do the assigning? No, Essential Quality did not get “assigned” post 4. He got post 4 in a random draw. Trained by Brad Cox, Essential Quality is undefeated in four lifetime starts. Not only that, the Kentucky-bred Tapit colt is two for two at Keeneland. Essential Quality won both the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity and Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland last year en route to being voted an Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male. In his lone 2021 start to date, Essential Quality registered a 4 1/4-length victory as a 9-10 favorite in Oaklawn Park’s Southwest Stakes, which was contested on a sloppy track Feb. 27. My selections for the Blue Grass Stakes are below: 1. Essential Quality2. Highly Motivated3. Keepmeinmind4. Rombauer WOOD MEMORIAL ATTRACTS FIELD OF NINE I honestly don’t like my chances of picking the winner in the Wood Memorial. I see it as a wide-open affair. I am not particularly bullish on Prevalence. Sure, he might win. Prevalence is two for two and a definite contender. Who knows? Maybe he will go out there and win big. But until I am proven otherwise, I think Prevalence is somewhat overrated (sort of like the Big 12 in March Madness). Prevalence’s Beyer Speed Figures of 87, then 83 just do not get my pulse racing. Similarly, a major reason I went against Greatest Honour in the Florida Derby is he had yet to run a Beyer above an 89. While I do have Risk Taking ranked No. 9 on my current Kentucky Derby Top 10, I am not totally sold on him, either. Like Prevalence, a reservation I have concerning Risk Taking is he has yet to record a Beyer higher than 89. What I do like about Risk Taking is the improvement he has shown since having blinkers added to his equipment (much like Known Agenda and Hot Rod Charlie). Risk Taking is two for two with blinkers. I also like it that both of those victories came at 1 1/8 miles. Chad Brown trains Risk Taking, a Kentucky-bred Medaglia d’Oro colt. For me, the Wood pretty much boiled down to going with either Weyburn or Crowded Trade as my top pick. Weyburn, trained by Jimmy Jerkens, won Aqueduct’s Grade III Gotham Stakes on March 6 by a nose when credited with a 95 Beyer Speed Figure. Crowded Trade lost by a scant nose for Brown when also being credited with a 95 Beyer. The Gotham was Weyburn’s first start since Dec. 5. Crowded Trade, I thought, ran a heckuva race to nearly win the Gotham in that it was only his second career start. Brooklyn Strong warrants consideration off his win in the Grade II Remsen Stakes on a sloppy track last Dec. 5 at the Big A. The concern with him, of course, is he has not started since the Remsen. My selections for the Wood Memorial are below: 1. Crowded Trade2. Weyburn3. Risk Taking4. Brooklyn Strong KNOWN AGENDA JOINS KENTUCKY DERBY TOP 10 I had Greatest Honour ranked at No. 4 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 last week. After he ran third in the Florida Derby, Greatest Honour slides down a couple of notches to No. 6 this week. Florida Derby winner Known Agenda debuts on my Top 10 this week at No. 4. My Kentucky Derby Top 10 for this week is below: 1. Essential Quality2. Concert Tour3. Hot Rod Charlie4. Known Agenda5. Medina Spirt6. Greatest Honour7. Midnight Bourbon8. Keepmeinmind9. Risk Taking10. Dream Shake Five horses listed on my Top 10 are scheduled to race this Saturday. They are Essential Quality (Blue Grass), Medina Spirit (Santa Anita Derby), Keepmeinmind (Blue Grass), Risk Taking (Wood) and Dream Shake (Santa Anita Derby). UPDATED STRIKES SITUATION My Derby Strikes System (DSS) consists of eight categories developed to try and ascertain a horse’s chances to win the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May from both tactical and historical perspectives. When a horse does not qualify in one of the categories, the horse gets a strike. The eight categories are listed at the end of this column/blog/article. A number of the categories in the DSS are tied to the Kentucky Derby being run in May. Consequently, when the race was switched from May 2 to Sept. 5 last year due to the pandemic, it rendered the DSS unworkable. The DSS is back now that the Kentucky Derby is returning to its traditional spot on the calendar in 2021. According to the DSS, going back to 1973 and excluding the Kentucky Derby of 2020 when the race was run in September, the vast majority of Kentucky Derby winners have had zero strikes or one strike. Since 1973 (again excluding 2020), 39 out of the Kentucky Derby winners (81%) have had zero strikes or one strike, while just seven have had two strikes. The seven Kentucky Derby winners with two strikes were: Cannonade (1974) Categories 3 and 4Ferdinand (1986) Categories 2 and 4Sea Hero (1993) Categories 3 and 5Funny Cide (2003) Categories 2 and 8Giacomo (2015) Categories 2 and 5Justify (2018) Categories 1 and 8Country House (2019) Categories 2 and 3 The only Kentucky Derby winner with more than two strikes was: Mine That Bird (2009) Categories 1, 4, 5 and 8 In the 2019 Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security had zero strikes and finished first by 1 1/4 lengths. However, the stewards disqualified Maximum Security and placed him 17th when ruling that he had committed a foul by veering out sharply nearing the five-sixteenths marker to cause interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy. It is not until a horse’s next race will be the Kentucky Derby that a horse’s number of strikes can be determined. These are the strikes for 13 current candidates for this year’s Kentucky Derby who are scheduled to make their next start in that race: ZERO STRIKES OR ONE STRIKE Greatest Honour (Category 3)Helium (Category 5)Hot Rod Charlie (Category 4)Known Agenda (no strikes)Like the King (no strikes)Mandaloun (Category 4)Midnight Bourbon (Category 4)Spielberg (Category 5) TWO STRIKES Hockey Dad (Categories 2 and 4)O Besos (Categories 2 and 3)Sainthood (Categories 2 and 7)Soup and Sandwich (Categories 2 and 7) THREE STRIKESPapetu (Categories 2, 4 and 5) ESSENTIAL QUALITY FAVORED IN FUTURE WAGER In Pool 1 of the 2021 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW), which closed on Nov. 29, Life Is Good was the 5-1 favorite among the 22 individual horses. Essential Quality was the second choice at 8-1. In Pool 2 of the KDFW, which closed on Jan. 24, Life Is Good was the 7-1 favorite among the 23 individual horses. Essential Quality again was the 8-1 second choice. In Pool 3 of the KDFW, which closed on Feb. 14, Life Is Good again was the 7-1 favorite and Essential Quality the 8-1 second choice among the 23 individual horses. In Pool 4 of the KDFW, which closed on March 7, Life Is Good was hammered down to 2-1 favoritism after his eight-length San Felipe victory. Essential Quality was the 5-1 second choice. Pool 5, which is the final 2021 KDFW pool, closed last Sunday. Essential Quality was the 4-1 favorite. The “All Other 3-Year-Olds” option, which includes Florida Derby winner Known Agenda, closed at 5-1, as did Grade II Rebel Stakes winner Concert Tour. Below are the final odds for Pool 5 of the 2021 KDFW: 4-1 Essential Quality5-1 “All Other 3-Year-Olds”5-1 Concert Tour9-1 Greatest Honour12-1 Hot Rod Charlie13-1 Medina Spirit21-1 Prevalence25-1 Highly Motivated27-1 Midnight Bourbon28-1 Helium30-1 Risk Taking31-1 Rock Your World33-1 Caddo River35-1 Weyburn36-1 Collaborate36-1 Mandaloun38-1 Crowded Trade44-1 Hozier45-1 Dream Shake46-1 Spielberg50-1 O Besos51-1 Proxy53-1 Hidden StashSCR Hush of a Storm Wagering on Hush of a Storm was suspended after he emerged from his third-place finish in the Rebel with an injury, according to Churchill Downs. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS Mystic Guide rose to the top of this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll after winning last Saturday’s Group I, $12 million Dubai World Cup by 3 3/4 lengths. Trained by Michael Stidham, Mystic Guide now is two for two this year. The 4-year-old Ghostzapper colt splashed his way to a six-length victory in Oaklawn’s Razorback Handicap on Feb. 27 in his 2021 debut. Stidham has been training since 1979. I first got to know him in 1980 at Louisiana Downs. He won multiple stakes races at that Louisiana Downs meet with Me Good Man and Viterbo. When I saw Stidham do that, it was clear to me that the young conditioner might go on to accomplish some big things. And now, all these years later, Stidham has added a victory in the rich Dubai World Cup to his resume. The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 333 Mystic Guide (21)2. 328 Charlatan (10)3. 309 Monomoy Girl (6)4. 249 Swiss Skydiver (1)5. 231 Knicks Go6. 193 Colonel Liam7. 122 Idol8. 68 Maxfield9. 52 Shedaresthedevil10. 45 Gamine Following Known Agenda’s Florida Derby triumph, he debuts at No. 4 in this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll. The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 373 Essential Quality (31)2. 330 Concert Tour (6)3. 258 Hot Rod Charlie4. 240 Known Agenda5. 185 Medina Spirit6. 178 Greatest Honour7. 89 Risk Taking8. 88 Life Is Good (1)9. 70 Midnight Bourbon10. 51 Helium MY DERBY STRIKES SYSTEM’S CATEGORIES What are the eight categories in my Derby Strikes System? They are listed below: 1. THE GRADED STAKES CATEGORY. (The horse ran in a graded stakes race before March 31.) This points out horses who have competed against tough competition prior to March 31 rather than at the last minute in April, enabling the horse to be properly battle-tested. (Exceptions: Since the introduction of graded stakes races in the U.S. in 1973, only Genuine Risk in 1980, Sunny’s Halo in 1983, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Always Dreaming in 2017 have won the Kentucky Derby without running in a graded stakes race at 2 or early at 3 before March 31.) 2. THE WIN IN A GRADED STAKES CATEGORY. (The horse has won a graded stakes race.) This points out horses who have shown they have the class to win a graded stakes race. (Exceptions: Ferdinand in 1986, Alysheba in 1987, Funny Cide in 2003 and Giacomo in 2005 are the only exceptions since the introduction of U.S. graded stakes races in 1973; Alysheba in 1987 did finish first in the Blue Grass, only to be disqualified and placed third.) 3. THE EIGHTH POLE CATEGORY. (In either of his or her last two starts before the Kentucky Derby, the horse was either first or second with a furlong to go.) This points out horses who were running strongly at the eighth pole, usually in races at 1 1/16 or 1 1/8 miles. By running strongly at the same point in the Kentucky Derby, a horse would be in a prime position to win the roses. Keep in mind that 52 of the last 55 Kentucky Derby winners have been first or second with a furlong to run. Since Decidedly won the Derby in 1962 when he was third with a furlong to go, the only three Kentucky Derby winners who were not first or second with a furlong to run were Animal Kingdom, third with a furlong remaining in 2011 when only a half-length from being second; Giacomo, sixth with a furlong to go in 2005; and Grindstone, fourth with a furlong to run in 1996. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the Kentucky Derby winners who weren’t either first or second at the eighth pole in his or her last two starts have been Tim Tam in 1958, Carry Back in 1961, Cannonade in 1974, Gato Del Sol in 1982, Unbridled in 1990 and Sea Hero in 1993, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.) 4. THE GAMENESS CATEGORY. (The horse’s finish position in both of his or her last two races before the Kentucky Derby was no worse than his or her running position at the eighth pole.) This points out horses who don’t like to get passed in the final furlong. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the exceptions have been Venetian Way in 1960, Cannonade in 1974, Foolish Pleasure in 1975, Ferdinand in 1986, Silver Charm in 1997, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Super Saver in 2010, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.) 5. THE DISTANCE FOUNDATION CATEGORY. (The horse has finished at least third in a 1 1/8-mile race or longer before the Kentucky Derby.) This points out horses who have the proper foundation and/or stamina for the Kentucky Derby distance. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the only exceptions have been Kauai King in 1966, Sea Hero in 1993, Charismatic in 1999, Giacomo in 2005 and Mine That Bird in 2009.) 6. THE NO ADDING OR REMOVING BLINKERS CATEGORY. (The horse has not added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her final start at 3 before the Kentucky Derby.) This seems to point out that, if a horse is good enough to win the Kentucky Derby, the trainer is not searching for answers so late in the game. (Since Daily Racing Form began including blinkers in its past performances in 1987, no horse has added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her last start at 3 before winning the Kentucky Derby.) 7. THE RACED AS A 2-YEAR-OLD CATEGORY. (The horse made at least one start as a 2-year-old.) (Exceptions: Apollo in 1882 and Justify in 2018. Since 1937, horses unraced as a 2-year-old are a combined 1 for 63 in the Kentucky Derby. During this period, the only horses to finish second or third in the Kentucky Derby without having raced at 2 were Hampden, who finished third in 1946; Coaltown, second in 1948; Agitate, third in 1974; Reinvested, third in 1982; Strodes Creek, second in 1994; Curlin, third in 2007; Bodemeister, second in 2012; and Battle of Midway, third in 2017.) 8. THE NOT A GELDING CATEGORY. (The horse is not a gelding.) (Exceptions: Funny Cide in 2003 and Mine That Bird in 2009 are the only geldings to win the Kentucky Derby since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929.)

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3.31.2021:

2021 RUNHAPPY Santa Anita Derby Post Draw Rapid Reaction

Saturday’s Grade 1 $750,000 RUNHAPPY Santa Anita Derby attracted a field of 10 as entries were drawn today for the west coast’s premier Triple Crown prep. Medina Spirit, winner of the Bob Lewis Memorial Stakes and runner-up in the San Felipe, drew post 7. He’ll carry the baton for the Bob Baffert stable in the absence of unbeaten San Felipe winner Life is Good, who recently underwent ankle surgery and will miss the spring classics.Xpressbet and 1/ST BET will offer wagering and live streaming on the big RUNHAPPY Santa Anita Derby Day card, which features a mandatory payout in the Rainbow 6 jackpot pool, which could exceed $5 million. With Xpressbet & 1/ST BET, horseplayers can enjoy a $20 Money-Back Special if their RUNHAPPY Santa Anita Derby win bet finishes second or third. Visit Xpressbet.com and the 1/ST BET app for details.Medina Spirit went wire-to-wire in the Lewis, but conceded the lead to the faster Life is Good last time out. He could be back on the engine Saturday in a race that lacks serious early pace. Baffert’s quest for a record-padding 10th Santa Anita Derby victory, which also includes last-out maiden winner Defunded (post 10), does come with challenges both new and old.Dream Shake (post 2), Roman Centurian (post 1) and The Great One (post 9) all were behind Medina Spirit in the San Felipe. The trio took different trajectories most recently, Dream Shake an impressive third while attending the pace and Roman Centurian and The Great One a bit more disappointing in a flat fourth and tiring fifth, respectively. Expect Dream Shake and The Great One to show more speed in the Derby than they did in the San Felipe, when connections had to be more cautious about attacking that race’s heavy favorite Life is Good. Medina Spirit won’t instill as much pace fear. The inside-outside draws for Dream Shake and The Great One also will force their rider’s hands to use more early speed.As for the new faces to the RUNHAPPY Santa Anita Derby trail, undefeated Rock Your World (post 3) has impressed in two starts on turf and will try the dirt for the first time under the tutelage of John Sadler, who won his only Santa Anita Derby in 2010 with Sidney’s Candy. He has tactical early speed and should not be far off the pace if he handles the dirt. Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen sends late-running Oaklawn maiden winner Ottothelegend (post 6) west for a class test as the field’s lone ship-in competitor.2021 RUNHAPPY Santa Anita Derby Field1-Roman Centurian (Juan Hernandez)2-Dream Shake (Flavien Prat)3-Rock Your World (Umberto Rispoli)4-Parnelli (Edwin Maldonado)5-Back Ring Luck (Tyler Baze)6-Ottothelegend (Mario Gutierrez)7-Medina Spirit (John Velazquez)8-Law Professor (Kent Desormeaux)9-The Great One (Abel Cedillo)10-Defunded (Mike Smith)The RUNHAPPY Santa Anita Derby is one of 6 stakes on the big card in Arcadia, which welcomes fans back in limited attendance for the first time in more than a year. No walkup ticket sales will be available; all seating must be purchased in advance. The card also features the Santa Anita Oaks, a pair of turf stakes, and a pair of stakes for the California-breds. First race post time will be 3:00PM ET.  

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3.30.2021:

Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis-$20,000 Guaranteed Pool

The feature at Pompano Park is a fillies and mares Open Pace that rolls in Race 4 and has a $11,500 purse. The 0.50 Pick 4 starts in Race 6. The sequence has a $20,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 64-Beach Journey (4-1)-Has improved since joining the Krieser barn 2 starts back and now drops. This is good post for Miller to work a stalking trip and will respect chances. Consistent record at the Pomp this year, hitting the board in 9 of 11 starts with 4 wins.6-She'sgotitgoingon (7/2)-Makes 2nd start off the bench and should like the company. Could be tighter but the question is, will she be dialed on high?? Lightly raced mare might be better on a larger oval.8-Evas Sports Czech (6-1)-Takes a meaningful drop and has the gate speed to be put in play early. If Holiday gets the top without much strain this mare could be tough to reel in.Race 74-Gucciriffic (6-1)-Left hard from post 7 in last and got a good early seat but raced evenly the rest of the mile. Has been cashing checks and should be forwardly placed. Tries Lasix for the 2nd time and could surprise if it kicks in.5-Buddha Beach (8/5)-Boyd takes a seat and he is an uptick. Comes off an even effort but did pace the 2nd half in 56.3 with a 28.2 last quarter. Looking for more in 2nd start after a 3 month hiatus.6-Two Of Hardts (9/5)-Started from post 10 and got away 3rd off the gate and then basically was sucked around to finish 3rd. All in all not a bad effort in 1st local start and 1st start since 10-6. Figures to be in the hunt with this post draw if steps-up off of the last effort.Race 84-Muscles for Life (3/2)-Raced on 3-9 and was a sharp winner at this class and then was scratched sick. Fits like a glove at this class and in the past has been super consistent. Should be a major player if close to 100%.6-In Secret (9/5)-Comes off a sharp effort versus this kind at 0.40 to a buck. Likes the south Florida experience finishing no worse than 2nd in 6 of 7 starts with 3 pictures, so is a must use.Race 94-Image Of A Dream (2-1)-Has either been stuck outside or in too tough. Now drops to a spot to shine. Plano tuned her up off the gate in last to get the point and should follow the same script here. Should be difficult to beat if on the engine or in the pocket versus this crew.6-Dads Filly (7/2)-Needs a sharp effort to come out on top at this class. But has been in good form and probably has the best gate speed in the field. If fires out and grabs a good seat, chances to cash the top check get a lot better and should be a square price.0.50 Pick 44,6,8/4,5,6/4,6/4,6Total Bet=$18Check me out on Twitter!

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3.30.2021:

1/ST Look SA Stats: Baffert, O'Neill Roll Into Derby Week

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Santa Anita Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Southern California. And be sure to support “The Great Race Place” by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Santa Anita Park.HeadlinesSanta Anita has a $505,627 Rainbow 6 carryover heading into this week’s 3-day racing week, Friday-Sunday … Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby Day card will have a mandatory payout in the Rainbow 6 wager, a pool that could top $5 million … Limited on-track attendance with pre-sale purchased tickets only will be welcomed back to Santa Anita beginning Friday. No walk-up admissions will be permitted … Fields for Saturday’s 6-stakes card, including the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, will be drawn Wednesday. The Derby is expected to be led by Bob Lewis Memorial winner and San Felipe runner-up Medina Spirit.Stronach 5Stronach 5 races this Friday, April 2, will be:Leg A – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:50Leg B – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:13Leg C – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:22Leg D – Santa Anita Park Race 4 with an approximate post time of 5:44Leg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 4 with an approximate post time of 5:591/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Santa Anita Park last week, each winning at a 33% or greater win rate.Avg. Turn TimeTrainer 1 Year Win %Avg. Best 2 of Last 3 SpeedTrends Last Week-- Trainer Bob Baffert had the dominant hand at 8: 4-0-2, including a 3-for-4 mark with favorites. He went 3-for-3 teamed with jockey Flavien Prat. Since February 14, the duo is 7: 6-1-0 and nearly unbeatable.-- Trainer Doug O’Neill, back from suspension, continued the hot ways Leandro Mora was credited with in recent weeks, with a 5: 2-2-0 performance. The Mora/O’Neill crew is 19: 7-5-2 the past 3 weeks.-- Trainer John Shirreffs remained on point with a 4: 2-0-2 week. He’s now 6: 3-1-2 over the past 2 weeks and is 50% in the exacta from his last 14 starters locally.-- Jockey Flavien Prat continues to ride rings around the competition with a 20: 7-8-2 week. He’s now 16-for-40 (40% wins) the past 2 weeks with 27 exacta finishes (68% top-2).-- Favorites cooled their jets after a 51% run the previous 2 weeks, going 4-for-13 (31%) on both dirt and turf this past week.

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3.30.2021:

1/ST Look GP Stats: Who are the April Powers?

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Gulfstream Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in South Florida. And be sure to support Gulfstream by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Gulfstream Park.HeadlinesGulfstream Park begins its 2021 spring-summer meeting Wednesday to open a 5-day racing week … The Rainbow 6 jackpot starts anew with the beginning of the meet … Last year’s spring-summer meet leaders were jockeys Edgar Zayas (137 wins) and Miguel Vasquez (127) as well as trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. (59 wins) … Florida Derby top-3 finishers Known Agenda, Soup and Sandwich and beaten favorite Greatest Honour all are expected to march on to the Kentucky Derby on May 1.Stronach 5Stronach 5 races this Friday, April 2, will be:Leg A – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:50Leg B – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:13Leg C – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:22Leg D – Santa Anita Park Race 4 with an approximate post time of 5:44Leg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 4 with an approximate post time of 5:591/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Gulfstream Park last week, each winning at a 27% or greater win rate. Speed factors have been among the most impactful over the past 3 weeks.Speed Last RaceAvg. E2 PaceWin %Trends Last Week-- Last April’s fast starters to the spring-summer meet at Gulfstream included Daniel Pita (8: 3-1-1 with $57 and $80 bombers), Michael Tomlinson (14: 4-2-0 with $27 and $75 winners) and Bob Hess Jr. (13: 4-1-1 $1.32 ROI for every $1 bet).-- Trainer Steve Budhoo, just 1-24 at the Championship Meet going into closing week, went 2-for-2 including Grade 3 winner Eye of the Jedi. Budhoo posted $15 and $50 winners to give him momentum into the new meet.-- Trainer Jose Garoffalo also showed momentum to close the meet with a 2-for-4 week that boasted $13 and $44 winners.-- While some of trainer Kelly Breen’s runners will head north, he closed the Championship Meet with a third straight solid week, going 6-for-19 during that span. He’ll be in the entry box at GP probably until Monmouth opens in late May.

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3.30.2021:

1/ST Look GGF Stats: Sherman & Frey Top Team

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Golden Gate Fields. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Northern California. And be sure to support GGF by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Golden Gate Fields.HeadlinesTurf racing for 2021 returns to GGF on Thursday, kickoff day to a 4-day racing week … Golden Gate Fields has a $37,892 Rainbow 6 carryover heading into Thursday’s card … Nominations close April 15 for GGF’s Gold Rush Day, an April 24 stakes-laden program featuring 6 big-money events, including the Grade 3 San Francisco Mile and the California Oaks and Derby … Stalking Shadow won a March 26 allowance mile for Jonathan Wong that could serve as a springboard to the California Derby. On that same March 26 card, Steve Miyadi-trained Lookin for a Fight announced his candidacy for the Lost in the Fog on Gold Rush Saturday … Grade 1 Gamely winner Keeper Of the Stars is on the local workout tab for Wong with a possible return in the Golden Poppy on Gold Rush Saturday.Stronach 5Stronach 5 races this Friday, April 2, will be:Leg A – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:50Leg B – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:13Leg C – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:22Leg D – Santa Anita Park Race 4 with an approximate post time of 5:44Leg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 4 with an approximate post time of 5:591/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Golden Gate Fields, each posting at least 28% winners and a flat-bet profit. The factor Speed Last Race won 33% and had a $22.40 profit if you bet $2 to win on every top selection.Best Speed DistanceSpeed Last RaceLast Turn TimeTrends Last Week-- Trainer Steve Sherman overpowered the competition with a 13: 7-1-0 mark and was 3-for-4 with favorites. Sherman and jockey Kyle Frey were 5-for-7 in tandem. Sherman’s sprinters at 6 furlongs or less when 5-for-8.-- Trainer Tim McCanna continued his hot run by going 7: 4-1-1 and posted $6, $6, $10 and $16 winners. That was good for a $2.87 ROI for every $1 bet. The barn is 11-for-28 in March and 42% winners since March 5.-- Trainer Tim Bellasis was on point with a 4: 3-0-0 week that boasted $6, $16 and $18 victories. He used 3 different riders on his winners, including a pair of main track routes.-- Trainer Reid France hints at a breakout after his 8: 2-4-0 performance, though all 4 runner-ups were 2-1 or less. It’s been an ongoing saga at the meet with 10 wins and 14 second-place finishes from 46 starts (52% in the exacta).-- Jockey Kyle Frey has been riding a lot of chalk, but his 29: 8-6-8 record outshined the rest. He partnered with the favorite in 13 of those, including 4 of his 8 wins.

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3.29.2021:

Monday Myths: Are Classier Horses More Likely to Repeat Wins?

Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities.Assumption:A classy horse is more likely to hold good form and repeat victories than a cheaper-class runner.Background:Odds-on favorite Greatest Honour was defeated in Saturday’s Curlin Florida Derby, snapping a 3-race winning streak. It’s fair for horseplayers and fans to assume a win streak can’t go on forever, and that it’s difficult to keep any horse in top form for an extended period of time. Most horseplayers say that that the lower-class horses are least-trustworthy when it comes to maintaining their winning form race after race. Is that true? And are the highest-class horses like Greatest Honour the most trusted to repeat victories? Let’s find out.Data Points:I crunched the numbers in the Betmix database for every Thoroughbred race in North America over the past 5 years, going back to Mar. 29, 2016. The study looked at last-out winners and how they performed in their follow-up race. I separated horses by class, from claiming to allowance to listed stakes to graded stakes. I also looked at horses who were trying to repeat in the same class level in back-to-back races.Claiming horses going for a repeat victory of any kind won 17.8% and had a $1 ROI of $0.77.Allowance horses going for a repeat victory of any kind won 16.3% and had a $1 ROI of $0.79.Non-graded stakes horses going for a repeat victory of any kind won 16.1% and had a $1 ROI of $0.74.Graded Stakes horses going for a repeat victory of any kind won 15.7% and had a $1 ROI of $0.79.//Claiming horses going for a repeat victory in another claiming race won 19.1% and had a $1 ROI of $.0.81.Allowance horses going for a repeat victory in another allowance race won 20.4% and had a $1 ROI of $0.79.Non-graded stakes horses going for a repeat victory in another non-graded stakes race won 24.7% and had a $1 ROI of $0.70.Graded stakes horses going for a repeat victory in another graded stakes race won 22.5% and had a $1 ROI of $0.75.Overall Findings:The gap between horses going for a repeat victory among the class levels varies 2.1% from lowest to highest and the ROI for such runners consistently comes back a solid net loser between $0.74-$0.79. Because horses moves up and down in class, that can certainly impact the results.When you look at horses remaining in the same class level while seeking back-to-back victories, the gap expands to 5.6% from best to worst, while the ROI bounces all around inconsistently. The win % among the non-graded and graded stakes horses makes large increases when running back at the same class level.Overall Findings Verdict:The first list gives the impression that claiming runners are more likely to repeat their victories than any other class of runner. They have the highest win percentage when seeking back-to-back scores (17.8%). But under further review, that is inflated by a 20% win rate for class-droppers coming out of allowance and stakes who repeat victories via the claiming ranks (many times moving from a smaller circuit stakes to a larger circuit claiming race).The second list reverses that story when you look strictly at claiming horses trying to repeat, allowance horses trying to repeat, and so on. There, it’s quite apparent that stakes and graded stakes horses have a much higher propensity to double down on a victory than a claiming horse. But what you’ll also see is that the public entrusts those classier runners to the point that the ROI for them is far shorter than the claiming repeaters. You’ll win fewer times betting claimers back to repeat a win, but win more money in the long run.Bottom line:It’s true, classier horses are more likely to hold their winning form and repeat. But bettors can find more value in the claimers trying to do so, even if they win less often.Additional Details:You can go into Betmix and run your own queries for a deeper dive into this theory and any that you can create. For instance, take a look at the tracks you play most often to see if they fall in line with this study’s conclusions. I did a fun search by track and saw that Will Rogers (23.7%) and Mountaineer (22.7%) were the highest strike rates for claiming horses trying to win back-to-back. Though the lower level of racing to be sure, those in-form claimers have held their form the best. On the graded-stakes end, Oaklawn (29.0%) and Santa Anita (28.5%) are the tracks where you’re most likely to see a repeat winner at the top level.

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3.29.2021:

Monday, March 29: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis-$20,000 Guaranteed Pool

Pompano Park starts the week with a 10-race card and the 0.50 Pick 4 begins in Race 6. The sequence has a $20,000 guaranteed pool with a low 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 63-Live Lucky (5/2)-Left hard in last and might get the top in an easier fashion with this post draw. Miller could find a way to save some gas and finish the mile off this time. The Blood barn is batting 39% over the last 30 days and best to respect.5-Brilliant Strike N (7/2)-Needs to come up with a top effort to take a picture. But gets the post draw for Plano to have some options and should be a threat with the right trip.6-Beachboydesire (5-1)-This 6-year-old has been a hot commodity at the claim box and looks like a player here. Chindano should be blasting out and could get the top or a 2-hole trip behind the 3.Race 75-Poof Daddy (8/5)-It's hard to dive in with this morning line price but didn't have the smoothest journey in last. This looks like a 2-horse race and one day Daddy may show up with a top effort.6-Uncle Si (2-1)-No disrespect to connections but Si has had more than his share of bad trips and now Miller takes a seat. That's a +++ driver change and comes off 2 sharp tries, so will look for the upswing to continue.Race 82-Ideal Feeling (5-1)-Looking for some value and this Blood trainee may benefit from the post draw to get an edge on some tough foes.4-Seeing Eye Single (7/2)-Has consistently cashed checks at this class and Miller, the regular pilot returns here. Hasn't taken a picture since 1-25 but this is a spot to get a nice trip and make amends.5-Skip To My Lou (3-1)-Was an odds-on winner at this class in last and looks like the one to beat here. Did score a gate to wire win last week but can also cross the wire first by coming off cover and that may work better this time.Race 92-Play To The Crowd (5-1)-Makes the 3rd start for the new barn and drops to a more comfortable spot. This mare can show more gate speed than she has recently and it might be the time for a more aggressive try at a square price.3-Beyond the View (2-1)-Winner of 2 straight deserves respect but this field looks to be deeper and may not get the top without a struggle.5-New Number Who Dis (9/5)-Recent starts have been dull but draws well and now drops to a spot to shine. Hennessey steers, that's a +++ driver's change and should be bet hard.My Ticket Race 6) 3,5,6 Race 7) 5,6 Race 8) 2,4,5 Race 9) 2,3,5Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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3.28.2021:

Sunday, March 28: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis-$25,000 Guaranteed Pool

Cal Expo has a 12-race card on tap with the 0.20 Pick 4 slated in Race 9. The sequence has a $25,000 guaranteed pool with a 16% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 94-Sherwood (9/2)-The Graham barn is batting 27% in the last 30 days and this 5-year-old may fire hot off the bench. Qualifier on 3/21 was fine and had success at this level in the past. Should be a square price in a race without a standout.5-Mr Steal Your Girl (12-1)-Swinging for a price in a scattered affair. Scicluna has driven well in the last few weeks and maybe he can hang around and make one big brush to roll by late down the lane.6-Paddy Murphy (2-1)-Does drop but form has been dull. Pompano record is 1-11 and is only 3 for the last 39 but still rates as the program chalk, so that tells you something. Maybe Roland will be able to wake Paddy up.8-Dance Traveler (6-1)-Hasn't had much success but was facing better. Gets off Lasix tonight and was Steward's choice over the 7. Has been competitive here hitting the board 8 times in 16 starts with 2 wins, using and the price should be right.Race 103-Keystones Charles (6-1)-Dropped down to the basement, went off as the odds-on chalk and drew off by >4 lengths. Steps-up but the entire field has only 7 wins this year. Could be in line for an encore if upswing continues.5-Waitin On A River (6-1)-Another who was facing better and hasn't been in this cheap since January. Anderson needs to find some live cover but from this post that could happen and lead to an overdue win.8-In For The Chase (12-1)-Has had excuses in the last 2, before that beat this kind but it was from the rail. Should offer a big price and will use over the morning line chalk #6 who comes off a pair of scratches. Could surprise if the fractions are lively.9-Ridonkuloso (8-1)-Makes the 1st start for Plano and the issue is if he can squeeze into a good early seat and then rally. If the pace is decent this 6-year-old should be rolling down the lane and Plano knows well.Race 114-Dw'sblissfulthinkn (4-1)-Svendsen drives for consecutive times and this mare needs a sharp steer. Hasn't won in a long time but with some live cover and a decent pace this could be the night in a race devoid of form.6-Haulin' Oats (2-1)-Looking for Plano to leave and fall into the pocket and get sucked around. If that trip comes about this 5-year-old could close the deal.Race 122-Trashytonguetalker (3-1)-Makes the 3rd straight start in sequence and that hasn't happened since January. Should like the company and looks to be a major player with a clean trip.5-Queenace Blue Chip (2-1)-Has been battling in some quick miles and gets the services of Roland tonight. Should get a smooth journey and has hit the board in 9 of 17 at CalX with 5 wins.My Ticket Race 9) 4,5,6,8 Race 10) 3,5,8,9 Race 11) 4,6 Race 12) 2,5Total Ticket Cost) $12.80 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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3.28.2021:

Sunday, March 28: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Fair Grounds – Sixth Race – Post time: 3:25 CT6 – Dramatizer (8-1)Sophomore filly was in too tough and had no chance as a closer in a race without any pace in a listed stakes earlier this month but this first-level allowance middle distance turf event is a much more realistic spot for the daughter of Exaggerator. A deep closer with numbers that fit at this level, the K. Desormeaux-trained filly can bounce back with a repeat of her clever maiden claiming win two races back over this course and distance and offers good wagering value at 8-1 on the morning line.Santa Anita – Second Race – Post time: 1:35 PT1-Vronsky Zips Away (3-1)Here’s a four-year-old maiden filly that finished unplaced in her first two starts but might very well be better than the form indicates. The daughter of Vronsky switches to dirt, shortens from a mile, and drops into a bottom-rung claimer from straight maiden company and has trained quite well of late to indicate she hasn’t yet shown her best stuff. If she can run, this would be a good spot to show it, and we strongly suspect that the C. Gaines-trained filly has enough ability to win in this league. At 3-1 on the morning line, she’s worth a play in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.

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3.28.2021:

Sunday, March 28: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click here to access today’s Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: BUse: 2-In Vronsky Style; 3-BeaudaciousForecast: Beaudacious stretches out for the first time in this state-bred maiden turf miler and based on pedigree the son of Karakontie should enjoy the added distance. A repeat of his race before last probably will be good enough to win. In Vronsky Style hit the front too soon and weakened late when a fairly promising second in his debut. He returns for a barn that shows superior stats with the second-time starter angle and with patient handling the P. D’Amato-trained gelding could step forward considerably and be the one to fear most.RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Vronsky Zips Away; 5-La V.; 6-Bristol BayouForecast: Vronsky Zips Away switches to dirt, shortens from a mile, and drops into a bottom-rung claimer from straight maiden company. If she can run, this would be a good spot to show it, and recent workouts indicate that the C. Gaines-trained filly has enough ability to be highly-competitive against this group. Bristol Bayou is guaranteed a soft trip from her cozy outside draw and the daughter of Carpe Diem should have every chance to earn her diploma in her 14th career start. She drops to her lowest level ever and has consistently earned speed figures that are better than par for this levels. La V. is another dropping to the maiden $20,000 level for the first time with figures that give her a look. In a field with little early speed signed on, the L. Powell-trained daughter of Midnight Lute should find herself on or near the lead throughout.RACE 3: Post: 2:12 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Du Jour; 3-HubrisForecast: Du Jour rates top billing in this five-runner turf allowance miler but we’ll also include Hubris on our ticket as well. Du Jour did what was expected when graduating at 40 cents on the dollar over this course and distance last month and has trained quite well since, so we expect the son of Temple City to produce a significant forward move today. He’ll likely enjoy the same type of pace-stalking trip he did in his maiden victory. Hubris didn’t have a whole lot behind him when beating a maiden $50,000 field over the local lawn in his second career start but visually he was quite impressive while controlling the race on the front end. If he’s handed the lead again without pressure, he may never look back. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying Du Jour on top.RACE 4: Post: 2:45 PT Grade: C+Use: 3-Call Nine One One; 4-Coastal KingForecast: Here’s an inscrutable affair, a lackluster maiden $30,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-olds. Call Nine One One was given a run in his debut against maiden $50,000 foes on turf and today should get serious against this very modest band. The son of Graydar had shown some ability in the morning prior to that first outing so at 6-1 on the morning line he may be worth a small gamble. Coastal King, a distant third at 38-1 in a similar affair last month, earned a number that makes him a threat today. With any kind of forward move, the V. Belvoir-trained gelding will be right there. We’ll use just these two in our rolling exotics, but not with any great degree of confidence, so perhaps the best advice is to use as many as your budget allows.RACE 5: Post: 3:18 PT Grade: B-Use: 4-Holy Emperor; 6-Ox BridgeForecast: Maiden $50,000 claiming older horses meet over a mile on grass in a race that appears to have two main players. Holy Emperor, second at this level over nine furlongs last month, shortens to a mile while retaining F. Prat and has trained quite well since his most recent outing. He’s a 10-race maiden but has numbers that are good enough to win, so if he can turn in two alike the son of Street Sense should be set to graduate. Ox Bridge shows the blinkers off angle that we like and should be expected to move forward after finishing a willing third in a recent turf sprint in his first outing since September of 2019. With any kind of improvement, the D. O’Neill-trained gelding will be the one to fear most.RACE 6: Post: 3:48 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Adare; 4-Magic On Tap; 5-Palace CoupForecast: Adare was given a sprint tightener in his first-off-a-layoff two weeks ago and is wheeled back for the money run in this first-level allowance main track miler that came up fairly salty. The son of Medaglia d’Oro was quite sharp in a six furlong workout just six days ago and is reunited with “win rider” R. Gonzalez while being assured of a ground-saving trip from his favorable rail draw. Magic On Tap, away since September of 2019, has trained in outstanding fashion for his comeback, and since he won his debut we know he can fire fresh. Fast enough on speed figures and still well-regarded despite now being 5-years-old, the son of Tapit picks up F. Prat and should draft into a stalking position and then have every chance. Palace Coup projects as the controlling speed in his West Coast debut for P. D’Amato. On pure numbers he’s a fit and there’s a strong likelihood that his improving pattern will continue for this high percentage outfit. We’ll have rolling exotic tickets that include all three and then we’ll press with Adare in the win pool.RACE 7: Post: 4:18 PT Grade: B-Use: 6-Mongolian Mission; 7-Velvet; 8-Whistler’s Style; 10-Damn the TorpedoesForecast: Let’s include some price chances along with the logical top pick in this grass grab bag miler for maiden 3-year-old fillies. Velvet hit the board in her first two starts and retains F. Prat, but she did fail at 6/5 when third in a modest affair last month and this group appears on paper to be tougher. That said, the daughter of American Pharoah shows the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern for trainer R. Mandella, who excels with this angle, and recent workouts indicate a significant forward move is likely. Whistler’s Style, Damn the Torpedoes, and Mongolian Mission all are listed at 12-1 on the morning line and we suspect each will outrun those odds. ‘Style shortens up to what we believe will be a more favorable trip and looked sharp in a recent drill; ‘Torpedoes walked out of the gate and lost all chance in her sprint debut but closed a gap and continues to train like a filly with ability; and ‘Mission is bred to improve a ton on both sides of her pedigree on grass and may be much better than her second place finish in a maiden $50,000 main track affair in her debut gives her credit for.RACE 8: Post: 4:48 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Major Cabbie; 5-Ax ManForecast: Major Cabbie had a right to be a bit rusty in the San Carlos S.-G2 in his first start in 15 months but performed well when fourth without being knocked about See Black Book Video and seems certain to be fitter and sharper today on the stretch out. The P. Miller-trained horse does his best when on or near the lead throughout and should get the aggressive ride he requires from A. Cedillo. Ax Man is a five-time winner over the Santa Anita main track, and while you can never been quite sure when he’s going to show up with his “A” game the son of Misremembered has looked especially sharp in recent drills and appears primed for one of his good ones. In a tough and competitive edition of the Santana Mile, each of the six entrants has credentials to win, so you may want to spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll try to survive and advance using just two.RACE 9: Post: 5:18 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Bam Bam Again; 3-Next Revolt; 10-ThreearchbaymafiaForecast: The finale is a restricted (nw-2) $16,000 extended sprint that has at least three contenders to consider in rolling exotic play. Next Revolt retains F. Prat in his first start since being claimed by R. Hess, Jr., and while he’s been beaten three times as the favorite in his last six starts the son of Revolutionary has numbers that fit and a style that should suit this seven furlong trip. Threearchbaymafia isn’t particularly fast on figures but he’s guaranteed a cozy stalking trip from his outside draw and is lightly raced with the potential for some improvement. Bam Bam Again is just 1-for-16 in his career but is a first-time gelding, so on that angle alone he’s probably worth tossing in somewhere at 10-1 on the morning line.

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3.28.2021:

Sunday March 28: My Late Pick 4 Ticket Sunday at Gulfstream

The Late Pick 4 Sunday at Gulfstream Park looks like it could be a good sequence for trainer Bill Mott -- at least the first half of it, anyway.The Hall of Famer has tough runners in the ninth and 10th races, which are the first two of the exotic play.Spotters Hill look strong in the ninth in his career debut and it's no secret that Mott runners do better in the second start. If that's the case here, Spotters Hill be getting his picture taken. Endorsed is in allowance race in the second leg and comes off a solid second. He's in with a classy group but can be tough if he runs back to his last one.Here's a look at the sequence, along with a suggested $40 play.9th Race (3:16 p.m. ET, maidens)SPOTTERS HILL set the pace and settled for second in his debut and the French-bred colt doesn’t have to show much improvement to get the job done.10th Race (3:48 p.m. ET, allowance optional claiming)ENDORSED has a good chance to make it back-to-back wins for Mott. He moved up with a sharp third in his second one off a layoff and is likely to be stronger this go-round. It probably won’t hurt that he turns back from a mile to seven furlongs.LUDINGTON goes for his third straight and moved well up in class in his latest. Is hitting peak form and while he doesn't seem as classy as some of the others, his streak can't be ignored.PHAT MAN has been in graded stakes in six of his last seven races and his last win came in the Fred Hooper Stakes in 2020. He was fifth in the G2 Gulfstream Mile last out and gets a big drop in class.LEXITONIAN is a class act and was second in the G1 Bing Crosby. The only thing that could make him vulnerable is a five-month layoff. Outstanding sprinter, and if they all run their best here, he wins.11th Race (4:22 p.m. ET, claiming)PIONEER MAN comes off a second and was claimed by Mike Maker. Stays as the same level and will be force.FIG JELLY makes his second off the claim by Kelly Breen. He's back to two turns and can be in the hunt from the outset.IMPERIAL MISSION held on for fourth after being pressed early. Likely to get a better trip today.SALUTE THE COLONEL woke up a bit and finished fifth last time, thanks to a group to this level. He's been successful in much tougher races and could regain good form.STREET COPPER was a solid second against similar in what was his best effort in 1.5 years. Big player on the front end.12th Race (4:54 p.m. ET, maiden claiming)HE AIN’T NO SAINT was second in his last two and can finally graduate if he runs back to either of those races.YOUNG FLINT showed signs of life in his last attempt on the turf and most recently was a well-beaten second in a race that game off the turf. Probably a late threat here.WARP SPEED BABY has enough speed and to battle from the beginning and can dig in for a good fight late.SWEENEY’S CAT drops in class and can make a quick move from the outside post. Can be close throughout.Gulfstream Park Late Pick 4 for Sunday:Race 9) #1 Spotters Hill.Race 10) #1 Endorsed, #2 Ludington,#7 Phat Man, #8 Lexitonian.Race 11) #1 Pioneer Man, #2 Fig Jelly, #3 Imperial Mission, #4 Salute the Colonel, #7 Street Copper.Race 12) #1 He Ain’t No Saint, #2 Young Flint, #3 Warp Speed Baby, #8 Sweeney’s Cat.Total Ticket Cost) 1/1,2,7,8/1,2,3,4,7/1,2,3,8 = $40.

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3.27.2021:

Saturday, March 27: Woodbine Mohawk Park Mandatory Hi-5 Payout

Tonight, there will be a mandatory payout in the Super Hi-5 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The pool was frozen last Saturday and the carryover is $262,454.05.As is usually the case in a mandatory payout situation, this is a challenging affair and it's difficult to completely eliminate many of the participants. My plays are built around #10, as a win possibility, and #6 towards the top of the ticket.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 11-Jackpot Hi-51-Outlaw Aceofspades (8-1)-Hit the board in 14 of 21 starts last year with a 150.2 mark here but hasn't taken a picture in 2021. Beat better than this at the end of 2020 and comes off 2 even efforts versus easier while going off as the chalk both times. Using towards the bottom of the ticket and might be overlooked at the windows.2-Ideal Perception (6-1)-Beat #1 in last but is only 3 for the last 24 and has 1 win in 11 tries here. But could be in the hunt at a nice price. Can pass some foes down the lane and should be put in play early. Might get sucked around and surprise. Did face some tough company last year and comes off a sharp win.3-Bettor B Going (10-1)-Not the easiest to figure out but could hang around to cash a check at long odds. Not a win candidate but can be in the hunt with a top effort. Will use underneath and might add some juice to the Hi-5 payout from this post.4-Legion Seelster (7/2)-If this 5-year-old is near his best he should be a main player but there are some question marks. Beat better than this in 2020 but was put away after a win on 7-11 and then didn't qualify until 2-18-21. Was battling in a Preferred Handicap on 3-20 and now drops in for a $30,000 tag. Could draw off and win if firing on all cylinders at a short price.5-Real Willey (8-1)-The case could be made McNair will keep Willey in play to hit the bottom of the ticket. Looks like a minor player and will need the right trip to cash a check versus this field.6-East End (4-1)-Here's another dropper who was in with #4 facing Preferred Company and has cashed checks recently against tougher than this. This is the 1st start for the Fellows barn and lands in a good spot. MacDonald steers tonight and this looks like a candidate to use near the top of the ticket.7-Evenwood Sonofagun (3-1)-Raced from the back of the pack and closed hard with a 55.3 last half versus similar to cash a 2nd place check. This field looks deeper and being 13 lengths back at the first call isn't a winning formula here. McClure needs to work the right trip and my guess is this 9-year-old won't offer much value but could be sitting on a big try.8-P L Jackson (15-1)-Doesn't fit well with this group and the post draw doesn't help at all. This looks like one that could be tossed or used at best in the 5th slot.9-Butter Bay Hanover (15-1)-Has the gate speed to get a decent early seat and might hang around but appears to be in tall cotton. Might sneak in at the bottom of the ticket at long odds but this field is probably too tough to expect better.10-Mongolian Hero N (9/2)-Drops to a more comfortable spot after leaving from the 2nd tier in last. Did close in .55 but that wasn't good enough as the fractions weren't hot and was far back early. My guess is the speed inside will help Roy put this 8-year-old in a good seat early on. The pace should be lively and could be in striking range at the top of the lane. Best to not overlook at a square price.11-Pointomygranson (15-1)-Would need to trip out to beat this group and that doesn't appear likely from the 2nd tier. Won't completely toss but will use only at the bottom of the ticket.0.20 Hi-510/6/2,4,7/1,2,3,4,7/1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9,11=$16.800.20 Hi-510/2,4,7/6/1,2,3,4,7/1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9,11=$16.800.20 Hi-52,4,7/6,10/6,10/1,2,3,4,7/1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9,11=$33.60Total Bet=$67.20Check me out on Twitter!

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3.27.2021:

Saturday, March 27: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Click here to view The Florida Derby-G1 Video AnalysisTurfway Park– Eighth Race – Post time: 4:40 ET8-Gagetown (7/2)Returns to his preferred trip (sprinting) after looming a threat but then flattening out late in a trio of highly-rated two-turn allowance races at Fair Grounds, and while the son of Exaggerator is being raised into stakes competition he does have speed figures that are good enough to win. Most effective when held up and allowed to run late, the B. Cox-trained colt retains F. Geroux and at this extended sprint trip he should be capable of producing the last run. There’s wagering value at or near his morning line of 7/2.Gulfstream Park – Eleventh Race – Post time: 4:43 PT4-Lucky Law (6-1)Spun his wheels when unplaced in the Sam F. Davis S. over the Tampa Bay Downs dirt track last month but returns to his preferred surface (grass) today and seems likely to recapture his winning form in this year’s edition of the Cutler Bay S. The P. Biancone-trained colt possesses an exceptional turn of foot, so if he can secure cover and then find room to accelerate when room develops the son of No Nay Never can tag the speed while offering a good gamble at 6-1 on the morning line.

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3.27.2021:

Saturday, March 27: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click here to view The Florida Derby-G1 Video AnalysisClick here to view today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: C+Use: 2-Big Bell; 4-Bossy Mama; 7-Mind MeldForecast: The Saturday opener is a challenging turf sprint for state-bred maiden 3-year-old fillies that requires heavy coverage in rolling exotic play. Bossy Mama stopped to a walk in her debut but has returned to work quite well and might deserve another chance with the switch to grass. She’s had trouble changing leads in the morning but if she can correct her footwork the daughter of Street Boss might get brave on the front end. Big Bell has don’t anything extraordinary in the morning but is certainly bred to handle the lawn (Mr. Big) and attracts red-hot leading rider F. Prat. Mind Meld is bred for grass (Point of Entry) and has trained fairly well for her debut, so at 4-1 on the morning she’s worth including as well. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead.RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Bye Bye Miss Pie; 3-Bruja EscarlataForecast: Bye Bye Miss Pie burned money in her debut when finishing second at 50 cents on the dollar but then made amends with an authoritative four length score from off the pace in her next outing. She moves into the first-level allowance ranks today and catches a field with plenty of zip, so we suspect F. Prat will employ patient handling once again. Bruja Escarlata is undefeated in two starts in lesser company but she’s fast enough on speed figures to handle this tougher assignment. The daughter of Street Boss can take heat and dish it out and if she can shake loose early the J. Sadler-trained filly will be very hard to run down. They’re hard to separate so we’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then have a few extra tickets keying Bey Bye Miss Pie on top.RACE 3: Post: 2:09 PT Grade: B+Single: 2-WhatdididoForecast: The known element doesn’t inspire so let’s go with a fresh face in this turf sprint for maiden 3-year-old California-breds. Whatdidido has trained like a quick type for P. D’Amato and in an open fray gets the edge on top. A recent bullet half mile workout on the training track (:47.4h) was accomplished under a nice hold, so we suspect this son of Grazen has more speed than his steady but unspectacular work tab might indicate. At 2-1 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 4: Post: 2:45 PT Grade: BSingle: 1-Hard ImmunityForecast: Hard Immunity was a visually pleasing winner for $32,000 last month and has trained quite well since for his first-off-the-claim out for J. Sadler (powerful stats with this angle). He’ll have to break cleanly from the rail to avoid trouble but if the Union Rags gelding can stay within range early in this abbreviated sprint he’ll have every chance to roll on by from the quarter pole home. F. Prat has ridden him twice, winning both times. At 8/5 on the morning line he’ll probably not offer too much value in the win pool but if nothing else we can use him as a rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post: 3:20 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Hartel; 3-Armour Plate; 4-Exultation; 7-SigalertForecast: In a restricted starter optional claiming turf sprint in which most of the entrants lack a winning spirit, we’ll spread this race four deep and hope one of them can manage to find the wire. Sigalert, fourth in a similar spot last month after encountering early trouble that cost him valuable position, can turn it on late and could tag the speed at a nice price with some help up front. The lightly-raced son of Street Sense is less exposed than the other contenders, so at 6-1 on the morning line he may be worth a small gamble. Exultation, second in four of his last five starts, just can’t seem to seal the deal but he’ll be in the right spot as usual heading for home and have every chance when the pressure is turned on. The same can be said for Armour Plate, a veteran gelding with just one win from 22 career starts. However, he has the popular route-to-sprint angle while retaining F. Prat, so he’s a reluctant “must use.” Hartel is the quickest of the quick and will take them as far as he can.RACE 6: Post: 3:55 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Captain Scotty; 8-OctopusForecast: Captain Scotty just missed for $32,000 last time out but was a voided claim and today shows up in a $20,000 seller that will be his for the asking if he has at least one good one left. The ex-classer switches to F. Prat and projects as a shorter price than his morning line of 9/5. Octopus is worth including on your rolling exotic ticket for protection. Drawn comfortably outside and moving up a notch off a win following a $16,000 claim by D. O’Neill, the son of Shackleford is a bit shy in the speed figure department but is genuine and consistent, having finished first or second in half of his 14 career starts.RACE 7: Post: 4:25 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Salvaator Mundi; 4-GregdarForecast: Gregdar has really improved of late, most recently earning a career top speed figure when wearing down subsequent winner Whisper Not over this turf course with a good turn of foot and then coming back to train extremely well in the interim. There should be pace up front to compliment late kick, so let’s put the P. D’Amato-trained colt on top and hope to get close to his morning line of 2-1. Salvator Mundi exits a tougher race, is assured a ground-saving trip from his good inside post and retains F. Prat. This 10 furlong trip should be within his range and the son of Artie Schiller and on pure numbers he’s a solid fit.RACE 8: Post: 4:55 PT Grade: BUse: 7-Defense Wins; 8-Dark PrinceForecast: Defense Wins, just claimed for $25,000 by P. Eurton, returns protected in a sign of confidence, and while he’s failed to deliver the last three times he went favored the veteran sprinter switches to F. Prat and shouldn’t make any mistakes in this starter optional claiming main track sprint. He’s just 1-for-13 with seven seconds/thirds, but at least the victory was accomplished over the local main track and after finishing in the frame in his last three the son of Flatter certainly is overdue for another visit to the winner’s circle. Dark Prince continues to work well in the morning while underperforming in the afternoon. Drawn comfortably outside, the son of Cairo Prince wants to be held up and allowed to run late and given that type of ride from E. Maldonado the B. Baffert-trained gelding can outrun his 6-1 morning line. Toss him in somewhere.RACE 9: Post: 5:25 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Mucho Unusual; 3-Going to Vegas; 5-Red AlertForecast: The featured Santa Ana S.-G3 goes as the Saturday finale, with Mucho Unusual the deserved 8/5 morning line favorite. She lands the lovely rail draw, switches to F. Prat, and is a Grade-1 winner over this course and distance, so it all adds up. Going to Vegas, fourth in the recent Buena Vista S.-G2 in the same race that Mucho Unusual just finished second in, will appreciate this stretch out in trip and the switch to top turf rider U. Rispoli. A three-time winner over the Santa Anita lawn, the R. Baltas-trained daughter of Goldencents seems sure to fire her best shot under these conditions.Red Lark, a non-threatening fifth in the Buena Vista, is another that seems likely to improve at this longer distance and with some help up front should make some noise from the quarter pole home.*

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3.26.2021:

Friday, March 26: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click here to view today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: XSingle: 5-Beyond BrilliantForecast: Beyond Brilliant finished eagerly to be second in a promising racing debut in a better-than-par race for the level last month and seems sure to move forward off that race in this extended sprint for maiden-special-weight 3-year-olds View Black Book Segment. Drawn comfortably outside and guaranteed an easy, in-the-clear trip, the son of Twirling Candy has little to beat in this five runner affair and is listed as the 2/5 morning line favorite. The J. Sadler-trained colt is unplayable at that price but we can use him a no-value rolling exotic single while otherwise passing the race.RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Starship Defiant; 3-FursaceForecast: Here’s another five-starter event, this one for older maiden-special-weight fillies and mares sprinting five and one-half furlongs. Fursace displayed early speed before weakening to finish fifth in her debut in January and seems likely to improve considerably with that effort behind her. The B. Koriner-trained filly has worked well since that race and projects to be the controlling speed unless one of the newcomers is quicker than we suspect. The daughter of Smiling Tiger will be tough to catch at 7/5 on the morning line. Starship Defiant has flashed some ability in the a.m. leading up to her debut and is the one to fear most. The barn doesn’t win often with first-timers but this daughter of Empire Way gets the stable’s “go-to” rider J. J. Hernandez and really won’t have to be any type of world beater to give the favorite some competition. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 3: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: C+Use: 6-Amiko Chew; 7-Acoustic Shadow; 9-UnbreakableForecast: The third race is a messy maiden claiming turf miler for older fillies and mares with nothing to trust, so we suggest you tread lightly. Unbreakable may be as good as any, especially considering her monumental jockey switch to red-hot F. Prat. Third when beaten less than a length in a similar event last month, the daughter of Broken Vow is a one-paced grinder and must secure a decent trip from her outside draw, but after earning a career top speed figure in her last start the M. Puype-trained four-year-old may be ready to earn her diploma. Amiko Chow finished a nose in front of Unbreakable in their common race Feb. 19 and should be in the fray one again. Acoustic Shadow, first off the claim for P. D’Amato, has been disappointing in a pair of recent works since making the barn switch but based strictly on form she’s right there with the other two.RACE 4: Post: 2:44 PT Grade: BSingle: 3-Justin’s QuestForecast: You can spread this race or take a stand; we’ll try the latter option while hoping that Justin’s Quest, never really one to trust but making his first start off the $35,000 T. Yakteen claim, shows up with his best effort;. Always willing in the a.m. and continuing to look sharp in recent workouts, the son of Justin Phillip is reunited with “win rider” F. Prat, returns to dirt - arguably his preferred surface - and projects to enjoy a comfortable second flight position in a race with plenty of speed to set things up for a closer. The drop from $35,000 to $20,000 is an aggressive move designed for an immediate return on investment with the concession that if someone wants him, the can have him.RACE 5: Post: 3:15 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Astronaut; 6-On Easy StreetForecast: We’ll double the sixth race, a nine furlong maiden grass affair for older horses. Astronaut has speed figures that fit, a good inside draw, and switches to F. Prat, so he can be expected to produce a career top performance in a race lacking in depth. A good series of workouts since raced indicates the lightly-raced son of Quality Road is headed in the right direction. On Easy Street is an eight-race maiden and perhaps not one to trust, but a sharp runner-up effort vs. similar over this course and distance two runs back charts nicely in this spot, so if the P. Gallagher-trained son of Street Boss can run back to that race today he’ll be right there.RACE 6: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Bezos; 6-There Goes HarvardForecast: Bezos flopped badly at 3/5 in his debut but gets a chance for a do-over today while stretching out, getting the rail, and facing a field that ensures he’ll be the controlling speed. It’s hardly too late for this son of Empire Maker to fulfil his promise but if he’s going to develop into a good colt this is the type of race he should be able to win. There Goes Harvard is a progressive type adding blinkers for the first time in his third career outing and looked quite good in recent morning trials with the hood on. The M. McCarthy-trained is easily the most dangerous of the closers, and if our top pick fails to see out the trip this son of Will Take Charge will be heard from in the final furlong.RACE 7: Post: 4:15 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Shes’a Perfectlady; 4-TranslateForecast: Shes’a Perfectlady is a progressive daughter of Carpe Vinum fresh from a confidence-building maiden claiming win sprinting over the local lawn that produced a career-top speed figure. She’ll need another significant forward move to upset the 4/5 morning line favorite Translate but could have it in her after impressing in a pair of sharp recent training track workouts. The J. Sadler-trained filly retains F. Prat and projects to enjoy an ideal, second-flight, ground-saving trip that should have her within striking distance at the head of the lane. Translate is strong in the speed figure department, shows two excellent races over the Santa Anita turf course, and seems likely to draft into a pace-stalking trip and then have every chance to exert her superiority when the pressure is turned on. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics with the better-priced Shes’a Perfectlady getting the slight edge on top.RACE 8: Post: 4:45 PT Grade: C+Use: 5-Medsa’s Gaze; 6-AgataForecast: Agata shows up in a maiden claimer for the first time and this drop in class should make the winning difference for this state-bred daughter of Gervinho. We like the route-to-sprint angle – especially at this seven furlong distance – but do have some concerns that in her fourth career outing this will be the first start on dirt for a filly bred strictly for grass. For protection, we’ll also toss in Medusa’s Graze, third in a similar affair earlier this month and with speed figures that have risen in each of her four starts to date.

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3.26.2021:

Friday, March 26: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Oaklawn Park– Third Race – Post time: 2:02 CT4-Lindsylu (6-1)In what we’ll concede is not much more than an educated guess, let’s take a flyer on this 3-year-old filly in a maiden special-weight sprint restricted to those that sold at auction for $90,000 or less. Barely making the cut off after bringing $85,000 last summer at the OBS Open sale, the daughter of Anchor Down displayed plenty of speed when breezing a furlong in 10 seconds flat, the fastest time at the preview session, so while her recent workouts at Del ta Downs have been slow, we know this filly has plenty of zip. The always-potent S. Asmussen-R. Santana, Jr. trainer/jockey team catches the eye, so let’s make her a win play at or near her morning line of 6-1 and also key her in the various rolling exotics.Santa Anita – Seventh Race – Post time: 4:17 PT1-Shes’a Perfectlady (5/2)This progressive daughter of Carpe Vinum is fresh from a confidence-building and visually impressive maiden claiming win sprinting over the local lawn that produced a career-top speed figure. She’ll need another forward move to upset the 4/5 morning line favorite Translate but after impressing in a pair of sharp recent training track workouts the J. Sadler-trained filly certainly is headed in the right direction. She retains F. Prat and projects to enjoy an ideal, second-flight, ground-saving trip, so at 5/2 on the morning line she’s worth a gamble in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.

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3.26.2021:

1/ST BET AI Picks Triple Crown Preps: Florida Derby & More

This Saturday’s Triple Crown prep races toward the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes will be the Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby at Turfway Park. To help you handicap the premier stakes 5 weeks in advance of the Kentucky Derby, the 1/ST BET app’s artificial intelligence provides its look at the data for both races.Selections provided by the 1/ST BET app measure each contender against the 10 leading factors for each race. The 1/ST BET app looks at 52 handicapping factors and more than 200,000 past races to determine its AI selections. You can use the automated handicapping factors, or create your own factor filters to incorporate angles you prefer.Gulfstream Park // Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby // Race 14 // 6:40 PM ET#7 Greatest Honour // 33%W // 49%P // 56%S#10 Spielberg // 12%W // 23%P // 33%S#5 Known Agenda // 12%W // 33%P // 50%S#8 Soup and Sandwich // 12%W // 15%P // 31%S#9 Collaborate // 10%W // 25%P // 29%S#11 Papetu // 6%W // 17%P // 33%S#1 Nova Rags // 3%W // 13%P // 16%S#6 Sigiloso // 3%W // 7%P // 27%S#2 Quantum Leap // 3%W // 6%P // 9%S#3 Jirafales // 3%W // 6%P // 9%S#4 Southern Passage // 3%W // 6%P // 9%STurfway Park // Grade 3 Jeff Ruby // Race 11 // 6:25 PM ET#7 Tarantino // 27%W // 41%P // 51%S#5 Sainthood // 17%W // 33%P // 43%S#4 Awesome Gerry // 12%W // 21%P // 33%S#2 Hush of a Storm // 10%W // 28%P // 38%S#1 Like the King // 7%W // 13%P // 27%S#10 Gretzky the Great // 7%W // 13%P // 27%S#8 Moonlite Strike // 4%W // 11%P // 15%S#12 Hockey Dad // 3%W // 12%P // 22%S#11 Dyn O Mite // 3%W // 10%P // 18%S#3 King’s Ovation // 3%W // 6%P // 10%S#6 Smiley Sobotka // 3%W // 6%P // 10%S#9 Hard Rye Guy // 3%W // 6%P // 10%S

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3.25.2021:

Saturday, March 27: Johnny D's Florida Derby Picks

Each week on the Kentucky Derby trail things get ‘interestinger’ and ‘interestinger.’ March 13, the Bob Baffert-trained Concert Tour dominated the Rebel Stakes and leapfrogged nearly everyone else toward the pinnacle of Kentucky Derby top ten lists. For most, the colt’s stock ranked just below that of defending 2-year-old champ Essential Quality and San Felipe Stakes winner Life is Good. One week later, Life is Good, actual heavy favorite in early wagering for the Kentucky Derby, was removed from consideration for the race after post workout distress signaled a small chip in his left-hind ankle. As Baffert scratched one first team star from his Kentucky Derby starting lineup, the defection, ironically, moved Concert Tour, another Baffert runner, one step closer to roses in May. We also learned this week, according to DRF.com’s Jay Privman, that Baffert’s Medina Spirit had undergone an operation for a ‘slightly entrapped epiglottis.’ He’ll start next in the Santa Anita Derby. Saturday, Hot Rod Charlie, another Southern California-based soph, cemented a position in the Kentucky Derby starting gate with a strong victory in the Gr. 2 Louisiana Derby. That score, along with his runner-up effort in the Gr. 1 BC Juvenile in November at 95-1 odds, and a close third-place finish in the Gr. 3 Robert B. Lewis vault him to the top of of Derby hopefuls with 110 Louisville starting gate points. According to connections, Hot Rod Charlie will use the six weeks between now and the first Saturday in May to train up to the race. Gr. 2 Louisiana Derby runner-up Midnight Bourbon, who’s been in the hunt in all three preps in that neck of the woods, is second overall in Kentucky Derby points with 66 and also will train up to the Louisville tussle. A couple of disappointing efforts in the Louisiana Derby from favorite Mandaloun and Proxy leave connections (and bettors) wondering ‘what happened?’. No answers, so far. Mandaloun (52 Derby points) could be headed to the Gr. 1 Lexington at Keeneland and Proxy’s (34) future is undetermined at this writing. O Besos, a nearly 30-1 shot that was touted in this space as a Louisiana Derby exotics threat, finished third in that race and now has 25 points toward a start in the Kentucky Derby. His connections will wait and hope that the total is enough to make the starting gate. This week, marquee action occurs at Gulfstream Park where the third-ranked earner of Kentucky Derby points Greatest Honour (60) is expected to continue local domination in the Gr. 1 Florida Derby. He’s looked strong in winning three Gulfstream races this winter—a Maiden Special Weight race and two stakes—and his trainer, Hall-of-Fame resident Shug McGaughey, has been brimming with confidence throughout the winter. It should be noted that no horse has ever accomplished what Greatest Honour is attempting—victory in the Gr. 3 Holy Bull, Gr. 2 Fountain of Youth and Gr. 1 Florida Derby. One interesting Gr. 1 Florida Derby invader is the Bob Baffert-trained Spielberg from California. He’s been competitive with top-ranked 2-year-olds in SoCal and finished second to the consensus number one sophomore Essential Quality last out in the Gr. 3 Southwest at Oaklawn over a sloppy track. The Gr. 2 Jeff Ruby Steaks (not Stakes) is on tap at Turfway Park. The race usually doesn’t produce a serious Kentucky Derby threat, but it offers as many qualifying points (100-40-20-10) toward starting in the Derby as races like the Gr. 1 Florida, Gr. 1 Santa Anita and Gr. 1 Arkansas Derbies. Go figure. The race is decided over an ‘All Weather’ artificial surface and sometimes that form doesn’t transfer seamlessly to dirt. Nevertheless, the winner and the runner-up probably will earn enough points to start in the Kentucky Derby. The Gr. 1 UAE Derby also is Saturday and that race awards a similar total of 170 points towards starting gate berths in the Kentucky Derby. No horse has successfully made the transition from Dubai to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby, but we suppose it could happen…someday…somehow. Because of the amount of travel involved (among other issues), when it does, it will be an amazing accomplishment. Speaking of amazing accomplishments…it also should be noted that the one mile and one-eighth Fukurya will be contested Saturday at Nakayama Racecourse in Japan. That’s the final Kentucky Derby qualifying race in that country and will offer a total of 68 points to the first four finishers. The next Japanese 3-year-old to successfully ship to win the Kentucky Derby will be the first. However, we suppose it could happen…someday…somehow. Below is one man’s humble handicapping opinion regarding starters in the Gr. 1 Florida Derby: GULFSTREAM PARK (RACE 14, 6:35PM ET) // CURLIN FLORIDA DERBY (G1, $750K)Kentucky Derby Points: 100-40-20-10 1. NOVA RAGS (MOTT/ALVARADO) - 12/1 A maiden winner first out, this son of Union Rags has appeared in three stakes races since—Gr. 3 Nashua, Pasco and Gr. 3 Sam F. Davis. He won the shortest of the three, the seven-furlong Pasco and was second, one length back at 8-1, in the one mile and one-sixteenth Gr. 3 Davis after a perfect stalking trip and rail run off the turn. Like Shug McGaughey, trainer of Florida Derby favorite #7 Greatest Honour, fellow Hall-of-Famer trainer Bill Mott takes his time with young horses and Nova Rags will need to do better to win this. He has a bit of early pace and will use his rail draw to occupy prime early real estate. Exotics. 2. QUANTUM LEAP (WILKES/VASQUEZ) - 20/1 It took this fellow three starts to break his maiden, but he did it the first time he ventured around two turns last out going one-mile and one-eighth at Gulfstream Park. He’s by Pioneerof the Nile and is taking a big step up in class. Pass. 3. JIRAFALES (DELGADO/ZAYAS) - 30/1 Beaten double digits by favored #7 Greatest Honour in both the Gr. 3 Holy Bull and the Gr. 2 Fountain of Youth, this son of Social Inclusion really would need to turn the battleship around in a hurry to make noise in here. FYI…he was 106-1 odds in the Gr. 2 Fountain of Youth and outran those massive odds to finish fifth beaten 10 lengths. He’ll be a similar large number in here. Pass. 4. SOUTHERN PASSAGE (ROMANS/LANERIE) - 30/1 He’s made eight career starts, mostly Maiden Special Weight and Maiden Claiming races. Last out he was second, beaten three lengths by promising 3-year-old Prevalence. He was 32-1 in that $75k/Optional Claiming race. These are much tougher. He is fit, though, because that one-mile race was March 11. Pass. 5. KNOWN AGENDA (PLETCHER/ORTIZ JR.) - 5/1 This son of Curlin snapped his maiden by finishing a head in front of favorite #7 Greatest Honour going one mile and one-eighth at Aqueduct in November. While #7 Greatest Honour hasn’t lost since, Known Agenda has had a bit of an in-and-out career. Next out, off his maiden score, Known Agenda finished a well-beaten third in the Gr. 2 Remsen over a sloppy Aqueduct track. Away December until February, he returned as favorite in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay. Things didn’t go well early in the race—he didn’t leave the gate running and was between horses and shuffled a bit approaching the first turn. That left him well behind the early leaders. He closed some ground much too late. Trainer Todd Pletcher then added blinkers and sent him north to Aqueduct for a confidence-boosting Allowance/Optional $75k Claiming race romp by 11 lengths. He’s certainly fit and back on the winning track but he’s yet to display the necessary development that would make him a legitimate Kentucky Derby threat. Exotics. 6. SIGILOSO (SANO/REYES) - 30/1 Fresh off a couple of even efforts in a pair of turf stakes—fourth in the Gr. 3 Kitten’s Joy and fifth in the Listed Palm Beach—this son of Khozan returns to dirt where he made the first start of his career in a state-bred Maiden $40k claiming race. Pass. 7. GREATEST HONOUR (MCGAUGHEY/ORTIZ) - 6/5 It took this son of Tapit four races to break maiden but that’s understandable. Hall-of-Fame trainer Shug McGaughey famously takes time with young horses and allows them to fully mature. Greatest Honour’s first two races were at seven furlongs and he finished third in each, displaying talent and a propensity for longer distances. In his third start, going one mile and one-eighth at Aqueduct, he and #5 Known Agenda hooked up in a furious stretch battle 21 lengths clear of Overtook in third. #5 Known Agenda got the better of Greatest Honour that afternoon by a head, but Greatest Honour is unbeaten in three starts since— a Maiden, Gr. 3 Holy Bull and Gr. 2 Fountain of Youth—all at Gulfstream. Overtook returned to break maiden next out and then finished second in the Withers. Tapit offspring are known for having long-fuses and require distance for their best. Greatest Honour races from well off the pace and has looked strong in the lane even when the early pace hasn’t favored his closing style. His development at Gulfstream closely mirrors that of Kentucky Derby winner Orb, also trained by McGaughey. He’s the one to beat in here but, as was pointed out by Todd Sidor in Thoroughbred Racing Commentary, “There have been 14 Florida Derby winners who have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby, and 15 who have finished first in the race including Maximum Security’s 2019 disqualification. That’s a better record any other prep race. But none have ever managed to sweep the Gulfstream Park preps, including the G3 Holy Bull Stakes, the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes and the Florida Derby.” Despite that history, Greatest Honour is the Most Likely Winner. 8. SOUP AND SANDWICH (CASSE/VELAZQUEZ) - 20/1 Unbeaten in two starts (with an asterisk), this homebred son of Into Mischief won a state-bred Maiden Special Weight sprint first out at Gulfstream by more than seven lengths. That led to romping score by nearly three lengths at Tampa Bay Downs going one mile and 40 yards. And that’s where the asterisk comes in. In that allowance win he defeated just two other foes for what amounted to a paid workout. He raced greenly through the stretch, lugging in and nearly brushing the rail as he virtually galloped home in front. He’s got some talent but it’s not clear exactly how much. And he certainly needs to concentrate more on his work. Soup and Sandwich is a bit of a wild card in here; difficult to dismiss but tough to embrace. He’s got some pace, likes the track, is unbeaten (with an asterisk), has solid connections and room to improve…hmmm. Think we’ll pass on him for now but he could have a future down the road. Pass. 9. COLLABORATE (JOSEPH JR/GAFFALIONE) - 6/1 A very impressive, more-than-12-length maiden mile winner in his second start last out at Gulfstream, this son of Into Mischief has loads of talent. As favorite in his first start going six furlongs over a sloppy track, he broke a step slow to be well back in the field of 12 and then rallied to lose by less than two lengths. That effort suggests a future ‘off’ track won’t bother him. The hurdle he desperately needs to clear in here is one of experience because he has little of that. Talent can overcome much but he’s facing a group with at-least equal ability AND more experience. He might enjoy a helpful advantage, though, because this race appears void of much early speed. He could take them a long way on the front end. It’s an ambitious spot but this is the material upsets are made of. Exotics/Win Chance. 10. SPIELBERG (BAFFERT/CASTELLANO) - 4/1 Trainer Bob Baffert has a barn full of talented runners. Even though he recently lost Life is Good to injury, he’s still buried under an abundance of rich 3-year-old talent. Forced to disperse capable performers nationwide in an attempt to keep them separated, Baffert dispatches Spielberg to Florida from California, an unusual move for this trainer. Come Pegasus World Cup time, Gulfstream Park has been a prime target for Baffert’s older horses, but it hasn’t been a sophomore stop on previous Baffert Triple Crown trails. Spielberg brings experience to the race with eight starts—two wins, three seconds and one third. He won a maiden race at Del Mar AFTER he was both second in the Gr. 1 Del Mar Futurity and third in the Gr. 1 American Pharoah at Santa Anita. Subsequently, he won the Gr. 2 Los Alamitos Futurity and most recently finished second in the Gr. 3 Southwest at Oaklawn Park after a lousy start over a sloppy track. He was shifting about in the gate just before it opened, and he was left several lengths behind the field. He then raced wide throughout and finally loomed to threaten race favorite and Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old champ Essential Quality in the stretch. It was a huge performance. It’s critical Spielberg breaks alertly this time, especially from the 10-hole going one mile and one-eighth at Gulfstream. This colt’s a bit unlike most Baffert sophomores in that he usually comes from a bit off the pace. A clean break may be all Spielberg needs to affirm that he’s one of the top 3-year-olds in the nation. Exotics/Win Chance. 11. PAPETU (SANO/JARAMILLO) - 15/1 This son of Dialed In has been pitched against some mighty powerful lineups—four of his last five races have come against graded stakes competition, including starts in the Gr. 1 Hopeful, Gr. 2 Saratoga Special, Gr. 3 Holy Bull and Gr. 2 Fountain of Youth. In the latter two races he chased #7 Greatest Honour home—more than 10 lengths and just over three lengths behind, respectively. He moved prematurely in the Gr. 2 Fountain of Youth and passed #7 Greatest Honour on the turn. In the end, though, #7 Greatest Honour absolutely breezed by Papetu for the win. Despite winning the first two races of his career in virtually wire-to-wire fashion going five and one-half furlongs, he’s shown little speed in recent races, coming from last to be third in the Gr. 2 Fountain of Youth. FYI…he was listed at contender’s odds of 5.50 to 1 in the Gr. 3 Holy Bull against #7 Greatest Honour. Exotics. BOTTOM LINE: #7 Greatest Honour is the one to beat. He’s got an amazing stride that seems to grow with distance. He will be a short price to do something that’s never been done before and that’s not usually a smart way to bet. #10 Spielberg ran an awesome race in the Gr. 3 Southwest and a clean break coupled with a similar effort could make him a thorn in the favorite’s side Saturday. He’s the most likely to upset the top choice. #9 Collaborate has speed and talent. That’s a dangerous combination. His lack of experience could count against him but if left alone early Saturday, he’s got a chance to upset the applecart at a decent price.   $5 Trifecta ($40)1st: #72nd: #9, #103rd: #1, #5, #9, #10, #11 $2 Trifecta ($16)1st: #102nd: #7, #93rd: #1, #5, #7, #9, #11 $1 Trifecta ($8)1st: #92nd: #7, #103rd: #1, #5, #7, #10, #11 Race On!

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3.25.2021:

Expert Kentucky Derby Top 10 Lists as of March 25, 2021

It’s Florida Derby Week, the 5-week marker on the 2021 Kentucky Derby trail. With the news that last week’s consensus No. 1 Life Is Good will miss the Triple Crown series, things have shaken up among the prospects.Our resident historians and handicappers with 1/ST BET and Xpressbet check back in with their late-March Top 10 contenders for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. We’ve included the projected next start for each horse in parentheses (subject to change).Jeff Siegel // @jsiegelracing#1 Essential Quality (Blue Grass)#2 Greatest Honour (Florida Derby)#3 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby)#4 Hot Rod Charlie (Kentucky Derby)#5 Medina Spirit (Santa Anita Derby)#6 Risk Taking (Wood Memorial)#7 Collaborate (Florida Derby)#8 Prevalence (Wood, Blue Grass or Arkansas Derby)#9 Rock Your World (Santa Anita Derby)#10 Helium (Kentucky Derby)Jon White // @PostTimeJon#1 Essential Quality (Blue Grass)#2 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby)#3 Hot Rod Charlie (Kentucky Derby)#4 Greatest Honour (Florida Derby)#5 Medina Spirit (Santa Anita Derby)#6 Spielberg (Florida Derby)#7 Midnight Bourbon (Kentucky Derby)#8 Keepmeinmind (Arkansas Derby)#9 Risk Taking (Wood Memorial)#10 Dream Shake (Santa Anita Derby)John DeSantis // @XBJohnnyD#1 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby)#2 Essential Quality (Blue Grass)#3 Greatest Honour (Florida Derby)#4 Hot Rod Charlie (Kentucky Derby)#5 Medina Spirit (Santa Anita Derby)#6 Spielberg (Florida Derby)#7 Midnight Bourbon (Kentucky Derby)#8 Roman Centurian (Santa Anita Derby or Wood Memorial)#9 Highly Motivated (Wood Memorial)#10 O Besos (Kentucky Derby)Jeremy Plonk // @HorsePlayerNow#1 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby)#2 Essential Quality (Blue Grass)#2 Greatest Honour (Florida Derby)#4 Medina Spirit (Santa Anita Derby)#5 Hot Rod Charlie (Kentucky Derby)#6 Proxy (Kentucky Derby)#7 Midnight Bourbon (Kentucky Derby)#8 Prevalence (Wood, Blue Grass or Arkansas Derby)#9 Risk Taking (Wood Memorial)#10 Hozier (Arkansas Derby or Santa Anita Derby)

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3.25.2021:

Jon White's Florida Derby and Jeff Ruby Steaks Selections

I grew up in Spokane, Wash. Known as the Lilac City, Spokane once was the home of Playfair Race Course, where Thoroughbreds raced for decades until it closed for good in 2000.On Monday, Spokane’s Gonzaga University basketball team reached the Sweet 16 in March Madness when defeating Oklahoma by 16 points (87-71). It was the Zags’ 32nd consecutive win. It was also Gonzaga’s NCAA-record 25th straight victory by double digits.Gonzaga now has made it into the Sweet 16 in six straight NCAA Tournaments, extending the longest such streak in college basketball.Do you remember how excruciatingly long the 37-year Triple Crown drought between Affirmed and America Pharoah seemed?Well, Gonzaga is seeking to end an even longer drought. In its quest for college basketball immortality, Gonzaga is attempting to become the first undefeated NCAA men’s basketball champion since Indiana 45 years ago.Rebounding is, of course, very important in basketball. I will be trying to rebound myself this week when it comes to my selections for races in this country offering Kentucky Derby points.In late January, I began making picks for Xpressbet.com in terms of races in the U.S. offering points toward the Kentucky Derby.Of the 14 such races, I have picked the winner in eight of them, as noted below:Date Race (Selection) Finish, $2 win payoff if applicable01-30-21 Holy Bull (Greatest Honour) WON, $7.6001-30-21 Robert B. Lewis (Medina Spirit), WON, $4.0002-06-21 Sam F. Davis (Candy Man Rocket), WON, $8.2002-06-21 Withers (Donegal Bay), finished 7th02-13-21 Risen Star (Senor Buscador), finished 5th02-13-21 El Camino Real Derby (Rombauer), WON, $4.4002-26-21 Battaglia Memorial (Gretzky the Great), finished 3rd02-27-21 Southwest (Essential Quality), WON, $3.8002-27-21 Fountain of Youth (Greatest Honor), WON, $4.0003-06-21 Gotham (Freedom Fighter), finished 4th03-06-21 Tampa Bay Derby (Hidden Stash), finished 2nd03-06-21 San Felipe Stakes, Life Is Good, WON, $3.0003-13-21 Rebel Stakes, Concert Tour, WON, $5.4003-20-21 Louisiana Derby, Proxy, finished 4thProxy was my top pick in last Saturday’s Grade II Louisiana Derby. He raced with blinkers for the first time. I thought that might put him in the winner’s circle. It didn’t.Now I’m hoping to bounce back.Gulfstream Park’s Grade I Florida Derby and Turfway Park’s Grade III Jeff Ruby Steaks are the two U.S. races this week in which 100-40-20-10 points are up for grabs toward a starting berth in the 147th running of the Grade I Kentucky Derby. The 1 1/4-mile Run for the Roses, which has a purse of $3 million, will be run at its traditional 1 1/4-mile distance on May 1.My selections for the Florida Derby are below:1. Spielberg2. Known Agenda3. Greatest Honour4. CollaborateI admit that I probably should be put in one of those jackets with the sleeves in the back by not making Greatest Honour my top pick. It seems like just about everybody thinks he’s going to win. He no doubt will be a heavy favorite. Will I be surprised if he wins? No. Do I think he is vulnerable and worth trying to beat at a short price in the betting? Yes, I do.As noted earlier, Greatest Honour was my top pick in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull and 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth. He won both times.But then why in the heck isn’t Greatest Honour my top pick again this time, especially since the stretch-runner figures to appreciate the longer 1 1/8-mile trip when facing 10 opponents in the Florida Derby?Greatest Honour won the Fountain of Youth going away by 1 1/4 lengths. But I did not like the way jockey Jose Ortiz was getting after Greatest Honour so much coming into the stretch in the Fountain of Youth. Granted, the Kentucky-bred Tapit colt did finally get going and overtook Drain the Clock in the final sixteenth.But to me, Drain the Clock was going backward toward the end of the race more than Greatest Honour was going forward. I think Drain the Clock is a very nice colt, but he was racing farther than seven furlongs for the first time in the Fountain of Youth. Drain the Clock is scheduled to run in a shorter race around one turn next time in Aqueduct’s Grade III Bay Shore Stakes at seven furlongs on April 3. That makes perfect sense.The way I see it, while the 1 1/8 miles should help Greatest Honour this Saturday, he also must face tougher competition this time.Another reason I’m not going with Greatest Honour in the Florida Derby is his top Beyer so far is an 89, the figure he recorded in both the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth.Furthermore, Greatest Honour’s Beyer Speed Figure for the Fountain of Youth was “originally posted as an anemic 83,” Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman wrote. It was “upgraded on overnight review to 89, equal to the career-best Greatest Honour earned in the Holy Bull.”In other words, regarding his Beyer Speed Figures, Greatest Honour is not exactly setting the bar real high for those trying to knock him off this Saturday.Like a surfer riding a wave, I’m going to ride a recent trend by making Spielberg my top selection in the Florida Derby.Two weeks ago, Southern California-based Concert Tour invaded Oaklawn Park and won the Grade II Rebel Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.Last Saturday, SoCal-based Hot Rod Charlie ventured to New Orleans and won Fair Grounds’ Grade II Louisiana Derby by two lengths.Will SoCal-based Spielberg travel across the country and capture the Florida Derby? Maybe. Or maybe not. I am saying maybe not because, quite frankly, Spielberg is far from trustworthy. He has had an up-and-down career up to this point.Despite Spielberg’s unreliability, I’m going to stick with him as my top pick. I do believe that his runner-up performance in Oaklawn’s 1 1/16-mile Southwest Stakes on a sloppy track Feb. 27 gives him a license to defeat Greatest Honour this Saturday.To be perfectly candid, after Spielberg drew post 10 in the Florida Derby, I was tempted to go elsewhere for my top pick. Post 10 is not good in a 1 1/8-mile race at Gulfstream. It’s likely to be especially problematic if Spielberg does not get off to a good start.But I am going to stick with Spielberg as my Florida Derby pick despite the unenviable post position.In the Southwest, Spielberg was off poorly and raced wide. Nevertheless, he ran well in defeat to finish second, 4 1/4 lengths behind Essential Quality, the undefeated Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male of 2020.While Greatest Honour’s Beyer Speed Figures have left something to be desired, he did receive an excellent Thoro-Graph number of 1 in both the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth. In terms of a Thoro-Graph number, the lower it is the better. This, of course, is the opposite of Beyer Speed Figures.Thoro-Graph takes many more factors into account than the Beyers. According to Thoro-Graph, “each number on a sheet represents a performance rating arrived at by using time of the race, beaten lengths, ground lost or saved on the turns, weight carried, and any effects wind conditions had on the time of the race.”But Thoro-Graph numbers also suggest that Spielberg is capable of defeating Greatest Honour this Saturday. Spielberg’s Thoro-Graph number in the Southwest was a 1, which matches Greatest Honour’s career-best Thoro-Graph number to date.It also helps Spielberg this Saturday that Baffert trains the Kentucky-bred Union Rags colt. Whenever Baffert ships a horse out of Southern California, you had better beware. Baffert’s record when doing this is nothing less than stellar.Spielberg will be the first horse Baffert has ever run in the Florida Derby.My feeling is, why not take a shot this Saturday with Spielberg (despite post 10) when he unquestionably will be a much better price in the wagering than Greatest Honour? Greatest Honour is the 6-5 morning-line favorite. Spielberg is 4-1.As for Known Agenda, who is 5-1 on the Florida Derby morning line, do I think he also can possibly beat Greatest Honour this Saturday? I do. After all, Known Agenda has already defeated him.Known Agenda and Greatest Honour clashed in a 1 1/8-mile maiden race at Aqueduct last Nov. 8. Known Agenda won by a head. Greatest Honour finished second, a whopping 21 lengths in front of third-place Overtook.Overtook is no bum, either. Overtook finished second in the Grade III Withers Stakes at the Big A on Feb. 6. Risk Taking won the Withers. The next scheduled start for both Risk Taking and Overtook is Aqueduct’s Grade II Wood Memorial on April 3.Todd Pletcher, whose induction into the Hall of Fame this year appears to be a slam-dunk, trains both Known Agenda and Overtook.I might be making a mistake by not making Collaborate my top pick in the Florida Derby. He is coming off a dazzling 12 1/2-length win in a one-mile Gulfstream maiden race on Feb. 21 after finishing fifth in the slop when unveiled in a maiden sprint there on Feb. 6. Joseph Saffie Jr. trains the Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt.There are three main reasons that ultimately kept me from not picking Collaborate higher than fourth in the Florida Derby. First, he must run against tougher foes this time. Second, he has just two races under his belt. And third, he is being asked to go farther than a mile for the first time. But there is no question that his maiden victory makes him very, very scary Saturday.By the way, yet another reason I am not making Greatest Honour my top pick in the Florida Derby is he will be trying to achieve something that has never been done before. No horse has ever swept the Holy Bull, Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby.But I will say that a huge plus for Greatest Honour in his bid to sweep these three Gulfstream races is Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. Don’t forget, if not for Sunday Silence, the McGaughey-trained Easy Goer undoubtedly would have swept the Triple Crown in 1989.JEFF RUBY STEAKSIn Saturday’s Jeff Ruby Steaks, like the Florida Derby, I am going with a Southern California shipper. My top pick is the O’Neill-trained Hockey Dad.After finishing fifth when unveiled Dec. 27 in a Santa Anita maiden contest on the dirt, Hockey Dad has reeled off three consecutive wins. The California-bred Nyquist colt is two for two on the turf. The Jeff Ruby Steaks, which has 12 entrants, will be contested on a synthetic surface. Runners who do well on the turf often also do well when running on synthetic footing.My selections for the Jeff Ruby Steaks are below:1. Hockey Dad2. Gretzky the Great3. Hush of a Storm4. TarantinoDoesn’t an exacta box of Hockey Dad and Gretzky the Great seem like an obvious hunch bet?Hush of a Storm and Gretzky the Great finished first and third, respectively, in Turfway’s John Battaglia Memorial on Feb. 26. It’s to their benefit that they have experience racing on Turfway’s synthetic surface.Tarantino finished second in the Holy Bull and fourth in the Fountain of Youth on the dirt at Gulfstream. He will be competing on synthetic footing for the first time this Saturday.This race’s name, the Jeff Ruby Steaks, certainly is a cute play on words. (Technically, it’s the Jeff Ruby Steaks Stakes, but who is going to say or write that?)Probably no race in the world has had more different names than this one. The following is what I once found in terms of various names for what began in 1972 as the Spiral Stakes at Latonia (before the track changed its name to Turfway Park in 1986):1972-1981 Spiral Stakes1982-1983 Jim Beam Spiral Stakes1984-1998 Jim Beam Stakes1999 Galleryfurniture.com Stakes2000-2001 Turfway Spiral Stakes2002 Lane’s End Spiral Stakes2003-2010 Lane’s End Stakes2011-2012 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes2013-2016 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Racing Spiral Stakes2017-2021 Jeff Ruby SteaksLIFE IS GOOD INJURED, OFF KENTUCKY DERBY TOP 10News spreads faster these days than ever before. It was not long after Life Is Good’s excellent six-furlong workout in a bullet 1:11.40 at Santa Anita last Saturday morning that word spread that he had not come out of the drill in good order.While cooling out, Life Is Good took a couple of funny steps, according to Baffert. That’s when it was realized something was bothering the colt in a hind leg. Diagnostics disclosed that Life Is Good has a very small chip in his left-hind ankle. The highly respected Dr. Larry Bramlage is scheduled to perform surgery on the Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt Friday at the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky.Life Is Good is expected to be out of commission for 60 days or so following the surgery. On Mike Willman’s ESPN 830 radio show Sunday morning, he asked Baffert if the Breeders’ Cup in November at Del Mar is an unrealistic objective at this point for Life Is Good.“He’ll be ready for that,” Baffert said.The significance that Life Is Good now is sidelined is reflected by the fact that he had closed as a strong 2-1 favorite in the most recent Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool that closed on March 7.Life Is Good, undefeated in three career starts, was going to be an overwhelming favorite in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 3. He won Santa Anita’s Grade III Sham Stakes by three-quarters of a length on Jan. 3 in his 2021 debut. Life Is Good then trounced his opponents on March 6 in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes, which he won by eight lengths despite drifting out badly in the lane.According to Baffert, the Santa Anita Derby is next for Medina Spirit, a Florida-bred Protonicus colt. If not for Life Is Good, Medina Spirit would be undefeated in four lifetime starts.In between runner-up efforts to Life Is Good in the Sham and San Felipe, Medina Spirit won Santa Anita’s Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Jan. 30.Hot Rod Charlie, who resides at Doug O’Neill’s Santa Anita barn, finished a close third in the Lewis, losing by just a head. The Kentucky-bred Oxbow colt subsequently won last Saturday’s Louisiana Derby.In Hot Rod Charlie’s final 2020 start, he finished second, three-quarters of a length behind Essential Quality, in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland.Essential Quality had a splendid workout last Saturday at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds. The Kentucky-bred Tapit colt, trained by Brad Cox, drilled five furlongs in a bullet :59.00. It was the best of 25 works at the distance.Next for Essential Quality is Keeneland’s Grade II Blue Grass Stakes on April 3.Now that Life is Good is sidelined, Essential Quality retakes the top spot in my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week after being No. 2 last week.In the wake of Hot Rod Charlie’s Louisiana Derby triumph at odds of 5-2, he vaults all the way up to No. 3 on my Top 10 this week after being No. 7 last week.Hot Rod Charlie’s trainer has two Kentucky Derby wins to his credit. O’Neill won it with I’ll Have Another in 2012 and with Nyquist in 2016.I am not crazy that Hot Rod Charlie will have six weeks between the Louisiana Derby and the Kentucky Derby. But at least that gap is shorter than the seven weeks he had between the Lewis and Louisiana Derby. The Louisiana Derby shows that he can run a big race with at least six weeks between races.I do like it that Hot Rod Charlie goes into the Kentucky Derby having won a race farther than 1 1/8 miles.My Kentucky Derby Top 10 for this week is below:1. Essential Quality2. Concert Tour3. Hot Rod Charlie4. Greatest Honour5. Medina Spirt6. Spielberg7. Midnight Bourbon8. Keepmeinmind9. Risk Taking10. Dream ShakeAlso exiting my Top 10 this week are Mandaloun and Proxy. Mandaloun was No. 5 last week, while Proxy was No. 10.Mandaloun ran a clunker in the Louisiana Derby. Sent away as the 13-10 favorite, he finished sixth without an apparent excuse. Proxy ran fourth in that race at odds of 3-1.Dream Shake is a newcomer to my Top 10 this week.Many seem to be in love with Prevalence in Florida. Trained by Brendan Walsh, the Kentucky-bred colt is two for two while racing at Gulfstream. Prevalence has recorded Beyer Speed Figures of 87, then 83.Dream Shake has started twice. His Beyers have been 96, then 91. The Kentucky-bred Twirling Candy colt, conditioned by Peter Eurton, registered a sparkling 4 1/4-length win in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race at Santa Anita on Feb. 7. And then, with just that one sprint under his belt, he finished third in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe. He runs next in the Santa Anita Derby.Look out for Rock Your World in the Santa Anita Derby. The $650,000 auction purchase is two for two. The Kentucky-bred Candy Ride colt will be switching to the dirt following back-to-back victories on the grass. Most recently, he generated a powerful stretch kick to win Santa Anita’s one-mile Pasadena Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths on Feb. 27.Candy Ride in 2003 broke the track record when he won Del Mar’s 1 1/4-mile Pacific Classic on the dirt in 1:59.11. The mark still stands all these years later. In the Pacific Classic, Candy Ride drilled Prevalence’s sire, Medaglia d’Oro, who had to settle for second.Empire Maker, who is the sire of Rock Your World’s dam, won the Belmont Stakes on the dirt the same year that Candy Ride was victorious in the Pacific Classic.It will not surprise me if it turns out that Rock Your World is effective on the dirt.CHECKING IN WITH ODDSCHECKEROddschecker.com lists average prices with British bookmakers for Kentucky Derby candidates. Listed at 25-1 and lower are:4-1 Concert Tour7-1 Essential Quality10-1 Greatest Honour12-1 Hot Rod Charlie16-1 Medina Spirit16-1 Prevalence20-1 Risk Taking25-1 Caddo River25-1 Collaborate25-1 Crowded Trade25-1 Helium25-1 Midnight Bourbon25-1 Rock Your World25-1 WeyburnCURRENT STRIKES SITUATIONMy Derby Strikes System (DSS) consists of eight categories developed to try and ascertain a horse’s chances to win the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May from both tactical and historical perspectives. When a horse does not qualify in the one of the categories, the horse gets a strike. The eight categories are listed at the end of this column/blog/article.A number of the categories in the DSS are tied to the Kentucky Derby being run in May. Consequently, when the race was switched from May 2 to Sept. 5 last year due to the pandemic, it rendered the DSS unworkable.Now that the Kentucky Derby is returning to its traditional spot on the calendar this year, the DSS is back.According to the DSS, going back to 1973 and excluding the Kentucky Derby of 2020 when the race was run in September, the vast majority of Kentucky Derby winners have had zero strikes or one strike.Since 1973 (again excluding 2020), 39 out of the Kentucky Derby winners (81%) have had zero strikes or one strike, while just seven have had two strikes.The seven Kentucky Derby winners with two strikes were:Cannonade (1974) Categories 3 and 4Ferdinand (1986) Categories 2 and 4Sea Hero (1993) Categories 3 and 5Funny Cide (2003) Categories 2 and 8Giacomo (2015) Categories 2 and 5Justify (2018) Categories 1 and 8Country House (2019) Categories 2 and 3The only Kentucky Derby winner with more than two strikes was:Mine That Bird (2009) Categories 1, 4, 5 and 8In the 2019 Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security had zero strikes and finished first by 1 1/4 lengths. However, the stewards disqualified Maximum Security and placed him 17th when ruling that he had committed a foul by veering out sharply nearing the five-sixteenths marker to cause interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy.It is not until a horse’s next race will be the Kentucky Derby that a horse’s number of strikes can be determined.These are the strikes for six current candidates for this year’s Kentucky Derby who are scheduled to make their next start in that race:ZERO STRIKES OR ONE STRIKEHelium (Category 5)Hot Rod Charlie (Category 4)Mandaloun (Category 4)Midnight Bourbon (Category 4)TWO STRIKESO Besos (Categories 2 and 3)FOUR STRIKESProxy (Categories (2, 3, 4 and 6)THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLSAfter Colonel Liam proved a punctual 7-10 favorite in Fair Grounds’ Grade III Muniz Memorial Classic on the grass last Saturday, he climbs a couple of notches to No. 5 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll.The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll:Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)1. 364 Charlatan (24)2. 337 Monomoy Girl (12)3. 274 Swiss Skydiver (2)4. 271 Knicks Go (1)5. 211 Colonel Liam6. 161 Mystic Guide (1)7. 147 Idol8. 81 Maxfield9. 53 Shedaresthedevil10. 48 GamineLouisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie leaps to No. 4 in this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll after being No. 10 last week. The sidelined Life Is Good drops from No. 2 to No. 6.The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll:Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)1. 381 Essential Quality (30)2. 328 Concert Tour (7)3. 313 Greatest Honour (2)4. 261 Hot Rod Charlie5. 177 Medina Spirit6. 138 Life Is Good7. 97 Risk Taking8. 85 Midnight Bourbon9. 71 Helium10. 49 SpielbergMY DERBY STRIKES SYSTEM’S CATEGORIESWhat are the eight categories in my Derby Strikes System? They are listed below:1. THE GRADED STAKES CATEGORY. (The horse ran in a graded stakes race before March 31.) This points out horses who have competed against tough competition prior to March 31 rather than at the last minute in April, enabling the horse to be properly battle-tested. (Exceptions: Since the introduction of graded stakes races in the U.S. in 1973, only Genuine Risk in 1980, Sunny’s Halo in 1983, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Always Dreaming in 2017 have won the Kentucky Derby without running in a graded stakes race at 2 or early at 3 before March 31.)2. THE WIN IN A GRADED STAKES CATEGORY. (The horse has won a graded stakes race.) This points out horses who have shown they have the class to win a graded stakes race. (Exceptions: Ferdinand in 1986, Alysheba in 1987, Funny Cide in 2003 and Giacomo in 2005 are the only exceptions since the introduction of U.S. graded stakes races in 1973; Alysheba in 1987 did finish first in the Blue Grass, only to be disqualified and placed third.)3. THE EIGHTH POLE CATEGORY. (In either of his or her last two starts before the Kentucky Derby, the horse was either first or second with a furlong to go.) This points out horses who were running strongly at the eighth pole, usually in races at 1 1/16 or 1 1/8 miles. By running strongly at the same point in the Kentucky Derby, a horse would be in a prime position to win the roses. Keep in mind that 52 of the last 55 Kentucky Derby winners have been first or second with a furlong to run. Since Decidedly won the Derby in 1962 when he was third with a furlong to go, the only three Kentucky Derby winners who were not first or second with a furlong to run were Animal Kingdom, third with a furlong remaining in 2011 when only a half-length from being second; Giacomo, sixth with a furlong to go in 2005; and Grindstone, fourth with a furlong to run in 1996. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the Kentucky Derby winners who weren’t either first or second at the eighth pole in his or her last two starts have been Tim Tam in 1958, Carry Back in 1961, Cannonade in 1974, Gato Del Sol in 1982, Unbridled in 1990 and Sea Hero in 1993, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.)4. THE GAMENESS CATEGORY. (The horse’s finish position in both of his or her last two races before the Kentucky Derby was no worse than his or her running position at the eighth pole.) This points out horses who don’t like to get passed in the final furlong. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the exceptions have been Venetian Way in 1960, Cannonade in 1974, Foolish Pleasure in 1975, Ferdinand in 1986, Silver Charm in 1997, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Super Saver in 2010, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.)5. THE DISTANCE FOUNDATION CATEGORY. (The horse has finished at least third in a 1 1/8-mile race or longer before the Kentucky Derby.) This points out horses who have the proper foundation and/or stamina for the Kentucky Derby distance. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the only exceptions have been Kauai King in 1966, Sea Hero in 1993, Charismatic in 1999, Giacomo in 2005 and Mine That Bird in 2009.)6. THE NO ADDING OR REMOVING BLINKERS CATEGORY. (The horse has not added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her final start at 3 before the Kentucky Derby.) This seems to point out that, if a horse is good enough to win the Kentucky Derby, the trainer is not searching for answers so late in the game. (Since Daily Racing Form began including blinkers in its past performances in 1987, no horse has added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her last start at 3 before winning the Kentucky Derby.)7. THE RACED AS A 2-YEAR-OLD CATEGORY. (The horse made at least one start as a 2-year-old.) (Exceptions: Apollo in 1882 and Justify in 2018. Since 1937, horses unraced as a 2-year-old are a combined 1 for 63 in the Kentucky Derby. During this period, the only horses to finish second or third in the Kentucky Derby without having raced at 2 were Hampden, who finished third in 1946; Coaltown, second in 1948; Agitate, third in 1974; Reinvested, third in 1982; Strodes Creek, second in 1994; Curlin, third in 2007; Bodemeister, second in 2012; and Battle of Midway, third in 2017.)8. THE NOT A GELDING CATEGORY. (The horse is not a gelding.) (Exceptions: Funny Cide in 2003 and Mine That Bird in 2009 are the only geldings to win the Kentucky Derby since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929.)

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3.24.2021:

Jeff Siegel's 2021 Florida Derby Workout Analysis

Listed below are links and commentary/analysis of critical workouts for the leading contenders of the 2021 Florida Derby-G1from 1/ST Bet analyst/handicapper Jeff Siegel. (runners listed according to post position) 1 – Nova Rags (12-1)March 21, 2021, Payson Park, 3f, :38.3b Grade: B+ | Workout Video Commentary: In company outside Hachure (same time) for W. Mott and was hard held and sharp as the proverbial tack, breaking off a length behind and then finishing about a half-length in front at the wire before galloping out eagerly around the clubhouse turn, splits of :12.3 and :38.3 before coasting out a half in :52.3 while remaining under a tight hold while drawing clear from his workmate. Form suggests he’ll need considerable improvement to be a major factor in the Florida Derby-G1; certainly is headed in the right direction.  5 – Known Agenda (5-1)March 13, 2021, Palm Beach Downs, 4f, :49.4b Grade: B | Workout Video Commentary: Breezed from the three furlong pole all the way around to the six furlong pole In company outside Tallis (same time) for T. Pletcher, splits on our watches in :12.3, :36.2 (to the wire) and 1:01.3 for a full five furlongs before coasting out to the 5/8ths pole in 1:15.2, basically stride-for-stride throughout. Was under very mild hand coaxing while appearing plenty fit; certainly not a speed type but rather a one-pace grinder and probably needs every bit of nine furlongs (or more) to act with best in his division.  7 – Greatest Honour (6/5)March 21, 2021, Payson Park, 4f, :50.2b Grade: B+ | Workout VideoCommentary: This time breezed outside usual workmate Or’effice (4f, :50.3b) and was keener today than last time while proving clearly best under wraps, splits of :12.2, :38 flat and :50.3 from the 3/8ths pole to the 7/8 pole, moving fluidly and effortlessly throughout. Spot on for the Florida Derby-G1, suspect he’ll run at least as good as his previous two winning outings.  March 13, 2021, Payson Park, 4f, :50 1b Grade: B- | Workout Video Commentary: Breezed inside Or’effice (same time) for C. McGaughey III and was slightly second best at the wire though never asked and merely galloping late (workmate hard held and clearly more eager), splits of :12 flat, :24.1 and :50.2 on our watches before galloping out with plenty left while ticking over for the Florida Derby two weeks hence. Usually a lazy sort in the a.m., probably will get a more serious sharpener next time.  9 – Collaborate (6-1)March 14, 2021, Gulfstream Park, 4f, :47b Grade: B+ | Workout VideoCommentary: In company inside Sound Machine (same time) for S. Joseph, Jr., breaking off with workmate while hard held and dropping back after the opening quarter mile to be a length behind at the top, then responded to very light coaxing (workmate breezing) to finish stride-for-stride at the wire, splits of :12.2, :23.4 and :46.4 on our watches, sharp through the lane before galloping out in good style. Won his maiden on the lead but doesn’t necessarily strike us as a need-the-lead type and may settle into a stalker’s role depending upon how much pressure materializes inside him in the Florida Derby-G1. 10 – Spielberg (4-1)March 21, 2021, Santa Anita, 4f, :59.2h Grade: B | Workout Video  Commentary: In blinkers, broke off outside Laurel River (same time) at the five furlong pole and prompted workmate to the head of the lane, then was allowed to kick on through the stretch and responded in decent style while showing again ta endency to lean in, splits of :12.1, :23.3, :35.1 and :59.2 to the wire (a neck in front of breezing ‘River) before continuing out under mild coaxing in 1:12.3 to the 7/8 for a full six furlongs on our watches. Plenty fit, always been a cut below the good ones but should run his race in the Florida Derby-G1.  March 13, 2021, Santa Anita, 4f, :48.1h Grade: B | Workout VideoCommentary: In blinkers, in company outside Ginja (same time) for B. Baffert and did well enough under some late coaxing and leaning in a tad in the upper stretch, splits of :12.1 :24.1 and :48.1 (slightly best), then was allowed to continue out to 7/8 pole in 1:01 flat for a full five furlongs. Never has been all the impressive in the morning but he appears to be holding his form and showed some spark when a willing (though distant) runner-up to Essential Quality in the Southwest S.-G3 at Oaklawn Park in late February. May be most effective when held up early and allowed to run late. 

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3.24.2021:

Saturday, March 27: Naomi Tukker's On-Site Dubai World Cup Picks

1/ST racing analyst Naomi Tukker of the Maryland Jockey Club has been on the ground in the United Arab Emirates this week tracking the contenders for Saturday's Dubai World Cup Day program. She filed her selections for the main event after following the contenders trackside at Meydan Racecourse.SATURDAY, MARCH 27, 2021$12 MILLION, GRADE 1 DUBAI WORLD CUP // MEYDAN (RACE 9, 12:50PM ET) // 1 1/4 MILES (DIRT) My Top 4 Picks #7 JESUS' TEAM#11 SALUTE THE SOLDIER#10 MYSTIC GUIDE#9 MILITARY LAWA wide-open renewal marks the 25th anniversary of the Dubai World Cup, and I am going strongly against the favorite Mystic Guide. Jesus' Team comes in here fresh, having skipped the Saudi Cup, for which he did receive an invite. Runner-up behind an on-song Knicks Go in the Pegasus World Cup, he has been touting himself strongly on the Meydan dirt track. Salute The Soldier has tactical speed that might take him to the lead in a field that doesn't seem to have a proper front-runner (except maybe Cappezano). Salute the Soldier won the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge without being under pressure, making me believe the short, 3-week turnaround won't hurt him too much. Favorite Mystic Guide posted a career-best figure in the Grade 3 Razorback at Oaklawn Park last out, but that was on a sloppy track and he'll be an underlay on the board based on that recent effort.  Saturday's Dubai Racing Lineup at Xpressbet and the 1/ST BET app.7:45AM ET // Dubai Race 1 // Dubai Kahayla Classic8:15AM ET // Dubai Race 2 // Godolphin Mile8:50AM ET // Dubai Race 3 // Dubai Gold Cup9:30AM ET // Dubai Race 4 // Al Quoz Sprint10:05AM ET // Dubai Race 5 // UAE Derby10:40AM ET // Dubai Race 6 // Dubai Golden Shaheen11:30AM ET // Dubai Race 7 // Dubai Turf12:10PM ET // Dubai Race 8 // Dubai Sheema Classic12:50PM ET // Dubai Race 9 // Dubai World Cup1/ST BET and Xpressbet are offering a $10 Money-Back Special on all of the Dubai World Cup Day races from Meydan. Get up to $10 refunded on any win wager in any of those races if your selection finishes second or third. See the 1/ST BET app and Xpressbet.com for details.

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3.24.2021:

Friday, March 26: Johnny D's Stronach 5 Picks

This week’s Stronach 5 includes races from Laurel (8 & 9), Santa Anita (3), Golden Gate (3) and Gulfstream (10), respectively, and it’s a challenging sequence. So, what else is new? Solving Pick 5 equations seldom are simple, especially when they include legs at four different tracks. Competitive races, a low 12% takeout and rapid resolutions are some reasons why we love the wager. High-octane payoffs don’t hurt, either.LEG A // LAUREL PARK, RACE 8 (4:30PM ET) // STARTER ALLOWANCE // 1 1/16 MILES (DIRT) Always interesting to begin the wager with a $5k starter at about one mile and one-sixteenth around the Maryland oval. A ‘fast’ track is anticipated as a field of 10 with one Also-Eligible are entered to dispute the outcome. #1 King Mauro figures off his recent four-length triumph going one mile at the $8k level. That was his second consecutive tally, so he’s hot. Speed from the rail is his game. One question could center around his effectiveness at the distance around two turns where he’s just 2-for-9. #8 Belfour comes off a January layoff and 7-year-olds usually need a race following a rest, but he recently won off a short layoff. He loves Laurel (8-for-15) and the distance (3-for-8). #6 Invest has some speed, is 3-for-7 at Laurel and 3-for-5 at the distance.Use: #1, #8, #6LEG B // LAUREL PARK, RACE 9 (5:03PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT) This six-furlong $40k claiming race for three-year-old fillies offers players several legitimate ways to go. We’ll settle on the pair of #6 Asbuilt and #11 Amendment Nineteen as top plays, but there are other options for players looking to dig a bit deeper. #6 Asbuilt has lots of stuff going on. Facing a ‘sloppy’ track in her last two starts--second at six and one-half furlongs and third at one mile, respectively--she catches an anticipated ‘fast’ strip for new trainer Dale Capuano (19% overall and 25% first off the claim). Jockey Ruiz rides and he’s batting 25% with Capuano. A March 14, bullet best-of-48 half mile workout suggests things are going well for a runner that should be fit off the cutback in distance. #11 Amendment Nineteen is a first-time starter shipping in from Belmont Park for trainer Linda Rice who has a win, a second and a third in four recent starts at Laurel. Those digging deeper might want to use a pair of frontrunners in #1 Mosler’s Touch and #4 Down Days who adds Lasix.Use: #6, #11LEG C // SANTA ANITA PARK, RACE 3 (5:08PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF) A player ought to be able to trim this Maiden $50k heat for fillies and mares down to three logical runners and one surprise package. #6 Amiko Chow finished second at this level last out against many of these same foes for trainer Paddy Gallagher and jockey Cedillo—1-for-3 in combination. #7 Acoustic Shopping makes her sixth career start and first for red-hot trainer Phil D’Amato—23% on the season and 17% first off the claim. Jockey Rispoli is up and he’s a sparkling 26% with D’Amato. #9 Unbreakable goes to post for trainer Mike Puype for the seventh time overall, but first with top jock Prat. Third, less than a length away from the top spot, in her last two starts, Prat could help to close that gap. #1 Starship Sky has acted well with this group in the past, but she’s almost had too many chances as her 0-12 record shows. Still, 20% jock Hernandez has finished close with her and the rail draw helps her case. She’d be a late add.Use: #6, #7, #9LEG D // GOLDEN GATE FIELDS, RACE 3 (5:29PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (ALL WEATHER) We’re looking to sneak past this crowded heat by singling #10 Evenrevenworse off his close call last out when he set the pace and fell short going five and one-half furlongs. Today’s heat is just five panels and he’s drawn a nice outside box and should be able to use his early speed to get position before the turn. Others with a look in here are #5 Soulong, who ships in off a pair of poor SoCal efforts against better for trainer Peter Miller and #8 Emporer’s Fisc, who finished third last time out and garners a five-pound weight break with apprentice Rivera. He’ll be finishing with interest. Both backups are trained by Steve Miyadi. Use: #10LEG E // GULFSTREAM PARK, RACE 10 (5:54PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 1/16 MILES (TURF) Trainer Todd Pletcher returned to his dominating winning ways this winter at Gulfstream Park and currently is scoring at a juicy 25% clip. #9 Zaffing represents the Pletcher outfit in the Gulfstream and Stronach 5 finale. Tyler Gaffalione assumes the mount and he and Pletcher combine to win at a 20% clip. A five-furlong maiden special weight turf sprint didn’t turn out too well for this filly. She returned for a $50k tag going a mile and one-sixteenth, raced close to the early pace, and finished fourth, less than four lengths behind the winner. That effort and another slight drop down the class ladder ought to have here well positioned. Those looking to add to tickets can include #1 Short Circuit, third at this level last out and #5 Iris the Empress, a Brian Lynch trainee trying the claiming ranks for the first time after two previous turf routes—one of those for trainer Ken McPeek.Use: #1, #5, #9$1 STRONACH 5 PLAYER ($54) Leg A: #1, #8, #6Leg B: #6, #11Leg C: #6, #7, #9Leg D: #10Leg E: #1, #5, #9

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3.24.2021:

2021 Florida Derby Post Draw Rapid Reaction

Greatest Honour will start his bid for a historic sophomore sweep at Gulfstream Park from post 7 of 11, as post positions were drawn today for Saturday’s Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby, presented by Hill ‘n Dale Farm at Xalapa. The Shug McGaughey trainee will try to become the first horse to win the Holy Bull, Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby, a series that has been contested since 1990.Bettors using 1/ST BET and Xpressbet can enjoy a $20 money-back guarantee if their Florida Derby win bet finishes second or third. See both sites for details.The last horse to win the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby was Greatest Honour’s stable predecessor Orb in 2013, who would go on to win that year’s Kentucky Derby for McGaughey. Greatest Honour has been established as the 6-5 morning line favorite for the Florida Derby, a race that has produced 24 Kentucky Derby winners all-time, most of any national prep.Florida Derby challengers include California invader Spielberg as trainer Bob Baffert looks for his sixth Triple Crown trail prep victory of 2021 and his first-ever Florida Derby trophy. Spielberg starts from a difficult post 10 under Javier Castellano. Known Agenda, a powerful allowance winner at the Championship Meet, begins from post 5 under leading jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. He’ll try to give trainer Todd Pletcher a record-padding sixth Florida Derby trophy.The wildcards figure to be smashing maiden winner Collaborate (post 9) and unbeaten Soup and Sandwich (Mark Casse), both making stakes debuts in the third career starts for both. That duo figures to be part of the early pace scenario so important to the late-running Greatest Honour’s late kick. Rail-drawn Nova Rags isn’t a committed front-runner, but has natural speed and should be near the pace. With the absence of Fountain of Youth pacemaker Drain the Clock, the Florida Derby shapes up with less certainly in terms of race shape.2021 Curlin Florida Derby Field1. Nova Rags (Junior Alvarado) 12-12. Quantum Leap (Miguel Vasquez) 20-13. Jirafales (Edgard Zayas) 30-14. Southern Passage (Corey Lanerie) 30-15. Known Agenda (Irad Ortiz Jr.) 5-16. Sigiloso (Leonel Reyes) 30-17. Greatest Honour (Jose Ortiz) 6-58. Soup and Sandwich (John Velazquez) 20-19. Collaborate (Tyler Gaffalione) 6-110. Spielberg (Javier Castellano) 4-111. Papetu (Emisael Jaramillo) 15-1

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3.24.2021:

2021 Dubai World Cup Post Position Draw Reaction

A capacity field of 14 entered for Saturday’s 25th edition of the $12 million Dubai World Cup, including a quartet of American-based runners. The marquee, mile and one-quarter dirt contest tops a 9-race card simulcast internationally with wagering available on all races via the 1/ST BET app and Xpressbet. Post time for the first race will be 7:45 a.m. ET with the Dubai World Cup slated for 12:50 p.m. ET. Mystic Guide, winner of last month’s Grade 3 Razorback at Oaklawn and last summer’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga, should go favored from post 6. He’s being offered in the international books around 5-2 odds in advance of the race. His 6-length Razorback romp put the Godolphin color-bearer on the fast track to Meydan, the track owned by his connections. He’ll compete under the flag of the United Arab Emirates while racing for New Orleans-based trainer Mike Stidham. America’s other entrants include 2020 Grade 1 Preakness Stakes third-place finisher and 2021 Pegasus World Cup runner-up Jesus’ Team (post 9); Grade 2 Charles Town Classic champ and Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup fourth-place finisher Sleepy Eyes Todd (post 10); and Grade 3 Louisiana Stakes winner Title Ready (post 4). 2021 Dubai World Cup Field 1. Great Scot 2. Hypothetical 3. Chuwa Wizard 4. Title Ready 5. Military Law 6. Mystic Guide 7. Capezzano 8. The Great Collection 9. Jesus' Team 10. Sleepy Eyes Todd 11. Salute the Soldier 12. Magny Cours 13. Ajuste Fiscal 14. Gifts of Gold The Meydan main track is a left-handed course like the US with just under a quarter-mile run into the clubhouse turn from the start, so starting positions should not be of major consequence. None of the American entrants possess the kind of world-class early speed on dirt synonymous with US racing on the world stage. Sleepy Eyes Todd likely will show the most early pace interest, but is not the type of run-them-off-their-feet speed that often dissuades the international runners when faced with American dirt horses. That said, the Dubai World Cup could open up to the world cast. Note in its previous 24 runners, US-based horses own 12 wins, the same total for the world challengers. The international cast sprung wide open when the connections of Saudi Cup winner Mishriff decided to return to turf in the Dubai Sheema Classic. Military Law, sixth in the Saudi Cup and winner of the Maktoum Challenge Round 1 at Meydan in January, is among the global leading contenders around 5-1 with the bookmakers in early betting. He’ll break from post 5 with favorite Mystic Guide just to his outside. German-bred Salute the Solider, winner of the Maktoum Challenge Rounds 2 and 3, leaves from post 11. He’s being offered anywhere from 4-1 to 8-1 with the bookmakers and it will be interesting to see how his price shifts as the week progresses. Americans competing on the undercard include last year’s US Champion Turf Male Channel Maker in the Dubai Sheema Classic; Yaupon, Wildman Jack and Zenden in the Dubai Golden Shaheen for dirt sprinters; Ambivalent and Lugamo in the UAE Derby; Extravagant Kid, Cowan and True Valour in the Al Quoz Sprint on grass; and the trio of Avant Garde, Snapper Sinclair and Parsimony in the Godolphin Mile on dirt. 1/ST BET and Xpressbet are offering a $10 money-back guarantee promotion on all of the Dubai World Cup Day races from Meydan. Get up to $10 refunded on any win wager in any of those races if your selection finishes second or third. See the 1/ST BET app and Xpressbet.com for details. Saturday’s Meydan schedule for Dubai World Cup Day (times US eastern) 7:45AM ET // Dubai Race 1 // Dubai Kahayla Classic 8:15AM ET // Dubai Race 2 // Godolphin Mile 8:50AM ET // Dubai Race 3 // Dubai Gold Cup 9:30AM ET // Dubai Race 4 // Al Quoz Sprint 10:05AM ET // Dubai Race 5 // UAE Derby 10:40AM ET // Dubai Race 6 // Dubai Golden Shaheen 11:30AM ET // Dubai Race 7 // Dubai Turf 12:10PM ET // Dubai Race 8 // Dubai Sheema Classic 12:50PM ET // Dubai Race 9 // Dubai World Cup

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3.23.2021:

1/ST Look Santa Anita Stats: D'Amato/Prat Perfect

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Santa Anita Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Southern California. And be sure to support “The Great Race Place” by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Santa Anita Park.HeadlinesA $345,635 Rainbow 6 carryover welcomes horseplayers back Friday for another 3-day racing week … There’s also a Super High Five carryover of $21,055 into Friday … This week’s feature races are the Grade 3 Santa Ana on Saturday in the filly and mare turf ranks, and Sunday’s Santana Mile on the main track … SA-based Spielberg (Bob Baffert) hits the road Saturday for Gulfstream’s Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby in hopes of advancing to the Triple Crown series. Fellow Californian Hot Rod Charlie shipped to Fair Grounds last week to win the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and punch his ticket to Louisville.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $313.30 with 4 winners at 2-1 or less and an $11 topper. Stronach 5 races this Friday, March 26, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:30 ETLeg B – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:03 ETLeg C – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:08 ETLeg D – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:29 ETLeg E – Gulfstream Park Race 10 with an approximate post time of 5:54 ET1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Santa Anita Park last week, each winning at a 36% or greater win rate.Earnings at TrackBest Lifetime SpeedJockey Current YearTrends Last Week-- Trainer Phil D’Amato had the top barn with a 13: 5-3-2 mark that included a 4-for-8 ledger with favorites. His baker’s dozen runners averaged only 5-2 odds and he was 3-for-3 paired with jockey Flavien Prat.-- Assistant trainer Leandro Moro was 6: 2-0-2 locally as the program trainer for suspended Doug O’Neill (and also won the Louisiana Derby with Hot Rod Charlie). Moro’s 2-week total was 14: 5-3-2 in a pinch-hitting role.-- Trainer John Shirreffs made the most of limited strikes, going 2: 1-1-0 with a juicy $39 winner and an 8-1 runner-up, both in the maiden ranks. Shirreffs has a win and 4 seconds from his last 10 local starters.-- Jockey Flavien Prat continued to dominate with a 20: 9-3-3 week, including 12: 7-2-1 aboard favorites. He’s now 18-for-45 (40% wins) over the past 2 weeks.-- Apprentice Jessica Pyfer posted strong numbers with a 10: 3-2-0 mark and delivered at 3: 2-1-0 when riding the chalk. All 3 wins came over route distances, 2 on dirt and 1 on turf.-- Favorites were 12-for-26 on the week and now have won 26-for-51 (51%) over the past 2 weeks.

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3.23.2021:

1/ST Look Gulfstream Stats: Graded Stakes Favs 52% at Meet

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Gulfstream Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in South Florida. And be sure to support Gulfstream by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Gulfstream Park.HeadlinesThe Rainbow 6 has a $735,873 carryover ($1.1M guaranteed pool) heading into Wednesday’s card, kickoff to the final week of the Championship Meet … Saturday’s Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby Day program will include 14 races, 10 stakes and a mandatory payout in the Rainbow 6 pool. First post will be 11:30 am ET … Wednesday’s post position draw for the Florida Derby will be livestreamed at Gulfstreampark.com beginning at 12:15 pm ET … Florida Derby headliners are expected to include Holy Bull-Fountain of Youth winner Greatest Honour, smashing local maiden winner Collaborate and west coast invader Spielberg.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $313.30 with 4 winners at 2-1 or less and an $11 topper. Stronach 5 races this Friday, March 26, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:30 ETLeg B – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:03 ETLeg C – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:08 ETLeg D – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:29 ETLeg E – Gulfstream Park Race 10 with an approximate post time of 5:54 ET1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Gulfstream Park last week, each winning at a 32% or greater win rate and showing massive flat-bet profits (all +$54-$81 for the week). Avg. Speed Last 3 and Avg. Best 2 of 3 Speed were top-3 factors for the second straight week. The 1/ST BET app’s AI handicapping picked 32% winners at Gulfstream Park last week and showed a flat-bet profit.Avg. Speed Last 3Avg. Best 2 of 3 SpeedBest Speed Last 3Trends Last Week-- Favorites went 24-53 (45%) last week and are now 50-106 (47%) over the past 2 weeks with nearly 70% in the exacta. Favorites have won 52% on the Championship Meet in graded stakes races after Pacific Gale’s Hurricane Bertie victory last week, worth noting as we head into a big Saturday stakes card.-- Trainer Mark Casse had one of his better weeks of the meet at 8: 3-0-0 with winners paying $5, $8 and $17. All 3 winners came on grass, including a pair of maiden breakers.-- Trainer Kent Sweezey went 7: 2-1-1 with a $65 longshot bomb topping the marquee. The barn also had an 11-1 shot in the money and posted a $1.18 ROI for every $1 bet for the entire Championship Meet.-- Trainer Kelly Breen continued a good run at 6: 2-0-2. He’s now 11: 4-1-2 the past 2 weeks after a cold spell leading up to the turn-around.-- Jockey Junior Alvarado excelled in the absence of some of the meet’s top riders last week, posting a 34: 9-7-3 mark. That’s 27% wins and 47% in the exacta while going 2-for-2 in stakes races. He had 2 wins for Mark Casse and 2 for Jose Francisco D’Angelo.-- Jockey Javier Castallano had the best week of his comeback from injury, going 19: 5-1-5. Victories included $13 and $21 scores, but his 9: 3-1-3 record aboard favorites indicates he was on several live mounts.

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3.23.2021:

1/ST Look MJC Stats: AI Picks Tab 37% Winners On Week

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Laurel Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Maryland. And be sure to support Laurel Park by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Maryland Jockey Club.HeadlinesLaurel’s 20-Cent Rainbow 6 was solved last Friday for a jackpot payout of $22,943 …. A $2,347 Rainbow 6 carryover welcomes horseplayers back this week … Maryland-bred Jaxon Traveler, a 2-time winner at Laurel including the Maryland Juvenile Futurity, made his 3-year-old debut last Saturday with a second-place finish (by a head) in the $150,000 Gazebo Stakes at Oaklawn Park ... Nominations close April 3 for Laurel’s next big stakes bonanza, a $750,000 afternoon April 17 with 7 stakes – including the Federico Tesio and Weber City Miss Stakes with Win & You’re In stipulations for the Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $313.30 with 4 winners at 2-1 or less and an $11 topper. Stronach 5 races this Friday, March 26, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:30 ETLeg B – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:03 ETLeg C – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:08 ETLeg D – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:29 ETLeg E – Gulfstream Park Race 10 with an approximate post time of 5:54 ET1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Laurel, each posting at least 38% wins. The 1/ST BET app’s AI handicapping picked 37% winners at Laurel Park last week and showed a flat-bet profit.Best Speed DistanceBest Speed TrackAvg. Best 2 of 3 SpeedTrends Last Week-- Jockey Johan Rosado led the way with a big 9: 4-2-0 week, including 2-for-3 aboard favorites. He also added a $17 winner. Rosado and trainer Hamilton Smith teamed for a 4: 2-1-0 record.-- Jockey Jorge Ruiz posted a 10: 3-2-2 mark and $1.35 ROI for every $1 bet. His $17 winner came aboard the longest shot he rode (8 of 10 mounts 7-2 or less).-- Jockey Jevian Toledo didn’t miss the mark with a 7: 2-3-2 record that included $10 and $12 winners. All 7 mounts came in the sprint ranks.-- Trainer Carlos Mancilla’s runners had a 6: 3-2-0 week, boasting a pair of $15 winners among those. He was 5-for-5 in the exacta sprinting 7 furlongs or less.-- Trainer Rodolfo Sanchez-Salamon went 6: 3-0-1, winning races at 7 furlongs, 1 mile and 1-1/8 miles. Returns included $12 and $17 scores for a $2.82 ROI for every $1 bet.-- Trainer Emanuel Geralis was absent last week from the entries, but has 4 wins from his last 5 starters dating back to Feb. 7.

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3.23.2021:

1/ST Look Golden Gate Stats: Lenzini's Dashers Heat Up

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Golden Gate Fields. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Northern California. And be sure to support GGF by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Golden Gate Fields.HeadlinesReminder that first post time has moved to 1:20 pm PT daily … Golden Gate has a $21,929 Rainbow 6 carryover heading into Thursday’s return for a 4-day racing week … The Golden Hour pick 4 had its top handle of the season last Sunday, topping $201K, with the final 2 races daily at GGF and Santa Anita paired in the popular wager … Friday’s Race 7 mile allowance co-feature could be a springboard toward the April 24 California Derby. The field of 7 has 4 last-out winners … Looking ahead: April 24 is San Francisco Mile Day at Golden Gate Fields and features the California Derby and Oaks on the undercard among 6 stakes. Nominations close April 15.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $313.30 with 4 winners at 2-1 or less and an $11 topper. Stronach 5 races this Friday, March 26, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:30 ETLeg B – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:03 ETLeg C – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:08 ETLeg D – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:29 ETLeg E – Gulfstream Park Race 10 with an approximate post time of 5:54 ET1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Golden Gate Fields, each posting at least 29% winners. The factor Win % was a top-3 player for the second straight week.Lifetime EarningsLifetime SpeedWin %Trends Last Week-- It was another big week for leading trainer Jonathan Wong at 14: 6-3-2. That makes his 25: 10-6-3 over the past 2 weeks. Of those 10 winners, however, 9 have been favorites. He was 8: 5-1-1 last week with the chalk.-- Trainer Michael Lenzini was precise with a 4: 2-1-0 record that boasted a $15 winner and a 5-1 runner-up. His exacta finishes all came with main track dashers at 6 furlongs or shorter. The barn has won with 3 of its last 6 starters.-- Trainer Cliff Delima was 2-for-6 while most notably lighting up the tote with a $46 winner (and an $8 winner to boot). Jockey Francisco Monroy was 3: 2-0-0 in tandem with both victories.-- Jockey Catalino Martinez was strong at 13: 4-3-2, popping a $17 winner among a trio of well-backed victories. Martinez was 2-for-3 teamed with trainer Jonathan Wong.-- Jockey Santos Rivera made the most of the least with a 4: 3-0-0 record and returns of $4, $13 and $14. His 3 wins came for 3 different trainers over 3 different distances, both sprinting and routing.-- Jockey Evin Roman was 8: 4-3-0 aboard favorites last week and 15: 8-5-1 on chalk the past 2 weeks.

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3.23.2021:

Jeff Siegel's 2021 Triple Crown Power Rankings

Updated regularly, these rankings identify the best 3-year-olds of 2021 in order of preference, with each horse given a theoretical weight assignment starting at 126 lbs. based on past performance and projected development. The horses listed are assumed to be candidates for at least one of the Triple Crown races. 1 - ESSENTIAL QUALITY (B. Cox) – 126 lbs.Pedigree: Tapit – Delightful Quality, by Elusive QualityLifetime record: 4-4-0-0 ($1,335,144). Derby points: 40Last start: Feb. 27, 2021, Oaklawn Park, 8.5F Southwest S.-G3, finished first.Next start: April 3, 2021, Keeneland, 9F Blue Grass S.-G2Latest workout: March 20, Fair Grounds, 5f, :59b The skinny: Godolphin homebred; dam graded stakes-placed sprinting half-sister to champion 2yo filly Folklore; reappeared in top form in late February with an authoritative victory over sloppy going in the 8F Southwest S.-G3 (by four and one-quarter lengths from Spielberg and Jackie’s Warrior), racing wide throughout but accelerating impressively in the final furlong; had secured a 2020 Eclipse Award in the 2-year-old colt division to complete an unbeaten juvenile campaign in the 8.5F BC Juvenile-G1 at Keeneland in November when rallying from nine lengths back with the help of the fast-early race-flow to win by three-quarters of a length from 90-1 Hot Rod Charlie; previously won his 6F debut at Churchill Downs by four lengths in September (rallying from seven and one-half lengths back) and then registering a three and one-quarter length score in the 8.5F Breeders’ Futurity-G1 at Keeneland after pressing slow fractions; speed figures are strong and have risen with each of his four career victories; proven so far to be genuine and versatile while giving indication that the Derby’s 10F trip will easily be within his range; in top hands and with every expectation that he’ll continue to develop during the spring of his 3-year-old season. 2 - GREATEST HONOUR (C. McGaughey III) – 124 lbs.Pedigree: Tapit – Tiffany’s Honour, by Street CryLifetime record: 6-3-1-2 ($351,940). Derby Points: 60Last start: Feb. 27, 2021, Gulfstream Park, 8.5F Fountain of Youth S.-G2, finished first.Next start: March 26, 2021, Gulfstream Park, 9F Florida Derby S.-G1SLatest workout: March 21, Payson Park, 4f, :50.2b The skinny: Was entered but withdrawn from 2019 Keeneland fall sale, second foal, dam unplaced half-sister to four SW’s including Rags to Riches and Jazil (both winners of Belmont S.-G1) and to BC Marathon S.-G1 winner Man of Iron; second dam Broodmare of the Year Better than Honour; notoriously lazy and unremarkable in morning workouts and took four races to break his maiden but has been unbeaten in his last three starts (all at Gulfstream Park) including the 8.5F Holy Bull S.-G3 (by five and three-quarter lengths from Tarantino) in January and then the Fountain of Youth S.-G2 (by one and one-half lengths from Drain the Clock) the following month; not particular fast on speed figures though he’s never taken a backward move through six career starts; has been visually quite impressive rallying wide over a main track that traditionally plays against that style; pedigree suggests he’ll continue to improve as the distances increase; likely to have his final Triple Crown prep race in the Florida Derby-G1 in late March; campaign is reminiscent of Orb, who took the same path when winning the 2013 Kentucky Derby-G1 for this trainer. 3 - CONCERT TOUR (B. Baffert) – 124 lbs.Pedigree: Street Sense – Purse Strings, by TapitLifetime record: 3-3-0-0 ($756,600). Derby points: 50Last start: March 13, 2021, Oaklawn Park, 8.5FF Rebel S.-G2, finished first.Next start: April 10, 2021, Oaklawn Park, 9F Arkansas Derby.-G1Latest workout: None since raced The skinny: Gary and Mary West Stables homebred; second foal; dam 6F maiden special weight winner at Churchill Downs in 12th (and final) career start; no black type in first two generations; third dam is the granddam of Stardom Bound (champion, BC Juvenile Fillies-G1); unbeaten in three career starts, most recently a dominating gate-to-wire victory in the 8.5F Rebel S.-G2 at Oaklawn Park (by four and one-quarter lengths from stable mate Hozier), quickly establishing the pace from his outside draw and then, after disposing of favored Caddo River, drawing clear under mild urging to win with plenty left; earned solid but not great 94 Beyer speed figure; previously successful with a pace-pressing trip as the 2/5 favorite in five-runner 7F San Vicente S.-G2 (by one-half length from stable mate Freedom Fighter) after winning his debut three weeks earlier in 6F maiden score in a highly impressive performance at Santa Anita (forced pace, then kicked clear with power and with plenty left); pedigree suggests a classic distance could be within his capabilities; has so far followed the identical pattern/schedule as B. Baffert’s top class colt from last year, Nadal; likely to use the Arkansas Derby-G1 (April 10) as his final springboard to the Kentucky Derby-G1 three weeks later; based purely on speed figures still has plenty to prove but must be taken seriously as a major player for the spring classics. 4 - HOT ROD CHARLIE (D. O’Neill) – 122 lbs.Pedigree: Oxbow – Indian Miss, by Indian CharlieLifetime record: 7-2-1-02 ($1,00,700). Derby points: 110Last start: March 20, 2021, Fair Grounds, 9.5F Louisiana Derby-G2, finished firstNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, 10F Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: None since raced The skinny: $110,000Y, half-brother to champion sprinter Mtole; non-winning dam a half-sister to Davona Dale S.-G2 winner Live Lively; versatile colt has been successful on the lead or from off the pace and returned to winning form in his second 2021 outing when making all in the 9.5F Louisiana Derby-G2, relaxing without undue pressure to the top of the lane and then fighting off all challenges to register two length score (from Midnight Bourbon) while establishing NTW (1:55.06) and earning a career top 99 Beyer speed figure; had displayed plenty of promise during his juvenile campaign, beating maidens in his fourth start before finishing second (with the help of the race-shape) to champion Essential Quality in BC Juvenile-G1 by three quarters of a length at 91-1 after striking the front in mid-stretch; performed well when third (beaten a neck) behind Medina Spirit and Roman Centurian) in his 3yo debut in late January in the Robert B. Lewis S.-G3 while appearing to have winning momentum inside the furlong pole but then losing his punch close home while likely needing the outing; doesn’t have a great turn of foot and may be most effective as a stalker or pace presser; will be trained up to the Kentucky Derby with six weeks in between starts. 5 - MEDINA SPIRIT (B. Baffert) – 121 lbs.Pedigree: Protonico – Mongolian Change, by Brilliant SpeedLifetime record: 4-2-2-0 ($165,200). Derby points: 48Last start: March 6, 2021, Santa Anita, San Felipe S.-G3, finished secondNext start: April 3, 2021, Santa Anita, Santa Anita Derby-G1Latest workout: March 22, Santa Anita, 5f, :59h The skinny: $35,000 OBS 2yo; from first crop of multiple graded SW son of Giant’s Causeway, dam a synthetic maiden special weight winner at Presque Isle Downs; light female family (no SW’s in first three generations); genuine and consistent though no match for stable mate (and top-ranked) Life Is Good in the 8.5F San Felipe S.-G2 in late March, going down by eight lengths though gamely saving second money after stalking the winner throughout; reportedly exited the race with an entrapped epiglottis which has since been rectified; previously had displayed extreme courage when winning 8.5F Robert B. Lewis S.-G3 in late January (by a neck from Roman Centurian and Hot Rod Charlie) despite being under heavy pressure from the far turn to the wire; before that finished second (beaten three-quarters of a length while 13 clear of the rest) to Life Is Good in 8F Sham S.-G3 in January; speed figures are legitimate; pedigree suggests he’ll do better as the distances increase; clearly a much better prospect that originally judged and could easily return to winning form in the Santa Anita Derby-G1 now that Life Is Good will not start and has been removed from Triple Crown consideration. 6 – RISK TAKING (C. Brown) – 120 Lbs.Pedigree: Medaglia d’Oro – Run a Risk, by Distorted HumorLifetime record: 4-2-0-0 ($182,530). Derby points: 10Last start: Feb. 6, 2021, Aqueduct, Withers S.-G3, finished firstNext start: April 3, 2021, Aqueduct, 9F Wood Memorial-G2Latest workout: March 21, Belmont Park, 5f, 1:01.4b TT The skinny: $240,000Y, dam multiple stakes placed on grass; best runners from his female family also preferred turf; unplaced in first two career starts during the fall of his juvenile campaign but has vastly improved since, breaking his maiden over 9F at Aqueduct on dirt in December and then stepping forward again over that same track and distance when winning the Withers S.-G3 in early February (by three and three-quarter lengths from Overtook after producing an extended, grinding late bid); speed figures are headed in the right direction but with some work still to be done; room for further improvement and clearly will be suited by 10F and farther; seems likely to produce another forward move in the 9F Wood Memorial-G2 in early April in a race that he’ll very likely be favored. 7 - COLLABORATE (S. Joseph, Jr) – 118 lbs.Pedigree: Into Mischief – Quiet Temper, by Quiet AmericanLifetime record: 2-1-0-0 ($27,400). Derby points: 0Last start: Feb. 27, 2021, Gulfstream Park; Maiden special weight, finished firstNext start: March 26, 2021, Gulfstream Park, 9F Florida Derby S.-G1SLatest workout: March 21, Gulfstream Park, 5f, 1:01b The skinny: $600,000Y, fourth foal, dam multiple stakes winner including Fair Grounds Oaks-G2; black type winners in second or third dams while the fourth dam is Blue Hen mare Blitey; off slowly when a close fifth as favorite in 6F debut over sloppy track at Gulfstream Park in early February but left that form far behind when graduating three weeks later 8F maiden (by 12 and one-half lengths from Bennyfromthebronx), establishing the pace in hand and then continuing under cruise control to lengthen at will while earning a strong 90 Beyer speed figure; has since recorded a bullet 4F workout (:47b) that was the fastest of 51 for the distance; has an easy, relaxed stride and gives the impression he’ll handle a distance of ground without issue; slated to return in the 9F Florida eerby-G1 March 26 to determine his viability for the classics. 8 - PREVALENCE (B. Walsh) – 118 lbs.Pedigree: Medaglia d’Oro – Enrichment, by GhostzapperLifetime record: 2-2-0-0 ($52,800). Derby points: 0Last start: March 11, 2021, Gulfstream Park, 8F allowance, finished firstNext start: TBDLatest workout: March 21, Palm Meadows, 4f, :49.2b The skinny: Godolphin homebred; half-brother to New York-bred stakes winner Libreta (by Giralomo); dam winless in eight starts but is a full-sister to top class middle distance turf G1 winner Better Lucky; was forced to miss his intended second career start in the Fountain of Youth S.-G2 Feb. 27 after spiking a fever but reappeared March 11 in an 8F six-runner first-level allowance race at Gulfstream Park and was successful at 10 cents on the dollar (by three lengths from Southern Passage) with a perfect, stalking trip while earning a moderate speed figure in a performance that can best be described as workmanlike; was previously far more impressive winning his debut by eight and one-half lengths in 7F maiden in January when pressing the pace in hand and then kicking clear without ever being asked;; bred to stay at least a middle distance and potentially farther; with no Derby points will need to step forward considerably in what will have to be his final Kentucky Derby-G1 prep in his next yet-to-be-determined start (Bluegrass S.-G2 April 3?); remains an exciting prospect but finds himself behind the 8-ball with still plenty to prove; designing a schedule with the Preakness S,-G1 as the main goal might prove to be a more prudent plan. 9 - ROCK YOUR WORLD (J. Sadler) – 118 lbs.Pedigree: Candy Ride – Charm the Maker, by Empire MakerLifetime record: 2-2-0-0 ($96,600). Derby points: 0Last start: Feb. 27, 2021, Santa Anita, Pasadena S., finished firstNext start: April 3, 2021, Santa Anita, 9F Santa Anita Derby-G1Latest workout: March 22, Santa Anita, 6f, 1:14.2h The skinny: $650,000Y; third foal, lengthy colt with plenty of scope; full-brother to California Gr.3-placed She’s Our Charm; dam multiple stakes winner from a high class staying turf family; unbeaten in two starts, both on grass, most recently when drawing clear with a good display of late speed to win the listed 8F Pasadena S. in visually pleasing style (by two and one-quarter lengths from Cathkin Peak) before being hard to pull up and galloping out full of run; previously had debuted over 6F on grass and registered a one and three-quarter length victory with a good number despite being eased up in the final stages while appearing to toy with his opposition; pedigree suggests he’ll handle any surface and be able to cope with a classic distance though he appears to be a better mover on turf than on the main track according to his workouts; will get his opportunity on dirt in the 9F Santa Anita Derby-G1 in early April; at which time his Triple Crown prospects will become apparent; still has plenty to prove but remains an exciting prospect, at the very least on grass. 10 – HELLIUM (J. Sadler) – 117 lbs.Pedigree: Ironicus – Thundering Emilla, by Thunder GulchLifetime record: 3-3-0-0 ($287,763). Derby points: 50Last start: March 6, 2021, Tampa Bay Downs, Tampa Bay Derby-G2, finished firstNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, 10F Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: None since raced The skinny: $55,000Y; fourth foal, half-brother to Peruvian Gr. 1 winner Emilia’s Moon (by Malibu Moon); dam G3 SW in Peru; undefeated in three starts including the 8.5F Tampa Bay Derby-G2 in his 3-year-old debut (by three-quarters of a length from Hidden Stash), producing a steady bid (was 10th early) to secure the win in good style from a moderate field; previously had won both of his starts as a 2-year-old over the Woodbine synthetic surface (both at seven furlongs), a maiden in September (by three and one-quarter lengths from Excellorator) and the listed Display S. the following month (by four and one-quarter lengths from Gospel Way); versatile colt has won pressing the pace and from far off the pace; bred to handle any surface and apparently does; should stay a classic distance; speed figures aren’t yet close to being competitive with the tops in his division and reportedly will now have two months in between races and train up to the Kentucky Derby-G1; obviously is a colt of some quality but the strategy from his connections appears to place a higher emphasis on making the Derby field that actually providing him the proper preparation to have a chance to win it. Also eligible: Known Agenda (T. Pletcher); Dream Shake (P. Eurton); Spielberg (B. Baffert); Midnight Bourbon (S. Asmussen); Highly Motivated (C. Brown); Weyburn (J. Jerkins); Rombauer (M. McCarthy); Crowded Trade (C. Brown); Keepmeinmind (R. Diodoro); O Besos (G. Foley)

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3.23.2021:

Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis-$20,000 Guaranteed Pool

Tonight, there is an 11-race card scheduled at Pompano Park with the 0.50 Pick 4 starting in Race 6. The sequence and has a $20,000 guaranteed pool with a 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.The leading driver on Monday night was David Miller with four wins and all 10 races were won by a different trainer.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 64-Citi Z Tam (4-1)-Moved forward off cover in last and had 2 good efforts in the past 3 starts. Does need a sharp drive and to find live cover but if that happens it could be picture time at a square price.5-Aces And Eights (5/2)-Drops to a level similar to the last win and this post draw should be a plus. Daly could get a good seat and be in striking range at the top of the lane.8-Winery Hanover (25-1)-Will swing for a big price as the Sawyers' barn has been clicking in the past 30 days. Holiday may blast out and land on the point or in the pocket. If that trip plays out it could be very rewarding.Race 71-Beach Journey (4-1)-Miller's choice over #3 has done well against cheaper and now steps up. This will be a stern test but should get an up-close seat and might get sucked around to make one big move down the lane.6-Tempus Seelster (5/2)-This game mare hasn't been at the top of her game but at this level she should be tough to beat with a decent trip. MacDonald will likley leave and end up on the engine or in the 2-hole, either trip could work.7-Persistent Bettor (6-1)-Stepped-up last week and had an even effort at this class. Has the gate speed to get a good early seat and has hit the board in 19 of 33 Pompano starts. Tries Lasix for the 2nd time and should offer a nice price.Race 81-Colonys Best (3-1)-Not an easy race to dissect and this 9-year-old is 1-27 in 2020-2021 and only 1-15 at the Pomp. But this is not a group of all-stars and Simons could get a very efficient trip to capture an overdue win.4-Poof Daddy (5-1)-Dropped to the basement, was bet down to 3/2 and basically came to a stop in last. Not sure what happened last time but comes right back 8 days later versus similar and will be a better price.8-Lime Twist (5-1)-Here's Miller's choice over the 3-5-6 and this mare drops. My guess is this will be the leader after the first turn. Should like the company and can be a player with a good trip.Race 91-Prairie Cougar (2-1)-Drops to a spot to shine and Hennessey should be racing near the top of the stack. Is only 2-22 at PPk and 1-10 this year but best to not overlook with main foe starting outside.7-Roll With Angel (5/2)-Second program chalk has also been facing better but isn't as camera shy as #1. Did pace the 2nd half in 55.2 and this time that kind of rally might be good enough.0.50 Pick 44,5,8/1,6,7/1,4,8/1,7Total Bet=$27Check me out on Twitter!

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3.22.2021:

Monday Myths: Best Jockeys on the Best Horses

Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities. Assumption: The best jockeys only win because they get the best mounts. Background: There’s a heavy reluctance around the racetrack and amongst horseplayers to give jockeys much of the credit for a victory. A loss, well, that’s a different story. Since the 110-pound jockey can’t carry the 1,100-pound horse, there’s some common sense to the stance that it’s far more about the horse. But if all things were equal, how much does the jockey matter? I wanted to find out if the success of the jockey could actually help the success of the horse, and if so, by how much. By looking at race favorites, those horses projected to be best in every race, we can gauge the rider’s impact. Data Points: I crunched the numbers in the Betmix database for every Thoroughbred race in North America over the past 5 years, going back to Mar. 22, 2016. The study looked at the all race favorites and the success level of the jockeys riding them, utilizing the jockeys’ 1-year winning percentage at the time of the mount. We grouped the jockeys by success (0-5% win rate, 6-10%, 11-15%, 16-20%, 21-25% and 26%-plus). Favorites won 37.22% with any level of jockey in the saddle. Favorites won 35.13% with a 0-5%-level of jockey in the saddle. Favorites won 35.43% with a 6-10%-level of jockey in the saddle. Favorites won 36.73% with a 11-15%-level of jockey in the saddle. Favorites won 37.81% with a 16-20%-level of jockey in the saddle. Favorites won 40.03% with a 21-25%-level of jockey in the saddle. Favorites won 43.42% with a 26%-or-higher-level of jockey in the saddle. Overall Findings: At every higher level of jockey success came a higher percentage of winning favorite. There was very little difference between those 0-10% in the lowest two groups and both groups won decidedly less often than favorites overall. The 11-20% two groupings of jockeys sort of straddled the overall success of favorites and were not noticeably impactful. The two highest groupings of jockeys by success had a superior impact on the likelihood of a winning favorite, both performing far above the average chance of victory overall for the chalk. Overall Findings Verdict: There’s a solid 5-8% swath between the bottom-level jockeys and the top riders when riding favorites (35.13% to upwards of 43.42%), lending credence to that there’s more to winning a race than just being on the best horse. Bottom line: You can’t say that the best jockeys only win because they get the best mounts. These numbers clearly indicate that the best jockeys also do more with the best mounts when they get them. Additional Details: You can go into Betmix and run your own queries for a deeper dive into this theory and any that you can create. For instance, take a look at the tracks you play most often to see if they fall in line with this study’s conclusions. I did a fun search by trainer, and noticed Wesley Ward’s favorites win 45% when riding the lowest-level jockeys. So even when you see him ride a lower-end jockey on a favorite, don’t be afraid to trust the runner.

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3.22.2021:

Monday, March 22: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

Woodbine Mohawk Park has a solid card set for tonight. The 0.20 Early Pick 4 begins in Race 4 and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 44-Levy Taylore (7/2)-Beat this kind from the 8-hole at 7-1 and was used a couple of times. This barn has won 33% of starts in the last 30 days and this 8-year-old should enjoy the post relief.5-Cool Rock (3-1)-Finished behind #4 in last. The trip was rough but was still rolling late. This will be the 1st start in the Moreau barn following a claim. Best to respect but is only 1 for 34 in the last 2 years and has won just 5 of 77 at Wbsb.Race 52-Franks Angel (4-1)-Has raced well in the last 2 starts since joining the Henriksen barn. Appears to be best when races near the top of the stack and has the speed to get there. Looks like a player at a square price.3-Toccoa Falls (6-1)-The concern is a slow start but has been trying hard. This post draw should help chances. Maybe Hensley can provide a good steer and put into striking range at the top of the lane.5-RJS Invictus (8-1)-Broke 2 back but had a nice effort in last and trotted the 2nd half in 57.3. Taking a swing for a price and gets the services of McClure for the 1st time. This is the 4th start off the bench and could be sitting on a big try.Race 61-Coolsunshine (6-1)-Loses McNair but Young should be able to keep in play and get away in a good seat. Price should be better tonight, could get sucked around and roll by late.2-Big Chic Magnate (7/2)-This was McNair's choice and steps-up as is the case with #1. Has stayed flat in the last 2 starts and is a threat if minds manners.5-Bettim Again (5/2)-Makes 1st local start and has had some quick miles on the 1/2 in Nova Scotia in 2020. Debuts for the Moreau barn and should be tough to beat if dialed on high.Race 75-The Wheel (3-1)-Makes the 2nd start of the year and raced from the back last week after leaving from the 8-hole. Did roll hard in the back half closing in 27.3. Draws better and will likely be driven more aggressively from the start.6-Hope So (5/2)-Cashed a 2nd place check in the same race as #5 and was used early from the 9-hole to get a decent seat. Went off as the chalk in last and looks like the one to beat here.My Ticket Race 4) 4,5 Race 5) 2,3,5 Race 6) 1,2,5 Race 7) 5,6Total Ticket Cost) $7.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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3.21.2021:

Sunday March 21: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis-$25,000 Guaranteed Pool

Cal Expo concludes the weekend with a 13-race card. The 0.20 Pick 4 starts in Race 10 and it has a $25,000 guaranteed pool. The sequence has a 16% takeout, and it will be my focus.On Saturday, Lemoyne Svendsen and Luke Plano led the drivers with three wins. Jesse Pacheco was the leading conditioner with two trips to the winner's circle.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 102-Cantholdmebackmack (12-1)-Takes a good drop, starting inside should help and gets a ++ driver change. Roland can put in play from the start and race near the top. Should offer a good price and there isn't anyone in here that's an obvious choice.3-Waitin Ona River (6-1)-Paced the last half in 56.1 and now takes a drop, so off the last try it makes sense to use. Has hit the board in 5 of 11 starts and if is cycling into form it could be picture time. The issue here and with others is consistency.6-Intrigued Again (5-1)-Often fades down the lane and is only 2 for the last 20. But was used hard for the lead in the last start which isn't the usual game plan. Hung in pretty well and might be sitting on a big try.8-In For the Chase (8-1)-Drops and is a better fit versus this crew. Recent form has been good. Likes to rally down the lane and might be overlooked with this post draw.Race 111-Noisy Nora (5/2)-Found the going too tough in last and now drops to a better spot but Nora is very camera shy. Has 2 wins in the last 45 starts and has one win at CalX in 36 tries. Regardless this is your program chalk and should be in the hunt.3-Little Emma (5-1)-This mare likes to follow but was Plano's choice over the 1-4-7. Will respect chances for a picture in a field full of horses who don't like to win. The #6 has won 2 straight and will look to play against this week.4-Big Chute (3-1)-This 7-year-old does come off a win at the basement class and did pace the back half in .57. Roland should be able to find some cover and an encore isn't out of the question.Race 121-Mr Varsity (8/5)-One of 2 Plano pupils and Roland will be between the pipes. This guy comes off a nice effort after a sick scratch. Doesn't offer any value at the morning line price but is a threat if recent form holds true.2-Fly Away (5-1)-Cutting won with this 12-year-old on 2-20 at this class. A similar script could be followed here and might get a pocket trip and brush by down the lane.Race 131-Marvtherat (7/2)-Hasn't been in this soft in quite a while. Kerwood could get sucked around from the rail and trip out for a picture.4-Marc Mellow Man (9/5)-Has beaten slightly better than this one time since 12-4, so maybe that makes Mellow the morning line chalk. This is the basement and could be a wake-up call that leads to an overdue win.6-Fear Factor (6-1)-Wasn't Plano's choice as he opted for #4 but looks to be worth a swing at this price. Fits with this groupand Cutting could sweep by off cover.My Ticket Race 10) 2,3,6,8 Race 11) 1,3,4 Race 12) 1,2 Race 13) 1,4,6Total Ticket Cost) $14.40Check me out on Twitter!

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3.21.2021:

Sunday, March 21: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Golden Gate Fields – Seventh Race – Post time: 4:41 PT9-Minehunter (7/2)Cut out hot fractions before weakening late when facing an infinitely tougher group in a turf sprint at Santa Anita last time out but against this group the son of Slew’s Tiznow should be able to take control early and never look back. A couple of recent workouts over the local synthetic track should do the A. Mathis-trained gelding plenty of good, so let’s hope to get close to his morning line of 7/2 in this state-bred maiden allowance affair and use him in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.Golden Gate Fields – Eighth Race – Post time: 5:11 PT3-Eel Point (2-1)Was visually impressive in victory when winning a restricted $25,000 claimer at Santa Anita last month and, following a claim, returns for trainer D. O’Neill protected in this entry-level allowance sprint in what we’ll take as a sign of confidence. Most effective as a late-running sprinter, the son of Into Mischief should settle in behind the leaders and then have every chance to produce the last run over a synthetic surface that we’re expecting him to handle just fine. At 2-1 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.

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3.20.2021:

Saturday, March 20: Meadowlands Late Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, the Meadowlands has 13 races ready to roll with the first post coming at 6:20 EST. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 10 and it has a $50,000 guaranteed pool. The sequence does have a 15% takeout, and it will be my focus.On Friday, Corey Callahan, Dexter Dunn and Mark MacDonald led the pilots with two wins. Edwin Quevedo was the top conditioner on the card with two trips to the winner's circle. In eight of the 13 races the leader at the top of the stretch did finish first. In the other five contests the winner was no more than about three lengths from the lead at the top of the lane.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 101-Yacht Seelster (10-1)-Almost beat #8 leaving from the 8-hole last week. Seems like this guy enjoys racing near the top of stack. Loses AMac but Brennan knows how to protect the rail and should offer a solid price.5-Lexus Witha View A (7/2)-Aussie invader has been impressive in both Big M starts with a 2nd and a 1st place finish from the 8 and 9 post. Faces tougher but post draw is much better and it's best to respect. Won't be odds-on and will take a swing at this price.8-Collossal Stride A (5/2)-Losses Dunn to #2 and was tempted to use because on paper that's a head scratcher. But Zeron can work his magic from the 8-hole. Price should be better than it has been and is too good to leave off the ticket.Race 113-The Candyman Can (3-1)-Dropped and popped in a very solid mile. It took a while but maybe Sodano has found the key to this 4-year-old. Paced the last half in .55 all on his own and it looked like the tank wasn't dry. Using and the price should be better than 7/5 this week.6-Cliffhanger (7/2)-Qualified nicely, now makes 1st start for the Fusco barn and might fire hot off the bench. Makes 3rd start on Lasix and the 3rd start of the year. Dube is back between the pipes and he drove in the qualifier.Race 124-So So De Vie (9/2)-Does need the right trip and the last one was a bumpy journey. Now draws better and Callahan should put in play early and race near the top of the stack. Could land on the engine without going to the half in 54.3.5-Pokerface Bluehip (5-1)-Was used early and hard last time and now Dunn gets the assignment. A quick pace would help as may look to come off cover. Could be a player with the right steer but has only 4 wins in the last 39 starts.7-My Alpha Rock N (5/2)-Beat this field last week at a square price with Gingras between the pipes. Could be a repeat candidate with a lively pace and there is a good chance of that happening.Race 131-Passa-Grille Beach (3-1)-Drops to the softest spot of the meet and drawing the rail should also help. Hasn't been a big hit in East Rutherford going 2 for 32 but even so, it's best to not dismiss.4-Thndrfrmthethron N (9/2)-Went off as the chalk last week versus better and didn't hit the board. Dunn sticks so looking for more tonight and does know how to win at this level.8-Palomar (5-1)-Did roll late at this class last week and just missed as the even money choice. This post should help the price and not sure it hurts this slow starter very much. At the morning line price, it makes sense to include but needs someone to press #1. A tepid pace kills chances for a picture.My Ticket Race 10) 1,5,8 Race 11) 3,6 Race 12) 4,5,7 Race 13) 1,4,8Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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3.20.2021:

Saturday, March 20: Jeff Siegel's National Best Bets

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6. Fair Grounds – Fifth Race – Post time: 2:13PM ET5-Koolhaus (9/2) Sophomore maiden was given a nice educational run in his debut vs. similar last month and should be much more serious today after finishing full of run to be third and then galloping out far in front. Purchased as a weanling for $600,000, the son of Nyquist is very well regarded by the B. Cox barn and with two easy breezes since raced and the positive jockey switch to F. Geroux, this Triple Crown nominated colt looks ready to break his maiden and then go on to bigger and better things At anywhere close to his morning line of 9/2, he’s worth playing enthusiastically in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics. Gulfstream Park – Sixth Race – Post time: 2:37 ET2-Bagboss (5-1) This first time starter is bred for intense speed on both sides of his pedigree and has been impressive in a series of breezing workouts leading up to this five and one-half furlong main track dash for 3-year-olds. The son of Speightstown appears fit and ready for a major effort, though the more experienced Jeebar - the morning line favorite at 2-1 – should prove to be quite formidable. At 5-1 on the morning line, Bagboss will offer good value, so we’ll go with the better price on top and hope the B. Walsh-trained colt breaks well and performs up to expectations.   

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3.20.2021:

Saturday, March 20: Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Full-Card Picks

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. The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play. Click to view today’s Santa Anita Workout Report RACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: BSingle: 3-Lalic Forecast: Lalic performed better than expected when 13-1 in her debut in a similar grass sprint here last month, pressing the pace but then weakening late to wind up third while appearing to need the outing. She makes a major jockey switch to F. Prat, shows two easy workouts since raced, and projects to settle into a nice stalking position outside two committed speed types and then, in a field lacking in effective closers, have every chance from the quarter pole home. We wouldn’t accept much less than her 2-1 morning line in the win pool but in the rolling exotics we’ll take a stand and make her a single. RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: XUse: 2-None Above the Law; 4-Club Cal Forecast: None Above the Law is the 4/5 morning line favorite and obviously will offer no value at that price but the P. Miller-trained gelding should be hard to beat as a first-time Lasix user, switching to F. Prat, and with no Life is Good to contend with today. His runner-up effort in the California Cup Derby two runs back behind Big Fish while four lengths clear of the rest beats this field. Club Cal might be worth including on a ticket or two as a back-up. The Clubhouse Ride gelding adds blinkers for the first time, returns to the main track, has worked well recently and was stakes-placed two races back when a close third in the King Glorious S. at Los Alamitos. If he improves with the hood on, the C. Kelley-trained gelding could make a bit of run for it. RACE 3: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Armour Plate; 6-Invictatus Forecast: We’ll double the third race, a below average restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming turf miler. Invictatatus, freshened for a couple of months, drops well below his claim level while stretching out again. He’s worked well enough in recent weeks to indicate he’s ready for a top effort, but with speed drawn inside him he’ll need to show that he can stalk and pounce rather than be on the lead. On pure numbers, he’s good enough to win. Armour Plate is guaranteed a ground-saving trip from his good rail post position after missing by a neck over this course and distance vs. similar foes in his most recent start. He’s just 1-for-21 in his career but at least that win came over the local lawn, and with F. Prat staying aboard the son of Into Mischief projects as the one to fear most. RACE 4: Post: 2:48 PT Grade: XSingle: 4-Thrive Forecast: Thrive tipped his hand in his debut when finding his best stride too late to be third in a similar state-bred maiden sprint last month and today gets an extra half-furlong to work with while adding blinkers and retaining F. Prat. Furthermore, the M. McCarthy barn has off-the-charts stats with the second-time starter angle (27% with a massive ROI), so we suspect this son of Competitive Edge will graduate today at what surely will be a shorter price than his morning line of 8/5. He’s a logical rolling exotic single in a race that we’ll otherwise pass. RACE 5: Post: 3:22 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Red King; 3-Ward ‘n Jerry; 7-Tartini Forecast: This starter’s allowance turf marathon looks more like a graded stakes race, with the main players eligible for having started for a $50,000 tag at least once since 2019. Red King, winner of the Del Mar H.-G2 last September, returns for trainer P. D’Amato (powerful with the layoff angle) and has a history of firing a big shot fresh. He’s worked well enough to be fit and ready and is a five-time winner (from 12 starts) over the Santa Anita turf course. Ward ‘n Jerry was fully extended to win a softer starter’s allowance event last month as the odds-on favorite and probably will need to pick it up a bit today to repeat. The eight-year-old gelding, just like Red King, has a career record of five wins from 12 outings over this turf course, retains F. Prat, and should draft into an easy stalking position in a race projects to have very slow splits. Though he doesn’t need the lead to win, Tartini may inherit the role as the pacesetter. He proved hard to down given that type of trip when narrowly worn down by Ward ‘n Jerry last month, and a similar effort today should at least land him in the frame. RACE 6: Post: 3:55 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Street Behavior Forecast: There’s really nothing to trust in this $16,000 middle distance router for older horses, so if you can afford to do so, spread the race in rolling exotic play and perhaps even use ‘em all if your budget allows. It’s either that or try to identify a potential single. Street Behavior, third in a similar spot last time out and today getting a break in the weights with the switch to bug girl J. Pyfer, projects to enjoy an ideal second flight, stalking journey and then have his chance to grind away when the pressure is turned on. A nice recent training track drill shows he’s holding his form and based strictly on speed figures the S. Miyadi-trained gelding looks capable of winning at this level. RACE 7: Post: 4:25 PT Grade: XUse: 1-Acclimate; 2-Masteroffoxhounds; 3-United Forecast: We’ll pass this year’s edition of the San Luis Rey Stakes-G3 but use three in our rolling exotics. United returns to his favorite turf course, has been trained to be plenty fit in his first outing since the BC Turf-G1 last November, and seems sure to fire a big shot. However, even when he wins, the veteran son of Giant’s Causeway always makes it close. Masteroffoxhounds seeks her third straight score after a sharp win in the 10-furlong San Marcos S.-G2 here last month. He’ll likely track Acclimate throughout and then go after him at the top of the stretch, just like last time. The latter will make the running, and although he’s winless since scoring in gate-to-wire fashion in the Del Mar Handicap-G2 way back in the summer of 2019 the Acclamation gelding take them as far as he can and deserves a certain amount of respect. RACE 8: Post: 4:55 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-El Diablo Rojo; 4-Fratelli; 6-Curry Forecast: Curry had no excuse when failing at 40 cents on the dollar in a similar first-level allowance sprint last month other than perhaps needing the race. The lightly-raced gelding (just four career starts) is extremely fast on speed figures when he’s on his game, so the K. Headley-trained gelding certainly must be considered the one to beat again, especially at this slightly shorter trip. Fratelli is intriguing in that he’s a first-off-the-claim play for P. Miller (lethal with this angle) and is protected in a sign of confidence while switching to F. Prat. He’s certain to improve, the only question is how much. El Diablo Rojo, back sprinting where he belongs, is much slower on pure numbers than he needs to be to win but will be running on strongly late and could make some noise if a pace meltdown materializes. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to Curry. RACE 9: Post: 5:25 PT Grade: BUse: 5-No Foolery Here; 9-Hudson Ridge; 10-Eagle Chief Forecast: Hudson Ridge is making steady improvement for B. Baffert and may be ready to graduate in this moderate maiden special weight turf miler for 3-year-olds. A closing and willing fourth with the help of the race flow on the main track last time out, the son of American Pharoah seems set to produce another forward move while returning to what we suspect will prove to be his preferred surface. He’ll get the patient ride he apparently wants from D. Van Dyke. Eagle Chief, in the frame in his last pair with speed figures that make him a major player, continues to look good in the morning and appears quite dangerous stretching out for the first time. The J. Sadler-trained son of Into Mischief should be on or near the lead throughout. No Foolery Here, an even fourth in his debut in the same productive turf sprint that Eagle Chief exits, has trained well at San Luis Rey Downs in the interim and is bred to handle the extra ground. Here’s another plus: trainer R. Baltas has terrific stats with the second-time starter angle.

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3.19.2021:

Saturday, March 20: Eddie Olczyk's Best Bets

1/ST BET and Xpressbet handicapper Eddie Olczyk is back for another round of Saturday spot plays, including the main event at Fair Grounds for the season, the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. His key plays include a fast start to the Santa Anita card and the early pick five. FAIR GROUNDS, RACE 6 (2:42PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHTEDDIE'S PICK: #5 SHALDAG (6/1) The ‘other’ Asmussen entrant as compared to 5-2 morning line favorite Hidden Enemy. In 3 career turf races, he’s started from an outside post position in all 3. He’s drawn better today, and I’m hoping for a run similar to the one he had at Kentucky Downs Downs last September. The price will be right. Win bet. SANTA ANITA, RACE 1 (4:00PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMINGEDDIE'S PICK: #2 NEW DRAMA (4/1) Trainer Tim Yakteen has it going really well currently, and his numbers second start off after layoffs of 6 months or more are outstanding recently. New Drama had a bad post in last start, a speed-and-fade in that race off the brutal post. Thinking that he needed it, though a 5-year-old maiden with only 3 career starts a concern. But he can make one run into a race that should be quick. I’ll take my shot with a win bet. FAIR GROUNDS, RACE 14 (6:44PM ET) // LOUISIANA DERBYEDDIE'S PICK: #4 PROXY (7/2) The added distance from the Lecomte and Risen Star will help. Proxy gets blinkers on, and I’m hoping to save some ground this time, unlike last race. He should find speed to track. Johnny V should be able to rate a bit and follow #2 Rightandjust. Trainer Michael Stidham is on a roll all over the country. Win bet.

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3.19.2021:

Friday, March 19: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Golden Gate – Third Race – Post time: 2:28 PT1-Into the Wind (7/2)The even money morning line favorite Made In Karoo will be tough to beat let’s go for a better price with this lightly-raced Southern California shipper. The daughter of Big Blue Kitten showed some ability in her debut over the all-weather surface at Turfway Park last month and then was out of her element when badly overmatched in straight maiden company at Santa Anita. This maiden $8,000 claiming field should be within her range, and from her favorable rail draw she’s guaranteed a good ground-saving trip. If she’s going to be any kind of race horse, this would be a good place to show it, so at 7/2 on the morning line she offers a bit of gamble in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.Santa Anita – Eighth Race – Post time: 4:53 PT3-Alexander’s Dream (8-1)Sophomore maiden finally gets a chance to stretch out around two turns and we suspect the J. Bonde-trained colt will make the most of the opportunity. Bred for turf and displaying improvement in his first try on the sod last month, the J. Bonde-trained colt finished with interest to be a good third while earning by far a career top speed figure. He’s worked well since so another forward move is likely, and projects to draft into a comfortable second flight, ground-saving position and then have every chance. There’s good long shot value here at anywhere near his 8-1 on the morning line

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3.19.2021:

Friday, March 19: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click to view today’s Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: BUse: 5-Cargo; 6-Whiskey TalkForecast: Cargo is the logical odds-on favorite in this state-bred maiden turf miler following a promising sprint debut last month that featured a good runner-up effort that earned a decent speed figure. The P. D’Amato barn has a powerful stat line with the second-time starter angle (20% with a huge ROI), and with a healthy series of workouts since raced the son of Point of Entry seems almost certain to produce a forward move. Also worth including on a ticket or two is the long shot Whiskey Talk (12-1). The son of Vronsky shows the always-dangerous two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out angle and continues to train like a gelding that should be far more effective two-turning than going short. It’s very likely that he’s better than shown and should more competitive than his morning line might indicate.RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: XSingle: 2-Conquest CobraForecast: The second half of the early daily double drew just five entrants for this $12,500 main track middle distance event and therefore doesn’t offer a lot to work with. Conquest Cobra, listed as the 7/5 morning line favorite, takes a significant class drop back to his winning level, is reunited with “win rider” F. Prat, and has finished in the frame in 16 of 22 career starts over the Santa Anita dirt oval (including five wins). Anything close to his sharp runner-up two runs back at Los Alamitos beats this field, but at his probable starting price there’s not going to be much value to be found. We can use him as a rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.RACE 3: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Sky Navigator; 3-Hard MetalForecast: We’ll double the third race, a maiden $30,000 claiming miler restricted to 3-year-olds. Hard Metal makes a monumental jockey switch to U. Rispoli after finishing a strong runner-up over this track and distance at this level last month that produced a career top speed figure. Two nice workouts since raced indicates the son of Hard Spun is holding his form, and with another forward move, even a slight one, the S. Gonzalez-trained colt should be set to earn his diploma. We’ll also include the new gelding Sky Navigator, dropping to his proper level, returning to the main track, and likely to draft into a comfortable second flight, ground-saving trip. The son of Sky Mesa is a fit on figures with more right to improve than most of the others, so at 7/2 on the morning line he’s a “must use” in rolling exotic play.RACE 4: Post: 2:43 PT Grade: BUse: 3-Ghoul; 5-SashForecast: We’ll try to get by in this second-level allowance/optional claiming turf sprint using just two. But the contention runs top to bottom and if you feel the need to spread (or buy) the race, go right ahead. Ghoul switches to F. Prat and will be charging late after running into some trouble on the turn and winding up a close fourth in a similar affair over this course and distance last month. With a little bit of help up front the P. Miller-trained gelding will make his presence felt from the furlong pole to the wire. Sash offers an interesting price chance at 5-1 on the morning line in his first start since June. A miler most of his career both here and in Europe, the English-bred gelding has the route-top-spring angle that always catches our eye, a prior win over the local lawn, speed figures that make him highly-competitive. Yes, it’s possible this is nothing more than a shake-off-the-rust outing but trainer M. Glass has been aggressive in recent workouts, so it’s entirely possible the son of Oasis Dream fires a big shot off the bench.RACE 5: Post: 3:13 PT Grade: BUse: 5-Just Distorted; 7-Lady Aces; 8-Stella NoirForecast: Here’s an extended main track sprint for 3-year-old fillies that appears to have several nice prospects signed on. Stella Noir has done some good work in the a.m. for K. Desormeaux and acts like a decent type of filly for a trainer whose record with debut runners is decent enough. She’s been trained to settle early and rally late, so we’re expecting the daughter of Stay Thirsty to do her best work from the quarter pole home. Just Distorted has the benefit of a race under her belt and goes for barn that is particularly strong with the second-time-starter angle (25%). Runner-up in an okay but not great race, the daughter of Distorted Humor brought $400,000 as a yearling and can be expected to improve with experience and distance. Caparegime appears to have some talent, though the V. Cerin usually races its maidens into shape. Still, the daughter of Street Boss is worth tossing in at a price (morning line 5-1) after doing what’s been asked of her in the a.m. The tab isn’t flashy, so she might drift on the tote and offer real wagering value but in the rolling exotics and in exacta/trifecta/superfecta play.RACE 6: Post: 3:49 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Disko Fever; 3-St Helena; 6-Big BeautyForecast: Disko Fever stretches out for the first time and clearly will be the controlling speed. She’s from a barn that has solid stats with the stretch-out angle (18%), and on pure pedigree (Tom’s Tribute) the R. Baltas-trained 3-year-old should get the mile and will have every chance to see out the trip. Big Beauty isn’t particularly fast on speed figures but she recently broke her maiden over this course and distance, retains F. Prat, and seems likely to draft into a stalking position and have dead aim and every chance when the pressure is turned on. This will be just her third career start and improvement is likely. St Helena graduated on New Year’s eve and hasn’t been out since, but the daughter of Bluegrass Cat has looked vastly improved in the a.m. for trainer M. Puype in recent workouts and will be adding Lasix for the first time. Like Big Beauty, she’s a little light in the speed figure department but it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see her produce a significant forward move today, one that makes her extremely dangerous at 8-1 on the morning line.RACE 7: Post: 4:21 PT Grade: XUse: 3-Coalinga Road; 4-Clayton DelaneyForecast: This six runner field of state-bred first-level allowance older horses has two main contenders. Coalinga Road was eight lengths clear of the rest when second in a similar affair here in early January and has been on a regular work pattern since, so we suspect he’ll run his usual type of race again today. The son of Quality Road should draft into a stalking position and then grind way from the quarter pole home. Clayton Delaney switches from turf to dirt broke his maiden on dirt (at Los Alamitos) so we suspect the surface switch won’t have a negative impact on his good, consistent recent form. The son of Grazen can be on the lead if they want him to be, and in a field without much zip the P. D’Amato-trained gelding might appreciate aggressive early handling. Will give Coalinga Road a very slight edge on top but use both in rolling exotic play in a race that we’ll otherwise sit out.RACE 8: Post: 4:53 PT Grade: B+Single: 3-Alexander’s DreamForecast: In a split of today’s first race, Alexander’s Dream finally gets a chance to stretch out and we suspect the J. Bonde-trained colt will make the most of the opportunity. Bred for turf and improving considerably in his first try on the sod last month, the J. Bonde-trained colt finished with interest to be a good third while earning by far a career top speed figure, has worked well since, and should be draft into a comfortable second flight, ground-saving position behind what projects to be a reasonable pace. He’s 8-1 on the morning line and at anywhere near that price he’s a strong win play and rolling exotic single.

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3.18.2021:

1/ST BET AI Picks Triple Crown Preps: Louisiana Derby

This Saturday’s lone Triple Crown prep race toward the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes will be Fair Grounds’ Louisiana Derby. To help you tackle the 1-3/16 miles regional final in New Orleans, the 1/ST BET app’s artificial intelligence provides its look into the data of the 8 contenders.Selections provided by the 1/ST BET app measure each contender against the 10 leading factors for each race. The 1/ST BET app looks at 52 handicapping factors and more than 200,000 past races to determine its AI selections. You can use the automated handicapping factors, or create your own factor filters to incorporate angles you prefer.Fair Grounds // Grade 2 Louisiana Derby // Race 14 // 6:44 PM ET#6 Mandaloun // 30%W // 51%P // 65%S#7 Midnight Bourbon // 18%W // 36%P // 53%S#5 Hot Rod Charlie // 14%W // 32%P // 48%S#4 Proxy // 14%W // 29%P // 44%S#2 Rightandjust // 8%W // 17%P // 33%S#8 O Besos // 6%W // 13%P // 21%S#1 Starrininmydreams // 5%W // 11%P // 18%S#3 Run Classic // 5%W // 11%P // 18%S

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3.18.2021:

Friday, March 19: Frank Carulli's $154,931 Carryover Stronach 5 Picks

STRONACH 5 ANALYSIS March 19, 2021Carryover Pool: $154,931LEG A // LAUREL PARK RACE 8 (4:30PM ET) // ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT) LITTLE HUNTRESS, a 14-length maiden breaker in her second start, set a rapid pace at 7F but was no match for multiple stakes winner Street Lute (7-9, $420k). BREEZE OFF THE BAY ran second in all three allowance tries for this barn and gets plenty of pace to rally into.     LEG B // GULFSTREAM PARK, RACE 8 (4:48PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (DIRT)  BAHAMIAN GIRL chased the beaten favorite at 6-1/2F before hard-hitting Bimini (6-21, $178k) and others passed by. ETANA was no threat to wire-to-wire upsetter ASSUME CONTROL, but she finished with good energy and could turn the tables at a tempting price. LEG C // LAUREL PARK, RACE 9 (5:03PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)  THUNDERINTHEVALLEY finished in the money in nine consecutive starts, spanning five distances. He has a recency edge over his main rivals and has no excuse to not upgrade to a win. SOUTHERN GALAXY showed enough sprinting against Louisiana breds to warrant longshot consideration for a sharp barn despite drawing outside. TAPDANCING GIRL, a lightly-raced 5-year-old, can't be discounted on the class drop from the rail.   LEG D // SANTA ANITA PARK, RACE 3 (5:08PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (DIRT)  HARD METAL closed late in the 3-path to finish second behind the 11-to-1 pace controller. ROYAL ORB, a half to three six-figure earners, was content to track the longshot winner and was put to hard drive from mid-turn to the finish, settling for third. STONE'S RIVER back-pedaled on the lead in a 5-horse field in his first try around two turns, but his dam was 4/1-2-0 going a route of ground and he could be used on the class drop. SHORT RIB, second at one mile two starts back, had an extremely wide trip last out and gets in as co-light weight. LEG E // GOLDEN GATE FIELDS, RACE 3 (5:25PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (ALL WEATHER) HANDCUFFED benefitted when the 3-to-2 second favorite unseated his rider two starts back, but he was 'loaded' for the stretch drive and ran a scare into even-money pace setter Rachel's Lady in a 5-1/2F sprint at this level. He is a half-brother to seven-time route winner Handfull and two other long distance winners. MADE IN KAROO, a twice-beaten favorite with Lasix at Santa Anita, enters a new barn on the class drop.     SUGGESTED $1 STRONACH 5 TICKETLeg A: 1, 2 Leg B: 2, 3, 4 Leg C: 2, 10, 12 Leg D: 1, 3, 4, 8 Leg E: 3, 6 COST: $144  

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3.18.2021:

Louisiana Derby Picks & BTH Championship Recap

Congratulations to Karen Toyama, narrow winner in Xpressbet’s Beat the Host Championship. Toyama, at $122, proved $.50 better than runner-up Nancy Spense and $7 clear of third-place finisher Roy Brewer. In fourth place, $15.50 behind Toyama, was Christopher Reo. Cynthia Noblitt ($105), Lindy Harton ($103) and Charles Donnelly ($102) round out the top seven prize winners. Toyama has earned a starting berth in the 2022 Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship ($6,000 value) and the other six finishers have earned spots in either this year’s Santa Anita or Florida Derby tournaments ($1,500 value each). This week’s top 3-year-old race is the Louisiana Derby at one mile and three sixteenths. Below is one man’s humble, horse-by-horse analysis of the race and a suggested wagering strategy. FAIR GROUNDS (RACE 14, 6:44PM ET) // LOUISIANA DERBY (GR 2, $1M) // 1 3/16 MILES100 - 40- 20 - 10 Kentucky Derby Points 1. STARRININMYDREAMS (STEWART/L. SAEZ) - 20/1 This Super Saver colt is one of several in here coming out of the Gr. 2 Risen Star. He left the gate from the rail in that race, too, and broke a step slow at 10-1. Behind horses early, he was rank into the first turn. From there he never threatened. That’s a troubled trip, for sure, but there’s also a question of this colt’s quality. He has two previous wins to his credit in two starts, both at Churchill, so he’s probably better than what he showed last out. However, there’s plenty of speed in here, so he may find himself inside and behind horses again into the first turn. If he does clear everyone else to make the lead, he probably won’t be around late. Pass. 2. RIGHTANDJUST (WILSON/C. HERNANDEZ) - 20/1 He also comes out of the Risen Star (31-1 odds) and showed good speed early in the mile and one-eighth race. He broke well from the far outside 11-hole and was sent forward by jockey Mitchell Murrill. Like #1 Starrininmydreams, he had won both starts before the Gr. 2 Risen Star—route races at Fair Grounds. His only previous defeat came in a maiden sprint. Expect this son of Awesome Again to again break alertly under CJ Hernandez and use his inside post to his advantage. Claimed for $50k out of maiden score, there’s a question of how much talent this one’s got. He’ll be tested in here since he should have company early. He has been working well since his last race—a bullet :59 3/5 and a 100 3/5 are solid. Pass. 3. RUN CLASSIC (CALHOUN/B. HERNANDEZ JR.) - 12/1 Winner of a maiden race last out, this son of Runhappy appears to have upside. First out he was second in a maiden race that propelled both him and the third-place finisher to wins next time out. The Beyer Speed figure for that maiden score was 85 and he’ll need to improve on that to win this race. He took a fair amount of money in his first start and was favored second time out. His running style suggests he prefers to sit just behind the early pace and then come running. That’s the right style for this race but we doubt he can jump forward enough to immediately win this race. This field is deep with competition, so it’s not the ideal place to be forced to improve in a hurry, however, trainer Brett Calhoun isn’t one to overmatch his horses, so Run Classic shouldn’t be completely ignored. Bottom Exotics Only. 4. PROXY (STIDHAM/VELAZQUEZ) - 7/2 Runner-up in the mile and one-sixteenth Gr. 3 Lecomte and in the mile and one-eighth Gr. 2 Risen Star, owners Godolphin are hoping this colt can make a slight forward step at this extended distance. Trainer Mike Stidham is quoted saying this colt will appreciate longer distances. The trainer’s adding blinkers in an effort to get his charge more focused on his task, as his attention seems to wander during a race. #6 Mandaloun and #7 Midnight Bourbon have flip-flopped as top and bottom pieces of Proxy sandwiches. Can he turn the tables on that duo in here? He’s talented, no doubting that. In five races, he’s never been worse than second with two wins. Previously, he’s been content to sit a few lengths off the early speed and then close—just a bit too little, too late. Blinkers are meant to erase shortfalls. He fits in the mix, obviously, and if the equipment change works to focus his closing kick, he could win. Win Contender. 5. HOT ROD CHARLIE (MORA/ROSARIO) - 3/1 This son of Oxbow will make his first start for trainer Leandro Mora, normally assistant trainer to multiple Kentucky Derby winning trainer Doug O’Neill, who’s serving a suspension. So, other than shipping from California to Louisiana, not much has changed for this colt since he finished a neck short of Medina Spirit in the Gr. 3 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita. That afternoon, he and Roman Centurion had dead aim on Medina Spirit in the lane and couldn’t get by. Credit Medina Spirit. But we’re also a bit concerned about Hot Rod Charlie’s determination. Granted, it was the colt’s first race since finishing second in the Gr. 1 BC Juvenile in November at Keenelend, so he could improve. However, at a short price, we’re going to go ‘negative’ on this guy improving on his Lewis effort. Bottom Exotics Only. 6. MANDALOUN (COX/GEROUX) - 8/5 This son of Into Mischief was cranked up last out by trainer Brad Cox for a dominant victory in the Gr. 3 Risen Star, a race common to several others in the field. He stalked the early pace while wide, took command and finished well. The victory redeemed a third-place finish to #7 Midnight Bourbon in the Gr. 3 Lecomte, as the only loss on this colt’s resume after four starts. In short, he’s done little wrong. His style is perfect for this race—he relaxes early, just behind the front-runners. There should be ample pace for him to stalk and he’s shown that distance apparently isn’t a concern. It must be noted that #7 Midnight Bourbon and #4 Proxy both have finished in front of favored Mandaloun. However, in that losing effort this colt raced wide around both turns and was making his first start since November. Blinkers were added next out and that resulted in the Gr. 2 Risen Star redemptive victory. He’s the favorite and the one to beat. Most Likely Winner. 7. MIDNIGHT BOURBON (ASMUSSEN/TALAMO) - 5/1 This son of Tiznow has two wins in six starts, the most notable coming two back in the Gr. 3 Lecomte when he bested both #4 Proxy and favored #6 Mandaloun. Those foes gained revenge over Midnight Bourbon next out in the Gr. 2 Risen Star when they finished in front of him. In that race, Midnight Bourbon had a perfect start, was in a perfect spot and didn’t follow through in a disappointing, no-excuse effort. What’s a bit strange is that despite defeating both main contenders in the Gr. 3 Lecomte, Midnight Bourbon was nearly 6-1 in the Gr. 2 Risen Star! It also should be noted that according to Beyer Speed Figures, Midnight Bourbon’s Gr. 2 Risen Star was faster than his Gr. 3 Lecomte victory. So, he apparently improved, but so did others. Midnight Bourbon has a pair of solid five-furlong moves since last raced. Pass. 8. O BESOS (FOLEY/PEDROZA) - 15/1 This son of Kentucky Derby winner Orb is an interesting piece to the puzzle. He’s made four starts, with two wins—an off-the-turf maiden five and one-half furlong sprint and a six-furlong allowance win. Last out he moved up in class to the Gr. 2 Risen Star while stretching out in distance from six furlongs to one mile and one-eighth. Those are some stiff hurdles to overcome in a fourth start and, while he didn’t clear them easily, he wasn’t badly stymied either. In the Gr. 2 Risen Star, against solid stakes foes, O Besos raced evenly and actually loomed as an in-the-money threat in mid-stretch before finishing fourth, beaten just over seven lengths by #6 Mandaloun, #4 Proxy and #7 Midnight Bourbon—all much more seasoned than him. He tired in the final strides and that was to be expected. This colt has shown that he has some ability. Is he ready to win this Gr. 2, million-dollar stakes race and earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate? Probably not. But he’s worth a long look in exotics at a big price. He’s got a pesky poor habit of breaking slowly and he’s done it in all four races. Against this kind of foe from the outside post he can’t afford to surrender any ground and a slow break won’t help. His Beyer Speed Figures have improved with each start and will need to jump forward again but he’s got enough promise to anticipate another good race. Use in Exotics. BOTTOM LINE #6 Mandaloun is the favorite and there really aren’t any cracks that we can detect. His trainer, last year’s Eclipse Award winner, continues to win and the rider is top notch. Distance shouldn’t be an issue and his style fits the expected race shape. His is short price is a well-earned deterrent. #4 Proxy adds blinkers and could improve on his runner-up efforts in two previous Fair Grounds graded stakes efforts. Extra distance should be his friend. He can’t be ignored. #8 O Besos is a longshot worth consideration. He appears to have the kind of development that signals a big jump could be coming. He’s 15-1 on the morning line and should go higher than that. He was fourth last out against the top ones in here while stretching from six furlongs to one mile and one-eighth. Watch the replay, he ran pretty well until he tired late. THE PLAY$2 Trifecta ($12) 1st: #6 Mandaloun2nd: #4 Proxy, #8 O Besos3rd: #3 Run Classic #4 Proxy, #5 Hot Rod Charlie, #8 O Besos $1 Trifecta ($6) 1st: #4 Proxy2nd: #6 Mandaloun, #8 O Besos3rd: #3 Run Classic, #5 Hot Rod Charlie, #6 Mandaloun, #8 O Besos Race On!

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3.18.2021:

1/ST Handicappers Kentucky Derby Top 10 Lists

The 2021 Kentucky Derby will be just 6 weeks from this Saturday. As the Louisiana Derby looms this weekend, races like the Florida Derby, Santa Anita Derby, Wood Memorial, Blue Grass and Arkansas Derby await in coming Saturdays. Our resident historians and handicappers with 1/ST BET and Xpressbet check in with their mid-March Top 10 contenders for the Run for the Roses. We’ve included the projected next start for each horse in parenthesis. Next starts obviously are subject to change.JEFF SIEGEL | @jsiegelracing #1 Life Is Good (Santa Anita Derby)#2 Essential Quality (Blue Grass)#3 Greatest Honour (Florida Derby)#4 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby)#5 Mandaloun (Louisiana Derby)#6 Medina Spirit (Santa Anita Derby)#7 Hot Rod Charlie (Louisiana Derby)#8 Risk Taking (Wood Memorial)#9 Collaborate (Florida Derby)#10 Prevalence (Wood, Blue Grass or Arkansas Derby)JON WHITE | @PostTimeJon #1 Life Is Good (Santa Anita Derby)#2 Essential Quality (Blue Grass)#3 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby)#4 Greatest Honour (Florida Derby)#5 Mandaloun (Louisiana Derby)#6 Medina Spirit (Santa Anita Derby)#7 Hot Rod Charlie (Louisiana Derby)#8 Spielberg (Arkansas Derby)#9 Keepmeinmind (Arkansas Derby)#10 Proxy (Louisiana Derby)JOHN 'JOHNNY D' DESANTIS | @XBJohnnyD #1 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby)#2 Essential Quality (Blue Grass)#3 Greatest Honour (Florida Derby)#4 Mandaloun (Louisiana Derby)#5 Life Is Good (Santa Anita Derby)#6 Medina Spirit (Santa Anita Derby)#7 Caddo River (Arkansas Derby)#8 Highly Motivated (Wood Memorial)#9 Dream Shake (Santa Anita Derby)#10 Weyburn (Wood Memorial)JEREMY PLONK | @HorsePlayerNow #1 Life Is Good (Santa Anita Derby)#2 Concert Tour (Arkansas Derby)#3 Essential Quality (Blue Grass)#4 Greatest Honour (Florida Derby)#5 Proxy (Louisiana Derby)#6 Mandaloun (Louisiana Derby)#7 Medina Spirit (Santa Anita Derby)#8 Midnight Bourbon (Louisiana Derby)#9 Prevalence (Wood, Blue Grass or Arkansas Derby)#10 Big Lake (Arkansas Derby)  

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3.17.2021:

Louisiana Derby Picks + My Updated Kentucky Derby Top 10

This Saturday’s Grade II Louisiana Derby, a 1 3/16-mile test at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds, is the first race this year to have 170 points up for grabs toward a starting berth in the Grade I, $3 million Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1. The Louisiana Derby offers 100 points to the winner, 40 to second, 20 to third and 10 to fourth. As for my Xpressbet.com selections last week for the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, I went against 6-5 favorite Caddo River by making Concert Tour my top pick. Concert Tour won by 4 1/4 lengths as the 17-10 second choice in the wagering. In late January, I began making selections for Xpressbet.com in terms of this country’s races offering points toward the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby. Of the 13 such races, I have picked the winner in eight of them, as noted below: Date Race (Selection) Finish, $2 win payoff if applicable 01-30-21 Holy Bull (Greatest Honour) WON, $7.6001-30-21 Robert B. Lewis (Medina Spirit), WON, $4.0002-06-21 Sam F. Davis (Candy Man Rocket), WON, $8.2002-06-21 Withers (Donegal Bay), finished 7th02-13-21 Risen Star (Senor Buscador), finished 5th02-13-21 El Camino Real Derby (Rombauer), WON, $4.4002-26-21 Battaglia Memorial (Gretzky the Great), finished 3rd02-27-21 Southwest (Essential Quality), WON, $3.8002-27-21 Fountain of Youth (Greatest Honor), WON, $4.0003-06-21 Gotham (Freedom Fighter), finished 4th03-06-21 Tampa Bay Derby (Hidden Stash), finished 2nd03-06-21 San Felipe Stakes (Life Is Good), WON, $3.0003-13-21 Rebel Stakes (Concert Tour), WON, $5.40 LOUISIANA DERBY SELECTIONS My selections for the Louisiana Derby are below: 1. Proxy2. Mandaloun3. Hot Rod Charlie4. Midnight Bourbon The Louisiana Derby has attracted a field of eight. Three of the entrants are on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week: Mandaloun is No. 5, Hot Rod Charlie is No. 7 and Proxy is No. 10. Why am I picking Proxy to win the Louisiana Derby even though he ranks lower than Mandaloun and Hot Rod Charlie on my Top 10? The Top 10 to a large extent is based on what a horse has done. Up to this point, Mandaloun and Hot Rod Charlie have done more than Proxy. I also am making Proxy my top pick in the Louisiana Derby because I believe he offers wagering value vis-a-vis Mandaloun in this race. Mandaloun is the 8-5 morning-line favorite. Proxy is listed at 7-2. Mandaloun is a prime example of how a horse can show improvement with the addition of blinkers. The Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt finished third as a 4-5 favorite in the Grade III Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 16. Midnight Bourbon won, while Proxy ran second. Brad Cox, the Eclipse Award-winning trainer of 2020, decided to add blinkers to Mandaloun’s equipment for the Grade II Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 13. Mandaloun won by 1 1/4 lengths as a 2-1 favorite. Proxy finished second, while Midnight Bourbon ended up third. This time it’s trainer Michael Stidham who is adding blinkers to Proxy’s equipment. In Proxy’s first published workout after the Risen Star, the Kentucky-bred Tapit colt worked four furlongs in a bullet :47.00. It was the fastest of 40 Fair Grounds works at that distance on that occasion. That, to me, strongly suggests that Proxy will be focused on the task at hand in the Louisiana Derby. Micheline, a half-sister to Proxy, is a daughter of the multiple Grade I winner Panty Raid. Just last Saturday, Micheline won the Grade II Hillsborough Stakes on the grass at Tampa Bay Downs for Stidham. And, yes, Micheline wore blinkers last Saturday. Stidham has said Micheline improved after blinkers were added to her equipment. In the filly’s first race with blinkers, she won an allowance/optional claiming race at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 20, 2019. Last Oct. 10 at Keeneland, Micheline demonstrated that she certainly is a quality filly when she finished second to Harvey’s Lil Goil in the Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup. As for Hot Rod Charlie, who resides at Doug O’Neill’s Santa Anita barn, he will try to invade New Orleans and come away with a Louisiana Derby victory. Just last Saturday, a Southern California shipper, Concert Tour, won the Rebel. Hot Rod Charlie is yet another example of how the addition of blinkers can produce dramatic improvement. The Kentucky-bred Oxbow colt could not finish better than third in his first three career starts without blinkers. When racing with blinkers, Hot Rod Charlie won a maiden race at Santa Anita, then ran second at odds of 94-1 in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland, then finished a close third in the Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita. Midnight Bourbon certainly should not be taken lightly Saturday. He won the Lecomte by one length for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen when defeating both Proxy and Mandaloun. Midnight Bourbon subsequently ran third in the Risen Star. Can Midnight Bourbon rebound and win the Louisiana Derby? That absolutely is not out of the question. CONCERT TOUR MAKES LEAP ON MY DERBY TOP 10 In the wake of his sparkling win in the Rebel, Concert Tour leaps to No. 3 in my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week after being No. 6 last week. Also, Proxy debuts at No. 10 prior to this Saturday’s Louisiana Derby. Caddo River drops out of the Top 10. My Kentucky Derby Top 10 for this week is below: 1. Life Is Good2. Essential Quality3. Concert Tour4. Greatest Honour5. Mandaloun6. Medina Spirit7. Hot Rod Charlie8. Spielberg9. Keepmeinmind10. Proxy In a post-Rebel report written by Robert Yates and posted on Oaklawn Park’s website, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert was quoted as saying: “To me, it was kind of an American Pharoah-type run. He was doing it with ease, with plenty left.” American Pharoah splashed home a 6 1/4-length winner on a sloppy track in his 2015 debut. He would go on to win the Arkansas Derby prior to a Triple Crown sweep that ended a 37-year drought in the coveted series for 3-year-olds. Last Saturday, Concert Tour began from post 7. Caddo River broke from post 1. Concert Tour, ridden by Joel Rosario, seized the lead at once. When Concert Tour drew clear going into the clubhouse turn, Florent Geroux moved Caddo River off the rail and to the outside of Concert Tour. Generally, it is preferable to race in the clear to the outside of a rival. But Caddo River was difficult to handle due to being quite headstrong while pressing the pace outside Concert Tour. Meanwhile, Concert Turn was sailing along on the lead through the early stages while rating kindly for Rosario. It was evident turning for home that Caddo River was in deep water. While Rosario was sitting chilly on Concert Tour, Geroux was pumping away on Caddo River and not getting much response. In upper stretch, while Caddo River was retreating to eventually finish fifth, Concert Tour drew away without being asked to sport a four-length lead at the eighth pole. With Rosario repeatedly looking back in the final furlong, Concert Tour cruised home to remain undefeated while completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.18. A son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, Concert Tour has had a career so far that eerily mirrors that of the Baffert-trained Nadal. Nadal and Concert Tour both won a Santa Anita maiden sprint as a 3-year-old at first asking in January. Both subsequently won Santa Anita’s seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes. And both then made it three wins in as many career starts by taking the Rebel. After Nadal’s Rebel victory, he won a division of the Grade I Arkansas Derby on May 2. That turned out to be the final start of his career. It was announced on May 28 that Nadal had been retired from racing as a result of a condylar fracture in his left front leg following a four-furlong workout in :48.80 that morning at Santa Anita. Finishing second in this year’s $1 million Rebel was the Baffert-trained Hozier, who was making his stakes debut. Big Lake finished third in the field of eight. For Baffert, this was his eighth Rebel victory (Lookin At Lucky in 2010, The Factor in 2011, Secret Circle in 2012, Hoppertunity in 2014, American Pharoah in 2015, Cupid in 2016, Nadal in 2020 and Concert Tour in 2021). REBEL WINNER TIES CAREER-BEST BEYER Concert Tour was credited with a 94 Beyer Speed Figure for his Rebel triumph. The 94 tied his career-best Beyer. He also recorded a 94 in the San Vicente. Keep in mind, though, the Beyer figure-making team does not take into account how easily a horse wins. The way I look at it, when a horse wins as easily as Concert Tour did in the Rebel, I add a plus to the Beyer Speed Figure. So, for me, it’s a 94+. Below are the Beyer Speed Figures for Rebel winners going back to 1990 (the figures prior to 2020 are those listed in the American Racing Manual, which is now digital only): 2021 Concert Tour (94)2020 Nadal (96)2019 Omaha Beach (96)*2019 Long Range Toddy (95)*2018 Magnum Moon (97)2017 Malagacy (94)2016 Cupid (95)2015 American Pharoah (100)2014 Hoppertunity (100)2013 Will Take Charge (95)2012 Secret Circle (92)2011 The Factor (103)2010 Lookin At Lucky (98)2009 Win Willy (102)2008 Sierra Sunset (99)2007 Curlin (99)2006 Lawyer Ron (94)2005 Greater Good (95)2004 Smarty Jones (112)2003 Crowned King (90)2002 Windward Passage (94)2001 Crafty Shaw (102)2000 Snuck In (101)1999 Etbauer (102)1998 Victory Gallop (105)1997 Phantom On Tour (102)1996 Ide (93)1995 Mystery Storm (92)1994 Judge TC (95)1993 Dalhart (105)1992 Pine Bluff (106)1991 Quintana (no Beyer listed)1990 Nuits St. Georges (82) *Run in divisions SPRINT CHAMPION WHITMORE EDGED IN 2021 DEBUT Whitmore, the runner-up in the 2016 Rebel and the 2020 Eclipse Award-winning male sprinter, won Oaklawn’s Hot Springs Stakes from 2017 through 2020. But he was thwarted in his bid to make it five straight wins in last Saturday’s renewal. C Z Rocket rallied from last in the field of seven to win this year’s Hot Springs by a neck. Whitmore ran too good to lose, but the 8-year-old gelding had to settle for second. This was sweet revenge for C Z Rocket, who had finished second to Whitmore in the Grade I BC Sprint. If C Z Rocket had won the BC Sprint instead of Whitmore, C Z Rocket most likely would have been voted the Eclipse Award as champion male sprinter. Peter Miller trains C Z Rocket, a 7-year-old Kentucky-bred City Zip gelding. SWISS SKYDIVER WINS FIRST START OF YEAR After being rewarded with a 2020 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly, Swiss Skydiver won her first 2021 start by registering a 2 3/4-length victory in last Saturday’s Grade I Beholder Mile at Santa Anita. By racing at nine different tracks in seven different states last year, Swiss Skydiver put together a 2020 campaign that was a throwback. Despite so much travel, she rose to the occasion to eke out a neck victory over Authentic in the Grade I Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on Oct. 3. Authentic went on to win the Grade I BC Classic and was honored as the 2020 Horse of the Year in Eclipse Award balloting in addition to being voted the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male of 2020. Swiss Skydiver finished seventh in the Grade I BC Distaff on Nov. 7, but she stumbled at the start and emerged from that race with an injured heel. Four days after the Breeders’ Cup, trainer Kenny McPeek tweeted that the filly had injured her heel much worse than originally thought. McPeek went on to write that Swiss Skydiver “will rebound in 2021.” Swiss Skydiver did indeed rebound from her BC Distaff setback by proving a punctual 7-5 favorite in the Beholder Mile, a race named in honor of the great four-time Eclipse Award winner. McPeek has done a wonderful job with Swiss Skydiver, a Kentucky-bred Daredevil filly. The likely next start for Swiss Skydiver is the Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn on April 17. That lucrative event also is the next target for two-time Eclipse Award winner Monomoy Girl. One of Swiss Skydiver’s 2020 losses came when she finished second to another Daredevil filly, Shedaresthedevil, in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs in September. Shedaresthedevil won last Saturday’s Grade II Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn by a neck. It was her first start since she finished third in the Grade I Spinster Stakes at Keeneland last Oct. 4. While Swiss Skydiver deservedly received a lot of attention for her Beholder Mile victory, As Time Goes By ran quite well in defeat. Baffert trains As Time Goes By, a beautifully bred Kentucky-bred 4-year-old daughter of 2015 Horse of the Year American Pharoah and the multiple Grade I winner Take Charge Lady (who was trained by McPeek). Take Charge Lady is the dam of Will Take Charge (the 2013 Rebel winner), who was voted a 2013 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. Baffert has said that he believes As Time Goes By will be even better going farther than one mile. That supposition is supported, at least to some extent, by the fact that As Time Goes By galloped out strongly after the finish last Saturday. She was about four lengths clear of Swiss Skydiver when reaching the clubhouse turn. Considering the Apple Blossom has a $1 million purse and is an eighth of a mile longer than the Beholder Mile, it would seem that the Apple Blossom would make a lot of sense (and perhaps dollars) for As Time Goes By. Granted, having to face Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver is a tough task. But because the Apple Blossom is a handicap race and As Time Goes By is not even a stakes winner, one would expect Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver to spot a fair amount of weight to As Time Goes By. If As Time Goes By did defeat Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver, it would be a huge boost to As Time Goes By’s resume and put her in the early conversation for a possible Eclipse Award. EMERALD DOWNS ANNOUNCES STAKES SCHEDULE The 86th running of the Grade III Longacres Mile tops the 2021 stakes schedule announced by Emerald Downs, the track where horses compete in the shadow of majestic Mount Rainier. The $100,000 Longacres Mile is the richest race in the Pacific Northwest. It will be run this year on Aug. 15. The 2021 Emerald meeting begins on May 19 and will be adjourned on Sept. 23. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS Following her Beholder Mile victory, Swiss Skydiver moved up one notch to No. 3 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. Shedaresthedevil zoomed up to No. 9 this week after being No. 26 last week. The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 362 Charlatan (22)2. 348 Monomoy Girl (13)3. 288 Swiss Skydiver (2)4. 275 Knicks Go (1)5. 169 Idol6. 159 Mystic Guide (1)7. 123 Colonel Liam8. 110 Maxfield9. 58 Shedaresthedevil10. 57 Gamine In the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll, Rebel winner Concert Tour rose to No. 3 after being No. 7 last week. The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 372 Essential Quality (20)2. 365 Life Is Good (14)3. 306 Concert Tour (2)4. 290 Greatest Honour (2)5. 239 Mandaloun (1)6. 156 Medina Spirit7. 77 Helium8. 73 Risk Taking9. 57 Proxy10. 38 Hot Rod Charlie

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3.16.2021:

1/ST Look Santa Anita Stats: 1/ST BET App Tabs 48% Winners

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Santa Anita Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Southern California. And be sure to support “The Great Race Place” by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Santa Anita Park. Headlines Friday’s Rainbow 6 carryover will be $181,922 … Stakes features this week are Saturday’s Grade 3 San Luis Rey for turf marathoners and Sunday’s Sensational Star for turf sprinters ... Triple Tap, half-brother to 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, debuted a sharp winner March 13 at Santa Anita over 7 furlongs. Bob Baffert provided no firm future plan in the post-race … Congrats to 2020 Preakness-winning filly Swiss Skydiver on her successful 4-year-old debut, capturing the March 13 Grade 1 Beholder Mile with ease … Santa Anita announced last week that racing will be cancelled April 9 and 16, and there will be no turf racing April 10 and 11 to help protect the grass course. Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 was postponed, resulting in a 2-week-old $154,931 carryover into this week’s offering. Stronach 5 races this Friday, March 19, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:30 ETLeg B – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:48 ETLeg C – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:03 ETLeg D – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:08 ETLeg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:25 ET 1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week: Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Santa Anita Park last week, each winning at a 40% or greater win rate and showing a flat-bet profit. The 1/ST BET app picked a whopping 48% winners on top last week at Santa Anita, the top-performing track for the algorithm during that time. Avg. Speed Last 3Avg. Best 2 of 3 SpeedJockey Current Year Trends Last Week -- Favorites dominated the going at 25: 14-3-3, producing 56% wins. Turf favorites were strongest at 13: 8-2-1 (62% wins, 77% in exacta). -- Jockey Flavien Prat continued his roll at 25: 9-5-3. That’s 45% wins and 70% in the exacta, providing a $1.23 ROI for every $1 bet. Prat won with 8 different trainers, doubling up with Richard Baltas. -- Apprentice jockey Emily Ellingwood had a strong 5: 2-1-0 record, riding 9-2 and 6-1 winners for trainer Ryan Hanson both at 7 furlongs.-- Trainer Ryan Hanson was exacta perfection at 5: 2-3-0 on the week. All 5 starters came in dirt sprints, and both winners were over 7 furlongs. -- Assistant trainer Leandro Moro went 8: 3-3-0 as the program trainer for suspended Doug O’Neill. Winners paid $7, $8 and $21 while the barn added a 9-1 runner-up.

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3.16.2021:

1/ST Look Gulfstream Park Stats: Gaffalione Takes Charge

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Gulfstream Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in South Florida. And be sure to support Gulfstream by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Gulfstream Park.HeadlinesThe Rainbow 6 returns Wednesday with a $315,073 carryover ($600,000-guaranteed pool) … Sprinters are in the spotlight this Saturday with the rescheduled Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie as well as the Texas Glitter and Melody of Colors for turf dashers ... In Florida Derby news, impressive maiden winner Collaborate is on course for his stakes debut after Sunday’s bullet workout for Saffie Joseph Jr. Also note Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano will ride Papetu in the Florida Derby … Gulfstream announced its $3.5 million Spring-Summer stakes schedule this week, featuring the Grade 2 Princess Rooney and Grade 3 Smile Sprint on July 3.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 was postponed, resulting in a 2-week-old $154,931 carryover into this week’s offering. Stronach 5 races this Friday, March 19, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:30 ETLeg B – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:48 ETLeg C – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:03 ETLeg D – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:08 ETLeg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:25 ET1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Gulfstream Park last week, each winning at a 44% or greater win rate and showing a flat-bet profit. In fact, the 1/ST BET app was on fire at Gulfstream last week with 41% winners overall and a +$24 profit if you bet $2 win on every top choice.Avg. Speed Last 3Avg. Best 2 of 3 SpeedJockey Current YearTrends Last Week-- Favorites dominated the action at 52: 26-11-8 overall, boasting 50% wins and 71% in the exacta. Jockey Jose Ortiz was most reliable on the chalk at 5: 4-1-0.-- Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. was 24: 10-4-5 on the weekdays before sitting out suspension dates Saturday and Sunday. Of those 10 wins, 8 were backed at 5-2 or less and he was 2-for-2 for trainer Armando de la Cerda.-- Jockey Tyler Gaffalione had perhaps his best week of the meet, going 35: 12-6-5. He went 11: 6-3-1 aboard favorites. He rode winners for 10 different trainers, doubling up with Fernando Abreu and Christophe Clement. Six of those wins came Saturday/Sunday in the absence of Irad Ortiz Jr.-- Trainer Todd Pletcher was on point at 5: 3-0-0, securing returns of $5, $7 and $10. He was 2-for-3 with maidens on the week and snapped a peculiar 1-for-21 skid with maidens at GP since mid-February.-- Trainer Kelly Breen went 5: 2-1-0 and popped a $34 winner among those. The barn may be turning a corner from its 2-for-34 performance at the meet since the start of February until last week.-- Trainer Wesley Ward saw a pre-Keeneland perk up with a 4: 2-0-2 week. He’s been almost unbeatable at 5: 4-1-0 in maiden dashes at 5 furlongs since mid-February.

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3.16.2021:

1/ST Look Golden Gate Stats: Pick 6 Solved Solo for $128K

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Golden Gate Fields. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Northern California. And be sure to support GGF by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Golden Gate Fields.HeadlinesCongrats to the lone ticket holder in the March 13 Rainbow 6 jackpot at Golden Gate, taking down the $128,230.84 entire pool … The Rainbow 6 carryover to open the new racing week will be $3,912 … 2021 El Camino Real Derby winner Rombauer is scheduled to make his next start April 3 in either the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct or the Santa Anita Derby … 2020 California Oaks winner Dynasty of Her Own scored her second straight allowance win of the season March 14 and is now a perfect 5-for-5 at Golden Gate Fields.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 was postponed, resulting in a 2-week-old $154,931 carryover into this week’s offering. Stronach 5 races this Friday, March 19, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:30 ETLeg B – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:48 ETLeg C – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:03 ETLeg D – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:08 ETLeg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:25 ET1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Golden Gate Fields, each posting at least 27% winners. The factor Win % showed a whopping $63 profit if you bet $2 win on each top choice in that category for the week.Speed Last RaceWin %Last Turn TimeTrends Last Week-- Leading trainer Jonathan Wong turned it up last week at 11: 4-3-1, but all 4 winners were favorites (8: 4-2-1 with chalk). The barn wins 51% at the meet with the chalk.-- Trainer Victor Trujillo posted an 8: 3-2-0 record that boasted $9 and $15 winners and an 11-1 runner-up. He was 2-for-2 with jockey Evin Roman.-- Trainer William Delia’s 5: 3-0-1 mark included $68 bomber I’m A Rockette along with 4-5 and 5-2 shots. He was 2-for-3 with Santos Rivera in the saddle, including the longshot score. Delia has won with 3 of his 5 route runners at the meet.-- Trainer Ellen Jackson went 2-for-3 with limited strikes last week, including a $29 winner. Her barn is now 12: 6-1-0 at GG since Feb. 21 and a whopping $3.64 ROI for every $1 bet.-- Jockey Evin Roman dominated the riding standings at 15: 7-3-1. That’s 47% wins and 67% in the exacta for a $1.41 ROI for every $1 bet. He was 7: 4-2-1 aboard favorites.-- Favorites went 15-for-32 for the second straight week (47%) and are winning 49% overall since Feb. 26.

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3.16.2021:

1/ST Look MJC Stats: Sheldon Russell Continues Roll

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Laurel Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Maryland. And be sure to support Laurel Park by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Maryland Jockey Club.HeadlinesThe Rainbow 6 will have a $15,617 carryover heading into the racing week … March 13 Private Terms Stakes 1-2 finishers Shackled Love and Maythehorsebewithu are expected to re-match if all goes well between now and the April 17 $125,000 Federico Tesio Stakes … Congrats to 2020 Preakness-winning filly Swiss Skydiver on her successful 4-year-old debut, capturing the March 13 Grade 1 Beholder Mile at Santa Anita with ease … 22-year-old Panamanian native Alexander Chavez won with his first US mount on March 13 at Laurel.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 was postponed, resulting in a 2-week-old $154,931 carryover into this week’s offering. Stronach 5 races this Friday, March 19, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:30 ETLeg B – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:48 ETLeg C – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:03 ETLeg D – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:08 ETLeg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:25 ET1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Laurel, each posting at least 38% wins. Trainer Meet was a key factor for the second straight week.Lifetime EarningsEarnings DistanceTrainer MeetTrends Last Week-- Jockey Sheldon Russell rolled to an 11: 5-4-0 record during the shortened, 2-day racing week. He’s now 11 for his last 23 over the past 2 weeks.-- Jockey Victor Carrasco went 9: 3-1-2 with a $53 longshot winner along the way. He won a pair of stakes on Saturday’s Good Samaritan Day card and was 2-for-2 in 7-furlong sprints.-- Trainer Brittany Russell didn’t miss with a 6: 3-3-0 mark with 4 of those runners bet to favoritism. She did have a 3-1 winner and 5-1 runner-up as well.-- Trainer Emanuel Geralis went 2-for-3 with limited bids and has 4 wins from his last 5 starters dating back to Feb. 7.-- Favorites were a strong 18: 8-4-3 on the week (44% win, 67% in exacta) and are 18-for-43 the past 2 weeks (42%).

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3.16.2021:

Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis-$20,000 Guaranteed Pool

The 0.50 Pick 4 begins in Race 6 and it will have a $20,000 guaranteed pool. The sequence has a low 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.David Miller had a big Monday night steering home six winners, and every race was won by a different trainer.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 64-In Secret (5/2)-Willing to excuse last, couldn't rally into a soft fractions Miller could get the top or be no worse than 2nd behind #7. Either way this looks a main player.5-Toy's For You (4-1)-Five-time winner in seven starts this year has been quite a turn-around story. Winner of 3 straight steps-up to face his sternest test. But it's probably best to respect chances, Plano could roll by late.7-Muscles For Life (2-1)-Eight-year-old will likely be out and winging seeking to get on the engine. If that happens and Hennessey steals a quarter like he did last week it could be picture time again. Using, but this could be more difficult than last time.Race 73-Creekside Pete (9/2)-Pete strung 2 wins together, one at this class and a notch up, then switched barns. The last 2 efforts have been even and now drops to the level of recent success. This race could set-up nicely for an in the pocket or on the point trip.7-Burn Notice (6-1)-Here is the wild card that should offer a square price. Drops and if Boyd can work a stalking trip there might be enough pace to roll by and end up in the winner's circle.8-Simply Volo (5/2)-A case could be made to leave Volo out off the ticket and it's not likely he could win coming from well off the pace. But there isn't a lot of gate speed in the field and Hennessey could muscle his way into the 2-hole behind #3.Race 82-Take Abit Of Life (7/2)-Steps-up but has the speed to compete here and looks like a player if close to the lead at the top of the lane. With this post draw Wallis should be able to work the right trip.3-Crisp Mane (2-1)-Has been in the hunt versus Open company and should be handled aggressively at this class. My take is Miller will either be first or in the pocket turning for home and is a threat for top honors.5-Prairie Westerngal (8/5)-Should be bet hard and won't offer any value. But Hennessey often finds a way to get the top or to squeeze into a nice seat. Has hit the board in 19 of 22 starts with 6 wins at the Pomp and could cash the biggest check with a top effort.Race 93-Image Of A Dream (4-1)-Gets post relief and has won here versus Open company back in January. This won't be easy but can pop at a solid price. Plano will need to find live cover and be in striking range around the last turn.6-Evas Sports Czech (3-1)-This mare seems to have some versatility. She could leave to get the top or duck and pull to sweep by like on 3-2. This is the 3rd start for Holliday and with a clean trip it could be the 2nd picture since joining that barn.0.50 Pick 44,5,7/3,7,8/2,3,5/3,6Total Bet=$27Check me out on Twitter!

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3.15.2021:

Monday Myths: Short Field, Big Price

Welcome to a new handicapping series for our Monday blog space entitled “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities. Assumption:Short field, big price.Background:When posed with small field sizes, you’ll often hear TV commentators and handicappers utter the phrase “small field, big price.” They’ll back it up many times with how the race dynamics of a small field lend themselves unpredictable pace scenarios and more traffic than you’d expect. The cat-and-mouse games are supposed to create some sense of chaos and not lean to the obvious.Data Points:I crunched the numbers in the Betmix database for every Thoroughbred race in North America over the past 8 years, going back to Mar. 15, 2013. The study was for races with small field sizes of 4, 5 and 6 starters each. The database ranked each horse in each race by the order of the public’s choice (favorites through longest shots). We looked at the win percentage of each contender by field size to determine if the longer prices had any propensity for victory based on the field size, and also looked at the ROI for each $1 bet on each of those choices by group. I also checked on horses 8-1 or more who could be considered ‘big prices’ in small fields to see how often they won in comparison to just the ranked order of most to least-backed horses.Overall Findings:4-HORSE FIELDS1st choice wins 49.7% with a $.84 ROI2nd choice wins 26.7% with a $.80 ROI3rd choice wins 15.4% with a $.75 ROI4th choice wins 7.6% with a $.62 ROIHorses 8-1 or more win 4.4% with a $.53 ROI5-HORSE FIELDS1st choice wins 44.1% with a $.85 ROI2nd choice wins 25.5% with a $.83 ROI3rd choice wins 15.4% with a $.76 ROI4th choice wins 9.7% with a $.74 ROI5th choice wins 4.8% with a $.61 ROIHorses 8-1 or more win 4.3% with a $.59 ROI6-HORSE FIELDS1st choice wins 40.7% with a $.84 ROI2nd choice wins 23.1% with a $.81 ROI3rd choice wins 15.7% with a $.80 ROI4th choice wins 10.4% with a $.76 ROI5th choice wins 6.3% with a $.70 ROI6th choice wins 3.2% with a $.61 ROIHorses 8-1 or more win 4.1% with a $.64 ROIOverall Findings Verdict:The pattern continues on a natural drop off with each wagering choice in field sizes of 4, 5 and 6 runners. The deeper you get into the public choices, the least likely the longer shots are to win by a wide margin and the ROI drops significantly even on the off chance you collect on the smaller percentage at a bigger price. Horses 8-1 or more win only around 4% of the time in any of these smaller field sizes, so you’ll catch about 1 in 25 (and lose 36-47% of your bankroll in pursuit). By direct opposite, favorites in small fields return a consistent $.84 on the dollar and about break even with the takeout.Bottom line:The small field, big price chatter is among the worst myths we’ve studied so far. It’s not only categorically false, it’s about 180 degrees from reality. The next time a big price wins in a smallfield, know that it’s anecdotal and can happen, but probably won’t again in any quick turnaround and certainly not consistently.Additional Details:You can go into Betmix and run your own queries for a deeper dive into this theory and any that you can create. For instance, take a look at the tracks you play most often to see if they fall in line with this study’s conclusions. Finger Lakes, incidentally, is the worst track to look for an 8-1 shot in a field of 6 or less, those horses winning only 2.1%.

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3.15.2021:

Monday, March 15: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis-$20,000 Guaranteed Pool

Tonight, Pompano Park has a 10-race card scheduled with the 0.50 Pick 4 starting in Race 6. The sequence has a $20,000 guaranteed pool with a 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Rockin Machine (4-1)-Fits well with this group. Has the gate speed to be put in play early and should benefit from an up-close seat. Has hit the board in 18 of 28 starts at the Pomp with 5 wins.3-Real Peace (3-1)-Gets some post relief and Miller should end up in the pocket or on the engine. Either trip could work for a picture.5-Maxdaddy Bluechip (9/2)-Makes 2nd start after a claim for the Wrenn barn and gets a some class relief. Raced from the back in last and started from post 8. Needs to find some live cover but did roll the 2nd half in 54.4 last week and there should be a lively pace.Race 72-LA Rockin Sampson (9/2)-There isn't any mystery concerning this 5-year-old. Holiday will have the pedal down from the word go and will look to wire the field. Taking a swing for a fair price with this post draw and the likelihood of getting an unchallenged lead.6-Seeing Eye Single (5/2)-Should like the company and Miller can be aggressive here. Has been racing from the back versus better. But in this spot could land in the 2-hole and trip out for a picture.Race 81-Cloudbreak (3-1)-Changes barns but the reason to use is the starting slot and class relief. My guess is Miller will be able to protect the rail and if so chances for success go up if stays on the engine.4-Record Machine (7/5)-Barn is cold and this gelding is 0-5 at the Pomp. That said, drops into a soft spot and Hennessey can land on top or in the 2-hole. Veteran pilot could end up taking a picture either way.Race 91-Shamma Lamma (4-1)-McArdle five-year-old will need its best and that can happen by racing near the top of the stack. Has been stuck with post 7 or 8 in every start in the past 5 weeks and should be forwardly placed here. Needed last and now comes right back after racing on 3-11.2-Ben Rockin (7/2)-Took a couple of pictures, then stepped-up and was in too tough. This is a better spot and is another who can be forwardly placed. Has hit the board 3 times in 5 starts with 2 trips to the winner's circle at PPk.3-Harry Terror (5/2)-Will include the program chalk and Hennessey should find a good seat but not sure that will be on the point. Probably will offer no value but this 7-year-old has done good work at the Pomp hitting the board 25 times in 52 starts with 12 wins.My Ticket Race 6) 2,3,5 Race 7) 2,6 Race 8) 1,4 Race 9) 1,2,3Total Ticket Cost) = $18 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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3.14.2021:

Sunday, March 14: Rosecroft Raceway Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, Rosecroft Raceway has 14-races set to go with a 7:15 EST post time. The 0.50 Pick 4 begins in Race 9 and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 95-Southwind Terror (6-1)-Should like the company and draws well. Foster is back between the pipes and he should be able to work a smooth trip. The pace could be lively and that will help. Looking for a big try at a square price.7-Cool Casper (3-1)-Benefitted from a jewel of a trip to take a picture in last but did show enough gate speed to get the pocket trip. Morgan could try to follow the same script and it could work again.9-Versado (5/2)-Berry takes the lines and he has had success in the past with this 14-year-old. Could leave to get a good seat and then look to roll down the lane.Race 103-Uncle Coz (5/2)-Willing to respect chances and likely will be bet because Coz was blocked on the pylons and didn't shake loose until late in last. Probably won't offer any value and at this level will need a top effort to hit the wire first.5-All Gold (3-1)-Steps-up but draws well and has hit the board in 4 of 5 races here with 2 wins. Morgan takes a seat, and he should find some live cover. Could make it 2 straight with the right trip.6-PL Hoodhearted (9/2)-Steps-up after a nice win and now loses Plante but Moyer has taken pictures with this 10-year-old. Has won 3 of 6 starts in 2021 and could get a similar trip and roll off cover to pop at a solid price.Race 113-Hickory Aloha (5/2)-Nine-year-old may have lost his will to win but this is wake-up spot. Should be in the pocket or on the engine. At this class Ofutt will likely look to get the point, if he can steal a quarter it should lead to an overdue win.7-Mittnite Delight (7/2)-Odds-on chalk last week could not catch the winner and now steps-up. That was one of the better recent efforts and the price will be more appealing here. The last win for this 5-year-old came on 11-1 with Foster in the bike at this level.Race 122-Son Of A Lynx (9/2)-Beaten favorite should be put in play early and can get a better trip. Should offer a fair price in a race without a standout.4-Wheres My Money (10-1)-Has had excuses in last 2 when stepped up to face better and should offer a big price. Could get sucked around and stay close enough to make one well-timed move to surprise.6-Rock Smart (5/2)-Comes off 2 good efforts and draws well. Looks like the one to beat with a decent trip but is only 3 for the last 25 and has only 1 win at RcR in 10 tries. Plante could try to control the race and set a reasonable pace.My Ticket Race 9) 5,7,9 Race 10) 3,5,6 Race 11) 3,7 Race 12) 2,4,6Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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3.14.2021:

Sunday, March 14: National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Aqueduct – Eighth Race – Post time: 4:55 ET1-A Longlongtimeago(9/2)This sharp debut-winning son of Maclean’s Music takes the immediate jump into stakes competition but could easily be up to the task based on his thoroughly professional performance in a fast, highly-rated and productive heat in mid-January. Overcoming a rough start and traffic trouble on the turn, this quick-actioned sophomore was maneuvered to the outside for clear sailing into the lane and took control with authority close home. Today’s extra furlong won’t be an issue, of he can secure clear sailing from his rail post the J. Abreu-trained can spring a mild surprise in this year’s edition of the Damon Runyon Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-olds.Santa Anita Park – Eighth Race – Post time: 4:24 PT5-Away From the Sun (2-1)Unbeaten in a pair of impressive Bay Area outings first in a maiden claimer and then in starter’s allowance company, this B. Wright-trained 4-year-old takes her talents to Southern California for this state-bred first-level allowance turf sprint, and if she can transfer her synthetic form to grass the daughter of Smiling Tiger should be able to keep her record unblemished. Sher has an ideal stalking style for this course and distance, speed figures that are simply faster than the competition, and a Golden Gate Fields work tab that is sharp, steady, and healthy. She’s 2-1 on the morning line and if he can get that price we’ll use her with confidence in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.

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3.14.2021:

Sunday, March 14: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click here to view today's Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Swift as I Am; 5-GoldiniForecast: In a race that should have enough pace to compliment his closing style, Goldini gets top billing in this starter optional claiming turf miler for 3-year-olds. He’s a first-off-the-claim play for a hot outfit after beating maiden$ 50,000 claimers over this course and distance in mid-January. Though he was part of the pace in that race, the son of Goldencents might be even more effective if held up early and allowed to run late, similar to the way he’s been training since joining the P. D’Amato barn. D’Amato’s other horse in the field, Swift as I Am, is the 2-1 morning line favorite thanks in no small part to the switch to leading rider F. Prat. With Artie Schiller on the bottom side of his pedigree, the son Danza should move up considerably on grass and, like we always say, if he’s ever going to stay a mile it’ll be in his first try. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Goldini on top.RACE 2: Post: 1:04 PT Grade: XUse: 4-Luckys Last Stand; 6-Starship ChewbaccaForecast: There’s not a whole lot to work with in today’s second race, a maiden $50,000 claiming sprint for state-bred older horses. Starship Chewbacca, listed at even money on the morning line, makes the all-important class drop from the straight maiden ranks, switches to J. J. Hernandez ,and simply should be too quick for this group. Drawn comfortably outside, the H. Zucker-trained gelding can pop and go or stalk and pounce depending upon how J. J. Hernandez assesses the race flow. Luckys Last Stand, a reasonable third at this level in his debut at Los Alamitos in December, adds Lasix, retains T. Pereira, and may have the most room to improve among the other five entrants. You can include him on a ticket or two as a back-up, but the main punch probably should go to the projected heavy favorite.RACE 3: Post: 1:39 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Circle of Honor; 4-K P Kan DoForecast: K P Can Do, like our top pick in the second race, shows the maiden-to-maiden claiming class drop angle and should put it to good use in this modest affair for 3-year-old fillies. The daughter of Kantharos has a considerable edge in the speed figure department, though it must be noted that both of her starts came on grass. The switch to the main track, at least based on pedigree, shouldn’t be an issue, so let’s put the J. Mullins-trained filly on top while also including on our ticket the second-timer Circle of Honor. Haltered out of her debut for $50,000 by S. Knapp, whose record with this angle is quite good (27% with a powerful ROI), she shows a couple of decent workouts since changing barns to indicate a forward move is likely.RACE 4: Post: 2:10 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Hot Box; 3-Found My Ball; 7-My Man BagsForecast: Found My Ball was out of his element when a distant fourth in the San Vicente S.-G2 behind unbeaten Concert Tour but this Cal-bred allowance optional claimer should be much more to his liking, especially in his first start on grass, a surface this son of Square Eddie should thoroughly enjoy. The speed figure he earned when breaking his maiden two runs back, if repeated today, makes him a standout. Price players may want to find room somewhere on their rolling exotic tickets for Hot Box and My Man Bags. The former continues to impress in the morning and may be the quickest in the field at 12-1 on the morning line, while the latter, a first-time Lasix user, is cozily drawn outside in his first try on grass, has looked pretty good in the a.m., and could easily improve considerably.RACE 5: Post: 2:43 PT Grade: XSingle: 4-Madam BarbarianForecast: Madam Barbarian has plenty going for her in this extended sprint for $12,500 claiming fillies and mares. She’s reunited win “win rider” F. Prat while returning to the level of her sharp victory two races back and is race that projects to have modest early fractions the veteran mare should be comfortably placed throughout and have every chance to kick clear when set down. She’ll probably be a short price – she’s 8/5 on the morning line – so perhaps the best course of action is to use her as a rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race.RACE 6: Post: 3:18 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Bella Vita; 8-Leggs GaloreForecast: This is a fairly strong edition of the Irish O’Brien Stakes, a grass dash for Cal-bred older fillies and mares. We’ll try to get by using just two. Bella Vita returned off a nine month layoff to toy with a lesser field when winning the Spring Fever S. on the main track in mid-February in what was a visually pleasing performance that earned a solid number. We’re expecting the daughter of Bayern to run even better today with the return to grass, her preferred surface. The S. Callaghan-trained filly has shown the versatility to win on the front end or from a stalking position, giving F. Prat the option to adjust his strategy as needed. Leggs Galore is the 2-1 morning line favorite based on superior speed figures and rapidly improving form which has produced four straight victories – all on grass – including the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint in her most recent outing in mid-January. Also a daughter of Bayern, the P. D’Amato-trained filly continues to train in spectacular fashion, is comfortably drawn outside, and projects to have clear sailing and every chance to reproduce her top effort.RACE 7: Post: 3:50 PT Grade: BUse: 5-Respectfully; 8-Dancing DanaForecast: Respectfully didn’t get the best of runs but kept to her task in the lane when a better-than-looked fourth in a similar starter optional claiming main track sprint for 3-year-old fillies last month. She earned a career top speed despite being forced to steady into the turn, and the way she regained her momentum to finish eagerly really caught our eye. She switches to J. J. Hernandez, which is good, but the tradeoff is that she must pick up 10 lbs. Dancing Dana improved considerably – at least based on speed figures – when a strong runner-up in a similar spot on grass last month. Perhaps she simply is getting better, but the concern is that the forward move may have been entirely due to the switch in surface. Today, the daughter of Clubhouse Ride is back on the main track, where her form has been somewhat ordinary. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying Respectfully on top.RACE 8: Post: 4:24 PT Grade: B+Use: 5-Away From the Sun; 7-Anna FantasticForecast: Away From the Sun, unbeaten in a pair of impressive Bay Area outings, takes her talents to Southern California for this state-bred first-level allowance turf sprint, and if she can transfer her synthetic form to grass the daughter of Smiling Tiger should be able to keep her record unblemished. Sher has an ideal stalking style for this course and distance, speed figures that are simply faster than the competition, and a Golden Gate Fields work tab that is sharp, steady, and healthy. Anna Fantastic may be the most dangerous of the locals. A smart five-length winner two runs back, the daughter of Cyclotron was respectable in defeat when fourth behind potential monster Happier in her most recent outing and will be major player against this group if she, like our top pick, can translate her dirt form to turf. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Away From the Sun

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3.14.2021:

Sunday, March 14: My Late Pick 4 Ticket Sunday at Gulfstream

There are difficult challenges in exotic plays, and that fact looks you in the eye right off the bat in Gulfstream Park’s Late Pick 4 on Sunday.There are seven three-year-olds in the nine-furlong seventh (4:12 p.m. ET, allowance optional claiming) on the turf, and you can take your pick. My pick here is easy: Take ‘em all. The ALL space isn’t often used in this corner, and this is the proper time. It’s an evenly matched group and the distance will be a challenged for all of them. Let the chips fall where they may – hopefully on the largest price on the board.Bugle of War is the 2-1 morning line favorite but from top-to-bottom, this looks pretty even. Raison d’Air is the second choice at 3-1 and Safe Conduct is third choice at 4-1.The sequence includes another pair of allowance optional claiming races in the eighth and ninth, and it concludes with a maiden-claiming test in the 10th.Here’s a look at the final three races:Race 8 (4:44 p.m. ET, allowance optional claiming)DARK AGES was claimed by Kelly Breen when third last out and was an easy winner against similar two back. Has a good closing move at a mile and should like the pace in front of him.NACHO PAPA was claimed by Carlos David two back and ran fourth against a tougher group in his follow-up. Adjusts to pace and can be a big player at this level.HONOLULU EXPRESS set fast fractions and lived it last time in his first after being claimed by Peter Walder. Seems better on the main track and can be in a similar position on or very near the front today.Race 9 (5:16 p.m. ET, allowance optional claiming)UNA LUNA made a sustained drive over the last three furlongs and was up in time against this level last time. Does well from off the pace and can save ground until she has to swing out for the drive.NOPE never really got involved in two very tough races here and makes her third U.S. start after running in Ireland and Great Britain. Expect improvement in this spot.OSAKA GIRL always makes an impact on the pace and is troubled when she gets clear at any point. A clear threat to win on the front end.Race 10 (5:48 p.m. ET, maiden claiming)COMMAND CENTRAL was a closing third against this level two back and was fourth against a higher level last time. Much improved since leaving the maiden special ranks and is a big threat to these.EXPONENTIAL rolled up to the lead last time and was out-gamed in the final yards. Luis Saez keeps the mount and this one could time is right this time.Gulfstream Park’s Late Pick 4 on Sunday:Race 7) ALL (7 horses)Race 8) #1 Dark Ages, #2 Nacho Papa, #3 Honolulu Express.Race 9) #1 Una Luna, #4 Nope, #7 Osaka Girl.Race 10) #6 Command Central, #7 Exponential.Total Ticket Cost) ALL (7 horses)/1,2,3/1,4,7/6,7 = $63 for $0.50

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3.13.2021:

Saturday, March 13: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has a 13-race card ready to roll with the 0.50 Early Pick 4 starting in Race 6. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout, and it will be my focus.On Friday, Yanninck Gingras and Dexter Dunn led the pilots with three wins. Jeff Cullipher was the top conditioner on the card with two trips to the winner's circle. Speed held well, six of 13 winners were on the lead at the top of the lane. No winner was more than four lengths back turning for home.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Pikachu Hanover (8-1)-Rode the pylons in last versus a very tough winner but did rally late to cash a 2nd place check. Drops to a better level and there isn't a JL Cruze in this field. TMac should have this 7-year-old in striking range at the top of the lane.4-Get Legs (3-1)-Winner of 2 straight and 7 of 8 lifetime steps up. There are times this would be a play against situation, but this Team Miller trainee looks so confident in winning it's best to not overlook.6-Some Chapter (7/2)-They don't come much more consistent than this Chapter 7 four-year-old. Dunn steers and should be bet. Drops back in at the same class after just getting nipped at the wire. Hasn't finished worse than 3rd in the last 11 starts, that happened only once and has taken 7-pictures.7-Mission Accepted (4-1) -Burke trainee has banked over $880k and makes 1st appearance since 12-4. The barn has won at a 25% clip in the last 30 days and the qualifier was good. This is a tough race but winning isn't out of the question if fires hot off the bench.Race 72-On Accident (7/2)-Drops to the level of last win on 2-20. Callahan is right back in the bike for a 2nd tour of duty and he should have this gelding forwardly placed at the top of the lane.3-Saying Grace N (3-1)-Similar to #2 as last win came at this class on 2-13 and Zeron was steering that night as well. It wouldn't be a surprise if was used early to get on the engine. May not look back if gets the top without using much gas.6-Amercan Boy N (6-1)-Tossing last dull effort versus better after being off 2 weeks. Ten-year-old has been camera shy but this is a spot to shine. Last win came against this kind on 1-16 and should offer a square price.Race 81-Boiling Oar (9/2)-Gets some class relief and starting from the rail shouldn't hurt chances. Has hit the board in 5 of 11 races at M1 but has only taken one picture. This could be an opportunity as the main foes start outside. Miller could work an efficient trip and roll by down the lane.9-Lexus Witha View A (7/2)-Last 2 post draws have not been favorable. But does come off a nice try from the 8-hole and fits with this field. Aussie bred makes 2nd start of the meet and also tries Lasix for the 2nd time. Has the gate speed to be forwardly placed and AMac should be able to find live cover and grind it out.Race 94-Colossal Stride A (3-1)-Can't fault the effort in last. Actually has been good in all 3 Big M starts recording 2 wins and a close miss 2nd place finish. There probably will be an honest pace and Dunn should be rolling down the lane.5-Like Clockwork (6-1)-Wasn't Dunn's pick but Gingras knows well and he should fine a live cover flow. Could get a nice tow from the program chalk #4 and is another who would benefit from a lively pace.7-Gods Spirit N (7/2)-Makes 2nd start off a sick scratch, was good last week and now gets class relief. My guess is Dube leaves and does have the gate speed to land on top of the stack. Versatile 7-year-old has hit the board in 4 of 7 starts here and has 2 wins. Could be tough to beat with a smooth trip.My Ticket Race 6) 1,4,6,7 Race 7) 2,3,6 Race 8) 1,9 Race 9) 4,5,7Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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3.13.2021:

Saturday, March 13: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Oaklawn Park – Sixth Race – Post time: 2:36 CT1-Ashaar (9/2)This once-highly regarded Into Mischief colt tries two turns for the first time in this entry-level allowance event and from his good inside post seems certain to establish the pace in a race without much speed. If he’s ever going to get the trip, it’ll be in his first attempt, and given the projected pace scenario and with the switch to J. Rosario this T. Pletcher-trained colt should be more than capable of running his rivals off their feet on the front end. At 9/2 on the morning line he represents an example gamble in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.Santa Anita Park – Seventh Race – Post time: 3:30 PT3-Bang for Your Buck (5-1)The son of Unusual Heat tried grass for the first time and predictably left his previous form behind when breaking his maiden over this course and distance in mid-January with a visually pleasing performance that produced a career top speed figure, one that makes him dangerous right back despite the class hike. There’s not a whole lot of speed signed on in this six furlong dash, so hopefully his deep closing style won’t be compromised, but at or near his morning line of 5-1 the B. Heap-trained gelding offers good wagering value.

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3.13.2021:

Saturday, March 13: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click here to View Daily Workout ReportClick here to view video analysis of the Rebel S.-G2RACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: C+Use: 1-Gerlach’s; 5-Call Nine One One; 11-Chasing FameForecast: The opener is the true definition of a “grass grab bag,” a wide-open maiden claiming sprint for 3-year-olds offering unknowns, question marks, and lightly-raced runners who may (or may not) be better than shown. We’ll go three-deep but the best advice is to include as many as your budget allows. Gerlach’s was given a race in his troubled debut and seems likely to move forward with that bit of experience behind him combined the drop from a straight maiden affair along with the addition of blinkers and Lasix. If he can leave cleanly today, the V. Cerin-trained son of Grazen should be prominent throughout with a ground-saving trip and have every chance to show what he can do. Chasing Fame has been a big disappointment in a series of straight maiden races in which he’s been fairly well bet. Today, against this considerably softer group, the son of Tapiture should be competitive and if held up and allowed to produce a late run he may be able to tag the suspect speed. Call Nine One Onehas displayed some early speed in a.m. preps and may be the most dangerous of the newcomers. He has low profile connections and should be a decent price so he’s probably worth tossing in somewhere on your ticket.RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: XSingle: 5-Triple TapForecast: Triple Tap, a half-brother to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, makes his debut following a string of very good workouts that should have him plenty fit and ready for this five-runner maiden sprint over seven furlongs. The son of Tapit doesn’t strikes us as being blazingly quick, but he’s been finishing in his drills to indicate this extended sprint distance should be perfect for his style. Drawn comfortably outside and therefore able to dictate his trip, the B. Baffert-trained sophomore projects to track stable mate Barraza during the early stages and then go with it when ready. There’s no gamble here (he’s 4/5 on the morning line) so we can use him as a no-value rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.RACE 3: Post: 1:33 PT Grade: C+Use: 1-Good With People; 3-Gator Shining; 6-CoulthardForecast: This six furlong turf dash for 3-year-olds has two committed speed types and two devout stretch runners, so the pace flow may dictate the outcome. If Good With People and Mac Daddy Too hook up early, the closers certainly will have an edge, and Coulthard, an impressive maiden winner over this course and distance in his U.S. debut last month, will have every chance to score right back. The Irish-bred colt loses U. Rispoli today due to suspension but the P. D’Amato-trained colt hopefully will get the patient ride he requires from substitute rider T. Pereira. A bullet training track workout since raced indicates the European import is holding his form. Gator Shining, the other dangerous deep closer, was never a factor in the Baffle S. while being victimized by a slow early pace but a repeat of his nose defeat at this level two runs back puts him in the picture today if the race shape is favorable. G. Franco doesn’t get many live mounts on this circuit but he’s done very well in a limited sample for the R. Baltas barn. Among the two committed speed types Good With People might be the more dangerous. He’s a first-time Lasix user returning to grass while shortening up from a two-turn state-bred stakes race and could fire a big shot following a two-month layoff for the P. Miller barn. From the rail he has only one way to go, and if the son of Curlin to Mischief can shake free of Mac Daddy Too early he could prove to be an elusive target.RACE 4: Post: 2:06 PT Grade: BSingle: 5-Mr. LovejoyForecast: Let’s take a stand in this starter’s allowance ($25,000) sprint and single Mr. Lovejoy, claimed in his last pair and protected today by new trainer V. Cerin (a strong 23% with this angle). A win machine (14 victories in 36 starts with 10 seconds/thirds, the son of Discreetly Mine has only one way to go, on the lead, gate to wire, and in a field lacking in effective closers he could realistically win this race in the opening quarter mile by outfooting the other front-runners. Freshened since mid-December but sporting a steady, healthy recent series of workouts, the veteran gelding is fast on speed figures and attracts one of the barn’s “go to” riders, J. J. Hernandez, so at 5/2 on the morning line let’s make him a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post: 2:39 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Big Buzz; 4-Tropical TerrorForecast: This first-level allowance affair over 10 furlongs on grass drew just five runners, so there’s not really much to work with. Big BuzzM, away since August but with a series of stamina-building drills at San Luis Rey Downs to have him fit and ready, may be most effective on the front end. And in a pace flow that projects him as the controlling speed the veteran gelding may be able to take control early and keep on going. The main concern is his overall record (2 wins in 24 starts) but he returns protected and lands F. Prat so we suspect the A. Kitchinghman-trained son of Mr. Big is extremely live and well-meant. For protection, we’ll also toss in Tropical Terror, not exactly a win machine himself (one-for-15 with eight seconds/thirds) but at least on paper the most dangerous of the closing types.RACE 6: Post: 3:13 PT Grade: XSingle: 5-Oil Can KnightForecast: Oil Can Knight drops sharply in class from $32,000 to $12,500 after winning in a $25,000 seller two races back, so his condition is a question, but if he has one good one left he should be able to outrun this group. This extended sprint distance will allow the son of Can the Man to settle into a comfortable stalking position without having to be used, and with a record that shows five wins from 10 career starts over the Santa Anita main track the S. Knapp-trained veteran certainly knows where the wire is. There’s probably not a lot of value to be found at his morning line of 2-1, so we can use ‘Knight as a rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.RACE 7: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Gregorian Chant; 7-Jolie OlimpicaForecast: Jolie Olimpica faces the boys today in this year’s edition of the San Simeon S.-G3 but for whatever it’s worth the classy Brazilian mare won two graded stakes facing males in South America before being imported and has local speed figures (including three triple-digit Beyer numbers) that are more than good enough to handle this assignment. The R. Mandella-trained daughter of Drosselmeyer projects to enjoy a good stalking trip and then have her chance to kick home from the top of the lane to the wire. Gregorian Chant seems to have found his niche as a late-running turf sprinter, and a repeat of his clever score in the restricted Clocker’s Corner Stakes over this course and distance in late January puts him in the hunt. Not nearly as fast on pure numbers as our top pick, the English-bred gelding nevertheless is worth including as a back-up or a saver just in case there’s a pace meltdown or if Jolie Olimpica, for whatever reason, fails to fire her best shot.RACE 8: Post: 4:17 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Swiss Skydiver; 3-Harvest MoonForecast: This year’s renewal of the Beholder S.-G1 came up salty, with champion Swiss Skydiver making her seasonable debut along with the potentially top class Harvest Moon, both of whom competed in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff-G1 when last seen in November. ‘Skydiver, the Preakness winner at the expense of Horse of the Year Authentic, blew out in 58 seconds flat at Gulfstream Park last week prior to being flown to California so we’ll assume the K. McPeek-trained filly is fit and ready. Last year she ventured West to capture the Santa Anita Oaks-G1 so we know she likes the track, so if she brings her “A” game the daughter of Daredevil will be hard to beat. Harvest Moon, an excellent fourth in the BC Distaff after cutting out rapid fractions, probably will receive her preferred patient ride today and has looked terrific in the a.m. leading up to this race, indicating the J. Shirreffs-trained daughter of Uncle Mo could easily be a better type now than she was doing her outstanding fall campaign that produced two graded stakes victories. In a deep field that also includes the likes of La Canada S.-G3 Sanenus and the rapidly-developing B. Baffert-trained As Time Goes By, we’ll try to survive and advance using just Swiss Skydiver and Harvest Moon in rolling exotic play.RACE 9: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Bang for Your Buck; 5-Bench Judge; 7-BeaudaciousForecast: The finale is a fairly competitive state-bred first-level allowance sprint on turf requiring a spread in rolling exotic play. Bang for Your Buck broke his maiden over this course and distance in mid-January with a visually pleasing performance that produced a career top speed figure, one that makes him dangerous right back despite the class hike. The son of Unusual Heat was making his first start on grass and the surface switch moved him up a ton, so let’s try him right back with V. Espinoza, who hasn’t ridden many lately, staying aboard. Beaudacious, runner-up to Bang for Your Buck in that race and therefore still a maiden, nevertheless must be considered a contender due to the seven pound shift in the weights with the switch to bug girl J. Pyfer. Furthermore, the son of Karakontie catches a field without pace, and if he leaves cleanly today the B. Koriner-trained colt may find himself on or near soft early fractions. If you like Bang for Your Buck (as we do), you have to use Beaudacious as well. Bench Judge a two-time winner over the local lawn, is the morning line favorite at 3-1 and deservedly so. A two-time winner over the local lawn, the P. Miller-trained gelding has the edge in the speed figure department and good stalking style that should have him within striking range throughout.

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3.12.2021:

Friday, March 12: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.View today’s Daily Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B-Use: 4-Sugary; 7-Clearly GoneForecast: We’re handicapping this race for grass, but rain on Friday could force a surface switch. Sugary just trounced a slightly lesser field over this course and distance and will have an excellent chance to score again if she can turn in two alike. She’s won back-to-back races in the past and two of her six wins came under K. Desormeaux, who takes over for the suspended U. Rispoli. Eight-years-old now but with only 23 race on her resume, the M. Jones-trained mare obviously has her problems but in her present form she should be primed for another major effort. Clearly Gone returns to her claim level after finishing a solid second vs. $32,000 foes while well clear of the rest last month. The P. Miller-trained mare projects to enjoy a comfortable second flight trip and then have her chance from the quarter pole home. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: XSingle: 6-Dr. HoffmanForecast: Dr. Hoffman has much going for him in this bottom-rung maiden $20,000 main track miler for older horses. Back at his claim level after being stopped on last summer by his new connections, the P. Miller-trained gelding shows a steady, healthy series of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs that should have him fit enough plus speed figures from last year that are good enough to win against this group. With leading rider F. Prat taking the call (37% for this stable with a massive ROI), the son of Alternation should be along in time as a rolling exotic single.RACE 3: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: BUse: 1-On Mars; 4-Laura’s LightForecast: This race was carded for grass, and we’ve handicapped it as such, but the Friday weather is volatile, so we’ll passif there is a surface switch. Graded stakes winner Laura’s Light makes her seasonal bow vs. second-level allowance competition in her first outing since August and the P. Miller-trained filly should outclass this stronger-than-par field. Capable of dominating on the front end or stalking and pouncing if the pace flow dictates, the daughter of Constitution won her debut and also shows a victory following a two month layoff so the evidence suggests she’ll fire a big shot fresh. On Mars, first or second in four of six races over the Santa Anita turf course, is guaranteed a ground-saving trip from her rail post position and with some help up front should be heard from late. Beaten a neck when runner-up vs. similar last time out while earning a career top speed figure, the daughter of Vronsky has trained well since, retains regular rider M. Smith, and hopefully will lay a little closer to the pace than she usually does and not give herself too much to do.RACE 4: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: XSingle: Missy P.Forecast: Missy P., a full-sister to the top class sprinter Mia Mischief, has done everything in the morning like a filly with similar speed, class, and ability for trainer R. Mandella. Drawn comfortably outside in this abbreviated maiden sprint for fillies and mares, the 3-year-old daughter of Into Mischief lands F. Prat and will be an extremely short price to graduate at first asking. Let’s use her as a no-value rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race.RACE 5: Post: 2:40 PT Grade: B+Use: 5-Kakistocracy; 7-Burnin TurfForecast: First-level allowance older horses bred in California compete over a mile on turf, but there is a forecast of rain, so if the race is transferred to the main track we’ll pass. Kakistocracy is worth giving another chance to after failing to mount a challenge when well-meant in a similar affair last month. The C. Gaines-trained gelding tries a jockey switch to T. Baze and hopefully will receive the type of aggressive ride that we suspect he’ll respond to favorably. The son of Point of Entry continues to impress in a.m. drills, and with a prior win over this course at this distance the lightly-raced 5-year-old should be able to produce his best stuff. Additionally the projected pace flow seems likely to compliment his late-running style. Burnin Turf is progressing with experience. His speed figures have risen in each of his four career starts, and after missing by a half-length when third vs. similar last time out the son of Acclamation retains F. Prat and is the likely choice and one to beat. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; Kakistocracy will be the better price of the two so we’ll prefer him on top.RACE 6: Post: 3:12 PT Grade: BUse: 3-Rather Nosy; 4-Flat Out JoyForecast: Back on dirt and dropping into the claiming ranks, Rather Nosy finds favorable conditions for a return to winning form in this extended sprint for restricted (nw-3) $35,000 fillies and mares. In the frame in 10 of 11 career starts over the Santa Anita main track, the M. Puype-trained daughter of Majesticperfection switches to F. Prat, adds blinkers, and is long overdue for a return to the winner’s circle. Flat Out Joy, away two months but sporting a healthy series of recent works, is another that shows an excellent record over the local dirt strip (never off the board in five starts) and projects to be forwardly placed throughout and then have every chance when the pressure is turned on. She’s a fit on speed figures and has the proper style for this seven furlong distance. Let’s try to get by using just these two in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Rather Nosy.RACE 7: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Witch Moon; 8-Disappearing ActForecast: This race may come off the turf due to the expected rain on Friday. Tread lightly if it does. Witch Moon may have been a bit rusty when a willing fourth vs. similar over a mile on grass earlier this month but the daughter of Malibu Moon can be expected to move forward considerably with that effort behind her and this stretch out to a 10-furlong trip. A couple of recent sharp training track drills provides evidence that she’s primed and ready, and from her favorable inside post position that will ensure a ground-saving trip the P. D’Amato-trained filly has a chance to pull off a mild surprise. Disappearing Act logically is the one to beat. F. Prat understandably jumps off Witch Moon to maintain the mount on this R. Baltas-trained filly, who was a strong runner-up in early January and gets an extra furlong to work with today. The daughter of Magician is bred to improve with distance and experience and is the top figure entrant in the race, so she’s sure to receive plenty of play. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 8: Post: 4:16 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Canadian Pride; 4-I Will NotForecast: The finale is a contentious first-level allowance main track sprint offering several possibilities. We’ll try to get by using just two, but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead. Canadian Pride is back sprinting where he belongs, and the P. Eurton-trained colt earned a career top speed figure when graduating over this main track three runs back during the fall season. A repeat of that effort today – based strictly on speed figures – will be good enough to win and a healthy recent series of works, including a bullet five furlongs (:59 flat, fastest of 30) 11 days ago should have the P. Eurton-trained son of Creative Cause right on edge. I Will Not won a Cal-bred race at this condition last time out and today tackles open company. The four-year-old colt will need to improve his speed figures but after earning a career top number last time out the son of Square Eddie could easily step forward again. If the leaders go too fast and compromise each other he’ll be in the right spot to launch a late bid.

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3.12.2021:

Friday, March 12: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Fair Grounds – Ninth Race – Post time: 4:52 CT7-Prime Time Player (6-1)Let’s take a shot with this promising 3-year-old in this middle distance maiden event for 3-year-olds. Bred to run long on both sides of his pedigree, the son of Ghostzapper finished strongly but too late in his debut last month when fourth (beaten four lengths) sprinting and then galloped out in front of the pack while finding the six furlong trip too short. If this W. Catalano-trained colt produces a forward move as expected he could spring a surprise for a stable that has superior stats with the second-time-starter angle. The addition of blinkers is an additional plus, so at 6-1 on the morning line he’s worth a gamble in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.Santa Anita Park – Seventh Race – Post time: 3:30 PT1-Witch Moon (3-1)This lightly-raced daughter of Malibu Moon finished steadily to be fourth in a one-mile turf affair for maidens in her local debut last month and today she should step forward in a big way while stretching out to a mile-and-quarter. The P. D’Amato-trained 4-year-old shows two sharp training track workouts since that outing, lands the rail, and may find herself on our near the lead throughout in a race that projects to be slowly run early. It must be noted that this race is scheduled for grass but may be switched to the main track if the rains arrive as predicted. However, she’s worth a play on any surface at or near her morning line of 3-1.

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3.11.2021:

Saturday, March 13: 1/ST BET AI Picks for Laurel Park

Laurel Park’s 9-race Saturday card features 5 stakes races as part of Good Samaritan Day. The handful of co-features boast purses in excess of $450,000 alone, including the $100,000 Private Terms en route to the Preakness Stakes. Let’s dig into the artificial intelligence of the 1/ST BET app for the full card, providing data-driven insight on an exciting day of racing. Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app or Xpressbet can receive a $10 Money Back Guarantee on win bets on all races on the Saturday card at Laurel. If your win bet finishes second or third, you’ll get a $10 refund in wagering credits back into your account.  Selections provided by the 1/ST BET app measure each contender against the 10 leading factors for each race. The 1/ST BET app looks at 52 handicapping factors and more than 200,000 past races to determine its AI selections. You can use the automated handicapping factors, or create your own factor filters to incorporate angles you prefer. We’ve included the official track morning line odds with the selections. Laurel // Race 1 // 12:25 pm ET // claiming // 1-1/8 miles #6 Imagine Victory (8-5 ML) // 32%W // 55%P // 64%S#5 Car Lady (3-1 ML) // 22%W // 48%P // 65%S#1 Walk It Out Nanny (2-1 ML) // 21%W // 44%P // 63%S#4 Moonlight Miss (12-1 ML) // 9%W // 24%P // 46%S Notable: Either Imagine Victory or Walk It Out Nanny leads in each of the top-11 factors considered by 1/ST BET for this race. Imagine Victory is rated No. 1 in the top-2 most important factors, Avg. Speed Last 3 and Avg. Lifetime Earnings. Laurel // Race 2 // 12:56 pm ET // claiming // 6-1/2 furlongs #3 Keepyourskateson (9-5 ML) // 27%W // 49%P // 65%S#7 Texas Reward (8-1 ML) // 18%W // 35%P // 52%S#5 Sick Pack Sara (3-1 ML) // 17%W // 35%P // 51%S#1 Hello Gracie (4-1 ML) // 12%W // 29%P // 45%S Notable: 27% Win Projection for Keepyourstakeson is the lowest on today’s 9-race card for a top 1/ST BET pick, but she leads in 6 of the top-8 handicapping factors for this race. Second choice Texas Reward at 8-1 could be an attractive value play via Gulfstream. Laurel // Race 3 // 1:28 pm ET // Beyond the Wire Stakes // 1 mile #2 Street Lute (1-1 ML) // 33%W // 55%P // 76%S#1 Buckey’s Charm (8-1 ML) // 21%W // 46%P // 71%S#3 Fraudulent Charge (5-2 ML) // 19%W // 38%P // 58%S#4 Journeytothemoon (12-1 ML) // 15%W // 34%P // 54%S Notable: Street Lute and Fraudulent Charge renew their rivalry for a third time. Only a nose and 1 length separated them in previous meetings, but 1/ST BET leans heavily to Street Lute to continue her winning ways. There’s surprisingly little support for Fair Grounds invader Littlestitious at just 13%. Laurel // Race 4 // 1:57 pm ET // maiden claiming // 5-1/2 furlongs furlongs #1 Cookies and Cream (9-5 ML) // 37%W // 53%P // 65%S#2 Great Cause (12-1 ML) // 12%W // 34%P // 53%S#4 Glory March (3-1 ML) // 10%W // 17%P // 23%S#5 Joyce G (5-1 ML) // 10%W // 17%P // 23%S Notable: Second in a similar ace last time, Cookies and Cream makes sense as the top choice. But the AI picks undervalue first-time starters due to insufficient data, so the gap between rookies Glory March and Joyce G may not be as expansive as the projections appear. Laurel // Race 5 // 2:27 pm ET // Not For Love Stakes // 6 furlongs #2 Whereshetoldmetogo (3-5 ML) // 34%W // 51%P // 60%S#1 Stroll Smokin (4-1 ML) // 19%W // 42%P // 53%S#6 Karan’s Notion (5-1 ML) // 16%W // 34%P // 58%S#7 Carey Times (15-1 ML) // 9%W // 18%P // 28%S Notable: Strong favorite Whereshetoldmetogo aims for 4 consecutive victories and has won 4 of 6 prior races at Laurel Park. She is ranked best in each of the top-8 1/ST BET handicapping factors for this race and 13 of the top 15. You can’t get any more dominant than that and she should be a solid early and late pick five single. Laurel // Race 6 // 3:03 pm ET // Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes // 1-1/8 miles #5 Galerio (7-2 ML) // 28%W // 44%P // 58%S#4 Tattooed (9-2 ML) // 17%W // 36%P // 49%S#2 Cordmaker (3-1 ML) // 17%W // 31%P // 46%S#6 Dixie Drawl (6-1 ML) // 11%W // 23%P // 37%S Notable: Galerio has finished first or second in 13 straight races and seeks his first career stakes victory. Tattooed defeated Galerio by a neck in the Jennings Handicap, but it is Galerio with whom the algorithm sides. Cordmaker is ranked 1st or 2nd in each of the top-7 handicapping factors 1/ST BET employs for this race. All three would be reliable contenders. Laurel // Race 7 // 3:34 pm ET // Conniver Stakes // 7 furlongs #8 Deep Red (5-1 ML) // 32%W // 53%P // 68%S#4 Artful Splatter (5-1 ML) // 22%W // 33%P // 43%S#3 S W Briar Rose (10-1 ML) // 14%W // 33%P // 49%S#6 Kiss the Girl (3-1 ML) // 11%W // 29%P // 45%S Notable: Top AI pick Deep Red will be ridden by Sheldon Russell. Betmix stats show Russell is 5-for-10 in stakes races at Laurel Park in 2021 coming into today’s action. S W Briar Rose finished second by a head in this race a year ago and offers an attractive morning line price and reasonable Win Projection from 1/ST BET. Artful Splatter ranks No. 1 in 3 of the top-5 handicapping factors for this race. Laurel // Race 8 // 4:07 pm ET // Private Terms Stakes // 1-1/16 miles #2 Maythehorsebewithu (2-1 ML) // 34%W // 47%P // 63%S#4 Zertz (8-1 ML) // 16%W // 37%P // 56%S#6 Excellerator (6-1 ML) // 16%W // 31%P // 52%S#3 Shackled Love (6-1 ML) // 10%W // 27%P // 44%S Notable: 1/ST BET pick Maythehorsebewithu has won 2 of 3 winter races at Laurel this season and jockey Russell, as noted in Race 7, has been fantastic in stakes races over the local strip in recent months. Maythehorsebewithu leads 7 of the top-10 handicapping factors, according to 1/ST BET and ranks first or second in 9 of them. Distance will be the question in his first race around 2 turns. He does not rank among the race’s top-5 in distance pedigree ratings, according to 1/ST BET. Laurel // Race 9 // 4:40 pm ET // starter optional claiming // 5-1/2 furlongs #5 Push to Start (5-2 ML) // 32%W // 50%P // 62%S#4 Visual Artist (7-2 ML) // 26%W // 49%P // 70%S#3 Zen Pi (2-1 ML) // 16%W // 31%P // 53%S#1 Disputed Notion (20-1 ML) // 11%W // 20%P // 30%S Notable: The 6-point spread between the top 2 choices is the most contended opinions of the day from 1/ST BET. Push to Start has made the early lead in every one of his 5 career starts and should be difficult to catch at this dash distance. Push to Start and Zen Pi dominate the ratings of the 5 most important handicapping factors in this race, according to 1/ST BET.

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3.11.2021:

1/ST BET AI Picks: Rebel and Private Terms Stakes

Saturday presents another duo of Triple Crown prep races toward the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. To help you tackle the diverse set of races, the 1/ST BET app’s artificial intelligence provides its look at the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park and the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn.Selections provided by the 1/ST BET app measure each contender against the 10 leading factors for each race. The 1/ST BET app looks at 52 handicapping factors and more than 200,000 past races to determine its AI selections. You can use the automated handicapping factors, or create your own factor filters to incorporate angles you prefer.Laurel Park // Private Terms Stakes // Race 8 // 4:07 PM ET#2 Maythehorsebewithu // 34%W // 47%P // 63%S#4 Zertz // 16%W // 37%P // 56%S#6 Excellerator // 16%W // 31%P // 52%S#3 Shackled Love // 10%W // 27%P // 44%S#5 Royal Number // 10%W // 27%P // 35%S#7 Shackqueenking // 8%W // 23%P // 35%S#1 Commodore Perry // 6%W // 10%P // 15%SOaklawn Park // Rebel Stakes // Race 11 // 6:16 PM ET#7 Concert Tour // 26%W // 45%P // 66%S#6 Keepmeinmind // 23%W // 42%P // 55%S#3 Hozier // 12%W // 31%P // 44%S#1 Caddo River // 10%W // 26%P // 43%S#8 Super Stock // 10%W // 18%P // 29%S#2 Big Lake // 9%W // 16%P // 28%S#4 Get Her Number // 5%W // 11%P // 18%S#5 Twilight Blue // 5%W // 11%P // 18%S

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3.11.2021:

Rebel and Private Terms Stakes Analysis & BTH Championship

Racing toward the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs continues nationwide. Saturday’s main event is the Rebel at Oaklawn Park with 85 total points toward spots in the Derby starting gate on the line. There’s also the matter of $1 million dollars in purse money that will be distributed to the top connections. While there still is plenty of water that needs to run under the bridge between now and May 1, there’s a decent chance that the one to ultimately wear roses is in this race.OAKLAWN PARK (RACE 11, 6:16PM ET) // REBEL STAKES (GR 2, $1M) // 1 1/16 MILES50 - 20 - 10 - 5 Kentucky Derby Points1. CADDO RIVER (COX/GEROUX) - 9/5This son of Hard Spun hasn’t run a poor race in 4 starts and never has been worse than second with 2 wins. Notably, one of those victories came in his first start as a 3-year-old around 2 turns at Oaklawn in the one-mile Smarty Jones. Caddo River made the lead and continued to widen his advantage throughout. He’s got speed, the rail and a powerful trainer/jockey combo that scores at 26%. Trainer Brad Cox continues his winning ways and jockey Geroux is top notch and knows how to let a speed horse do his thing. Only drawback for this one could be that he hasn’t faced top competition. Will he blink in his first start against worthy foes? Brad Cox-trained horses rarely do. Win Contender.2. BIG LAKE (ASMUSSEN/SANTANA JR.) - 12/1He’s won his last two starts but hasn’t faced a foe with the talent of #1 Caddo River or #7 Concert Tour. Good news is that he won both races going two turns (at Fair Grounds) and the maiden and allowance races were both as a 3-year-old. He should sit a decent trip behind the previously mentioned pair, and he stacks up reasonably well with the rest of the field, so an in the money finish is possible. Exotics.3. HOZIER (BAFFERT/GARCIA) - 12/1This son of Pioneerof the Nile broke maiden last out going 2 turns at Santa Anita when he defeated stablemate Fenway, who failed as favorite in his return. Before that, Hozier finished fourth, double-digit lengths behind trainer Baffert’s other Rebel entrant #7 Concert Tour. Jockey Joel Rosario, who piloted Hozier to his maiden score, departs for the ride on #7 Concert Tour. Hozier should be sitting behind the early and he’s fit and a Baffert. Those factors give him a chance to hit the board. Exotics.4. GET HER NUMBER (MILLER/CASTELLANO) - 8/1He’s been gone since September, training at San Luis Rey, away from prying clocker eyes. It will be interesting to see if he can continue the fine work delivered at 2. He showed speed to win 2 of 3 starts—one at 5 furlongs on grass and the other going a mile and one-sixteenth on dirt in the Grade 1 American Pharoah. The question with precocious performers is can they can continue to improve, or will others will catch up to them with maturity? Jockey Javier Castellano replaces regular rider Flavien Prat. We’ll need to pass on this colt until we see what kind of transformation he’s made from 2 to 3. He should be close up in the early going and it figures to be crowded there. Pass.5. TWILIGHT BLUE (SHARP/HERNANDEZ JR.) - 15/1He has 2 wins in 6 starts, the last came in a muddy allowance race at Oaklawn going a mile and one-sixteenth. If the track is ‘off’ Saturday, you could move him up a notch or two. Overall, he will need to step his game up to contend in here. Pass.6. KEEPMEINMIND (DIODORO/COHEN) - 4/1This son of Laoban was second first out in a maiden race and then raced against top-notch foes in stakes races for his next three starts. He won the Gr. 2 Kentucky Jockey Club last out in November and was no worse than third in two other Grade 1 races. He has no speed but owns a strong closing kick. His local training regime was interrupted by unseasonable weather in Hot Springs and he skipped the twice-cancelled Southwest, but his trainer says he’s ready to go. Expect #1 Caddo River and #7 Concert Tour to go a decent pace early. That will help set up Keepmeinmind’s closing kick. It’s just difficult to imagine both of these quality front-runners packing it in late. Exotics.7. CONCERT TOUR (BAFFERT/ROSARIO) - 2/1This son of Street Sense has done everything right without being asked. He’s unbeaten in 2 starts and regular rider Joel Rosario has yet to demand he break a sweat. Perhaps, Saturday will be that moment and #1 Caddo River could be the horse that forces Rosario to tap into reserves. This colt worked a sparkling six furlongs at Santa Anita in 1:11 2/5 and then galloped out a mile without missing a beat. He’s a good one. No doubt. Some may question why he didn’t put stablemate Freedom Fighter away with more authority at the finish of the seven-furlong San Vicente. Give Freedom Fighter some credit. He never quit but he wasn’t going to win either. Win Contender.8. SUPER STOCK (ASMUSSEN/TALAMO) - 6/1This son of Dialed In returns to the races for the first time since October. He’s won 1 of 6 starts—a five and one-half furlong restricted stakes race at Lone Star. He finished just behind #6 Keepmeinmind while third in the Gr. 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland and then forced the pace to be second in the mile and one-sixteenth Street Sense at Churchill Downs. He’s been in the money in 5 of 6 races in a decent 2-year-old season. How much he’s developed will decide how lucrative his fate going forward. He has a couple of nice 5 furlong moves going into this for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Let’s give him an outing to see if he’s matured. Pass. BOTTOM LINE In Kentucky Derby Championship races there were two major upsets last weekend: Weyburn won the Gr. 3 Gotham at Aqueduct and Helium gassed Gr. 2 Tampa Bay Derby foes. Life is Good was a bit better than ‘good’ as he won the San Felipe as favorite. Saturday, the Gr. 2 Rebel appears likely to go to either #1 Caddo River or #7 Concert Tour. They’re just too strong to ignore. Which is more likely to win? Great question. There’s really not much between them and neither will deliver a big price. Suggestion here is to wager a few bucks for entertainment’s sake and then watch the race closely looking for clues you’ll want to remember come Derby Day. LAUREL PARK (RACE 8, 4:07PM ET) // PRIVATE TERMS STAKES ($100K) // 1 1/16 MILES Saturday, sophomore runners also will vie in the Private Terms Saturday at Laurel. While the one mile and one-sixteenth test does not award Kentucky Derby points, the race has attracted a field of 7 and could produce a Preakness starter. Below is a horse-by-horse analysis of the race.1. COMMODORE PERRY (COLEBROOK/CARRASCO) - 15/1This guy has yet to break maiden in two starts at Turfway Park. He was beaten only a neck in his last out at one mile. He would be a surprise. Pass.2. MAYTHEHORSEBEWITHU (B. RUSSELL/S. RUSSELL) - 2/1Last out this son of Bullsbay sauntered to an easy win in the Miracle Wood going one mile at Laurel. That was around one turn, and this race will be two turns. That might not matter as the gelding is on his game for 31% trainer Brittany Russell. Husband Sheldon Russell is up and he and wins at a 23% pace. Together they hit at 36%. Those are strong stats! Maythehorsebwithu has been either first or second in 6 of 7 starts and that success should continue in here as he will use his early speed and inside draw to the utmost advantage. There is other speed in here, but they will need to hustle to beat him to the first turn. One to beat.3. SHACKLED LOVE (G. CAPUANO/TBD) - 6/1He raced for a $62,5K tag last out in an optional claiming mile at Laurel and led into the stretch. Unfortunately, he couldn’t hang on and ended up second for the second time in five starts, with 1 win. He could add a bit of early spice to the race but doesn’t have enough late to finish the project. Pass.4. ZERTZ (KREISER/LYNCH) - 8/1This son of Super Saver has 2 wins in 5 starts and they both came at Penn National, including a ‘ridden out’ romp by more than 11 lengths last out. Never off the board in 5 starts, this colt may find the water a bit deeper in here. Pass.5. ROYAL NUMBER (TROMBETTA/PIMENTEL) - 5/2Connections of this son of Palace Malice became excited after a strong optional claiming victory at Laurel—more than 7 lengths clear from #3 Shackled Love--and they dispatched this colt to the Big Apple and the Gr. 3 Withers Stakes. He wasn’t disgraced--fourth beaten nearly 10 lengths in the mile and one-eighth race. He’ll be looking to parlay that grinding effort into a payday in the Private Terms. He has little early speed but did close to finish third (placed second) in a 2-turn mile and one-sixteenth Laurel optional claiming race. Between that race and his romping win, he finished third, 6 lengths behind #7 Shackqueenking going one mile at the same level optional claiming race. Exotics.6. EXCELLORATOR (MCMAHON/CRUZ) - 6/1This son of Kentucky Derby winner Orb brings a 3-race win streak into the Private Terms. He won a maiden $50k claiming race, a $50k optional claiming race and a $62,5k optional claiming race in his last 3 starts. The first two triumphs were at Aqueduct and the last at Laurel. They were all sprint races and runner-up in the most recent start came back to win at the same level next out. Excellorator was claimed out of his most recent race by 16% winning trainer Hugh McMahon who is 25% first off the claim. Can the colt continue his winning ways and deliver a determined closing kick going around two turns? He’s unbeaten on fast dirt, with another win on a muddy Aqueduct oval, and he’s even been in the money in two of three sprint starts at Woodbine over a synthetic surface. Exotics.7. SHACKQUEENKING (G. CAPUANO/ROSALES) - 5/1This son of Shackleford also tried the Gr. 3 Withers at Aqueduct in his last start. He didn’t fare as well as #5 Royal Number. This guy will appreciate returning to Laurel where he has won 2 of 5 races and never been worse than third. He also has a two turn stakes win at Laurel on the day after Christmas and was third in the 7-furlong Spectacular Bid in January before his nearly 20 length Withers disappointment at a mile and one-eighth. #2 Maythehorsebwithu finished 2 lengths in front of him in the Spectacular Bid. Shackqueenking will race with Lasix for the first time Saturday, suggesting he may have bled in the Gr. 3 Withers. He actually defeated #5 Royal Number by 6 lengths going one mile in December. Exotics.BOTTOM LINE#2 Maythehorsebwithu is the sharpest tool in this shed and ought to get the job done. Those seeking to boost payoffs ought to use the top choice in exactas with #5 Royal Number, #6 Excellorator and #7 Shackqueenking. BEAT THE HOST CHAMPIONSHIP ROUNDThe Beat the Host Championship is Saturday and qualified participants don’t need to do a thing except to pick as many winners as possible. They’ll be playing for one of seven coveted tournament seats.The top prize--entry into the 2022 Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship ($6,000 value)--will go to the player who earns the most based on $5 Win wagers on one horse in each of 10 competition races. Finishers in second through seventh positions will earn seats in either the Florida or Santa Anita Derby tournaments ($1,500 value each).Competition races will be posted by Friday, 5 pm ET.Race On!

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3.11.2021:

Rebel Stakes Selections, Plus Derby Strikes Return

With my selections for Xpressbet.com last week, I tried to beat the favorite in both the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby and Grade III Gotham Stakes. I was vindicated in my approach when the favorite did not win either race. But, darn it, my top pick also did not win. Candy Man Rocket was sent away as the 8-5 favorite in last Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby. He finished 11th in the field of 12. My top pick, Hidden Stash, ran second at 3-1. Helium won in a 15-1 upset. Highly Motivated was favored in last Saturday’s Gotham at slightly less than even money. He finished third in the field of eight. My top pick, Freedom Fighter, ran fourth at 2-1. Weyburn was victorious in a 46-1 shocker while making his first 2021 start. Crowded Trade, coming off a maiden win at first asking, lost by a scant nose at 5-1.Weyburn and Crowded Trade showed up in the Gotham only after an allowance race that had been preferred for them failed to fill. Life Is Good was my top pick in last Saturday’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. He won by eight lengths as the 1-2 favorite. In late January, I began making selections for Xpressbet.com in terms of this country’s races offering points toward a starting berth in the Grade I, $3 million Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1. Of the 12 such races, I have picked the winner in seven of them, as noted below: Date Race (Selection) Finish, $2 win payoff if applicable 01-30-21 Holy Bull (Greatest Honour) WON, $7.6001-30-21 Robert B. Lewis (Medina Spirit), WON, $4.0002-06-21 Sam F. Davis (Candy Man Rocket), WON, $8.2002-06-21 Withers (Donegal Bay), finished 7th02-13-21 Risen Star (Senor Buscador), finished 5th02-13-21 El Camino Real Derby (Rombauer), WON, $4.4002-26-21 Battaglia Memorial (Gretzky the Great), finished 3rd02-27-21 Southwest (Essential Quality), WON, $3.8002-27-21 Fountain of Youth (Greatest Honor), WON, $4.0003-06-21 Gotham (Freedom Fighter), finished 4th03-06-21 Tampa Bay Derby (Hidden Stash), finished 2nd03-06-21 Life Is Good, WON, $3.00 There is just one race this Saturday offering Kentucky Derby points. It is the Grade II, $1 million Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park, which will reward the first four finishers with 50-20-10-5 points toward the 1 1/4-mile Run for the Roses. REBEL STAKES HAS ATTRACTED FIELD OF EIGHT My selections for the 1 1/16-mile Rebel are below: 1. Concert Tour2. Caddo River3. Keepmeinmind4. Hozier Caddo River ranks No. 4 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week. Concert Tour is No. 6. Keepmeinmind is No. 9. Eight are scheduled to do battle in the Rebel. Concert Tour goes into the race for trainer Bob Baffert quite similarly to the Baffert-trained Nadal last year. Nadal won a six-furlong maiden race by 3 3/4 lengths as a 6-5 favorite last year on Jan. 19 at Santa Anita in his first career start. The Kentucky-bred Blame colt then won the seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes by three-quarters of a length when shown on the tote board to be a 2-5 favorite on Feb. 9. Concert Tour won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race by 3 1/2 lengths as an even-money favorite on Jan. 15 in his first career start. The Kentucky-bred Street Sense colt then won the San Vicente by a half-length as a 2-5 favorite. After last year’s San Vicente, Baffert sent Nadal to Oaklawn for the Rebel. Nadal won the Rebel on a sloppy track by three-quarters of a length.Following this year’s San Vicente, Baffert has sent Concert Tour to Oaklawn for the Rebel.In his final recorded workout prior to the Rebel, Nadal was clocked in a bullet :59.60 for five furlongs. It was the best of 58 works at that distance on Santa Anita’s main track that morning.In Concert Tour’s final recorded workout before the Rebel, he was timed in a bullet 1:11.40 for six furlongs. It was the best of 11 works at the distance on Santa Anita’s main track that morning.I picked Nadal to win the 2020 Rebel. He did not let me down. Concert Tour is my top pick in the 2021 Rebel. We shall see if he comes through or he lets me down.I have the utmost respect for Caddo River, as evidenced by the fact that I currently have him ranked higher than Concert Tour on my Kentucky Derby Top 10.Trained by Brad Cox, Caddo River lost his first two races. The Kentucky-bred Hard Spun colt then won a one-mile maiden race by 9 1/2 lengths at Churchill Downs on Nov. 15, followed by a 10 1/4-length victory in Oaklawn Park’s one-mile Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan. 22.Keepmeinmind certainly is a Rebel entrant to keep in mind. As a maiden, he finished second in the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity last Oct. 3 and third in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 6. Essential Quality won both races en route to being voted an Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male of 2020.In Keepmeinmind’s final 2020 start, he earned his maiden diploma by winning the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Keeneland for trainer Robertino Diodoro.Baffert had hoped to run Hozier in an allowance race at Santa Anita. When that race didn’t fill, Baffert decided to have him join Concert Tour in the Rebel.Will Hozier be like Weyburn and Crowded Trade and finish first or second in a graded stakes race when running in that after an allowance race failed to fill?Hozier was unveiled at Santa Anita on Jan. 15. He finished fourth, 15 lengths behind Concert Tour. Hozier then showed dramatic improvement to win a 1 1/16-mile allowance race by 1 3/4 lengths at Santa Anita on Feb. 15.Hozier worked four furlongs in a bullet :47.40 last Saturday. It was the fastest of 58 works at that distance on Santa Anita’s main track that morning. LIFE IS GOOD NEW NO. 1 ON MY DERBY TOP 10 Life Is Good moves into the top spot on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week following last Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita in which he won by a sizable margin and received a marvelous Beyer Speed Figure.My Kentucky Derby Top 10 for this week is below:1. Life Is Good2. Essential Quality3. Greatest Honour4. Caddo River5. Mandaloun6. Concert Tour7. Medina Spirit8. Hot Rod Charlie9. Keepmeinmind10. SpielbergAfter Life Is Good kicked off his racing career with a 9 1/2-length victory at Del Mar last Nov. 27, some wondered if he also would be able to win going farther. In his next start, Life Is Good did indeed succeed going farther. He won Santa Anita’s one-mile Sham Stakes by three-quarters of a length on Jan. 2. But the smaller margin of victory led some to wonder if going farther than one mile would prove to be a problem for the Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt.Last Saturday, Life Is Good demonstrated that 1 1/16 miles is not even close to being a limit for him in terms of distance. Annihilating his foes in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe Stakes, he won by eight lengths.“Life Is Good, breaking from the rail, used his natural speed to open a clear lead into the first turn, and his six rivals never had a chance,” Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman wrote. “He drew clear through the lane while drifting out, yet still stopped the timer in 1:42.18 for 1 1/16 miles, a time that compares favorably with the 1:43.86 recorded by his older stablemate, Mastering, when winning an allowance race earlier on the card on the fast main track.”The fractions were :23.63, :46.83, 1:10.55 and 1:35.46. Secretariat.com’s Steve Haskin pointed out that even though Life Is Good “was on cruise control, he still went the three-quarters in 1:10 2/5, which was two full seconds than [older horses] ran in the Big ’Cap” on the same card. The six-furlong fraction in the 1 1/4-mile Santa Anita Handicap was 1:12.26.“What was noteworthy about this race was that he was setting quick fractions while seemingly doing it under control, not acting like a runaway freight train as in his debut or his similarly headstrong effort in the Sham,” Privman also wrote regarding Life Is Good’s San Felipe. “In the two months since the Sham, Life Is Good has been trained to not blast off.”Life Is Good and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith drifted all the way out to about the 10 path during the stretch run of the San Felipe. How dominant was Life Is Good? Smith speculated that if the colt had run straight, he might have won by 15.Nevertheless, any way you slice it, drifting out that much in the stretch is not a good thing. Smith attributed the drifting to Life Is Good seeing the big screen in the infield, which is not on when he trains in the morning. Life Is Good has never exhibited such behavior in the a.m. Jockey-turned-television broadcaster Richard Migliore said that if seeing the big screen was indeed responsible for Life Is Good drifting out, then why did he continue to drift out well after he had gone past the big screen?One person who does not seem concerned that Life Is Good didn’t run straight down the lane last Saturday is Baffert. Even before the race, according to Baffert, the supremely talented 3-year-old did not exactly act like a seasoned pro. While Life Is Good was on his way to the paddock, he balked at first when he saw a bunch of people.Baffert is quick to remind everyone that Authentic acted very greenly early on in his career. When Authentic won the Sham by 7 3/4 lengths, he ran such an erratic course down the lane that he nearly hit the inside rail at one point. But by the end of the year, Authentic had won the Grade I Kentucky Derby and Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic. Not only was he voted an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male, he was elected 2020 Horse of the Year.In Life Is Good’s first two stakes races, he has run quite a bit faster than Authentic did in the same two races.Authentic’s final time in the one-mile Sham was 1:37.57. Life Is Good completed the distance in 1:36.63.When Authentic won the San Felipe by 2 1/2 lengths, his final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:43.56. Life Is Good stepped the distance in 1:42.18.Authentic received a 90 Beyer in the Sham, a 98 in the San Felipe.Life Is Good was credited with a 101 Beyer in the Sham, a 107 in the San Felipe. Those are the two-highest Beyers posted by a 3-year-old so far in 2021.Below are the eight-best Beyer Speed Figures recorded this year by a 3-year-old, male or female:Beyer Winner (Finish, Race, Track, Date)107 Life Is Good (won San Felipe at Santa Anita on March 6)101 Life Is Good (won Sham at Santa Anita on Jan. 2)99 Medina Spirit (2nd Sham at Santa Anita on Jan. 2)98 Mandaloun (won Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Feb. 13)97 Proxy (2nd Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Feb. 13)96 Dream Shake (won maiden race at Santa Anita on Feb. 7)96 Midnight Bourbon (3rd Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Feb. 13)96 Essential Quality (won Southwest at Oaklawn on Feb. 27) LIFE IS GOOD FAVORED AGAIN IN FUTURE WAGER In Pool 1 of the 2021 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW), which closed on Nov. 29, Life Is Good was the 5-1 favorite among the 22 individual horses. Essential Quality was the second choice at 8-1.In Pool 2 of the KDFW, which closed on Jan. 24, Life Is Good was the 7-1 favorite among the 23 individual horses. Essential Quality again was the 8-1 second choice.In Pool 3 of the KDFW, which closed on Feb. 14, Life Is Good again was the 7-1 favorite and Essential Quality the 8-1 second choice among the 23 individual horses.In Pool 4 of the KDFW, which closed last Sunday, Life Is Good was hammered down to 2-1 favoritism after his lopsided San Felipe triumph. Essential Quality was the 5-1 second choice.Below are the final odds for Pool 4 of the 2021 KDFW:2-1 Life Is Good5-1 Essential Quality6-1 Greatest Honour7-1 “All Other 3-Year-Old Males”16-1 Caddo River17-1 Concert Tour17-1 Mandaloun29-1 Collaborate29-1 Prevalence30-1 Keepmeinmind36-1 Highly Motivated39-1 Medina Spirit41-1 Proxy42-1 Risk Taking52-1 Midnight Bourbon53-1 Hot Rod Charlie63-1 Spielberg71-1 Candy Man Rocket71-1 Dream Shake79-1 The Great One84-1 Freedom Fighter94-1 Roman Centurian109-1 Rombauer146-1 Hush of a Storm THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS Idol moved onto the Top 10 at No. 4 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll following his win in last Saturday’s Grade I Santa Anita Handicap. Next-to-last early in the field of seven, he rallied to prevail by a half-length at odds of 5-1. It was his first stakes victory. Joel Rosario rode the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Curlin colt for trainer Richard Baltas.Baltas was emotional after the race in that he has an appreciation for the rich history of the Santa Anita Handicap, a race he has fond memories of witnessing as a teenager in the 1970s. He especially recalls watching Vigors, “The White Tornado,” storm to a come-from-behind win in the 1978 Big ’Cap.The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll:Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)1. 370 Charlatan (24)2. 343 Monomoy Girl (14)3. 291 Knicks Go4. 175 Idol5. 150 Mystic Guide (1)6. 148 Swiss Skydiver7. 147 Maxfield8. 137 Colonel Liam9. 78 Gamine10. 51 Jesus’ TeamThe Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll:Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)1. 369 Essential Quality (20)2. 360 Life Is Good (17)3. 293 Greatest Honour (1)4. 240 Mandaloun (1)5. 174 Medina Spirit6. 158 Caddo River7. 123 Concert Tour8. 87 Keepmeinmind9. 72 Helium10. 65 Risk Taking MY DERBY STRIKES RETURN! After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my Derby Strikes System is back in 2021.I developed my Derby Strikes System back in 1999. This system at that time consisted of nine categories. When a horse did not qualify in one of the nine categories, the horse received a strike.Various “rules” for the Kentucky Derby once were very popular. A “Derby rule” meant a horse needed to have done this or that, or not done this or that, in order to win the Run for the Roses. However, through the years, many of the “Derby rules” were broken. This caused their popularity to wane.I think what has distinguished my Derby Strikes System from any single “Derby rule” is the Derby Strikes System is considerably more comprehensive. The Derby Strikes System is an amalgamation of factors that attempts to ascertain the chances a horse has to win the Kentucky Derby from BOTH tactical and historical perspectives. It is the marriage of the TACTICAL with the HISTORICAL that might well make the strikes system better than a “Derby rule,” per se.A number of the categories in the Derby Strikes System are tied to a Kentucky Derby being run on the first Saturday in May. As a result, when the race last year was switched from May 2 to Sept. 5 due to COVID-19, it rendered the Derby Strikes System unworkable.But now that the Kentucky Derby is returning to the first Saturday in May, the Derby Strikes System likewise returns. DERBY STRIKES SYSTEM REVAMPED FOR 2021 Because the Derby Strikes System, as it was originally constructed back in 1999, seemed to work well through the years, I resisted making any changes to it. One reason for my reluctance to tinker with it is what happened with the Dosage Index.“The Dosage Index is a mathematical figure used by breeders of Thoroughbred racehorses, and sometimes by bettors handicapping races, to quantify a horse’s ability, or inability, to negotiate the various distances at which horse races are run,” according to Wikipedia. “It is calculated based on an analysis of the horse’s pedigree.”I spent part of 1981 working as an editor/handicapper in the Los Angeles office of the Daily Racing Form. My “post position” in that office was not far from the desk of breeding expert Leon Rasmussen.The Dosage Index, again quoting from Wikipedia, “attracted little interest from the general public until 1981, when Daily Racing Form breeding columnist Leon Rasmussen published a new version of Dosage developed by an American scientist and horse owner, Steven A. Roman, Ph.D., in his analysis of the upcoming Kentucky Derby for that year. The new approach, which was more accessible to owners, breeders and handicappers was supported by solid statistical data, rapidly caught on, and the term ‘Dosage Index’ has been a fixture in the lexicon of horse racing ever since. The details of Dosage methodology have been summarized in Dr. Roman’s book entitled ‘Dosage: Pedigree & Performance’ published in 2002.”The Dosage Index is compiled by noting the presence of certain influential sires, known as chefs-de-race, in the first four generations of a horse’s pedigree. Based on what distances the progeny of the sires so designated excelled in during their racing careers, each chef-de-race is placed in one or two of the following categories, or aptitudinal groups: Brilliant, Intermediate, Classic, Solid or Professional.In the 1980s, a horse’s Dosage Index became a big deal in the lead-up to the Kentucky Derby. It needed to be 4.00 or lower. That’s because retroactive research conducted when the Dosage Index first become popular in 1981 revealed that no horse at that time having a Dosage Index higher than 4.00 had won the Kentucky Derby since 1929 (a year chosen because by then the number of available chefs-de-race on which to base the figures was thought to have reached a critical mass).But then the Dosage Index took a major hit in the credibility department in 1991. When Strike the Gold won the Kentucky Derby, his Dosage Index was 9.00. Alydar, who had not been standing at stud all that long, had not yet been accorded chef-de-race status by Dr. Roman. That was the primary reason Strike the Gold’s Dosage Index was so high at the time that he won the roses.If having a Kentucky Derby winner with a Dosage Index so much higher than 4.00 wasn’t bad enough, when Alydar subsequently -- and appropriately -- was made a chef-de-race, it significantly lowered Strike the Gold’s Dosage Index. Pedigreequery.com lists a horse’s Dosage Index in addition to his or her pedigree. If you go to that website, you will see that Strike the Gold’s Dosage Index (or DI) currently is listed as 2.60.Dosage critics howled that Strike the Gold’s Dosage Index was retroactively lowered from 9.00 to 2.60 in order to keep Dosage relevant vis-a-vis the Kentucky Derby.“Alydar was eventually designated a Classic chef-de-race because of the continuing success of his offspring going long,” Dick Powell wrote for TwinSpires.com in 2019. But “the ‘objection’ sign went up in the minds of many who accused Dr. Steven Roman of force-feeding the classification to make Strike the Gold’s DI below 4.00.”The damage to the credibility of the Dosage Index when Strike the Gold’s DI was lowered from 9.00 to 2.60 was a major reason why I was reluctant to make any retroactive changes to the Derby Strike System.But I have decided that the time has come to make a logical and appropriate tweak to the system for 2021. This is in reaction to the significant change that horses just do not race as much as they did when the Derby Strikes System was introduced in 1999.One of the original categories was that a horse needed to have made at least six lifetime starts prior to the Kentucky Derby. It is abundantly clear that this no longer is relevant.From 1973 through 2000, Fusaichi Pegasus was the only horse to win the Kentucky Derby having previously made fewer than six lifetime starts. He had made five starts going into the Kentucky Derby.But from 2006 through 2019, seven horses won the Kentucky Derby having previously made fewer than six lifetime starts. They were Barbaro (2006), Big Brown (2008), Animal Kingdom (2011), I’ll Have Another (2012), American Pharoah (2015), Always Dreaming (2017) and Justify (2018).Clearly, what once had been a strike no longer was a strike.And so the category in the Derby Strikes System specifying that a horse needs to have made at least six lifetime starts prior to the Kentucky Derby has been eliminated. The revamped Derby Strikes System for 2021 now consists of eight categories.One of the eight categories is a horse needs to have raced as a 2-year-old to avoid getting a strike. This remains a category even though Justify in 2018 became the first Kentucky Derby winner who did not race at 2 since Apollo in 1882.The fact that only one horse since 1882 has won the Kentucky Derby without having raced at 2 does not come anywhere close to this particular category needing to be discarded. NUMBER OF STRIKES FOR HELIUM It is not until a horse’s next race will be the Kentucky Derby that a horse’s number of strikes can be determined. Because Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse has said it is likely that the next race for Grade II Tampa Bay Derby winner Helium will be the Kentucky Derby, a determination can be made concerning Helium's strikes situation.If Helium’s connections do decide to run him again before the first Saturday in May, his number of strikes then will need to be recalculated.Helium gets only one strike. His lone strike comes in Category 5, which states that a horse needs to have finished at least third in a 1 1/8-mile race or longer before the Kentucky Derby to avoid getting a strike. The farthest Helium has raced to date is the 1 1/16 miles of the Tampa Bay Derby.Thunder Gulch, the sire of Helium’s dam, won the 1995 Kentucky Derby. He had zero strikes.In last Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby, Helium rallied from 10th in the field of 12 to win by three-quarters of a length. The Kentucky-bred Ironicus colt recorded a career-best 84 Beyer Speed Figure.Helium won last Saturday despite it being his first 2021 start, his first race around two turns and his first race on dirt.The Derby Strikes System can’t go back further than 1973 because that was the year in which stakes races in the U.S. were first graded. Two of my eight categories deal with graded stakes races.According to the revamped Derby Strikes System, not counting the Kentucky Derby of 2020 when the race was run in September, 83% of the Kentucky Derby winners (39 out of 47) have had zero strikes or one strike going back to 1973.The seven Kentucky Derby winners with two strikes were Cannonade (1974), Ferdinand (1986), Sea Hero (1993), Funny Cide (2003), Giacomo (2005), Justify (2018) and Country House (2019).Maximum Security had zero strikes and finished first by 1 1/4 lengths in the 2019 Kentucky Derby. However, the stewards disqualified Maximum Security and placed him 17th when ruling that he had committed a foul by veering out sharply nearing the five-sixteenths marker to cause interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy.Only one horse, Mine That Bird in 2009, has had more than two strikes. He had four. WINNER’S STRIKES GOING BACK TO 1973 Many years after I developed my Derby Strikes System in 1999, racing enthusiast Ryan Stillman suggested that I should take a look at the number of strikes for Kentucky Derby winners prior to 1999. Again, because stakes races in this country were not graded until 1973, I could not go further back than that year when calculating the number of strikes for Kentucky Derby winners. That’s because, as mentioned earlier, two of my eight categories deal with graded stakes races.Based on the revamped Derby Strikes System, the strikes for each Kentucky Derby winner going back to 1973 are below:2020 race run in September2019 Country House (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 3*2018 Justify (2 strikes) Categories 1 and 72017 Always Dreaming (1 strike) Category 12016 Nyquist (0 strikes)2015 American Pharoah (0 strikes)2014 California Chrome (0 strikes)2013 Orb (0 strikes)2012 I’ll Have Another (0 strikes)2011 Animal Kingdom (0 strikes)2010 Super Saver (1 strike) Category 42009 Mine That Bird (4 strikes) Categories 1, 4, 5 and 92008 Big Brown (0 strikes)2007 Street Sense (0 strikes)2006 Barbaro (0 strikes)2005 Giacomo (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 52004 Smarty Jones (0 strikes)2003 Funny Cide (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 82002 War Emblem (0 strikes)2001 Monarchos (0 strikes)2000 Fusaichi Pegasus (1 strike) Category 61999 Charismatic (1 strike) Category 51998 Real Quiet (0 strikes)1997 Silver Charm (1 strike) Category 41996 Grindstone (0 strikes)1995 Thunder Gulch (0 strikes)1994 Go for Gin (0 strikes)1993 Sea Hero (2 strikes) Categories 3 and 51992 Lil E. Tee (0 strikes)1991 Strike the Gold (0 strikes)1990 Unbridled (1 strike) Category 31989 Sunday Silence (0 strikes)1988 Winning Colors (0 strikes)1987 Alysheba (1 strike) Category 21986 Ferdinand (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 41985 Spend a Buck (0 strikes)1984 Swale (0 strikes)1983 Sunny’s Halo (1 strike) Category 11982 Gato Del Sol (1 strike) Category 31981 Genuine Risk (1 strike) Category 11980 Pleasant Colony (0 strikes)1979 Spectacular Bid (0 strikes)1978 Affirmed (0 strikes)1977 Seattle Slew (0 strikes)1976 Bold Forbes (0 strikes)1975 Foolish Pleasure (0 strikes)1974 Cannonade (2 strikes) Categories 3 and 41973 Secretariat (0 strikes)*Maximum Security (0 strikes) finished first, disqualified and placed 17thThese are the eight categories in my revamped Derby Strikes System after having eliminated the category requiring a horse to have made six lifetime starts prior to the Kentucky Derby:1. THE GRADED STAKES CATEGORY. (The horse ran in a graded stakes race before March 31.) This points out horses who have competed against tough competition prior to March 31 rather than at the last minute in April, enabling the horse to be properly battle-tested. (Exceptions: Since the introduction of graded stakes races in the U.S. in 1973, only Genuine Risk in 1980, Sunny’s Halo in 1983, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Always Dreaming in 2017 have won the Kentucky Derby without running in a graded stakes race at 2 or early at 3 before March 31.)2. THE WIN IN A GRADED STAKES CATEGORY. (The horse has won a graded stakes race.) This points out horses who have shown they have the class to win a graded stakes race. (Exceptions: Ferdinand in 1986, Alysheba in 1987, Funny Cide in 2003 and Giacomo in 2005 are the only exceptions since the introduction of U.S. graded stakes races in 1973; Alysheba in 1987 did finish first in the Blue Grass, only to be disqualified and placed third.)3. THE EIGHTH POLE CATEGORY. (In either of his or her last two starts before the Kentucky Derby, the horse was either first or second with a furlong to go.) This points out horses who were running strongly at the eighth pole, usually in races at 1 1/16 or 1 1/8 miles. By running strongly at the same point in the Kentucky Derby, a horse would be in a prime position to win the roses. Keep in mind that 52 of the last 55 Kentucky Derby winners have been first or second with a furlong to run. Since Decidedly won the Derby in 1962 when he was third with a furlong to go, the only three Kentucky Derby winners who were not first or second with a furlong to run were Animal Kingdom, third with a furlong remaining in 2011 when only a half-length from being second; Giacomo, sixth with a furlong to go in 2005; and Grindstone, fourth with a furlong to run in 1996. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the Kentucky Derby winners who weren’t either first or second at the eighth pole in his or her last two starts have been Tim Tam in 1958, Carry Back in 1961, Cannonade in 1974, Gato Del Sol in 1982, Unbridled in 1990 and Sea Hero in 1993, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.)4. THE GAMENESS CATEGORY. (The horse’s finish position in both of his or her last two races before the Kentucky Derby was no worse than his or her running position at the eighth pole.) This points out horses who don’t like to get passed in the final furlong. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the exceptions have been Venetian Way in 1960, Cannonade in 1974, Foolish Pleasure in 1975, Ferdinand in 1986, Silver Charm in 1997, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Super Saver in 2010, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.)5. THE DISTANCE FOUNDATION CATEGORY. (The horse has finished at least third in a 1 1/8-mile race or longer before the Kentucky Derby.) This points out horses who have the proper foundation and/or stamina for the Kentucky Derby distance. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the only exceptions have been Kauai King in 1966, Sea Hero in 1993, Charismatic in 1999, Giacomo in 2005 and Mine That Bird in 2009.)6. THE NO ADDING OR REMOVING BLINKERS CATEGORY. (The horse has not added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her final start at 3 before the Kentucky Derby.) This seems to point out that, if a horse is good enough to win the Kentucky Derby, the trainer is not searching for answers so late in the game. (Since Daily Racing Form began including blinkers in its past performances in 1987, no horse has added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her last start at 3 before winning the Kentucky Derby.)7. THE RACED AS A 2-YEAR-OLD CATEGORY. (The horse made at least one start as a 2-year-old.) (Exceptions: Apollo in 1882 and Justify in 2018. Since 1937, horses unraced as a 2-year-old are a combined 1 for 63 in the Kentucky Derby. During this period, the only horses to finish second or third in the Kentucky Derby without having raced at 2 were Hampden, who finished third in 1946; Coaltown, second in 1948; Agitate, third in 1974; Reinvested, third in 1982; Strodes Creek, second in 1994; Curlin, third in 2007; Bodemeister, second in 2012; and Battle of Midway, third in 2017.)8. THE NOT A GELDING CATEGORY. (The horse is not a gelding.) (Exceptions: Funny Cide in 2003 and Mine That Bird in 2009 are the only geldings to win the Kentucky Derby since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929.)

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3.9.2021:

1/ST BET Factors: What it Takes to Win the Florida Derby

We searched the 1/ST BET archives to re-examine the last 3 editions of the Florida Derby. See where the winners ranked best in their respective fields in terms of handicapping factors, and look for those commonalities with this year’s runners when using the 1/ST BET app to handicap this key stop en route to the Triple Crown. 2020Winner: TIZ THE LAWRanked First in 17 Factors (Most of Any Contender) Speed Last Race Win % Best Speed Last 3 Best Speed Fast Track Trainer Current Year Best Lifetime Speed Jockey Current Year T/J Combo Win % Meet Avg of Last 3 Late Pace Avg Lifetime Earnings Avg Earnings Today's Track Last E2 Pace Last Late Pace Last Turn Time Best Speed Today's Track Avg Last 3 Purse Avg Last 3 Races Classes ‍ 2019Winner: MAXIMUM SECURITYRanked First in 9 Factors (2nd-Most of Any Contender) Speed Last Race Win % Trainer Current Year Trainer Win % 6 Months T/J Combo Win % Meet Trainer Win % Meet Horses Beaten % Trainer Win % 1 Year Last Late Pace  2018Winner: AUDIBLERanked First in 14 Factors (Most of Any Contender) Speed Last Race Best Speed Last 3 Best Speed Fast Track Jockey Current Year Best Lifetime Speed Avg of Last 3 Late Pace Trainer Win % 6 Months Trainer Current Meet Trainer Current Year Jockey Current Meet Best Speed Today's Track  Last Late Pace Jockey Win % 2 Years Race Type Last E1 Pace 

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3.9.2021:

1/ST Look Santa Anita Stats: Dirt Favorites Continue to Struggle

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Santa Anita Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Southern California. And be sure to support “The Great Race Place” by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Santa Anita Park. Headlines Historic 2020 Preakness-winning filly Swiss Skydiver comes west for Saturday’s Grade 1 Beholder Mile, highlighting a stakes menu that also includes Saturday’s Grade 3 San Simeon for turf sprinters. The grass dashers also are spotlighted Sunday in the Irish O’Brien for Cal-breds … Santa Anita opens the racing week Friday with a $53,769 one-day carryover in the Rainbow 6 … Saturday’s mandatory Rainbow 6 payout drew $5.13 million in new money … Santa Anita also has a $13,086 carryover in the Super High 5 pool into Friday … Jockey Joel Rosario will be on the road Saturday when he partners with Bob Baffert’s San Vicente winner Concert Tour in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn … Good luck to the Xpressbet Beat the Host contest finalists who are playing Saturday in the Championship Round, which will be comprised of races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream. Stronach 5 Friday’s national wager the Stronach 5, which was to feature two races from Laurel and a carryover of $154,931, has been postponed to March 19. 1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Santa Anita Park last week, each winning at a 32% or greater win rate and showing a flat-bet profit.Best Speed Today’s DistanceWin %Jockey 1 Year Win %Trends Last Week-- Main-track favorites were only 2-16 last week, bailed out by 1-2 shot Life is Good in Saturday’s San Felipe, and Sunday claimer Pawnee at even-money. They are now 6-for-31 (19%) over the past 2 weeks.-- Bob Baffert remained dialed in at 11: 4-1-2 on the week, including a 3-win Saturday with $3, $7 and $19 returns. He’s posting 35% wins and 54% in the exacta locally since Feb. 12.-- Trainer Richard Baltas posted a 9: 4-1-2 record with winners at $3, $6, $8 and $12. He added 3 turf allowance wins to Idol’s victory in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap. Baltas and jockey Flavien Prat went 5: 2-1-2 in tandem.-- Trainer Mark Glatt had been nibbling around the edges, but broke through last week with a 4: 2-1-1 mark in limited strikes. He had a $13 winner among the quartet of runners. The barn had 9 runner-up finishes from just 20 starters between Feb. 14 and last week’s breakout.-- Jockey Tyler Baze had a rock-solid 10: 3-1-1 week, booting home $7, $12 and $13 winners for 3 different barns. Baze boasted a $1.62 ROI for every $1 bet.-- Jockey Jessica Pyfer was knocking on the door with a 10: 1-4-1 mark. The apprentice had a $32 upset winner as well as 12-1 and 17-1 runner-ups. She had a win and a runner-up in 2 mounts for trainer Phil D’Amato.

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3.9.2021:

1/ST Look Gulfstream Park Stats: Speed Factors Rise to Top

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Gulfstream Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in South Florida. And be sure to support Gulfstream by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Gulfstream Park. Headlines Promising debut winner Prevalence returns Thursday in a Race 8 allowance that could springboard him toward one of April’s final round of Triple Crown prep races … Sprinters are co-featured this week in Saturday’s Hurricane Bertie Stakes and Silks Run Stakes, the latter on turf … Gulfstream Park starts anew Wednesday in the Rainbow 6 jackpot bet after Sunday’s mandatory payout lured $5.47 million in new wagers … Jockey Luis Saez will be on the road Saturday when he partners with champion 2-year-old and leading Triple Crown hopeful Essential Quality in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn … Good luck to the Xpressbet Beat the Host contest finalists who are playing Saturday in the Championship Round, which will be comprised of races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream. Stronach 5Friday’s national wager the Stronach 5, which was to feature two races from Laurel and a carryover of $154,931, has been postponed to March 19. 1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Gulfstream Park last week, each winning at a 33% or greater win rate.Avg. Speed Last 3Avg. Best 2 of 3 SpeedJockey Current YearTrends Last Week-- Jockey Irad Ortiz had a 5-win Friday card and followed up with 4 on Sunday, producing a whopping 14 winners on the week. His nearly 26% win rate towered over the competition as only 2 other pilots topped 15%. Nine of his winners were favorites-- Jockey Paco Lopez was 11: 5-3-0 aboard favorites last week, including 2-for-2 teamed with Kent Sweezey-trained chalks.-- Trainer Gilberto Zerpa was on the money at 5: 3-0-0, posting all 3 wins in dirt sprints ($3, $6, $14 returns). All 3 winners were first time off the claim, a move that’s a Zerpa stats staple.-- Trainer Anthony Quartarolo went 2-for-2 with limited strikes, snapping an 0-18 GP record in 2021 prior. Jose Ortiz rode both well-backed winners.-- Since winning 7 straight races in late February, trainer Peter Walder has gone 0-7 (including 0-4 last week), which includes defeats at even-money and 6-5 odds.

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3.9.2021:

1/ST Look Golden Gate Stats: McCanna Posts Monster Week

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Golden Gate Fields. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Northern California. And be sure to support GGF by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Golden Gate Fields.HeadlinesGolden Gate Fields has a $90,289 carryover in the Rainbow 6 heading into Thursday’s weekly kickoff card … Apprentice jockey Santos Rivera, second in the Golden Gate summer and fall standings, has returned to the colony after trying his hand at Santa Anita and Fair Grounds … Friday’s Race 4 maiden special weight for 3-year-olds includes Triple Crown nominees Exalted and Tesoro, the latter exiting the El Camino Real Derby … 2021 El Camino Real Derby winner Rombauer is being considered for the March 20 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds (entries close this Saturday), as well as the April 3 Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial. Stronach 5Friday’s national wager the Stronach 5, which was to feature two races from Laurel and a carryover of $154,931, has been postponed to March 19. 1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Golden Gate Fields, each posting at least 29% winners.Jockey MeetLast E2 (Early Pace)Avg. Best 2 of 3 Speed Trends Last Week-- Favorites continued to excel at 32: 15-5-7 last week and are winning over 48% the past 3 weeks.-- Trainer Tim McCanna crushed it at 11: 6-1-1 and a $2.96 ROI for every $1 bet. He flashed $10, $15 and $26 winners and was a wild 5: 4-1-0 teamed with jockey Irving Orosco.-- Trainer Jamey Thomas was on point with limited tries at 4: 2-0-2, though both winners were 8-5 shots and no runner was more than 5-2. His runners are 13-for-24 in the exacta since Feb. 1.-- Leading jockey Kyle Frey went 26: 10-5-4, including a 7-for-11 record with favorites. He won 38% and was in the exacta 58% on the week, but still managed a losing $.90 ROI for every $1 bet. Frey was 0-8 on horses that were 7-2 odds or higher.-- Jockey Irving Orozco posted a 20: 7-5-3 mark. He was 7: 4-1-2 aboard favorites, and added $10 and $16 scores. Orozco went 5: 4-1-0 when riding for trainer Tim McCanna.

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3.9.2021:

1/ST Look MJC Stats: Russell Rolls into Stakes Weekend

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Laurel Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Maryland. And be sure to support Laurel Park by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Maryland Jockey Club.HeadlinesSaturday’s 5-stakes program on Good Samaritan Day boasts $450,000 in purses for the quintet of main events, including the $100,000 Private Terms Stakes on Maryland’s path to the Preakness. Miracle Wood Stakes winner Maythehorsebewithu is among the expected Private Terms entries when fields for those races are drawn Wednesday … Laurel has a $10,762 carryover in the Rainbow 6 jackpot heading into Friday’s week opener … MJC announced last week a 7-race stakes schedule for Laurel’s 2021 Spring Meet, which runs April 1-May 2. Features include April 17 Win & You’re In races for the Preakness (Federico Tesio Stakes) and Black-Eyed Susan (Weber City Miss Stakes). Stronach 5Friday’s national wager the Stronach 5, which was to feature two races from Laurel and a carryover of $154,931, has been postponed to March 19. 1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Laurel, each posting at least 32% wins. Speed and pace factors continued their dominance at Laurel.Last E2 (Early Pace)Trainer MeetAvg. Speed Last 3Trends Last Week-- Leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez poured it on with a 12: 5-2-2 record and dominated at 5: 4-0-1 with Angel Cruz in the saddle. Gonzalez had a $1.63 ROI for every $1 bet, including an $18 winner and 2 winning favorites. Gonzalez was 5: 4-0-1 in maiden claiming races.-- Trainer Mike Gorham was 2-for-4 with limited shots, teaming with Sheldon Russell on both wins. Winners paid $6 and $9.-- Trainer Jerry Robb only had a couple starters, but his 2: 1-1-0 record advanced him to 25: 10-4-2 since Jan. 30 at Laurel.-- Jockey Sheldon Russell was dialed in at 12: 6-1-1, including 7: 4-1-1 aboard favorites. He posted a $1.83 ROI for every $1 bet while riding winners for 5 different trainers.-- Jockey Angel Cruz struck at 9: 4-0-2. He was 2-for-2 with favorites, while all 4 winners came in tandem with trainer Claudio Gonzalez.-- Favorites were a rock-solid 25: 10-5-5 last week (40% win, 60% exacta, 80% trifecta).

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3.9.2021:

Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis-$20,000 Guaranteed Pool

There is a 10-race card scheduled at Pompano Park with the 0.50 Pick 4 starting in Race 6. The sequence has a $20,000 guaranteed pool with 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.On Monday, Wally Hennessey was the top driver on the card with two pictures and all 10 races were won by different trainers. No closers connected as every winner was on the lead or near it at the top of the stretch.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-American Arrow (7/2)-Comes off a win but now steps-up and hasn't had success at this level. But drawing the rail could make a difference this time. Hennessey should put this gal in play early on and best to not overlook.2-Sunrise Hanover (7-1)-This mare has hit the board in 6 of 9 Pomp starts with 3 wins. Cashed a 2nd place check in last and it was a good effort considering there was 3 weeks between starts. Simons could work a smooth trip from here and should offer a square price.3-Don't Chip Me (7/2)-Simply put Chip doesn't like to win but versus this crew it is difficult to leave off the ticket and she gets needed post relief. My view is Miller could end up in the pocket and use one move down the lane to take a picture like on 2-23.Race 72-Deli-Craze (7-1)-Eight-year-old has faced better and has won at a higher level this year at PPk. Slow starts are often costly but could get a decent early seat from this post. Does need the right trip but the price should be worth the risk.4-Jumpinthejailhouse (7/2)-This is Miller's choice over the #5 and the program chalk #7, which is a bit curious. There isn't much form in the field and this 9-year-old makes its 1st PPk start. Taking a swing Miller knows best as he was the pilot for the 3-1 qualifier. The 5 and 7 don't do much for me and this is a scattered bunch.Race 83-Prairie Westerngal (2-1)-Got the top when bumped up to this level last week and was caught near the wire after getting on the engine. Now starts inside of #6, last week's winner and other tough foes. Maybe that could be the difference tonight.4-Crisp Mane (5/2)-Raced okay in last but lacked a strong finish. Returns in 7-days instead of 2 weeks and should be ready for a big try.5-Luckey Artist A (3-1)-Paced the back half in 54.4 but that wasn't enough. Doesn't leave from post 7 this time and should be in striking range at the top of the lane.Race 97-Lady Driver (3/2)-The one knock is the Pompano record of only 1 win in 10 starts but has hit the board in 4 other races. This looks like a beatable field and Hennessey is back aboard. Blasted out in the last start to a 26.3 opening quarter and couldn't gain ground down the lane. Should be able to get the top and may not need to go to the half in 55.3. Could be tough to beat with more reasonable fractions.0.50 Pick 41,2,3/2,4/3,4,5/7Total Bet=$9Check me out on Twitter!

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3.8.2021:

Monday Myths: Miss the Wedding, Attend the Funeral?

Welcome to a new handicapping series for our Monday blog space entitled “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities. Assumption: If you missed the wedding, don’t attend the funeral. Background: There’s a racetrack axiom that when longshot winners score, you should avoid them at shorter prices next time. If I didn’t cash for $30, why would I take 5-1 when he runs the next time? That’s the wedding vs. funeral, you see. This point of interest comes up this week as we just witnessed longshot winners of the Gotham (Weyburn) and Tampa Bay Derby (Helium) on Saturday, and we’ll have to decide what to do with them next time on the Triple Crown trail. Most horseplayers don’t trust longshot winners for the basic fact that they go against what the handicappers previously perceived them to be. No one likes to be wrong, especially in picking the horses. Is the wedding-funeral myth rooted in fact or grudge? Let’s see.Data Points:I crunched the numbers in the Betmix database for every Thoroughbred race in North America over the past 5 years, going back to Mar. 8, 2016. The study was for horses who won their most recent start at 15-1 or more odds, and how they performed in their next start when bet to lower prices. We looked at horses bet in their return to 10-1 or less, 8-1 or less, 6-1 or less, 5-1 or less, 4-1 or less, 3-1 or less and post-time favorites. We compared the performance of the wedding-to-funeral types with all horses of comparable odds no matter their previous results or odds.Overall Findings:15-1+ winners bet back to 10-1 or less in a return race won 16.3% with a $.82 ROI for every $1 bet.All horses 10-1 or less won 19.8% with a $.82 ROI for every $1 bet.15-1+ winners bet back to 8-1 or less in a return race won 17.9% with a $.81 ROI for every $1 bet.All horses 8-1 or less won 21.2% with a $.81 ROI for every $1 bet.15-1+ winners bet back to 6-1 or less in a return race won 21.0% with a $.84 ROI for every $1 bet.All horses 6-1 or less won 23.7% with a $.82 ROI for every $1 bet.15-1+ winners bet back to 5-1 or less in a return race won 23.3% with a $.86 ROI for every $1 bet.All horses 5-1 or less won 25.5% with a $.82 ROI for every $1 bet. 15-1+ winners bet back to 4-1 or less in a return race won 26.0% with a $.86 ROI for every $1 bet.All horses 4-1 or less won 27.8% with a $.82 ROI for every $1 bet.15-1+ winners bet back to 3-1 or less in a return race won 31.0% with a $.87 ROI for every $1 bet.All horses 3-1 or less won 31.7% with a $.82 ROI for every $1 bet.15-1+ winners bet back to post-time favoritism in a return race won 37.6% with a $.95 ROI for every $1 bet.All horses bet to post-time favoritism won 37.1% with a $.83 ROI for every $1 bet.Overall Findings Verdict:Longshot winners at 15-1 or more showed an equal or better ROI at every return price in comparison to all horses at that price. The difference was most significant with returnees bet to 5-1 or lower. While the win percentage of longshot winners trying to repeat was lower at all return price levels, the gap narrowed as the return price lowered. In other words: The harder they were bet in the return, the better they performed. With favorites, longshot return winners actually won more often than all favorites studied and had resoundingly strong ROI. Bottom line:The idea that you missed the wedding and should avoid the funeral is a statistical myth. In fact, those longshot winners next time out are as good – or better – of a bet than their competition. True, you’re not getting 15-1 this time, but off a winning race and given the performance data, you’re no longer looking at a 15-1 kind of horse in the new match-up. You’re betting horses off of today’s chance to win, not the past. Don’t get beat twice because of a grudge; keep an open mind in your new evaluation.Additional Details:You can go into Betmix and run your own queries for a deeper dive into this theory and any that you can create. For instance, take a look at the tracks you play most often to see if they fall in line with this study’s conclusions. I took a second dive by examining maidens coming off of 15-1 or more wins and meeting winners next out. They had an even stronger win % and ROI when bet down in the return at 5-1 or less.

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3.8.2021:

Monday, March 08: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis-$20,000 Guaranteed Pool

Tonight, Pompano Park has its 0.50 Pick 4 starting in Race 6. The sequence has a $20,000 guaranteed pool with a low 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.On Sunday, Wally Hennessey was the top pilot with two wins. Trainer Tee Wine led the conditioners with two trips to the winner's circle. Speed ruled, as is usually the case at the Pomp and it was a chalky night.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Villiam (2-1)-Has had a great start to the year hitting the board 5 times in 6 starts with 3 wins. Chindano barn has been rolling over the past 30 days with 27% wins. Not sure the rail helps but should be put in play versus this group.6-McMach (5/2)-On 3-1 took control at the half and rolled home in 150.3. Plano can duck and move early like in last, and this 7-year-old can stay good for a while.Race 73-Southwind Amazon (6-1)-Usually has trouble winning versus this kind but is in form. If dialed on high this 11-year-old could get a cozy trip from this post and surprise at a square price.6-Prairie Panther (5/2)-Raced a big mile from post 7 and hung on to beat #3 for the 1st win on Lasix. Over the years has been a winning machine at the Pomp (25-38). Bumps up in class but can make it 2 straight with a decent trip.7-Skip To My Lou (3-1)-Has won 4 times in the last 5 starts and 3 were at this level. Chindano could try to leave but others will be doing the same. If the pace is hot this 5-year-old could grinded out, but it should be a battle.Race 84-Millennial (10-1)-A few things need to happen for this price shot to connect. It all depends on the trip and my guess is Chindano leaves, and the chalks may not seal the deal. If the pace is sizzling, one big brush at the right time could be enough to sweep by.5-Rockin Machine (9/5)-Beat #6 on 3-1 and took advantage of an efficient trip. Offers a short price and should be in the hunt but is trip dependent.6-LA Rockin Sampson (3-1)-Deserves respect but faded down the lane in last. Holliday will probably blast out and look to get the top. That has been a successful game plan when in top form.Race 92-Cloudbreak (7-1)-Miller's choice does its best work on the engine and has a good shot at getting there. Comes off the best start since being scratched lame on 1-25. Should offer a nice price and could take a picture if upswing continues.7-Grand Galop Semalu (7-1)-Will look for another price and play against #5 the 9/5 choice. Short field may help chances after taking the long way around to win from the 2nd tier. The pace should be honest, and Holliday could be rolling fastest of all down the lane.My Ticket Race 6) 1,6 Race 7) 3,6,7 Race 8) 4,5,6 Race 9) 2,7Total Ticket Cost) $18 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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3.7.2021:

Sunday, March 07: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis-$25,000 Guaranteed Pool

Tonight, there are 12 races scheduled at Cal Expo with the first post coming at 5:50 EST. The 0.20 Pick 4 starts in Race 6. The sequence has a $25,000 guaranteed pool with a 16% takeout, and it will be my focus.Last night on the 13-race card five winners were on the lead turning for the wire. In the other eight races no winner was morethan 3 1/2 lengths from the lead at the top of the lane. Jacob Cutting lead the drivers with four winners. Cutting, Gordon Graham, Kathy Plested, and Nathalie Tremblay were the top conditioners with two trips to the winner's circle.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 92-Shesureissomething (8-1)-This mare could be a rewarding play hitting the board in 7 of 9 with 2 wins at CalX. Stewart can put her in play from the start and could surprise at a solid price.3-Rue Hanover (12-1)-Tossing last with the sluggish start when leaving from the 7-hole. But did pace the back half in 56.1 and Lackey could make the most of this post draw. Camera shy mare is worth a swing versus this crew.4-Capitol Hill (4-1)-Plested trainee should be bet and drops to a spot to shine. Has been battling tougher and doesn't cash the top check very often. Using but not with a lot of confidence as is only 2 for the last 31.7-Royal Mistress (6-1)-Drops, should like the company and could offer a square price. Did race a quick 2nd half in last and looks like a contender. The issue might be a smooth drive but has won 7 of 28 here and Anderson owns and trains.Race 104-Exsqueezeme (2-1)-Program chalk gets that status because of cashing checks versus $8k claimers at Running Aces but is 4-13 at CalX. Tune-up on 2-27 was okay but has been off since 10-3. Should handle this group with close to a top effort.7-Triple Thick Shake (10-1)-Willing to forgive last off a tough trip and previous was versus better. Could pop at a nice odds if Stewart provides a good steer and with a return to previous form.Race 114-Buzz Light (7/5)-Drops to the basement and has the speed to win versus this kind but has looked disinterested. Offers no value but is tough to leave out as this might be the night to wake-up.5-Blue Star Trooper (7/2)-Not sure what happened on 2-20 when stopped and was pulled up. The qualifier on 2-27 was okay and now drops. This is the same level as a previous picture on 12-11 which was the only win of the meet.6-Native's Best Bet (8-1)-Drops after being used hard to get the top and stayed brave until fading down the lane. Could be forwardly placed here and short field won't hurt chances. Kennedy barn had an overdue win last night and may do the same here, at a price.Race 124-Hi Ho Julio (9/5)-Win streak stopped at 4 when nipped at the wire after a big try last week from the 8-hole. Bumps up a notch but should be a major player again.5-Outlaw Blue By You (4-1)-Drops to a better level, with this post Chappell could leave and land in the pocket behind Julio. Has the speed to beat this crew but one-move type needs to be close to the leader at the top of the lane and that could happen tonight.My TicketRace 9) 2,3,4,7 Race 10) 4,7 Race 11) 4,5,6 Race 12) 4,5Total Ticket Cost) = $9.60 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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3.7.2021:

Sunday, March 07: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click here to view Daily Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B-Use: 5-Cover Version; 6-Gallovie; 7-LavenderForecast: The Sunday opener is a challenging starter optional claiming turf dash for fillies and mares that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Lavender, featured in a Black Book Segment a couple of weeks ago, makes her first start off a J. Sadler claim while turning back to an extended sprint, and with some help up front the veteran mare should be capable of producing a winning late kick. Both of her career victories were accomplished over the local lawn, and with the switch to the barn’s “go to” rider U. Rispoli and a projected pace flow that appears favorable to her style, the Irish-bred mare looks extremely live at 7/2 on the morning line. Gallovie, freshened for two months and training well in the interim for R. Baltas, picks up F. Prat and seems likely to be part of the pace throughout. This will be her first start a tag, so the class drop helps, but the concern is the presence of other speed – specifically Capital Heat on the rail – that may prevent the English-bred mare from securing the front running trip that she seems to require to be successful. Cover Version was a visually pleasing winner of a $32,000 claiming grass miler here two weeks ago and if the short rest doesn’t impact her performance today the R. Saldana-trained daughter of Medaglia d’Oro will be a threat right back. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with Lavender the preferred top pick.RACE 2: Post: 1:04 PT Grade: C+Use: 2-Pawnee; 3-Warren’s Memorable; 6-Mama SuperiorForecast: Here’s another open affair, a starter optional claimer for fillies and mares at a mile on the main track. Pawnee is progressing with experience, and while she’ll need to step forward again following a recent maiden claiming score against this tougher group the daughter of Mr. Big could easily have it in her. Her pedigree suggests she’ll be just as effective at this longer trip and U. Rispoli got to know her last time and stays aboard. Mama Superior seeks her third straight win, most recently with a career top figure over this track and distance, and shows a healthy work pattern since, while the filly that she defeated, Warren’s Memorable, has a reasonable look as well with the switch to F. Prat, though as a tradeoff she’ll be picking up 8 lbs. today. We’ll use all three in rolling exotic play and then have a few extra tickets keying Pawnee on top.RACE 3: Post: 1:36 PT Grade: B+Single: 2-RakassahForecast: Rakassah makes her first start since August and has trained like she’s fit and ready in this extended grass sprint for first-level allowance fillies and mares. The Irish-bred four-year-old has never been worse than second in five starts since being imported from England, and with a win over the local lawn, speed figures that fit, and from a barn that has outstanding stats with come-backers she appears the solid pick at 5/2 on morning line. It all adds up to a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 4: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: B+Use: 4-Kalypso; 5-MorazForecast: Moraz continues to impress in the a.m. and seems ready to break through with a significant forward move in this year’s edition of the Santa Ysabel S.-G3 for sophomore fillies. A respectable third in the Las Virgenes S.-G3 last month, the daughter of Empire Maker will appreciate today’s extra distance in a race that projects to produce a respectable early pace that will compliment her closing style. Kalypso, a good second in the La Virgenes, may be a tad more effective sprinting and today may have deal with the sprinter-stretching-out Heels Up, though with both those fillies under his shedrow (along with a third filly in the field, Beautiful Gift), trainer B. Baffert can choreograph the pace flow if he so choses. We’ll stick with Moraz and Kalypso in rolling exotic play and then press in the win pool with Moraz on top.RACE 5: Post: 2:42 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Carpe Fortuna; 3-Majestic StepsForecast: Majestic Steps has the two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern that usually leads to a major effort and the Irish-bred filly has the pedigree and running style to step forward considerably in this first-level allowance grass miler. The P. D’Amato-trained filly continuous to shine in the morning so we’re expecting the Irish-bred filly to justify her 8/5 morning line favoritism. Carpe Fortuna, scratched yesterday from the China Doll S. for this less ambitious event, is a first-time Lasix user and was most recently a strong third in the Blue Norther S. over this course and distance in late December. If not policed on the front end, the P. Eurton-trained filly could take control early and never look back. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Majestic Steps.RACE 6: Post: 3:14 PT Grade: B+Single: 4-Traffic StopperForecast: Traffic Stopper launches a comeback in this modest bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint for older fillies and mares and her best effort from last year should be good enough to handle this modest task. Her recent workouts lead us to believe that she’s a better type this time around, and with F. Prat taking the call for new trainer M. Puype she’ll offer value at or near her morning line of 5/2. In a race which offers nothing else to trust, we’ll make her a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 7: Post: 3:46 PT Grade: B+Single: 1-North County GuyForecast: North County Guy probably wants more than a mile but in his present form the Cal-bred gelding should be able to handle this three-other-than allowance event from a good rail draw that ensures a second-flight, ground-saving trip. The R. Baltas-trained gelding is fresh from a clever score in the nine furlong Cal Cup Turf Classic in mid-January that produced a career top speed figure, and his work tab at San Luis Rey Downs is healthy, consistent, and includes a bullet 58 4/5 five furlong clocking (fastest of 26) three weeks ago. He’s 3-1 on the morning line and seems worth every bit of that, so let’s use him in the win pool and as a rolling exotic single.RACE 8: Post: 4:20 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Miss Baylee; 5-Omg It’s JessicaForecast: Omg It’s Jessica flashed promise in her debut when missing by a head to the talented Becca Taylor at Los Alamitos in December but then failed to make any impression when always outrun in a state-bred grass sprint the following month. Back on the main track today, the daughter of Smiling Tiger certainly seems capable of bouncing back in what appears on paper to be a lackluster field, so with U. Rispoli jumping back aboard we’ll put the C. Dollase-trained filly on top. Miss Baylee finished a well-beaten fifth in that same race but she, too, should enjoy the return to dirt. The daughter of Dominus continues train like a fairly decent type for B.Koriner, finished second to subsequent stakes winner My Girl Red over this main track last summer in her debut, and picks up F. Prat. At 4-1 on the morning line, she’s a “must use” in rolling exotic play.RACE 9: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Acai; 3-Ole SilverForecast: We’ll double the finale, an extended turf sprint for starter optional claiming fillies and mares. Ole Silver is lightly raced and improving, having just missed by a nose with a good late kick in a restricted $25,000 claiming turf sprint last time out. She’s been impressive in the a.m. since so we’re expecting another forward move from the daughter of Acclamation. There’s a good gamble available at her morning line of 4-1 if you can get it. Acai has numbers that fit but hasn’t won since May of 2019, and over a course that generally favors the stalkers/closers her pace pressing style may make her a bit vulnerable. However, loose-on-the-lead speed always is dangerous and if she can secure that type of trip the daughter of Square Eddie might get very brave.

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3.6.2021:

Saturday, March 06: Meadowlands Late Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has a 13-race card ready to roll with the 0.50 Late Pick 4 starting in Race 10. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout, and it will be my focus.On Friday night, the track favored speed. Every winner was either on top or within about two lengths of the lead at the head of the stretch. The driver with the hottest hands was Scott Zeron with three wins. All 13-races were won by different trainers.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 106-Western Joe (3-1)-This is a tough race, some have missed a start and others usually do better work at Yonkers. This veteran has hit the board in 32 of 49 starts at M1 and has 16 pictures. Tough to leave off the ticket even though idle since 2-13.7-Schnitzledosomethin (6-1)-Callahan worked a nice trip on 2-27 to win at a higher class than at any time this meet and fits with these. Probably won't be 11-1 but should be a square price and has the gate speed to be put in play early on.8-San Domino A (9/2)-First start off the bench after tuning up in 1.51 in a qualifier on 2-27. Not sure how aggressive Takter-T. McCarthy will be starting from post 8. But this winner of >$136,000 in 2020 could be a square price and has won 2 of 7 starts at the Big M.9-Ana Afreet N (7/2)-Cashed a 4th place check in a needed race after being off since 12-20. AMac could grind around from this post and reward backers. Ten-time winner in 2020 has hit the board 10 times in 17 starts at M1 with 5 pictures.Race 112-Reggiano (5/2)-Left from the 9-hole in last and took control near the half, then rolled off by 5 lengths to beat this kind. Should be the one to beat but has broken stride twice in the last 6 starts.5-Cruzing Hill (6-1)-Drops after taking the long way around versus the $12,500 claimers. Should fare better in this spot and did pace the back half in .56. This is the 2nd start for new barn, using in case #2 doesn't mind its manners and the price should be right.Race 122-Kenziesky Hanover (3-1)-Figures to be in the pocket or on the lead and with that kind of trip it's best to not overlook this mare.3-Pikachu Hanover (8-1)-Mohawk shipper should be a juicy price, so will take a swing here with this versatile 7-year-old. Makes 2nd start off a break in stride and comes right back in sequence. The McNair barn has won 3 of 10 starts over the last month.7-JL Cruz (9/5)-Has been off since 2-13 but usually comes back in great form. Should be tough to beat with a smooth journey and Dunn is good at doing just that.Race 131-Just Wave Goodbye (3-1)-Cashes checks but has been camera shy over the past 2 years only notching 2 wins in the last 28 starts. Not sure this 5-year-old deserves to be the program chalk but could get sucked around and take a picture with a top effort.6-Na Na Na Baatman (7/2)-Drew outside in the last 2 and now makes the 1st start for a new barn. Dunn takes the lines and from this post he can get an up-close seat off the gate. Looking for a big try and has 2 wins in 5 Big M starts.My Ticket Race 10) 6,7,8,9 Race 11) 2,5 Race 12) 2,3,7 Race 13) 1,6Total Ticket Cost) = $24 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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3.6.2021:

Saturday, March 06: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.View Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportClick to view today’s Gotham S.-G3 Video AnalysisClick to view today’s Tampa Bay Derby Video AnalysisClick here to view today’s San Felipe S.-G2 Video AnalysisRACE 1: Post: 12:00 PT Grade: BUse: 5-Going Global; 8-QuattroelleForecast: Two recent stakes winning fillies top this year’s renewal of the China Doll Stakes, a listed affair over one mile on turf that came up fairly strong on paper. Quattroelle, victorious in the Blue Norther S. over this course and distance in late December, shows a steady and healthy series of the works during her two month hiatus and should be primed for another major performance in what will be just her fifth career start. The Irish-bred filly likes to lag and then blast home, and in a race that should produce an ample amount of early speed to compliment her style the J. Mullins-trained import will have every chance to make the winning the last run. It should be noted that the the filly she out-kicked in the Blue Norther, Javanica, returned to run a close second against the colts in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields last month. Going Global produced an intense turn of foot to capture the Sweet Life S.-G3 in her U. S. debut three weeks ago and this stretch out in trip shouldn’t be an issue at all. The only concern is the relatively quick turn around with just three weeks rest, though it was nice to see the P D’Amato-trained filly appearing eager and willing in a recent training track breeze since raced. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with the preference on top to Quattroelle.RACE 2: Post: 12:32 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Kershaw; 4-Shooters Shoot; 6-Bold EndeavorForecast: Bold Endeavor crushed a similar field over the local main track last month and if he can turn in two alike he’ll be tough right back. Making just his third start since being claimed by M. Glatt for $50,000 last November, the Bernardini gelding retains J. Rosario and projects to settle into a comfortable second flight trip and then have his chance to kick on with it from the top of the lane to the wire. Kershaw, a good third in a tough race at this level in early January, returns off a two month vacation and is another that should enjoy an ideal stalking trip from a good inside post position. In the frame in each of his five most recent outings, the V. Garcia-trained gelding, a two-time winner over the local main track, is quite strong in the speed figure department and always has been thoroughly genuine and consistent. Shoooters Shot makes his first start since being gelded and has every right to improve, especially if he can secure his preferred role as the controlling speed. Overmatched in the Palos Verdes S.-G3 sprinting in late January in his most recent appearance, the P. Eurton-trained 4-year-old makes a positive jockey switch to U. Rispoli and sports a bullet recent five furlong workout (5f, :59h, fastest of 30) to have him right on edge. We’ll prefer Bold Endeavor on top but include all three in our rolling exotics.RACE 3: Post: 1:06 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Annangel; 5-Beguiled; 7-GuittyForecast: Annangel, a clever winner over this course and distance in a $50,000 seller last month, moves into the second-level allowance ranks today in her first-off-the-claim for new trainer S. Knapp (strong stats with this angle) and should easily inherit her preferred front-running trip in a field that lacks her type early speed types. She’s a fit on numbers, and as a winner of three of just six career starts the Irish-bred filly likely has further room for improvement. J. J. Hernandez rode her to perfection last time out and stays aboard. Beguiled has the route-to-sprint angle that always catches our eye, and after being freshened since Dec. 26 and switching to U. Rispoli the P. D’Amato-trained daughter of Orb seems likely to pose a serious threat from off the pace. Closers have done quite well over this course and distance this year; on the other hand, the projected race flow may work against her. We’ll use her along with another late-runner, Guitty, who made no impact against much tougher rivals in the Wishing Well S. at this trip over this course last month but has speed figures that fit and is reunited with “win rider” F. Prat, who surely will employ the patient tactics that this French-bred filly requires. In a tough, competitive affair, all three should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 4: Post: 1:39 PT Grade: B-Use: 5-Ensley’s Dream; 6-Pitsachio PrincessForecast: We’ll go two-deep in this maiden $50,000 claiming sprint for state-bred sophomore fillies. Pistachio Princess, finished a distant fourth (beaten eight lengths) when debuting against Cal-bred straight maidens on grass in mid-January, but probably is better than the line shows after breaking slowly and then finishing with a bit of interest without being knocked about. The D. Blacker-trained filly shows a nice gate drill (5f, :59.4hg, fourth fastest of 27) two weeks ago that tells us she’s doing well and based strictly on speed figures the daughter of Vronsky won’t really need a whole lot of improvement to be a major player against this group. Ensley’s Dream, in the money in all four career starts but a well-beaten runner-up at 4/5 last time out, drops into a claimer for the first time and seems likely to stick better against this modest group. With just average speed figures that haven’t really progressed, the daughter of Smiling Tiger may not be one to trust but certainly has to be considered the filly our top pick has to fear most.RACE 5: Post: 2:13 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Brilliant Cut; 6-Nimbostratus; 7-Dancing Cane; 8-Plum SexyForecast: Here’s a spread race over six furlongs on grass for first-level allowance 3-year-olds fillies. Logically, Nimbostratus is the one to beat after finishing an excellent third in the Sweet Life S. over this course and distance last month. Apparently most effective around one turn, the French-bred filly, shows rising speed figures, switches back to F. Prat, and will be dangerous from the quarter pole home with good racing luck. Dancing Cane, perhaps the quickest in the field, is a Tampa Bay Downs invader now in the M. Glatt barn fresh from a gate-to-wire score over five furlongs in late January that produced a speed figure comparable to our top pick’s best number. She’ll take them as far as she can, but today’s extra furlong could prove problematic. Plum Sexy projects to enjoy a comfortable pace-stalking journey from her outside draw and will have every chance to produce a career top effort after finishing behind Nimbostratus in her most recent two outings. Toss her in at a bit of a price, along with her D. O’Neill-trained stable mate Brilliant Cut, a first-time Lasix user attracting J. Rosario and guaranteed a ground-saving trip from her rail post position.RACE 6: Post: 2:45 PT Grade: A-Use: 1-Life Is Good; 2-Dream ShakeForecast: Life Is Good, listed as the 4/5 favorite, ran below expectations even in victory when taking the Sham S.-G3 here in early January from stable mate Medina Spirit by a diminishing three-quarters of a length, and in doing so produced some doubt as to just how far this brilliantly-fast Triple Crown prospect really wants to go. Based on his superior morning workouts that evoke memories of American Pharoah and Justify, the B. Baffert-trained colt should stay at least this far and given his rail position and the lack of other committed front-running types in the field he’s certain to once again enjoy his role as the controlling speed. We’re expecting to learn a lot about what the future lies for the barn’s top ranked 3-year-old. As a saver in rolling exotic play; we’ll include a few tickets using Dream Shake. A superior, no fluke first-out maiden winner at 20-1 last month, the son of Twirling Candy earned a giant speed figure in the process and has looked the part and then some in workouts since that race. We’re expecting the M. Glatt-trained colt to employ similar deep closing tactics at this two-turn trip, and while he may not be seasoned enough to handle a colt as gifted as Life Is Good he could easily produce a strong enough late kick to make the exacta worthwhile.RACE 7: Post: 3:20 PT Grade: XSingle: 2-Whisper NotForecast: Whisper Not didn’t really have an excuse when worn down in the final stages as the heavy odds-on favorite vs. similar last time out in a nine furlong turf affair but perhaps this return to a flat will bring out his best effort and help the English import make amends. The R. Baltas-trained colt continues to impress in the a.m., lands a comfortable inside draw, and switches to F. Prat, so he’ll likely be a short priced favorite yet again. On pure numbers, she’s a standout, so in a race that we’ll otherwise pass we can use the Poet’s Voice colt as a rolling exotic single.RACE 8: Post: 3:52 PT Grade: B+Use: 6-Brickyard Ride; 9-Tigre Di SlugoForecast: Tigre Di Slugo has the ideal mid-pack closing style for this extended seven furlong trip and a cozy outside draw that will keep him in the clear and free of trouble, so the lightly-raced six-year-old son of Smiling Tiger rates top billing in this year’s renewal of the San Carlos S.-G2 for older sprinters. A closing second with a career top speed figure in the Cal Cup Sprint in mid-January, the M. Puype-trained gelding has had only six career starts, so despite his advanced age he certainly has room for further improvement. Brickyard Ride defeated ‘Slugo last time out when simply proving to be too quick, will employ gate-to-wire tactics again in a race that he surely will control during the early stages without having to burn much energy. If the son of Clubhouse Ride can carry his speed today’s extra furlong – and based on pedigree he should be able to – the C. Lewis will prove quite troublesome once again. Both should be included in your rolling exotics; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Tigre Di Slugo on top.RACE 9: Post: 4:26 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Smooth Like Strait; 4-Royal Ship; 6-Flavius; 8-Count AgainForecast: Big ticket players seriously may consider buying this race. Each if the 10 entrants in this year’s loaded Kilroe Mile-G1 have a right to be in the field and most have races that are good enough to make them serious challengers depending up trips, pace, and good old fashion racing luck. Best advice is to include as many as your budget allows. Count Again could not have been more impressive than he was winning the Seabiscuit H.-G2 at Del Mar in November, rallying against slow fractions to be up in time while displaying an intense amount of late speed. With that eye-opening performance fresh in mind, the punters made him even money in the subsequent San Gabriel S.-G2, but the veteran gelding lagged early and then was virtually eased midway on the far turn when something apparently went amiss. Let’s just toss that race out, especially since the son of Awesome Again recently worked a spectacular five furlongs in :58 3/5 seconds on the training track, providing evidence that he’s back on the beam. He’ll need luck to negotiate a good trip, but J. J. Hernandez knows him well and will push the bottom at the proper time. Smooth Like Strait is at his best going a mile and will be on or near the lead throughout while saving ground from his good rail post position. This will be his first try against older horses but based on pure numbers the son of Midnight Lute should be highly competitive. It may be of some significance that U. Rispoli, who could have ridden either, jumps off recent Thunder Road S.-G3 winner Hit the Road to stay aboard ‘Strait. Flavius, a close second to Count Again the Seabiscuit, makes his first start since for C. Brown and recent works in Florida indicate he’s fit and ready to pick up where he left off. The son of War Front can really turn it on late and with the presence of F. Prat in the saddle he’s certain to get the patient ride he requires. Finally, at a big price, we’ll toss in the Brazilian-bred Royal Ship, who on pure form looks in deep water, but is a first-time gelding breezing better in the a.m. than we’ve ever seen him for R. Mandella. A Grade-One winner in South America, the son of Midshipman has taken time to acclimate but if he performs to his works, he’ll most likely outrun his odds, at the very least.RACE 10: Post: 5:00 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Maxfield; 5-Express Train; 6-IdolForecast: Maxfield puts his undefeated-in-five-starts record on the line in this year’s Santa Anita Handicap-G1 and will have to bring his best stuff to remain perfect. Having proven his ability to win from a stalking position or as a deep closer, the son of Street Sense has the perfect style for this 10-furlong and could easily be up to the task, albeit at a very short price. Still, this is his toughest test yet, with several lightly-raced rising stars in the field to provide plenty of competition. Express Train flashed big improvement when an excellent runner-up to Charlatan in the Malibu S-G1 in late December and earned a triple digit Beyer figure (something Maxfield has yet to do) when an overpowering winner of the San Pasqual S.-G2 a month later. His recent workouts indicate he’s nowhere near done with his improvement, so we have to make the Union Rags a serious player and the one to fear most Idol, victimized by a poor ride/trip when third as the favorite in the San Pasqual, will have every chance to show his best form at a distance he’s bred to excel at, especially with the switch to J. Rosario. The son of Curlin has had only five career starts so his ceiling has yet to be determined. But it’s up there.RACE 11: Post: 5:30 PT Grade: XUse: 3-Patron d'Oro; 6-Vantage Point; 10-Following SeaForecast: Following Sea makes his debut for B. Baffert with win-early breeding (Runhappy) and a work tab containing several blazing workouts for all to see. He’s a surefire odds-on favorite, but then again, so was Bezos, and we all know how he ran a few weeks back. Suffice to say, we have more confidence in this one. There are two others to consider, "just in case." Vantage Point is a San Luis Rey Shipper by Uncle Mo with a string of good if not as flashy series of drills. Whether or not he’s up to beating a colt like Following Sea is questionable but we suspect he can run. Patron d'Oro has done some good work in the a.m. and looks the part of a real good prospect. He's 7/2 on the morning line but if he drifts a bit higher you may want to toss him in somewhere.

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3.6.2021:

Saturday, March 06: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Aqueduct – Sixth Race – Post time: 3:29 ET3-Search Results (7/2)Couldn’t have been more impressive than she was winning at first asking in early January at Gulfstream Park when she overcame a less-than-ideal trip to draw off rapidly in the final furlong to graduate by four widening lengths with plenty in reserve. It’s not surprising that she makes the leap into the $250,000 Busher Invitational, and with the proper style for this one-turn mile we’re expecting the T. Pletcher-trained daughter of Flatter to handle this class hike in stride. She’s 7/2 on the morning line and is worth a good gamble in the win pool and in rolling exotic play at or near that price.Oaklawn Park – Ninth Race – Post time: 5:10 CT2-Will’s Secret (7/2)Rapidly developing sophomore filly began to show her potential when a good third to divisional leader Clairiere in a maiden race three races back and then followed up with two very impressive wins, a maiden victory of her own at Fair Grounds and then most recently a 5 1/2 length romp the Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The daughter of Will Take Charge should get nothing but better with experience and distance and has proven she can handle any type of ground. At 7/2 on the morning line in this year’s Honeybee S.-G2 while facing her toughest task yet, we’re expecting to see her produce a winning late kick once again.

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3.5.2021:

1/ST BET AI Picks for Saturday's Triple Crown Preps + SA Handicap

Saturday presents another trio of Triple Crown prep races toward the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. To help you tackle the diverse set of races, the 1/ST BET app’s artificial intelligence provides its look at the Gotham Stakes from Aqueduct, the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs and the San Felipe at Santa Anita. Also this week, we'll include the AI picks for Saturday's prestigious Santa Anita Handicap for the older horses.Selections provided by the 1/ST BET app measure each contender against the 10 leading factors for each race. The 1/ST BET app looks at 52 handicapping factors and more than 200,000 past races to determine its AI selections. You can use the automated handicapping factors, or create your own factor filters to incorporate angles you prefer.Aqueduct // Grade 3 Gotham Stakes // Race 9 // 5:07 PM ET#5 Crowded Trade // 30%W // 48%P // 61%S#3 Highly Motivated // 18%W // 32%P // 43%S#6 Capo Kane // 11%W // 31%P // 54%S#2 The Reds // 11%W // 19%P // 34%S#7 Freedom Fighter // 9%W // 22%P // 35%S#1 Atlantic Road // 8%W // 16%P // 23%S#8 Weyburn // 8%W // 16%P // 23%S#4 Wipe the Slate // 6%W // 16%P // 27%STampa Bay Downs // Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby // Race 11 // 5:25 PM ET#3 Candy Man Rocket // 28%W // 37%P // 48%S#11 Promise Keeper // 16%W // 35%P // 46%S#8 Hidden Stash // 12%W // 21%P // 35%S#6 Awesome Gerry // 7%W // 16%P // 31%S#7 Moonlite Strike // 7%W // 19%P // 29%S#5 Boca Boy // 7%W // 11%P // 18%S#12 Sittin On Go // 5%W // 17%P // 31%S#10 Helium // 5%W // 11%P // 20%S#9 Unbridled Honor // 3%W // 9%P // 13%S#1 My Liberty // 3%W // 8%P // 10%S#2 Super Strong // 3%W // 8%P // 10%S#4 King of Dreams // 3%W // 8%P // 10%SSanta Anita Park // Grade 2 San Felipe // Race 6 // 5:30 PM ET#1 Life is Good // 27%W // 48%P // 69%S#3 Medina Spirit // 20%W // 40%P // 56%S#7 Roman Centurian // 13%W // 33%P // 47%S#5 The Great One // 13%W // 30%P // 46%S#2 Dream Shake // 10%W // 18%P // 31%S#4 None Above the Law // 10%W // 18%P // 30%S#6 Govenor’s Party // 5%W // 13%P // 20%SSanta Anita Park // Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap // Race 10 // 7:30 PM ET#1 Independence Hall // 33%W // 46%P // 60%S#2 Maxfield // 16%W // 29%P // 46%S#3 Kiss Today Goodbye // 14%W // 31%P // 56%S#5 Express Train // 14%W // 34%P // 44%S#4 Coastal Defense // 9%W // 15%P // 26%S#6 Idol // 5%W // 15%P // 25%S#7 Tizamagician // 5%W // 15%P // 21%S#8 King Guillermo // 5%W // 15%P // 21%S

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3.5.2021:

Friday, March 05: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click here to view today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Raneem; 6-Miss Lady AnnForecast: Raneem makes her third start in a current form cycle that produced a forward move in her most recent outing and two solid workouts in the interim. In the frame in five of six career starts over the Santa Anita main track, the B. Baffert-trained mare catches a field without much early speed and should be capable of assuming the role as the controlling speed. Miss Lady Ann, comfortably drawn outside for her first start in 11 months, has speed figures that make her the one to fear most and a work tab hopefully will have her fit enough for new trainer D. Pederson. The barn’s “go to” rider T. Pereira takes the call and should have her in a good stalking position with every chance to wear down the projected leader late. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with a slight preference on top to Raneem.RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: CUse: 1-Best of Show; 3-Lulu D’ Oro; 4-Big Al’s PrincessForecast: Big Al’s Princess flashed good early speed before weakening late to wind up fourth in her debut in late January, and in a race that projects to be slowly run early she may be able to grab control early and never look back. With a significant break in the weights and the switch to bug girl J. Pyfer, the V. Garcia-trained filly shows two solid workouts since raced and seems the logical top pick in a modest race in which two trainers will saddle four of the six entrants. The “other” Garcia entrant, Lulu D’ Oro, was far back in her debut but has worked well since in blinkers, and with the addition of the hood today the daughter of Mshawish could move forward considerably. Best of Show is a first-off-the-claim play for S. Miyadi (strong stats with this angle), and after finishing third in both of her career outings the daughter of Honor Code may be set to improve enough to win this modest maiden $30,000 claimer for sophomore fillies. Her lack of early speed combined with her rail post position makes her difficult to trust, but with good racing luck she should be heard from in the final furlong.RACE 3: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: BUse: 3-Star Sailor; 7-Fenway; 8-Harbored MemoriesForecast: Here’s a fairly competitive main track maiden miler for 3-year-olds requiring a spread in rolling exotic play. Fenway flopped badly in his debut at even money but then performed much better in his most recent outing, winding up second to stable mate Hozier after assuming the role as the controlling speed. That said, it was disappointing that he could not take full advantage of an opportunity that was handed to him on a silver platter, and with speed drawn inside today (most notably, his B. Baffert-trained sprinter-stretching-out barn mate Hudson Ridge), the son of Into Mischief may be asked to do his running from a stalking or second flight position. Based on his recent (superior, as usual) workouts, he should be adaptable to rating tactics. Today we may find out if he’s going to amount to anything. Harbored Memories shows the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern with rising speed figures after exiting a pair of monster races that were won by a pair of top prospects (Rock Your World, Dream Shake). Both of whom are in the conversation among spring classic contenders. The M. Puype-trained colt, runner-up in both of his prior starts, is strong on numbers and has a pedigree that should allow continued improvement as the distances increase. The son of Harbor the Gold makes a major jockey switch to F. Prat and projects to settle outside in the second flight and then have his chance to accelerate when called upon. Star Sailor, a beaten choice vs. similar last time out when winding up third, didn’t get the best of runs and seems capable of better, especially as a first-timer blinker user. This will be his fifth start and if repeated his best race – his runner-up effort two races back behind Roman Centurian with next-out winner Du Jour behind him – will put him right there.RACE 4: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: BUse: 2-City Rage; 3-Quick Finish; 4-One Flew SouthForecast: This extended turf sprint for starter allowance older horses projects as a slowly run affair with very little early speed signed on. City Rage has never been a front-running type but may find himself on the lead by default. In his second start off a layoff and reunited with “win rider” F. Prat, the son of City Zip shows consistent recent speed figures that are good enough to win at this level and an excellent record (two wins, two seconds) over the local lawn. Runner-up under similar conditions last time out while well clear of the rest, the M. Glatt-trained gelding seems the solid pick. One Flew South easily handled a much softer restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claimer over the Santa Anita turf course in late January in a performance that earned a career top speed figure. Claimed by a low profile outfit, the son of Giant’s Causeway is protected today in a sign of confidence, switches to U. Rispoli, and will be dangerous on the class hike if he can turn in two alike. Quick Finish was below form when a lackluster fourth in the same race City Rage exits but the veteran Vronsky gelding has several races on his recent resume that put him in the fray. The main issue is his apparent lack of winning punch; overall he shows just two wins from 19 starts to go along with a combined 10 seconds/thirds.RACE 5: Post: 2:40 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Complete Control; 6-Supersonic Flyer; 7-Half HopingForecast: Complete Control stretches out, removes blinkers, lands the good rail and gets a huge break in the weights with the switch to bug boy D. Centeno in this maiden $50,000 seller for state-bred sophomore fillies. Though beaten at 7/5 when facing a similar group sprinting last time out in mid-January, the daughter of Empire Way shows a healthy work tab at San Luis Rey Downs since raced and may find herself loose-on-the-lead if her connections commit to that strategy.Half Hoping has the prerequisite two sprints under her belt leading into her first try around two turns and speed figures that make her the one to fear most. If she can get over from her outside draw and gain a favorable stalking position, the M. Puype-trained filly should have every opportunity to track the pacesetter and then go on by when the pressure is turned on at the head of the lane. We’ll also toss in the class dropping Vronsky filly Supersonic Flyer for a barn that has good stats with second-time starters. Never a factor sprinting in her debut against a much stronger maiden special weight field after taking a bad step midway on the far turn, she stayed on reasonable well thereafter and against this group seems likely to be the most dangerous of the closing types.RACE 6: Post: 3:12 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Fursace; 7-My TigressForecast: My Tigress, a solid runner-up in a highly-rated and productive maiden $50,000 extended sprint for older state-bred fillies and mares at Los Alamitos in December, earned a very strong speed figure in the process and won’t need to improve at all to handle this assignment. The switch to F. Prat is significant, the barn is solid with second-time starters, and the recent work tab at San Luis Rey Downs should have her plenty fit and ready. Fursace chased winners in her debut and didn’t run badly consideration the competition, staying within range until mid-stretch before understandably weakening. The B. Koriner-trained filly is realistically spotted today, so with a race under her belt the daughter of Smiling Tiger seems sure to improve. We’ll prefer My Tigress on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 7: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Kristi’s Tiger; 4-Sing in the WindForecast: Kristi’s Tiger seems as good as any in this state-bred first-level allowance/optional claimer for fillies and mares, though her failure as the 7/5 favorite in her last two starts when facing similar company certainly is a cause for concern. In her last start, the R. Bell-trained filly enjoyed an ideal stalking trip outside but then failed to deliver when put to pressure and wound up what’d we describe as a “weak” runner-up in a modestly-rated affair. It was her first off a layoff, so perhaps she needed the race; today she’ll have no such excuse. Sing in the Wind returned off a nearly three month vacation to register a game win at Golden Gate Fields in mid-January while earning speed figure over the all-weather surface that makes her a major player right back. Her dirt track record – one third place finish from three career starts – is inconclusive, but with 18 in-the-money finishes from 23 career starts the veteran mare always has been genuine and consistent. The concern is her lack of tactical speed, so she’ll need some help up front to have her best chance. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics but not with a great deal of confidence, so if you find the need to spread deeper, go right ahead.RACE 8: Post: 4:16 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Full of Luck; 3-Marcki’s Water; 4-Noble ThoughtForecast: Ex-classer Full of Luck shook off some rust when given a race sprinting on grass two weeks ago in his first outing since last June, and with that tightener behind him the Chilean-bred gelding appears ready to stretch out and do some damage in this $25,000 claiming grass miler for older horses. A 10-time winner and a former Grade-1 performer in South America, the son of Lookin At Lucky can take full advantage of his good inside draw in a race that should allow him to be the controlling speed if such a strategy is employed. Noble Thought prefers to settle and produce a late run but never got involved in his California debut when a non-threatening sixth in a much tougher starter’s ($40,000) allowance turf affair in late January. The R. Falcone, Jr.-trained gelding had won his previous two outings in New York in good style, so if he can return to that level today the son of Harlan’s Holiday will be a major threat. Marckie’s Water, claimed for $40,000 two runs back, shows up well below that price today and certainly projects as a major contender in this league, though his lack of tactical speed alays has made him pace dependent. Winless since the fall of 2018, the son of Tribal Rule will remove blinkers while retaining A. Cedillo and may be heard from late if there’s still some gas left in the tank. A nice recent workout since raced is encouraging.

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3.5.2021:

Friday, March 05: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Gulfstream Park – Third Race – Post time: 2:08 ET4-Systematic (3-1)Had a right to be a bit rusty in her start since last fall when racing wide throughout but staying on nicely through the stretch to finish in a dead heat for third in a similar state-bred maiden turf affair last month. The daughter of Outwork seems likely to move forward considerably with that effort behind her, the G. Weaver barn has strong stats with second-off-layoff runners, and with the switch to the barn’s “go to” rider L. Saez this 3-year-old filly appears ready to earn her maiden diploma in her fourth career start. Let’s play her in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics at or near her morning line of 3-1.Golden Gate Fields – Eighth Race – Post time: 4:31 PT7-Orczy (9/2)Kept to his task to finish fourth in a salty $25,000 open claiming miler in his U. S. debut last month while very likely needing the outing, and in a sign of confidence from his connections returns protected in a softer restricted (nw-2) $50,000 starter’s allowance affair while retaining I. Orozco and getting an extra half furlong to work with. The “second off a layoff” angle is one of this stable’s most productive moves, so the 4-year-old Sir Percy gelding looks extremely live at 9/2 on the morning line.

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3.4.2021:

Friday, March 5: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Analysis

LEG A // LAUREL, RACE 8 (3:55PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT) BOURBON STREET has enough speed to get position from post 12 and carry it a long way for a high-percentage claim barn. JOSEF IS REAL chased speedy three-peat winner In the Loop (7-15, $163k) and finished second in his seasonal debut. KINGSTON PIKE rallied into a fast pace and won going away at 6-1/2F to end a long winless streak. LEG B // GULFSTREAM, RACE 7 (4:12PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF) PRETTY RACHEL can control the pace in her second grass route attempt for a barn that won with 3yo filly Wholebodemeister ($107) in the Grade II Davona Dale last Saturday and finished second with Bella Laura in the Grade III Very One on the turf. CELESTIAL CHEETAH romped at one mile off a similar rest with first-time Lasix and is the one to beat if she handles the transition to grass. CHEERLEADER BARB rallied for third in a deeper field at this level with first-time Lasix and appears on the steady improve. LEG C // SANTA ANITA, RACE 3 (4:35PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT// 1 MILE (DIRT) HUDSON RIDGE pressed the pace and 'lost contact' in the stretch in his 6F debut on the turf. The son of American Pharoah is working well on the main track since then. STAR SAILOR projects an ideal trip on the cutback in distance after he chased 3-wide and finished evenly as the favorite last out. LEG D // GOLDEN GATE, RACE 3 (4:53PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (ALL WEATHER) MATTAWA N THAT was well rated on the lead but no match for the odds-on winner, settling for his second runner-up finish in as many starts. He picks up leading jockey Kyle Frey and is today's solo play. LEG E // GULFSTREAM, RACE 9 (5:16PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF) With three, six-figure turf earners and a field that is a combined 49/15-12-4 on the grass, spread deep in the final leg of the Stronach 5. SUGGESTED $1 TICKET Leg A: 4, 10, 12Leg B: 2, 4, 7Leg C: 1, 3Leg D: 8Leg E: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 Cost: $108

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3.4.2021:

San Felipe, Gotham & TB Derby Picks + BTH Recap

Saturday, a trio of important sophomore races have attracted nationwide connections desirous of mandatory hotel reservations in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday of May. If you’re keeping score at home, this year Derby Day is May 1 and that’s as early as it possibly can be. That’s in stark contrast to last year when extenuating circumstances (you may have a more colorful description on the tip of your tongue) forced the race to be moved to September 5, the latest date ever in 146 years. Let’s not do that again.  With the future looking bright by May, why not hunker down with Xpressbet Saturday to watch and wager on the Gr. 3 Gotham at Aqueduct, the Gr. 2 Tampa Bay Derby and the Gr. 2 San Felipe Stakes from Santa Anita. There’s half a chance that in one of those races you’ll see this year’s eventual Kentucky Derby winner in action.  Below is one man’s horse-by-horse analysis of those Saturday stakes races: AQUEDUCT // RACE 9 (5:07PM ET) // GRADE 3 GOTHAM STAKES // 1 MILE50 - 20 - 10 - 5 KENTUCKY DERBY POINTS 1. ATLANTIC ROAD (PLETCHER/VARGAS) - 30/1 This son of Quality Road broke maiden last out going 7 furlongs at the Big A. It was a hard-fought victory, but this race will require much more. Pass.2. THE REDS (KIMMEL/MORALES) - 30/1 This Big Red Machine took 5 starts to break maiden last out but did it while going one mile and one-eighth as favorite. While he holds a fitness edge, he’ll need to be much faster to do damage in here. Exotics only.3. HIGHLY MOTIVATED (BROWN/CASTELLANO) - 8/5 Winner of 2 of 3, this son of Into Mischief will attract plenty of attention. Away since November when he demolished foes in the Nyquist at Keeneland in fast time going six and one-half furlongs, he returns for 45% Aqueduct trainer Chad Brown. This is a one-turn mile, so he won’t be forced to negotiate an additional bend. Still, it’s difficult to go from age 2 to 3, come off the bench, stretch out and defeat fit and fierce foes. Granted, this guy faced solid competition in limited starts—both second and third-place finishers in the Nyquist returned to win next out—but a very short price based on headlines earned in one race sometimes get the job done at a short price. This is the time to go against the favorite. Exotics Only.4. WIPE THE SLATE (O'NEILL/CARMOUCHE) - 6/1 This guy’s connections decided to duck the Life is Good show in the San Felipe at Santa Anita for a cross country ship and shot in the Gotham. With good reason, too. Life is Good beat this guy by more than 9 lengths when they met in November going six and one-half furlongs. This colt’s got California speed and that will play well in the Big Apple. Jockey Kendrick Carmouche is familiar with the lead and that’s where he’ll be with this guy. He’s liable to take this field a long way. Contender.5. CROWDED TRADE (BROWN/CANCEL) - 9/2 It’s interesting that trainer Brown decides to enter this recent maiden winner against #3 Highly Motivated, also trained by Brown and the race favorite. Brown also attracts 20% jock Eric Cancel to ride and they are 3 for 7 together in 2020-21, according to Daily Racing Form stats. Connections must have a high opinion of this son of More Than Ready purchased for $185k at Keeneland as a yearling. Exotics Only.  6. CAPO KANE (WYNER/DAVIS) - 5/1 He’s a speed horse that’s made the lead in all three races since his debut at Parx in October. He will find it difficult to gain the lead from #4 Wipe the Slate in here. If he demands it, he will have nothing left for the finish. He should be fit after a decent Gr. 3 Withers effort, but he’ll be pressured in here. Pass.7. FREEDOM FIGHTER (BAFFERT/FRANCO) - 5/2  Here’s another from the left coast with speed. Baffert runners rarely ‘take back’ and this guy ought to have his game face on as soon as the gate opens. The outside post position is an advantage because jockey Franco will be able to ‘clock’ what’s happening with the other speed horses drawn inside of him. Connections of this son of Violence hope that #4 Wipe the Slate and #6 Capo Kane tangle early so that Freedom Fighter can stalk in the garden spot. He’s fit, too, having raced courageously from the rail in the 7-furlong Gr. 2 San Vincente stakes Feb. 6 to finish second to another highly regarded Baffert runner in Concert Tour. Two bullet works at Santa Anita since then will make him very tough to beat. Pick to Win. 8. WEYBURN (JERKENS/MCCARTHY) - 20/1 Drawn outside, this son of Pioneer of the Nile has speed and 1 win from 3 starts. He should be outrun early by a few of these but won’t be too far behind. The real question with him is how good is he? A few of these seem to be better at this point. Pass.  BOTTOM LINE Are you ready for a dose of coast-to-coast Baffert? We know, ‘Not him again.’ The guy’s loaded with 3-year-olds on his way toward an attempt to win a record seventh Kentucky Derby. Who are we to stand in his way? #7 Freedom Fighter is ‘all systems go’ in the Gotham and catches the talented #3 Highly Motivated coming off a layoff. #4 Wipe the Slate, also a California-based runner figures in the picture as well. It’s not impossible one of the sharp recent maiden winners could run well in here, but we’ll stick with the proven horses.  $20 Exacta ($40) 1st: #7 Freedom Fighter2nd: #3 Highly Motivated & #4 Wipe the Slate   TAMPA BAY DOWNS // RACE 11 (5:25PM ET) // GRADE 2 TAMPA BAY DERBY // 1 1/16 MILES50 - 20 - 10 - 5 KENTUCKY DERBY POINTS 1. MY LIBERTY (MEJIA/MEJIA) - 30/1  Broke maiden last out going 7 furlongs at Tampa after missing in 3 previous starts at Gulfstream Park where best race was a 5-furlong turf sprint. It will take more than that to win this race. Pass. 2. SUPER STRONG (JOSEPH JR/GALLARDO) - 8/1  This son of Super Saver was purchased for $77k as a 2-year-old and won his only start—a Grade 1 Stakes race—by coming from off the pace while going 7 furlongs in the slop. What’s interesting about the victory is that it came in Puerto Rico. Normally, this colt would be easy to dismiss but there are some interesting connections. Trainer Saffie Joseph wins at a 21% rate overall—but only 9% at Tampa and this is one of 3 runners he’s entered in the race. Jockey Antonio Gallardo hits at an impressive 24% at Tampa. The colt’s work pattern is solid with moves every 7 days at Palm Meadows, including a best-of-30 :59 3/5 bullet Feb. 13. Blinkers go on for this. Like we said, there’s some interesting stuff going on here. Exotics Use. 3. CANDY MAN ROCKET (MOTT/ALVARADO) - 2/1 Winner of the Gr. 3 Sam Davis last out and 2 of 3 starts overall, this son of the Candy Ride will be favored in here. He’s trained by Hall of Fame resident Bill Mott and figures to be close to the early pace. He has a nice :48 3/5 Feb. 28 Payson Park bullet blowout to strengthen his case. Win Contender. 4. KING OF DREAMS (AVILA/CAMACHO) - 20/1 This $180k 2-year-old purchase has 1 win in 2 starts. That was last out going a mile and one-sixteenth on turf at Gulfstream at 16-1 odds. His first attempt was a sloppy seven furlongs at Aqueduct where he showed speed and stopped. Pass. 5. BOCA BOY (WINEBAUGH/ARROYO) - 15/1 Expect this son of Prospective to attempt to set the early pace. He tried those tactics last out when he faded to fourth, beaten 4 lengths, in the Sam Davis. In his defense, he had been off since winning a state-bred stakes race at Gulfstream going a mile and one-sixteenth in the slop in September. He may have needed his last race. If that’s the case, he could hang around a bit better than before and that could put him in the exotics picture at a decent price. Exotics Only. 6. AWESOME GERRY (JOSEPH JR./DIAZ JR.) - 15/1 This son of Liam’s Map is one of trainer Saffie Joseph’s 3 entries in the race. Since breaking maiden for $50k at Gulfstream in July and then winning an optional $60k claiming race, this colt has been pitched exclusively against stakes foes at Keeneland, Delta Downs and Gulfstream. He managed a second, third and fourth in those races before finishing nowhere in the Gr. 3 Holy Bull—his first try around two turns. He’s usually about mid-pack early in the race and blinkers come off today. While he’s faced creditable competition, he would be a huge surprise as the winner. Pass. 7. MOONLITE STRIKE (JOSEPH JR./CENTENO) - 20/1 Another in the trio of Saffie Joseph runners making the trip from the east coast of Florida. This colt paired two virtually wire-to-wire scores back to back at Gulfstream in November and December. He did not do as well when shipped to Oaklawn Park for the Smarty Jones where he was beaten by nearly 18 lengths in late January. 20% local winner jockey Daniel Centeno has the mount. Pass. 8. HIDDEN STASH (OLIVER/BEJARANO) - 4/1 Here’s an interesting runner. This son of Constitution was purchased for just $50k as a yearling at Keeneland. He’s earned over $121k in 5 starts, including 2 wins and a third last out in the Gr. 3 Sam Davis at 8-1 odds. In his first start since November, he rode the rail in the Davis, angled out in the stretch, lugged in a bit but kept coming to finish just one and one-quarter length behind favorite #3 Candy Man Rocket. Hidden Stash never changed leads that afternoon but also didn’t change leads when he won a $75k optional claimer at Churchill in November. Perhaps that’s just him. In that race he was 4-wide the entire 2-turn mile and one-sixteenth journey. Jockey Rafael Bejarano, who’s 2-for-2 on the colt returns for this race. It’s worth noting that this colt has improved Beyer Speed Figures in all 5 of his races. Bottom line on this guy is that he tries. He may not be good enough to win but he’ll go down trying. Use Him. 9. UNBRIDLED HONOR (PLETCHER/LEPAROUX) - 20/1 This lightly raced son of Honor Code returns off a maiden win at Tampa going one mile and 40 yards. He has improved Beyer Speed Figures in each race but he will need another jump to contend here. He’s been well bet in his last two starts. Pass. 10. HELIUM (CASSE/FERRER) - 6/1 This son of Ironicus has been away since October when he won the Display. That was his second win in as many starts—both 7 furlongs over Woodbine’s artificial surface. He will need to stretch out to two turns, handle dirt for the first time and overcome the 10 post. Lots to prove. Pass. 11. PROMISE KEEPER (PLETCHER/SAEZ) - 8/1 Fourth, beaten more than 10 lengths by #3 Candy Man Rocket, in his first start going six furlongs at Gulfstream, Promise Keeper rebounded strongly going one mile over a sloppy track to win by 5 lengths. Did the extra distance or ‘off’ track provide impetus for the change in performance or has this son of Constitution merely responded to the pending Hall of Fame member trainer Todd Pletcher? Expect this colt to have something to say about the early pace of the Tampa Bay Derby, but he’ll need to show he can perform over a ‘fast’ track as well as he did in the slop. Pass. 12. SITTIN ON GO (ROMANS/ALVARADO JR.) - 20/1 He’s pretty much been a graded stakes fixture ever since he broke maiden at Ellis Park in August. Right off the bat he won the Gr. 3 Iroquios at 24-1 with a roaring closing finish. Since then things have been more difficult: ninth in the Gr. 1 BC Juvenile, sixth in the Gr. 2 Kentucky Jockey Club and sixth in the Gr. 3 Holy Bull. This a tough post from which to turn the ship around. Pass BOTTOM LINE #3 Candy Man Rocket looks a solid favorite. If you’re willing to take a shot or two against him, #8 Hidden Stash is worth consideration. He should be a solid price and might improve on his finish the last time they met. #5 Boca Boy figures to get more heat this time around but should be fitter. #2 Super Strong is a complete question mark but has positive connections for his first mainland start.  $10 Exacta ($10) 1st: #3 Candy Man Rocket2nd: #8 Hidden Stash  $5 Exacta ($10) 1st: #8 Hidden Stash2nd: #3 Candy Man Rocket & #2 Super Strong   SANTA ANITA // RACE 6 (5:45PM ET) // GRADE 2 SAN FELIPE STAKES // 1 1/16 MILES50 - 20 - 10 - 5 KENTUCKY DERBY POINTS 1. LIFE IS GOOD (BAFFERT/SMITH) - 4/5 This son of Into Mischief brings an unbeaten, untied and unscored upon slate into the third start of his career that shows he’s never been behind another horse at any call. He’s got speed and will use from the rail under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. Stablemate #3 Medina Spirit was getting to him in the final strides of the one-mile Sham Stakes and this is a sixteenth of a mile further. Was Life is Good showing weakness at the conclusion of the Sham or was jockey Mike Smith just saving as much energy as possible?  The colt has worked fabulously for Baffert since the Sham. He’s the one to beat but Baffert also saddles the one that can beat him. Win Candidate.  2. DREAM SHAKE (EURTON/ROSARIO) - 5/1 This colt’s first start was something to behold. He absolutely dominated foes with a strong run around the leaders off the turn. What’s even better than his performance is the 15-1 odds his backers got. Trainer Peter Eurton did a fantastic job ‘hiding’ this one. The colt’s connections obviously thought he could run because they hired top jock Joel Rosario to ride him first time out. The price undoubtedly was inflated because Bezos, a highly touted runner from the Bob Baffert barn, also was in the race and burned a great deal of money. The step from a scintillating first out sophomore maiden sprint score to the Grade 2 mile and one-sixteenth stakes winner’s circle is huge. We would be surprised if this guy can seamlessly make it. Exotics Only. 3. MEDINA SPIRIT (BAFFERT/VELAZQUEZ) - 7/2 In the Sham Stakes, his second career start, this Protonico colt purchased for just $35k, threw a legit scare into heavily favored barnmate #1 Life is Good, when closing serious ground in the final sixteenth of the one-mile Sham Stakes. At the time, some viewed the close finish a result of the winner easing himself to the wire. However, Medina Spirit’s dead game performance in winning the Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita last out going one mile and one-sixteenth suggests that as time goes on and distances increase #1 Life is Good may not be that much better than Medina Spirit. In the Lewis, Medina Spirit set a swift early pace, discouraged all closest pursuers into the turn and then was hooked by Roman Centurian and Hot Rod Charlie in the lane. At that point, Medina Spirit appeared to be in hot water, but he courageously battled to a neck victory over a ‘good’ track. That effort suggests that the further they go the better he’ll perform and he has early pace, too. That’s a dangerous combination. Oh, and he’s trained by Bob Baffert. If anyone is liable to defeat #1 Life is Good, it’s this guy. Most Probable Winner. 4. NONE ABOVE THE LAW (MILLER/PRAT) - 30/1 This Cal-bred son of Karakontie. battled to less than two length defeat to Big Fish in the Cal Cup Derby at a mile and one sixteenth at Santa Anita. That was the gelding’s fifth race and he hasn’t won since first out for state-bred $50k in July at Los Alamitos going five furlongs. Pass. 5. THE GREAT ONE (O'NEILL/CEDILLO) - 4/1 Purchased for $185k as a 2-year-old, this son of Nyquist has improved Beyer Speed Ratings in each of 5 starts. That’s a solid sign for a 3-year-old, especially for one that won his last race by 14 lengths. That was his maiden victory and before that he finished second by a nose to Spielberg (second in the Southwest last Saturday behind 2-year-old champ Essential Quality) in the Gr. 2 Los Alamitos Derby. He has speed and can be expected to use it under regular rider Abel Cedillo. Bottom Exotics Only. 6. GOVENOR'S PARTY (FRANKO/GUTIERREZ) - 50/1 This will be this son of Governor Charlie’s eighth career start. He broke maiden by disqualification and won a $50k starter at Golden Gate before finishing a well-beaten third in the El Camino Real Stakes there. Pass. 7. ROMAN CENTURIAN (CALLAGHAN/HERNANDEZ) - 8/1 This son of Empire Maker has posted huge Beyer Speed Figure ratings leaps in 3 starts—65, 80, 91—and that’s a good sign for a 3-year-old. First out he finished more than 12 lengths behind #1 Life is Good going six and one-half furlongs. Next out he romped in a one mile and one-sixteenth maiden race. Last out he had dead aim on #3 Medina Spirit in the stretch of the Robert B. Lewis and wasn’t quite able to get the job done. For that reason, we’re against this guy in here. 20% winner at the current meet jockey Juan Hernandez returns in the saddle. If things get too hot up front and #1 Life is Good shows weakness in the lane, this fellow could once more join #3 Medina Spirit in having the best for last. Exotics Use.   BOTTOM LINE #1 Life is Good and #3 Medina Spirit are the most logical winners of this race. No scoop there. We give the edge to the latter based on his apparent ability to improve with time, distance and price. #7 Roman Centurian and #2 Dream Shake are the most likely to complete exotics. There’s not much money to be made playing this race unless you can find a way to upset Bob Baffert’s starters in this graded Santa Anita stakes race. By the way, that’s usually a terrible plan of attack.  $1 Superfecta ($6) 1st: #3 Medina Spirit2nd: #1 Life is Good3rd: #2 Dream Shake, #7 Roman Centurian, #5 The Great One4th: #2 Dream Shake, #7 Roman Centurian, #5 The Great One  $.50 Superfecta ($3) 1st: #3 Medina Spirit2nd: #2 Dream Shake, #7 Roman Centurian, #5 The Great One3rd: #1 Life is Good 4th: #2 Dream Shake, #7 Roman Centurian, #5 The Great One   Beat the Host Winners In the final qualifying round of the 2021 Beat the Host season, former Chicago Black Hawks star Eddie O’s performance as host came up 3 goals short of a hat trick. That left last chance Beat the Host challengers firing at an open net. Many took advantage of the golden opportunity--127 to be exact--and they now will advance to the BTH Championship March 12 along with 743 other qualifiers. Fuguo Wong proved best for the week, barely, over Ajiet Thiara, $148.50 to $146. Eric Gielata finished a close third at $143. They each earned $1,000, $750 and $250, respectively. This season a total of 24 unique players won weekly prizes, with Greg Peterson the only duplicate collector. He finished third Jan. 23 with a $164 total to collect $500 (prizes were doubled and carried over from the previous canceled week) and then returned Feb. 20 to top all players with a whopping season-high total of $273, good for a $1,000 prize.  Steven Cziguth’s total of $230.50 on Feb. 20 was the second-highest earnings total of the season. Even though he finished first just once on Jan. 23, Craig Yoshino topped all players in weekly earnings at $2,000. Weekly prize totals were doubled because they were carried over from the previous week when BTH play was canceled. Maria Cimino topped all players with a seasonal earnings total of $621, clear of runner-up Steven Cziguth at $565.50. Joseph St Pierre finished third at $559.50. Greg Peterson $533 and Andrew Ma $505 complete the top five prize winners. Cimino and Cziguth earn seats to the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship--$6,000 value each. St Pierre, Peterson and Ma will participate in this Saturday’s Ultimate Betting Challenge on Xpressbet—a $3,000 value each. Cimino’s winning seasonal total of $621 averages out to a tick over $77.50 per week. Based on $5 Win wagers, that computes to one $31 winner, two $15.50 winners, or roughly three winners returning $5 each per competition. Three $5 winners per competition? Doesn’t sound too difficult does it? Trust us, it is. The BTH Championship will be decided March 13. Participants will be required to make $5 Win wagers in 10 competition races ($50). Wagers are ‘live,’ so players keep what they win. There’s no host to beat and participants will play against each other for 7 tournament seats worth from $6,000 to $1,500. Competition races will be posted Friday, March 12 before 5 pm. A hearty congratulations to all of the BTH prize winners and qualifiers. Best of luck to everyone in the Championship Round. And, last but certainly not least, thanks to everyone who played BTH this season. 

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3.4.2021:

Jon White's San Felipe, Tampa Bay Derby & Gotham Picks

Beginning in late January, I’ve been making selections for Xpressbet.com in terms of this country’s races offering points toward a starting berth in the Grade I, $3 million Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1.Of the nine such races, I have picked the winner in six of them, as noted below:Date Race (Selection) Finish, $2 win payoff if applicable01-30-21 Holy Bull (Greatest Honour) WON, $7.6001-30-21 Robert B. Lewis (Medina Spirit), WON, $4.0002-06-21 Sam F. Davis (Candy Man Rocket), WON, $8.2002-06-21 Withers (Donegal Bay), finished 7th02-13-21 Risen Star (Senor Buscador), finished 5th02-13-21 El Camino Real Derby (Rombauer), WON, $4.4002-26-21 Battaglia Memorial (Gretzky the Great), finished 3rd02-27-21 Southwest (Essential Quality), WON, $3.8002-27-21 Fountain of Youth (Greatest Honor), WON, $4.00There are three races this Saturday with Kentucky Derby points up for grabs. They are the Grade II San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita, Grade II Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs and Grade III Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. All three races will reward the first four finishers with 50-20-10-5 points toward the 1 1/4-mile Run for the Roses.SAN FELIPE STAKESThis has come up as one of the stronger races from top to bottom on the Kentucky Derby trail this year. Life Is Good, who is two for two, heads the field of eight.My selections for the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe are below:1. Life is Good2. Dream Shake3. Medina Spirit4. The Great OneSeven are entered in the San Felipe.Life is Good, who is No. 2 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10, has done something leading up to this race that I do not recall any other horse ever doing in Southern California since I first started covering races at SoCal tracks in 1981. He put together a string of six consecutive breezing workouts before going out last Sunday morning and working six furlongs in 1:12.20 handily at Santa Anita.The official clockers at SoCal tracks rarely list a workout as breezing. A breezing designation is stingily reserved for when a horse works considerably easier than a horse whose workout is listed as handily.Hall of Famer Bob Baffert trains Life is Good. The Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt has recorded seven Santa Anita workouts following his victory in the Grade III Sham Stakes on Jan. 2 (rank among works at that distance that day in parentheses):--Jan. 11, 4 furlongs in :47.00 breezing (2/42)--Jan. 27, 4 furlongs in :49.60 breezing (56/112)--Feb. 01, 4 furlongs in :48.80 breezing (31/179)--Feb. 08, 6 furlongs in 1:12.00 breezing (1/9)--Feb. 15, 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 breezing (4/33)--Feb. 21, 5 furlongs in :59.60 breezing (1/54)--Feb. 28, 6 furlongs in 1:12.20 handily (1/3)Life Is Good now has had 19 recorded SoCal works. None were listed as breezing prior to his streak of six straight such workouts. As I noted last week, to put what Life is Good has been doing into some context, consider how it compares to some of the other elite horses trained by Baffert, such as 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify.American Pharoah had 27 recorded workouts prior to the Kentucky Derby. None were listed as breezing. During American Pharoah’s entire racing career, only two of his 42 SoCal works were listed as breezing.Justify had 17 SoCal works before the Kentucky Derby. Again, none was listed as breezing.What about 2020 Horse of the Year Authentic? Due to COVID-19, the Kentucky Derby was moved from May 2 to Sept. 5. Only one of Authentic’s 56 SoCal works prior to the Kentucky Derby was listed as breezing.Life Is Good is exceptionally fast. What Baffert has concentrated on trying to accomplish in recent weeks is to get Life Is Good to “harness his inclination to go too fast too soon,” as Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman put it in what he wrote after the smooth-moving colt’s 1:12.20 workout last Sunday.“Based on how he’s done in his last couple of drills, including Sunday morning here at Santa Anita, he seems to be getting the hang of it,” Privman wrote in terms of Life Is Good not being as headstrong as he had been earlier this year. “In his final drill before Saturday’s Grade II, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes, Life Is Good worked six furlongs in 1:12.20, but the key points are that he started off well under control, then galloped out a full mile. The work was reminiscent of what trainer Bob Baffert did with Arrogate and American Pharoah.”When I have watched Life Is Good’s workouts on XBTV, he has been pure poetry in motion. After I watched his 1:00.80 work on Feb. 15, I mentioned in a text to Baffert that Life Is Good appeared to me to be just floating over the ground. Baffert’s one-word reply was “freaky.”A factor in Life Is Good’s improvement in cooperating better with his rider seems to stem from a change in the colt’s bit, as Privman reported on Feb. 15. The purpose of the new bit was to give exercise rider Juan Ochoa “more control of the at-times headstrong colt,” Privman wrote.Back on Nov. 27 at Del Mar, jaws dropped when Life Is Good won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race by 9 1/2 lengths as a 1-5 favorite. He was credited with a 91 Beyer Speed Figure.Life Is Good then got the job done in Santa Anita’s one-mile Sham when again backed down to 1-5 favoritism. He was cruising along with a four-length lead at the eighth pole, but then his lead shrank in the final furlong. Life Is Good was three-quarters of a length at the finish.Medina Spirit, also trained by Baffert, closed the gap in the lane to give the big favorite a bit of a scare. While it was undeniably a fine try by Medina Spirit in his first start since a three-length debut win Dec. 11 at Los Alamitos, he had to settle for second.After the finish of the Sham, Life Is Good galloped out well all the way to the backstretch. That indicated his gas tank was far from empty toward the end of the race.The form of the Sham was bolstered when Medina Spirit subsequently won Santa Anita’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Jan. 30. Medina Spirit will try to turn the tables on Life Is Good in the San Felipe.While Life Is Good’s margin of victory in the Sham was less than a length, Authentic won the 2020 Sham by 7 3/4 lengths despite racing greenly in the final furlong. But to Life Is Good’s credit, his final time in the Sham of 1:36.63 was quite a bit faster than Authentic’s 1:36.57 in the 2020 renewal.Life Is Good was credited with a 101 Beyer Speed Figure in the Sham, much higher than Authentic’s 90.Authentic would go on to win two of the nation’s most important events, the Kentucky Derby and Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic. He was voted 2020 Eclipse Awards as Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male.Life Is Good’s 101 in the Sham is the highest Beyer Speed Figure posted by a 3-year-old so far in 2021.Below are the seven-best Beyers recorded this year by a 3-year-old, male or female:Beyer Winner (Finish, Race, Track, Date)101 Life Is Good (won Sham at Santa Anita on Jan. 2)99 Medina Spirit (2nd Sham at Santa Anita on Jan. 2)98 Mandaloun (won Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Feb. 13)97 Proxy (2nd Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Feb. 13)96 Dream Shake (won maiden race at Santa Anita on Feb. 7)96 Midnight Bourbon (3rd Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Feb. 13)96 Essential Quality (won Southwest at Oaklawn on Feb. 27)As for those I am picking underneath Life Is Good in the San Felipe, I was very impressed by Dream Shake’s marvelous win at first asking in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden contest Feb. 7 at Santa Anita for trainer Peter Eurton. That was the race in which the hyped-to-the-moon Baffert-trained Bezos also made his career debut.Bezos finished seventh as an overwhelming 3-5 favorite and has not had a recorded workout since. Dream Shake, dismissed at 20-1, raced next-to-last early in the field of nine, passed rivals with a rush on the far turn and drew away in the stretch to win by 4 3/4 lengths in 1:17. He was credited with an excellent 96 Beyer Speed Figure.Even though Dream Shake trounced one of the strongest maiden fields seen at Santa Anita in years, he does not seem to have generated any real buzz. Mainly because Baffert trains Bezos, if that colt had won that same race by nearly five lengths and recorded a 96 Beyer, he’d be all the rage.Dream Shake received an excellent Thoro-Graph number of 1. Regarding Thoro-Graph, the lower the number the better the performance, which is the opposite of the Beyers.Thoro-Graph takes many more factors into account than the Beyers. According to Thoro-Graph, “each number on a sheet represents a performance rating arrived at by using time of the race, beaten lengths, ground lost or saved on the turns, weight carried, and any effects wind conditions had on the time of the race.”The Great One also registered a Thoro-Graph number of 1 when he won a one-mile maiden race by 14 lengths Jan. 23 at Santa Anita. The only other Thoro-Graph number by a 3-year-old male that low this year going into last weekend was Greatest Honour’s 1 when he won Gulfstream Park’s Grade III, 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull Stakes by 5 3/4 lengths on Jan. 30. I have not yet seen what Greatest Honour’s Thoro-Graph number was for his victory in last Saturday’s Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream.Life Is Good received a 2 3/4 Thoro-Graph number for his debut, the same number he got in the Sham.TAMPA BAY DERBYMy selections for the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby are below:1. Hidden Stash2. Candy Man Rocket3. Helium4. Boca BoyDaily Racing Form's Marty McGee reports that this race has attracted a field of 12.Candy Man Rocket, a Kentucky-bred Candy Ride colt trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, is coming off a one-length win in the Grade III, 1 1/16-mile Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Hidden Stash was gaining late when he finished third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Candy Man Rocket.I’m going with Hidden Stash because it appears to me he might turn the tables on Candy Man Rocket in their rematch this Saturday at 1 1/8 miles. Vicki Oliver trains the Kentucky-bred Constitution colt.Helium, trained by Hall of Famer Mark Casse, will be making his first start of 2021. The Kentucky-bred Ironicus colt was two for two at Woodbine last year on a synthetic surface. Helium earned his maiden diploma by 3 1/4 lengths in a seven-furlong race, then won the Display Stakes at the same distance by 4 1/4 lengths. He’s racing on dirt for the first time this Saturday.Boca Boy set the early pace and finished fourth in the Davis. Inasmuch as that was his first race since last Sept. 26, perhaps he can stick around and again finish in the superfecta in this Saturday’s longer race. Cheryl Winebaugh trains the Florida-bred Prospective colt.GOTHAM STAKESMy selections for the one-mile Gotham Stakes are below:1. Freedom Fighter2. Highly Motivated3. Capo Kane4. Wipe the SlateEight are scheduled to clash in the Gotham.Freedom Fighter finished second, a half-length behind Concert Tour, in Santa Anita’s Grade II, seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 6. Baffert trains both Concert Tour (who is headed for Oaklawn Park’s Grade II Rebel Stakes on March 13) and Freedom Fighter.I thought Freedom Fighter ran a heckuva race in defeat due to the fact that he was returning from a layoff in the San Vicente. The Kentucky-bred Violence colt recorded a fine 94 Beyer Speed Figure in the San Vicente. That was a huge leap from his 79 when he won a five-furlong maiden race at Del Mar last Aug. 1 in his only start prior to the San Vicente.Highly Motivated, a Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt trained by Chad Brown, warrants much respect in the Gotham. This will be Highly Motivated’s first start since he won the 6 1/2-furlong Nyquist Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths at Keeneland last Nov. 6. Into Mischief sired the 2020 Kentucky Derby winner in Authentic.Capo Kane figures to appreciate cutting back to one mile after he showed early zip and finished third in Aqueduct’s 1 1/8-mile Withers Stakes on Feb. 6. Harold Wyner trains the California-bred colt whose sire, Street Sense, won the 2007 Kentucky Derby.Wipe the Slate, trained by Doug O’Neill, will be racing around one turn this Saturday. In his most recent start, the Kentucky-bred colt finished sixth in Santa Anita’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes at 1 1/16 miles around two turns on Jan. 30.Nyquist, Wipe the Slate’s sire, won the 2016 Kentucky Derby for O’Neill, who also won the 2012 Run for the Roses with I’ll Have Another. Wipe the Slate is a half-brother to Mitole, who was voted a 2019 Eclipse Award as champion male sprinter.MY CURRENT KENTUCKY DERBY TOP 10Last Saturday was the actual 20th birthday for the highly successful sire Tapit. That same day, two of his sons, Essential Quality and Greatest Honour, won important graded stakes races on the Kentucky Derby trail.Essential Quality, close up early on the sloppy track, splashed his way to a 4 1/4-length victory in Oaklawn’s Grade III Southwest Stakes last Saturday in his first 2021 start. The Kentucky-bred colt now is four for four.Brad Cox, who was voted a 2020 Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer, conditions Essential Quality. Following Grade I wins in the Breeders’ Futurity and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Essential Quality was voted a 2020 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male.By winning the Southwest, Essential Quality retains the No. 1 spot on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week.Last Saturday, Essential Quality completed his 1 1/16-mile journey in 1:45.48. He recorded a career-best 96 Beyer Speed Figure.Greatest Honour climbs a notch to No. 3 on my Top 10 this week after he rallied from ninth in the field of 10 to win last Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth going away by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:44.02.The Fountain of Youth was one of 14 races on the Gulfstream card last Saturday. In terms of a Beyer for his victory, Greatest Honour originally received a modest figure.Greatest Honour’s Beyer Speed Figure for the Fountain Youth was “originally posted as an anemic 83,” Privman wrote. It was “upgraded on overnight review to 89, equal to the career-best Greatest Honour earned in the Holy Bull.“This had to be a difficult figure to make,” Privman added, “as there were no other two-turn dirt races on the marathon card. And let’s not kid ourselves -- Greatest Honour wasn’t exactly running against the second coming of Hindoo (shout out to the late, great Joe Hirsch).”Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey trains Greatest Honour. McGaughey has expressed confidence that Greatest Honour will get better as the distances get longer than 1 1/16 miles. This student of breeding concurs with that distinct possibility. Tapit has sired three winners of the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (Tonalist in 2014, Creator in 2016 and Tapwrit in 2017). Greatest Honour’s dam, Tiffany’s Honour, is a half-sister to two winners of the Belmont (Jazil in 2006 and Rags to Riches in 2007).My Kentucky Derby Top 10 for this week is below:1. Essential Quality2. Life Is Good3. Greatest Honour4. Caddo River5. Mandaloun6. Concert Tour7. Medina Spirit8. Hot Rod Charlie9. Keepmeinmind10. Roman CenturianCESARIO DIES IN JAPANIt was with sadness I learned that Cesario died of a ruptured artery last Saturday at Northern Farm in Japan at the age of 19. She was Japan’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2005.Cesario won the Group I Japanese Oaks at about 1 1/2 miles on the turf in 2005. Later that same year she was sent to Hollywood Park to run in the American Oaks at 1 1/4 miles on the grass.Keep in mind that back then, horses from Japan did not do all that well on the world stage, unlike these days.I was at Hollywood Park the day that Cesario competed in the American Oaks. She ran off before the race to such an extent that I thought she might be scratched. She pretty much ran a race before then also running in a race.Amazingly, Cesario won by four lengths. It remains one of the most impressive performances by a racehorse that I have ever seen.“Making a huge statement for Japanese racing, Cesario demolished an international field of 3-year-old fillies in winning the $750,000 American Oaks on the Hollywood Park grass,” BloodHorse’s Jack Shinar wrote. “A granddaughter of Sunday Silence, the strapping bay filly Cesario parlayed a victory in the Japanese Oaks into an invitation to the American Oaks and became the first Japanese-bred horse to win a Grade I stakes race in the United States.”Cesario produced Japanese champions Saturnalia and Leontes, plus Epiphaneia, who won the Group I Japan Cup in 2014.Epiphaneia is the sire of Daring Tact, who won the Japanese Filly Triple Crown last year.Leontes is the sire of Pink Kamehameha, winner of the $1.5 million Saudi Derby on Feb. 20. Runner-up in the Saudi Derby was U.S. shipper Cowan, who previously had also finished a distant second to Caddo River in Oaklawn’s Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan. 22.Cowan, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, is scheduled to make his next start in the UAE Derby at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. That race offers 100-50-20-10 qualifying points toward this year’s 147th running of the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May.THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLSTwo-time Eclipse Award winner Monomoy Girl moved up to No. 2 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll in the aftermath of her two-length win on a sloppy track in last Sunday’s Grade III Bayakoa Stakes at Oaklawn. The 6-year-old Kentucky-bred Tapizar mare, trained by Brad Cox, now sports a lifetime record of 14 victories in 16 starts.Monomoy Girl was voted a 2018 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly. She did not race at all in 2019, then was voted a 2020 Eclipse Award as champion older dirt female.The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll:Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)1. 382 Charlatan (23)2. 349 Monomoy Girl (14)3. 300 Knicks Go4. 289 Maxfield (4)5. 159 Swiss Skydiver6. 158 Mystic Guide (1)7. 152 Colonel Liam8. 92 Gamine9. 77 Jesus’ Team10. 70 Channel MakerThe Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll:Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)1. 405 Essential Quality (37)2. 336 Greatest Honour (1)3. 302 Life Is Good (2)4. 258 Mandaloun (1)5. 206 Medina Spirit6. 174 Caddo River7. 121 Concert Tour8. 91 Keepmeinmind9. 74 Risk Taking10. 39 Proxy

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3.3.2021:

Santa Anita Handicap Day Post Draw Reaction

Eight runners, including unbeaten Maxfield, entered today for Saturday’s tradition-rich Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap. The Big ‘Cap headlines an 11-race program that begins at noon PT and includes a mandatory payout in the Rainbow 6 pool that could reach more than $6 million. The mile and one-quarter Santa Anita Handicap has been run since the track’s inaugural 1934-’35 race meeting and has been won by legends like Seabiscuit, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, John Henry and Alysheba.The 2020 Santa Anita Handicap presents the first west coast foray for Louisiana-based Maxfield, who is 5-for-5 with graded stakes wins at ages 2, 3 and 4. Florent Geroux accompanies the Brendan Walsh trainee west and will be adorned in the famed Godolphin blue from post 2. Shaman Ghost was the most recent Santa Anita Handicap winner in 2017 who raided from outside California.The gate will be positioned at the head of the homestretch with a long run to the clubhouse turn, so post positions in an eight-horse field ought not have a major impact. Tizamagician, runner-up in the San Pasqual and one of four horses re-matched from that Jan. 30 local tilt, is expected to be the pace-setter once again from post 7. His trainer, Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, has been red-hot in recent weeks with 5 wins from his last 8 starters, according to the Betmix database.Rail-drawn Independence Day could be asked for some early pace by the meet’s leading jockey, Flavien Prat. Coastal Defense, sixth in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park, adds blinkers for the first time and could show more early foot from post 4.As for Saturday’s undercard, Sham Stakes 1-2 finishers Life Is Good and Medina Spirit re-match for Bob Baffert in the Grade 2 San Felipe (Race 6). Those Triple Crown trail hopefuls kick off the Rainbow 6 sequence that also includes the Grade 2 San Carlos (Race 8) for sprinters, as well as a Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (Race 9) that features shippers for the likes of Todd Pletcher, Chad Brown, Bill Mott and Mark Casse.1/ST BET will offer a free spin of sorts in the Rainbow 6, giving up to $10 back on your wagers in the jackpot bet. And customers both at 1/ST BET and Xpressbet can take part in the Santa Anita Handicap Money-Back Guarantee. Get up to $20 back if your Santa Anita Handicap win bet finishes second or third.For more coverage of Saturday’s big card at Santa Anita, be sure to follow Xpressbet columnists Jon White (Wednesday) and Johnny D. (Thursday) with their Post Time and On Track contributions – and our XBTV analysts Eddie Olczyk and Jeff Siegel with their video analysis later in the week.Race 10 // 7:30 pm ET // Santa Anita Handicap // One Mile and One-Quarter#1 Independence Hall // Flavien Prat#2 Maxfield // Florent Geroux#3 Kiss Today Goodbye // Mike Smith#4 Coastal Defense // John Velazquez#5 Express Train // Juan Hernandez#6 Idol // Joel Rosario#7 Tizamagician // Drayden Van Dyke#8 King Guillermo // Abel Cedillo 

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3.3.2021:

1/ST BET AI Picks for Tampa's Pick 5 Carryover

Tampa Bay Downs opens its racing week Wednesday with a tempting $45,000-plus carryover in the late pick five. That sequence will go as Races 5-9 and has a 50-cent minimum wager. Let’s dig into the artificial intelligence of the 1/ST BET app for a deeper dive into the pick five, providing data-driven insight on a player’s edge bet at a track you may not always frequent. Selections provided by the 1/ST BET app measure each contender against the 10 leading factors for each race. The 1/ST BET app looks at 52 handicapping factors and more than 200,000 past races to determine its AI selections. You can use the automated handicapping factors, or create your own factor filters to incorporate angles you prefer. We’ve included the official track morning line odds with the selections. RACE 5 (2:15 PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1-1/16 MILES (TURF)#7 Fly Nightly (9-2) // 23%W#5 Bee Major (8-1) // 23%W#1 Idle Time (5-2) // 14%W#14 Rattlesnake Ridge (20-1) // 10%WNotes: Fly Nightly steps up in class off a win over the course and distance for a high-percentage trainer. Bee Major won his last on turf and gets leading rider Antonio Gallardo at a juicy price. Morning line favorite Idle Time was second last out as the 4-5 chalk and should appreciate the extra distance. This sets up as a 2 or 3-deep situation when considering the 1/ST BET data.RACE 6 (2:45 PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 1 MILE AND 40 YARDS#1 Ballet School (4-1) // 32%W#5 Easter Chocolate (5-1) // 23%W#3 Baby Gundin (2-1) // 14%W#2 Miss Alex (8-1) // 12%WNotes: The 32% win projection for Ballet School is the highest of any horse in the pick five sequence today, as is the 9-point spread between the top two contenders. This would be the most logical single, according to 1/ST BET. Her route pedigree and debut sprint rally certainly are positives for this trip. Well-bred rookie Queen Bourbon is overlooked by the algorithm for lack of data, though trainer Ian Wilkes rarely has one ready to rock first-time out.RACE 7 (3:17 PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)#5 Ball Lightning (3-1) // 28%W#2 Miss Tourista (8-1) // 24%W#1 Atlantic Princess (6-1) // 11%W#8 She Dazzle (10-1) // 11%WNotes: The 28% win projection for Ball Lightning is second-highest in the pick five today, but the tight nature between the top 2 picks and the expansive 13-point gap to the third selection makes this a logical 2-deep race if you’re following the AI. Morning line chalk Successful Legacy (2-1) is 2-for-2 on turf and surprisingly dismissed by the algorithm at only a 9% win projection. You could make a case for inclusion on your ticket.RACE 8 (3:48 PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE AND 40 YARDS#3 Brice (5-1) // 27%W#1 Shakem N Breakem (6-1) // 21%W#8 Mozano (3-1) // 17%W#2 Prequalified (8-1) // 11%WNotes: Brice has been favored in 6 of his last 8 starts with only 1 win, so while he matches up well with this group, trusting him solo has been bad business. Shakem N Breaken has been a closer from the clouds in sprints and an unknown around 2 turns. Mozano figures to be effective at this class level and gets Antonio Gallardo back in the saddle, a winning combo in 2 of their last 3 pairings. A 3-deep ticket may cover this one as the AI stands against 2-1 ML favorite Silver Edge, who has hung in the stretch in 5 straight minor placings while well-bet.RACE 9 (4:19 PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)#9 Silent Jet (5-2) // 23%W#8 D’Craziness (6-1) // 18%W#3 Regal Speaker (15-1) // 13%W#6 Mayrhofen (15-1) // 11%WNotes: This could be the single-or-spread decision to make in the pick five. Top 1/ST BET pick Silent Jet looks logical off a win vs. similar competition last out and has run well in both starts since arriving from Woodbine. Beyond that one, prices abound with the algorithm picks. Depending on your budget or (more importantly) your confidence in Silent Jet, the ball’s in your court for risk assessment.

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3.2.2021:

1/ST Look: Santa Anita Park Stats

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Santa Anita Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Southern California. And be sure to support “The Great Race Place” by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Santa Anita Park.HeadlinesSanta Anita has a $580,061 Rainbow 6 carryover heading into Friday’s return to action, and a guaranteed payout of that pool is set for Saturday – with an estimated pool of more than $6 million if a single ticket isn’t hit Friday … Saturday’s tradition-rich Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap card includes 5 stakes, including the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile and the Grade 2 San Felipe for Triple Crown hopefuls … Louisiana-based unbeaten Maxfield is among those expected to enter Wednesday for the Big ‘Cap … Bob Baffert’s Life is Good and Medina Spirit are among the leading probables for the San Felipe … Sunday’s main event will be the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel, final local prep for the Santa Anita Oaks ... Good luck to the 870 players who qualified for the March 13 Xpressbet Beat the Host Championship Round, which will be comprised of 5 contest races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $1,156.90. Stronach 5 races this Friday, March 5, will be:Leg A: Laurel Park Race 8 with a post time of 3:55 pm ETLeg B: Gulfstream Race 7Leg C: Santa Anita Race 3Leg D: Golden Gate Fields Race 3Leg E: Gulfstream Race 101/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Santa Anita Park last week, each winning at a 36% or greater win rate and showing a flat-bet profit.Dirt PedigreeMud PedigreeDistance PedigreeTrends Last Week-- Jockey Flavien Prat continued a strong run with a 16: 5-4-5 week that upped his mark to 14-for-36 (39% wins) over the past 2 weeks. Prat’s 5 wins, as well as 12 of his 16 mounts, were with horses 3-1 or less. He was 10: 4-2-3 on turf.-- Trainer Peter Miller appears beyond his slump, putting up an 11: 3-1-3 week and $1.94 ROI for every $1 bet. Miller flashed $17 and $18 winners and was 6: 3-0-2 on turf (0-5 on dirt). He’s now 5 for his last 19 after a chilly January-February streak, including a $33 score 2 weeks ago.-- Trainer Phil D’Amato continues his strong ways with a 8: 3-2-1 record last week. He was 3: 2-1-0 with favorites, but did have a 12-1 shot in the money as well.-- Trainer Richard Mandella quietly has gone about a hot streak with a 5-for-8 mark the past 3 weeks, going 1-for-1 with his only starter last week. He’s 4-for-5 teamed with Flavien Prat over the run. Mandella-Prat have combined fora rousing 12: 7-0-4 record at the current meet.-- Main track favorites came back to earth at 4-for-15 last week (27%) after a wild 27-for-53 run over the previous 4 weeks.

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3.2.2021:

1/ST Look: Gulfstream Park Stats

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Gulfstream Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in South Florida. And be sure to support Gulfstream by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Gulfstream Park.HeadlinesThere’s a $562,217 Rainbow 6 carryover ($950,000-guaranteed pool) heading into Wednesday’s weekly kickoff card … Sprinters take center stage this week with a trio of Saturday dash stakes – the Hutcheson and Amy Limit on dirt, and the Captiva Island on turf … Trainer Shug McGaughey told the Gulfstream notes team that last Saturday’s Fountain of Youth winner Greatest Honour would be pointed next to the Grade 1 Curlin Florida Derby, presented by Hill ‘n Dale Farm, at Gulfstream on March 27 … Good luck to the 870 players who qualified for March 13 Xpressbet Beat the Host Championship Round, which will be comprised of 5 contest races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $1,156.90. Stronach 5 races this Friday, March 5, will be:Leg A: Laurel Park Race 8 with a post time of 3:55 pm ETLeg B: Gulfstream Race 7Leg C: Santa Anita Race 3Leg D: Golden Gate Fields Race 3Leg E: Gulfstream Race 101/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Gulfstream Park last week, each winning at a 24% or greater win rate and flat-bet profit.Speed Last RaceLast Late PaceLast Turn TimeTrends Last Week-- Jockey Jose Ortiz had one of his best weeks of the meet, hitting 22% (8-37) with a $1.62 ROI for every $1 bet. He was 6: 4-0-2 on favorites, including back-to-back graded stakes Saturday with Antoinette and Fountain of Youth winner Greatest Honour. He had 4 winners at $15 plus, including 10-1 and 20-1 shots.-- Jockey Luis Saez was on point locally at 18: 6-5-0 ($1.73 ROI for every $1 bet) to start the week, and then added a road trip to Oaklawn to win Saturday’s Southwest Stakes with champion Essential Quality.-- Trainer Todd Pletcher was an all-or-nothing 22: 7-0-0 on the week and posted a 6: 4-0-0 mark with favorites. He won graded stakes Saturday with Fearless and Con Lima, the latter via DQ. Pletcher was 4-for-11 with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle.-- Trainer Ralph Nicks had a sharp 8: 4-0-0 record that included $9, $13 and $28 winners. His impressive 3-year-old American Prince turned heads in a Sunday maiden special weight sprint. Nicks and Tyler Gaffalione were 3-for-3 in tandem.-- Trainer David Fawkes was 5: 2-1-0 with a massive $7.66 ROI for every $1 bet. He did most of his damage on turf, including a $70 winner Sunday.-- Trainer Peter Walder came back to earth some at 5: 1-2-0 on the week. He won his seventh straight race to open the week on Wednesday and was 0-for-3 thereafter. He’s still a remarkable 11: 7-2-0 since Feb. 18.

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3.2.2021:

1/ST Look: Maryland Jockey Club at Laurel Park Stats

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Laurel Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Maryland. And be sure to support Laurel Park by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Maryland Jockey Club.HeadlinesLaurel’s Rainbow 6 starts the week with a $5,609 carryover into Friday’s card … Maryland-bred Hello Hot Rod, a 2-time winner late last year at Laurel, tries his hand on the Triple Crown trail in Saturday’s Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby. He was recently sold and transferred to trainer Shawn Davis from locally based trainer Brittany Russell … 19 sophomores were nominated to the March 13 Private Terms, Maryland’s first 2-turn test toward the Preakness. Among those are Maythehorsebewithu, winner of the Miracle Wood, and Todd Pletcher’s Sainthood … The Private Terms is 1 of 5 stakes worth $450,000 on the March 13 Good Samaritan Day program.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $1,156.90. Stronach 5 races this Friday, March 5, will be:Leg A: Laurel Park Race 8 with a post time of 3:55 pm ETLeg B: Gulfstream Race 7Leg C: Santa Anita Race 3Leg D: Golden Gate Fields Race 3Leg E: Gulfstream Race 101/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Laurel, each posting at least 24% wins. Speed factors returned to dominance at Laurel.Speed Last RaceLast E1 (Early) PaceAvg. Speed Last 3Trends Last Week-- Trainer Mike Trombetta had the hot hand with a 9: 4-2-1 week. He was 2-for-2 with favorites and produced a $1.76 ROI for every $1 bet, thanks to a $14 winner along the way. Trombetta and Julien Pimentel were 4: 2-1-1 in tandem.-- Trainer Hugh McMahon made the most of limited starts at 5: 3-1-0. McMahon won with both favorites he sent out, and hit a home run with $21 winner Brooks Robinson. He had been in a 1-for-15 slump in February prior to the breakout.-- Trainer Jerry Robb kept his roll going with a 10: 3-2-0 performance that makes him 23: 9-3-2 since Jan. 30 at Laurel. All 3 winners last week were 2-1 or less and came in sprints at 6 furlongs or shorter.-- Jockey Julien Pimentel struck with precision at 9: 4-1-1, including a 2-for-4 mark riding for Mike Trombetta. His winners were playable $6, $7, $11 and $13 returns that netted a $2.17 ROI for every $1 bet.-- Jockey Victor Rosales went 6: 3-1-0 in limited tries, posting 2 victories in 5-1/2 furlong dirt dashes. He had a $16 winner that helped produce a $2.15 ROI for every $1 bet.-- Favorites smoked the competition at 43: 21-8-4, winning 49% and landing in the exacta 68%. The chalk closed February at 39% wins and 61% in the exacta.

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3.2.2021:

1/ST Look: Golden Gate Fields Stats

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Golden Gate Fields. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Northern California. And be sure to support GGF by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Golden Gate Fields.HeadlinesGGF has a $65,332 Rainbow 6 carryover into Thursday’s card that opens a 4-day racing week … Cal-bred Ashley’s Valentine, half-brother to millionaire earner and graded stakes winner Ashleyluvssugar, made a successful debut Sunday with a maiden special weight score for trainer Andy Mathis … The Golden Hour Double and Golden Hour Pick Four, matching the final races daily from Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita, will be offered Friday through Sunday this week, including Santa Anita Handicap Day Saturday.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $1,156.90. Stronach 5 races this Friday, March 5, will be:Leg A: Laurel Park Race 8 with a post time of 3:55 pm ETLeg B: Gulfstream Race 7Leg C: Santa Anita Race 3Leg D: Golden Gate Fields Race 3Leg E: Gulfstream Race 101/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Golden Gate Fields, each posting at least 25% winners. Speed Last Race was a top-2 factor for the second straight week.Speed Last RaceLast Late PaceLast Turn TimeTrends Last Week-- Favorites continued a strong run last week with 42% wins, hitting at 49% over the past 2 weeks.-- Trainer Victor Trujillo led the way with a 10: 5-0-2 record, producing a whopping $3.63 ROI for every $1 bet. When teamed with Bryan Pena, the duo was 5-for-6, including $17 and $40 winners. All of their winners came at 6 furlongs or less.-- Trainer Blaine Wright was on point at 5: 2-2-0, missing the exacta with his only starter above 7-2 odds. The barn is now 4 for its last 10 since snapping an 0-20 streak.-- Jockey Bryan Pena topped the riding colony with a super 14: 6-0-7 record, 5 of those wins coming for trainer Victor Trujillo. Pena was 4-for-8 at the 5-1/2 furlong dash distance.-- Jockey Evin Roman posted a solid 20: 6-1-3 week, doing most of his damage at 8: 4-0-1 with trainer Jonathan Wong. He added a $13 winner with trainer Andy Mathis.

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3.2.2021:

Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis-$20,000 Guaranteed Pool

Tonight, Pompano Park brings a 10-race card with the 0.50 Pick 4 starting in Race 6. That sequence has a $20,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Last night, Rick Plano led the drivers with three wins. The top conditioners, with two trips to the winner's circle were Rick Plano and Michael Deters.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 64-Tempus Seelster (4-1)-Gets a new pilot after sizzling the back half in 54.3 on 2-16 to miss by a neck on a sloppy track. Gets post relief after leaving from post 7 and was 10 lengths behind at the 1st call. MacDonald should work a better trip and it's best to respect.5-Prairie Westerngal (5/2)-Looked a bit rough in last and didn't fly off the gate in typical fashion. It could be time for a rest as maybe some aches and pains have set in. Or, it could be looking bumpy on the track may had something to do with a late shoe change before the race. I'll lean towards going back to the barn for a shoe change that mattered most.6-Crisp Mane (3-1)-Like #4 just missed in last on a sloppy track. It should be noted the off-track record for this mare is only 1 for 11. Draws better than in the last couple of starts and has been too consistent to leave off the ticket.Race 72-Stick With Me Kid (8-1)-Did take a picture at this level on 2-15 and could take advantage of this post draw. Does its best work racing near the top of the stack and that can happen here. Could get the jump on the program chalks and trip out at a nice price.6-Boinganator (5/2)-Wallis steers his own, #8 and Hennessey takes the lines. Fits well with this group and did win at this level on 2-1. Morning line chalk is in sharp form so it's best to not overlook.8-The Lionking As (6-1)-Beat Open II company on 1-11 from post 7 but was able to cross over and get on the engine. Deserves respect on the drop but not sure getting the top will be as easy tonight. Should offer a square price and will need a sharp steer.Race 85-Arrhythmogenic (7-1)-Draws well, has been facing better and may leave and find a close-up seat. So will use and look for some juice to punch up the Pick 4 payout.6-Landry Seelster (2-1)-This mare could be on the point or in the pocket after the first turn. Didn't finish off the last mile but may not have seen Miller coming up the pylons to take top honors.7-Don't Chip Me (5/2)-Chip finished 2nd five straight times and didn't record a win on Lasix but that all ended with a score on 2-23. Miller found a way to make this mare more determined as he kept her off the lead, saved ground and used one strong brush to surge past at the wire. That same script could play out tonight.Race 92-Lady Driver (9/2)-Drops in for a tag and gets a new pilot who has had success in the past. Hennessey returns, he could be aggressive and get the top. If this mare gets too much respect and walks to the half it could be time for the 1st win of 2021.4-Wild Nite Tina (3-1)-Tina needs a trip and may challenge #2 for the top. If the first quarter isn't too taxing Chindano may have enough horse left to seal the deal. Seven-year-old likes the Pomp hitting the board in 7 of 10 starts with 3 pictures.0.50 Pick 44,5,6/2,6,8/5,6,7/2,4Total Bet=$27Check me out on Twitter!

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3.1.2021:

Monday, March 01: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis-$20,000 Guaranteed Pool

There is a Monday night 10-race card ready to roll at Pompano Park with the 0.50 Pick 4 starting in Race 6. The sequence has a $20,000 guaranteed pool with a 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.On Sunday night, Dave Miller led the drivers with three wins. Jake Huff was the top conditioner on the card with three pictures.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Johnny Chip (4-1)-Miller's choice over the 6/7 can stay in the hunt and get sucked around like last week. Only 2 for the last 22 and has just 1 win in 9 Pomp starts but comes off an improved effort and the upswing could continue.3-Warr-N-Munn (4-1)-Was bet hard and then used hard to get the top in last and was empty down the lane. Will respect chances in a field without a standout.5-Perkins (9/2)-Drops after being in too tough and the question is whether this is still not the right level for a picture. That case could be made. But Hennessey is in the bike tonight and if he gets the top and then walks, this 5-year-old can out sprint them home.Race 73-Eastender (12-1)-Drops, and this 10-year-old can dial it up at this level. Plano could get a cozy trip right behind the odds-on favorite and take a big shot down the lane.4-Manceiver (4/5)-Got the top, went to the half in 54.4 and was in control to the wire. Steps up and not sure it will be that easy tonight. But is Miller's choice over #1 and may have more to offer.Race 84-American Arrow (8/5)-Drops to a spot to shine and finally draws well. There is also a positive driver change as Hennessey is back in the bike. That's the good news but is 0-8 this year, 0-9 at the Pomp and will probably be bet down.7-Swinging Jenny (7-1)-This is a race that may yield a price and this is the level for Jenny to have a chance at a picture. Will need a good drive and that can be an issue but may leave as there is not much gate speed inside.9-Charms Little Sis (9/2)-Beat the $10k claimer at the Meadows in December and held his own at that level here in January.Now drops to a soft spot and could compete verus this crew with a decent trip if close to 100%.Race 95-Unlikeanyother (7/2)-Makes 2nd start for the Mungillo barn and has a post edge over main foes. Looking for a return to previous form and an aggressive steer.6-Southwind Amazon (5/2)-Eleven-year-old doesn't dial it on high as often these days but can take its 2nd picture this year with his best shot. Miller is back and he was at the controls for previous win this year in a snappy 149.3.7-Prairie Panther (9/5)-Should be right there at the wire but not sure what to make of the last outing going off-stride down the lane. Hennessey sticks, tries Lasix for the 4th time and will respect chances to snag first win since 12-27.My Ticket Race 6) 2,3,5 Race 7) 3,4 Race 8) 4,7,9 Race 9) 5,6,7Total Ticket Cost) = $27 for $0.50 Check me out on Twitter!

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3.1.2021:

Monday Myths: Older Horses on the Comeback Trail

Welcome to a new handicapping series for our Monday blog space entitled “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities. Assumption:Older horses don’t perform as well after a long layoff as younger horses.Background:Stars Monomoy Girl and Got Stormy returned victorious from Breeders’ Cup layoffs (112-113 days) this past weekend at age 6. Were they notable exceptions to the long-prescribed theory that it takes older horses more time to race back into shape than younger ones? As most of us aging types can admit, it’s not as easy to get going the older we get. But is that statistically true with racehorses?Data Points:I crunched the numbers in the Betmix database for every Thoroughbred race in North America over the past 8 years, going back to Mar. 1, 2013. I looked at all starters who were away from the races for periods of 90-119 days, 120-179 days and 180-365 days. Each starter was evaluated by age, from 3 to 8.Overall Findings:3-year-olds off 90-119 days won 11.9%.4-year-olds off 90-119 days won 12.1%.5-year-olds off 90-119 days won 10.9%.6-year-olds off 90-119 days won 10.1%.7-year-olds off 90-119 days won 10.1%.8-year-olds off 90-119 days won 8.2%.3-year-olds off 120-179 days won 12.0%.4-year-olds off 120-179 days won 11.4%.5-year-olds off 120-179 days won 10.3%.6-year-olds off 120-179 days won 9.1%.7-year-olds off 120-179 days won 9.5%.8-year-olds off 120-179 days won 8.0%.3-year-olds off 180-365 days won 12.8%.4-year-olds off 180-365 days won 11.9%.5-year-olds off 180-365 days won 10.0%.6-year-olds off 180-365 days won 8.5%.7-year-olds off 180-365 days won 7.9%.8-year-olds off 180-365 days won 7.7%.Overall Findings Verdict:In all 3 lengths of layoffs, the more a horse increased in age, the lower the win percentage in almost every single progression. A noticeable gap happened between ages 4 and 5, where the win percentages dropped 1.2%, 1.1% and 1.9% among the various layoff lengths. The gap was also significant from age 5 to 6 with the longer layoffs, 1.2% and 1.5% when you got beyond 120 days off.The length of layoff as it pertains to age was interesting. The 3-year-olds actually won more frequently the longer the layoff (11.9% to 12.0% to 12.8%). But from age 5 on, the longer the layoff, the worse the win percentage at every level.Bottom line:The assumption that it’s tougher for older horses after a layoff is confirmed. The percentages consistently show that the older the horse, the tougher it is to successfully return and win following a layoff. Not only that, it gets even tougher the longer the layoff for horses who are getting up in age.Additional Details:You can go into Betmix and run your own queries for a deeper dive into this theory and any that you can create. For instance, take a look at the tracks you play most often to see if they fall in line with this study’s conclusions. You can sort by race class (claiming, etc.) or by purse money to see how the elders perform at the lower and upper levels. For instance, 6-year-olds in the 90-119 day layoff category in graded stakes races – like Monomoy Girl and Got Stormy this past weekend – win 18.7%, far above the 10.1% overall win rate for all their age peers at all class levels. These kind are the exceptions to the everyday rule, and remarkably so.

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2.28.2021:

Sunday, February 28: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Gulfstream Park – Third Race – Post time: 1:08 ET3-Publicly Available (2-1)This strong, powerful colt has taken some time to get to the races but a series of sharp drills at Payson Park should have him fit enough to win at first asking in this six furlong maiden special weight affair for 3-year-olds. The son on Liam’s Map, a $275,000 yearling purchase that looks the part, shows a :48 3/5 seconds gate workout 15 days ago over the deepish Payson Park surface that was the fastest of 58 for the distance, and from a barn that is more than capable of winning with a debut runner this colt will be hard to beat if he leaves with his field.Gulfstream Park – Sixth Race – Post time: 2:36 ET7-Cambi Lion (6-1)Medaglia d’Oro colt from the terrific turf race mare Cambiocorsa finished sixth in his debut over the local lawn but by all rights should have been much closer in a race taken but subsequent stakes winner Annex. Was off slowly from his outside draw and trailed early, rallied inside into the lane and was finishing with purpose until running into a road block inside the sixteenth pole that cost him all of his momentum. As it was, Shug’s colt was beaten just four and one-half lengths, and since second time starters from this stable almost always improve, this promising 3-year-old seems capable of springing a surprise at 6-1 on the morning line in this middle distance maiden affair for sophomores.

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2.28.2021:

Sunday, February 28: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click here to view today’s Daily Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Exultation; 5-Squalotoro; 10-Galloping MischiefForecast: There is nothing to trust in today’s opener, a starter optional claiming extended turf sprint that has all the makings of a chaotic affair. Best advice is to spread the race using as many as your budge allows. Listed above are two price chances that should be among those included on your ticket along with (on pure form) the somewhat shaky top pick, Exultation. The lightly-raced six-year-old just earned a career top speed figure when rallying to finish second in his first outing since April, and if he can produce any type of forward move he could tag the speed over a course and distance that plays kindly to the late runners. The Paynter gelding’s two main issues, though, are his preference for finishing second or third rather than winning and his disturbing habit of failing to deliver when he assumes the role of the favorite. Six times during his 11-race career he has gone to the post as the betting choice and he has been beaten every time. The P. Eurton-trained runner could vety well wind up being the favorite again. As for longshots, let’s first consider Squalotoro, a first-off-the-claim play for D. O’Neill, whose stats with this angle are quite good (22% with a positive ROI). The Clubhouse Ride gelding has the deep closing style that fits the profile for this six and one-half furlong distance and with some help up front he could be dangerous from the quarter pole home at 12-1 on the morning line. He’s run well over the local lawn in the past, has worked decently since changing barns, and has speed figures that make him a contender. Galloping Mischief, listed at 10-1 on the morning line, is another that offers long shot value for a few reasons. He’s a second-off-the-claim for a low profile but high percentage outfit, is protected in a sign of confidence, sports the route-to-sprint angle, and is adding blinkers for the first time. The son of Into Mischief won a Hillside turf sprint here a couple of years ago and is another with prior speed figures that if duplicated will make him solid fit against this group.RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Gabby Hayes; 4-Big WellForecast: We’ll double the second race, a modest maiden $50,000 claiming miler for state-bred 3-year-olds. Big Well failed to make any impression in a maiden special weight affair on grass last time out but this return to the main track coupled with the class drop and the switch to F. Prat could make a world of difference to the T. Yakteen-trained gelding. His numbers are headed in the right direction, he shows a steady, healthy work pattern since raced, and clearly doesn’t have a whole lot to beat. Gabby Hayes is faster on figures than ‘Well and is stretching out and dropping into a claimer for the first time, the reasons he’s listed as the 2-1 morning line favorite. We suspect bug girl J. Pyfer will try to put him on the lead, which seems like a proper strategy in a field lacking in effective closers. We’ll give Big Well a slight edge on top but include both in rolling exotic play.RACE 3: Post: 1:33 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Jibber Jabber; 4-Cider AppleForecast: Cider Apple looked to be in need of the outing when winding up a closing third over nine furlongs on grass here earlier this month in her U.S. debut and today, with that race under her belt and the shortening in trip to a flat mile, the J. Mullins-trained import should be hard to beat. The barn’s “go to” rider T. Baze stays aboard and we expect he’ll have this English-bred filly along in time. Somewhat surprisingly, she’s not the morning line favorite at 5/2; that honor goes to the Irish invader Jibber Jabber, who is listed a half point lower at 2-1. Her form in France was quite good last summer and her Timeform numbers are superior to ‘Apple’s, but she really hasn’t been impressive in her main track recent drills, though it’s likely that she’ll be much more comfortable on grass. We’re expecting the winner to be one or the other but because she’s had a prior local outing we’ll give Cider Apple a slight edge on top.RACE 4: Post: 2:06 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Motown Music; 6-RomanoForecast: Romano, freshened since Del Mar, has looked good in the a.m. leading up this starter’s allowance main track miler and has a history of firing fresh for a barn that boasts superior stats with layoff runners. With two wins and nine seconds, he’s never been one to bank on under pressure in the final furlong, but the way the P. D’Amato barn has been sizzling in recent weeks this veteran gelding must be considered extremely live and well-meant. F. Prat stays aboard, has won on him in the past, and will have this son of Run Away and Hide motoring through the lane. Motown Music returns off short rest after failing at even money with a perfect trip in a first-level allowance affair just eight days ago over this track and distance. He’ll remove the blinkers that were added for that race while switching to U. Rispoli, so the Quality Road gelding, with strong speed figures for this level, must be given a chance to make amends. We’ll try to get by using just these two in our rolling exotics.RACE 5: Post: 2:39 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Uncle Ray; Ox BridgeForecast: Ox Bridge displayed some ability in a pair of straight maiden events in New York in the summer of 2019 before being stopped on and today reappears as a first-time gelding in a soft maiden $50,000 grass sprint for the D. O’Neill barn following what appears to be a series of good workouts at San Luis Rey Downs. The son of Oxbow has little to beat and with U. Rispoli taking the call we’re going to assume that he’s fit and ready. Uncle Ray is the one to fear most. Runner-up in his debut at this level over this course last March, he was stopped on for a few months and then was subsequently overmatched in a pair of straight maiden two-turns events, though earning speed figures that make him a solid fit in this league. We’re expecting the Declaration of War gelding to display good speed from the rail and stick around a long time in what clearly is a below par field for the level.RACE 6: Post: 3:13 PT Grade: C+Use: 1-Betito; 2-Count Alexei; 5-Notre DameForecast: Bottom-rung maiden claimers sprint five and one-half furlongs in the first leg of the late Pick-4. Count Alexei plummets from straight maiden company and may have found his friends, though his layoff from October is concerning and so is his propensity for fading under pressure in the final stages of most of his races. Against this group at this shortened trip he may shake loose and get brave, and good recent workouts at Los Alamitos are encouraging, so we’ll put the B.Koriner-trained son of Vronsky on top but not with any degree of confidence. Betito has the blinkers off angle that we always like after finishing a respectable third in a similar maiden $20,000 sprint here two weeks ago. The K. Mullhall-trained son of Heat Shield will be in the fray throughout and in his second start off a layoff can be expected to stick around a little longer. Notre Dame, purchased at auction for $1 million two years ago, has been non-competitive in three career starts but has never raced this cheaply. Freshened since August, the son of Into Mischief shows a promising a series of recent workouts at San Luis Rey Downs and may be better than shown. Toss him in.RACE 7: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Bedrock; 8-Blackout; 9-CastleForecast: The P. Miller barn has a pair of major players in this turf sprint for $25,000 older claimers. The better price (5-1) of the two on the morning line is Bedrock, a first-off-the-claim play (26%, strong ROI with this angle) making his first start as a gelding, switching to grass and changing riders to J. J. Hernandez. Most effective as a late-running sprinter. the son of Red Rocks surely will be outrun early, but over a course that plays well to the closers he could very well uncork a strong late kick and pull off a minor surprise. Stable mate Blackout folded up after cutting out the fractions in a grass miler at this level last month but shortens up and is reunited with “win rider: F. Prat, so improvement is likely. A two-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course, the French-bred veteran projects to enjoy an ideal stalking trip and then have every chance to seal the deal in the final furlong. Castle, away almost a year but training decently for his comeback, always has had a winning spirit (he’s 6-for-16 lifetime) and has a history of firing a big shot fresh. The recent local workouts include a bullet five furlong main track drill (1:00h, fastest of 64) two weeks ago and there’s no question that if he returns with anything close to his best race he can win.RACE 8: Post: 4:17 PT Grade: CUse: 3-Bradothebartender; 5-Fashionable FastForecast: Fashionably Fast is listed at 6/5 on the morning line in this year’s five-runner Tiznow Stakes over a mile on the main track for California bred older horses. Indeed, he won this race last year but was all out to do so and we’re convinced that despite that victory he’s really much more comfortable around one turn. He closed with interest to be third in the Cal Cup Sprint last month (his first outing since August) and the son of Lucky Pulpit has every right to produce a forward move, but at a short price he’ll offer no value and may be vulnerable. Brandothebartender is winless in four starts over the Santa Anita main track and he’s always been far more interested in finishing third (14 times) throughout his career than winning (6 times), but in a race begging to be won from behind he should have every chance to wear down the leaders in the final furlong. Truthfully, nothing would surprise us, so we’ll pass the race; rolling exotic players should include as many as they can afford to.RACE 9: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Whistler’s Style; 6-Kind But She LiesForecast: At the prices that they are listed, we’re not really keen on Avisse (3-1) or Flag Salute (7/2), though we do recognize that in an extremely weak maiden $50,000 claiming turf miler for 3-year-old fillies a win by either one wouldn’t be surprising. Instead, we’ll double the race and hope that gets us through it. Whistler’s Style shows up in a seller for the first time, shortens to a mile, and makes a major jockey switch to F. Prat while landing a comfortable inside post position. The daughter of Tonalist has never attracted an ounce of money in three starts but against this group and based on her speed figures she should be right there and maybe even win it. Kind But She Lies – listed at 8-1 on the morning line - seems to be improving with racing and can be expected to be running on late. She shows the two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern for E. Kruljac, and after closing a gap to be fifth in a recent turf dash she could produce a significant forward move at a distance she’s bred to like.

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2.28.2021:

Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis-$25,000 Guaranteed Pool

Cal Expo has a 12-race card ready to go tonight and the 0.20 Pick 4 starts in Race 9. The sequence has a $25,000 guaranteed pool with a 16% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 93-Noisy Nora (3-1)-Noira drops to the basement and with 1 win in 42 tries she can use the help. Does pass horses down the lane sometimes. Will include but is 0-33 at CalX and offers no value.5-Blue Gem (9/2)-This would be the spot for an overdue win. Last picture happened versus similar on 12-5. Could be dialed on high tonight and this is a field without much form.6-Selma O'Brien (6-1) -Broke down the lane to lose all chance in last. Probably wouldn't have won but might have hit the board. Will take a swing she minds her manners and the ++ driver change to Roland makes a difference.7-Place At The Beach (5-1)-Dropped to this level in last and was used hard to get the lead but faded down the lane. Longo may look to grind things out this time. Went off as the chalk last week and could be overlooked at the windows.9-Queen Of Marcs (15-1)-Drew the rail when dropped to this class in last and was a game 3rd. Closers came on to win that race and this mare held on better than others. This post will add to a big price and is worth a swing versus this crew.Race 101-Marvtherat (5-1)-Drew outside in last and rallied from way back to cash a 3rd place check. Not sure starting from the rail helps but did pace a .56 last half and a 27.1 final quarter. Could offer a square price and should be a threat with an alert start.6-Timetoplaythegame (6-1)-Drops to the level of an odds-on win on 2-5. Cutting returns and was his choice. Should like the company and can pass them all down the lane.7-Bet Together (5/2)-Has raced from the back in the last 3 starts and has not been able to snag a win. Did take a lot of action at the windows in last and will look for a more aggressive steer tonight.9-Fly Away (5-1)-Beat many of these last week with a trip out win from the rail. This won't be as easy. Svendsen is between the pipes and he knows well. Twelve-year-old can come from off cover and that could work well if the pace is honest.Race 114-Mystic Ruler (3-1)-Drops after battling $8k claimers in last 3 starts. Has the speed to beat this crew but will need Roland to get a good early seat.6-To The Limit (2-1)-Steps-up after taking care of $4k claimers with a 56.1 back half as an odds-on choice. Nine-year-old likes CalX winning 14 of 59 starts. Should be rolling late and the short field won't hurt chances.Race 125-Cantholdmebackmack (5/2)-Camera shy 11-year-old loses Roland as he steers his own but is Plano's choice over the 8. Drops after being used twice and not able to stay with a strong winner. Raced close to the top in a 55.3 1st half last week and this race may set-up better.7-Buzz Light (3-1)-Buzz has been facing tougher and could make some noise at this level. Latest form has been dull but can close faster than this crew and will look for a big try here.0.20 Pick 43,5,6,7,9/1,6,7,9/4,6/5,7Total Bet=$16Check me out on Twitter!

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2.28.2021:

Sunday, February 28: My Late Pick 4 Ticket Sunday at Santa Anita

Fashionably Fast is the key player in Santa Anita’s late Pick 4 Sunday as he heads a short but talented group of five California-breds in the $100,000 Tiznow Stakes at a mile. The Tiznow – a race he won last year – is the eighth race on the card and the third leg of the Pick 4 that runs from races 6 through 9.The Dean Peterson-trained son of Lucky Pulpit opened 2021 with a closing third in the Cal Cup Sprint on January 16. He had only four starts in 2020 and won the Cal Cup Sprint along with the Tiznow. He was second to McKinzie in the G2 Triple Bend and then followed with a sixth in the G1 Bing Crosby. During one stretch from July 27, 2019 to March 1, 2020 he won six straight races. He generally does very well in state-bred races and has the class over his four rivals in this one.Fashionably Fast, a winner in 7 of 18 for $508,245, is a single on the $40 suggested Pick 4 ticket this week. Here’s a look at the sequence:Race 6 (6 p.m. ET, maiden claiming)BELITO comes off his best effort in five starts. Has speed, inside and is looking at a favorable distance.COUNT ALEXEI moves over to the main track after seeing nothing but turf and has shown speed in all starts. Drops out of maiden special weights for his first look at maiden claimers.STIR THE POT stopped a string of bad races last time as he set the pace and held second.GUINESSEY ran an even fourth running longer and is a possibility here at a price. Will stalk some pace battlers and could benefit the most from it.Race 7 (6:30 p.m. ET, claiming)BAD BEST was in front for a half time running longer last out and drops to his lowest level. Won for a higher price two races back in fast time.BEDROCK was claimed by Peter Miller last time and had won two straight going into that lackluster sixth on the dirt. He’s back to turf, which he hasn’t seen since June, when he faded going two turns. Can get back to decent form.BLACKOUT opened a long lead and faded going long last time and will welcome the return to a sprint. Likely to sit just off the pace and he has a good chance to finish with interest.CASTLE has been off for 11 months and drops to his lowest level for his return. Was a stakes winner threat races back and has shown some life in works for his comeback.Race 8 (7 p.m. ET, Tiznow Stakes)FASHIONABLY FAST won this one last year and is clearly the one to beat.Race 9 (7:30 p.m. ET, maiden claiming)WHISTLER’S STYLE set the pace in a maiden special races and dips down into maiden claiming waters.JUDY WITH GRACE closed ground, lost position last time and finished fourth, beaten by just a half-length. Fits at this level.KIND BUT SHE LIES was too late in her bid going short and can benefit from more distance.MALIBU HANNAH makes her first drop to maiden claiming and can be close throughout.AVISSE was fifth in a similar spot last time and was claimed by Ortiz. Could carve out a good trip just off the pace and figures to have something for the finish of this one.Santa Anita Park’s Late Pick 4 on Sunday:Race 6) #1 Belito, #2 Count Alexei, #4 Stir the Pot, #10 Guinessey.Race 7) #1 Bad Beat, #3 Bedrock, #8 Blackout, #9 Castle.Race 8) #5 Fashionably Fast.Race 9) #2 Whistler’s Style, #4 Judy With Grace, #6 Kind But She Lies, #7 Malibu Hannah, #8 Avisse.Total Ticket Cost) 1,2,4,10/1,3,8,9/5/2,4,6,7,8 = $40 for $0.50

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2.27.2021:

Saturday, February 27: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 5 Analysis

Woodbine Mohawk Park has a 10-race card ready to go with the 0.20 Early Pick 5 kicking off the night. The sequence has a $100,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Last night, except for Race 8, winners were on the lead or close to it at the top of the lane. James MacDonald and Bob McClure led the drivers with two pictures each. All ten races were won by different conditioners.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 14-Mister Magic (3-1)-Winner of 4 straight before the stoppage in December came off the bench hot and took another picture last week. Back in versus some of the same for the 2nd start for new barn and looks like a threat again.5-All Wrapped Up (7/2)-Comes off a bumpy trip versus better and should appreciate the company. Lightly raced last year and has had issues but is a player if dialed on high tonight.10-ImThe Muscle (9/2)-Dropped and popped last week in the 1st start after the halt. Needs to get a break or two from this post but Roy can provide the right trip and should be a square price.Race 21-Evenwood Sonofagun (5/2)-Comes off a 1st over tussle last week and faded down the lane. Can race close to the top of the stack with this post and has beaten much better in the past. Should be tighter tonight and in the hunt at the wire.3-Traceur Hanover (3-1)-Bumps up a couple of notches after going gate to wire last week from the 7-hole. This is a tougher task but will use this veteran with a start under his belt. Does have the ability for a repeat win and should be forwardly placed.Race 31-Beyond Better (3-1)-Comes off a big qualifier on an off track and McClure takes a spin here. Best to respect in 1st start back and can get into striking range at the top of the lane.5-Captain Video (4-1)-Steps-up but comes off an impressive win last week as the chalk off a tough journey. Should be tighter, the trip could be better and so might the price.6-Talbot Romeo (7/2)-Lightly raced late bloomer has won 8 of 12 lifetime and 5 of 8 at Wbsb. Romeo likes to win and best to not overlook in a very tough race.Race 41-Aintnobettor A (10-1)-Looking for a nice price and if this 7-year-old gets a decent early seat McNair could use one big brush to roll by near the wire.3-Real Willey (3-1)-Dropped to a soft spot last week and won convincingly. Willy doesn't take as many pictures these days but has battled better than this. Filion can work a sweet trip from this post and a repeat win shouldn't be a surprise.6-Torrin Hanover (5/2)-Has raced from the back in the last 2 starts versus better. This is a spot for a more aggressive steer, loses Filion but Young can put into play. Should like the company, could take a picture with a better start and a good steer.Race 54-Hello Love (4-1)-In first start back, left from post 7 and stayed inside to cash a 2nd place check while finishing behind #5.Will look for more this week with the better post draw even though this crew is tougher. Could be battling for the top of the ticket at a fair price.6-Kendall Seelster (3-1)-Faces better in 2nd start off the bench and was flying late last time pacing the back half in 54.4. Just missed catching a determined winner and could be even better this week. McClure is back again and that won't hurt.My TicketRace 1) 4,5,10 Race 2) 1,3 Race 3) 1,5,6 Race 4) 1,3,6 Race 5) 4,6Total Ticket Cost) $21.60 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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2.27.2021:

Saturday, February 27: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.View Fountain of Youth S.-G2 Video AnalysisView Southwest Stakes Video AnalysisGulfstream Park – Fifth Race – Post time: 1:24 ET3-Full Court Press (8-1)The W. Mott-trained colt was given a run last month in his recent debut – a monster race taken by runaway winner Prevalence - and with that effort under his belt he’ll get serious today in this one turn mile maiden affair for 3-year-olds. The son of Dialed In was within range to the head of the lane but wasn’t knocked about while keeping to his task and winding up fourth, beaten nearly 16 lengths. He’s a much better colt than that line will show and today gets his chance to spring an upset at 8-1 on the morning line in a race that doesn’t offer nearly the amount of early speed he was forced to deal with first time out.Gulfstream Park – Sixth Race – Post time: 1:53 ET2-Annex (3-1)Was a visually pleasing debut winner over this turf course last month, rallying wide and storming home with an impressive turn of foot to earn a huge speed figure while providing promise of bigger and better things to come. The son of Constitution accomplished the win despite appearing a bit green, so with that race under his belt we’re expecting an even better performance in today’s Palm Beach Stakes over a middle distance for 3-year-olds. Drawn nicely inside and listed at 3-1 on the morning line, the W. Mott-trained colt should be capable of handling the class hike in stride.Gulfstream Park– Ninth Race – Post time 3:27 ET5-Fearless (9/2)Launches a comeback for T. Pletcher (26%, strong flat-bet profit with this angle) in a contentious edition of the Gulfstream Park Mile-G2, but because he won his debut we know he can fire fresh and his recent workouts indicate this classy gelding is fit and ready for a huge run. The son of Ghostzapper really turn it on from the quarter pole to the wire, so with good racing luck and little help up, front he can tag the speed. He’s a win play and strong rolling exotic key at or near his morning line of 9/2.Gulfstream Park – Twelfth Race – Post time: 5:04 ET5-Millefeuille (5-1)Returns to the one-turn mile distance of her maiden win last fall and has looked extremely sharp in the a.m. while preparing for her sophomore debut in this year’s edition of the Davona Dale S.-G2. Narrowly missing when last seen in the Demoiselle S.-G2 in early December, the daughter of Curlin is strong on speed figures and has the good stalking style that makes her ideally suited for this elongated one-turn trip. From a barn that has strong stats with layoff runners and switching to Johnny V., she’ll offer excellent value at or near her morning line of 5-1.

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2.27.2021:

Saturday, February 27: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click here to view today’s Daily Workout ReportClick here to View Fountain of Youth S.-G2 Video AnalysisClick here to View Southwest Stakes-G3 Video AnalysisRACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Hockey Dad; 5-Big TalkerForecast: Hockey Dad, back on short rest (seven days), stretches out for the first time and returning to what we believe is his best surface (grass), rates top billing in this six-runner affair confined to state-bred competition. The son of Nyquist is solid in the speed figure department and projects to settle in a stalking, second-flight early position and then have every chance to tag the leaders when the pressure is turned on. Big Talker shortens up a furlong after graduating with a good late kick in part due to a highly-favorable race shape in a modest Cal-bred affair earlier this month. He’ll be running on late again but will need considerable help up front to compliment his one-paced grinding style. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Hockey Dad.RACE 2: Post: 1:05 PT Grade: B-Use: 1=Synthesis; 4-Pubilius SyrusForecast: Pubilius Syrus was scratched Feb. 5 and didn’t work until nine days later, so we’ll assume he came up with some type of physical problem, but the veteran son of Candy Ride appears to have gotten over what it may have been and returns protected in this starter’s allowance main track miler that appears to be a proper spot to produce an extension of his four race winning streak. Perfect in two career outings over the Santa Anita main track, the V. Cerin-trained six-year-old likes to lag early and blast home, and in a field with just five starters he’ll not likely encounter any traffic issues along the way. Additionally, the pace scenario projects to be favorable. Synthesis, a distant third to our top pick two runs back and then beaten in a photo in his most recent start, goes for new trainer J. Mullins following a $32,000 claim and could improve enough to pose a threat. He’s worth tossing in on a ticket or two for protection, but the main push goes to Pubilius Cyrus.RACE 3: Post: 1:38 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-That’s Amare; 3-KalonForecast: That’s Amare, an excellent runner-up in her debut last summer in a turf sprint at Del Mar, returns for P. D’Amato (outstanding stats with layoff runners) and has trained like she’s fit and ready for this six furlong maiden affair on grass for fillies and mares. The daughter of Unusual Heat should draft into a stalking, ground-saving position and then exert her superiority when asked. She’s 8/5 on the morning line but probably will go lower. Kalon, third in her only start in November, has done some solid recent work in the a.m. for J. Sadler, attracts the barn’s “go to” rider U. Rispoli, and will be running on late. Strong preference on top goes to That’s Amare but we’ll have tickets including both in our rolling exotics.RACE 4: Post: 2:12 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Studly Perfection; 6-ImpressionForecast: Impression was well below his best form when a no-threat fifth in a slightly stronger event earlier this month but in a weak $10,000 claiming miler the son of Smart Strike should have every opportunity to get back on the beam. First or second in 13 or 31 career starts, the veteran gelding always has been fairly dependable, so we’ll expect him to bounce back. Studly Perfection, making his second off a layoff and vanning down from Golden Gate Fields, does his best work on the front end so we’ll expect he’ll be sent from the bell in an attempt to be the controlling speed. First or second in five of seven career starts over the local main track, the son of Majesticperfection has several races on his resume that make him dangerous, so with a recent bullet workout at Golden Gate Fields and at 10-1 on the morning line he’ll be offer a legitimate price chance to our ticket.RACE 5: Post: 2:45 PT Grade: XSingle: 5-Ruthless RacerForecast: Ruthless Racer has little to beat in this $20,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-old fillies and from her cozy outside draw the P. Miller-trained daughter of Flashback should settle into an easy stalking position and then take control when given her command. She’s back sprinting where she belongs, reunited with “win rider: F. Prat, and seems likely to go lower than her morning line of 6/5. She’s a logical no-value rolling exotic single.RACE 6: Post: 3:20 PT Grade: B-Use: 6-Mahaamel; 8-El Joy; 9-Got CurlyForecast: Let’s go with a trio of 3-year-olds dropping from the straight maiden ranks into a high-priced maiden claimer in this nine furlong turf affair that came up light in quality. Mahaamel closed a gap without really posing a threat in his U.S. debut in a race he most likely needed, and with that prep under his belt the J. Mullins-trained gelding should greatly appreciate not only the softer assignment but also the stretch out from six furlongs to a mile and one-eighth. With T. Baze riding him back, the Irish import may be capable of producing the last run. Got Curley removes blinkers (love that angle), shows up for a tag after five middling performances when facing straight maiden foes, and has produced consistent speed figures that make him a major player at this level. At 4-1 on the morning line, he’s a “must use.” El Joy was overmatched vs. Du Jour and other nice prospects last time out but his two previous maiden claiming outings were quite solid. He makes a major jockey change to U. Rispoli and has the closing style that should be enhanced by today’s longer distance.RACE 7: Post: 3:52 PT Grade: XSingle: 6-Handr’sdreamForecast: Handr’sdream was claimed for $30,000 out of her debut at Los Alamitos in December and makes her first start for new trainer P. Miller (26% with a strong ROI with this angle) for the same price in a rather shallow race for 3-year-olds. The son of Palace Malice flashed good speed before weakening to wind up fifth in that race but gains Lasix and is a first time gelding so considerable improvement is likely. With F. Prat picking up the mount, there will be no price to be found (he’s 6/5 on the morning line) so let’s make him a no value, short price, rolling exotic single in a race that’s we’ll otherwise pass.RACE 8: Post: 4:26 PT Grade: B+Single: 5-Rock Your WorldForecast: Rock Your World won like a future star in his debut sprinting on grass earlier this meeting while earning a huge speed figure, and today stretches out while advancing into stakes competition in this year’s edition of the Pasadena Stakes for 3-year-oids. Today’s two-turn trip won’t be an issue at all, so we’re expecting the J. Sadler-trained colt to draft into an early stalking position and then move quickly whenever he’s given his cue. We’ll take his morning line of 2-1 if we can get it and also make the son of Candy Ride a rolling exotic single.RACE 9: Post: 4:57 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Threearchbaymedia; 3-Malakai Moxie; 8-Brazilian SummerForecast: We’ll go three-deep in the finale, a restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming sprint for older horses. Malakai Moxie was worn down late at 22-1 in a slightly softer affair here last month but has trained well since and should improve enough to stick it out to the end. Additionally, this will be his second off a layoff in a projected pace flow that should allow him to be the controlling speed. Threearchbaymafia, third with a wide trip vs. similar last time out, needs a bit of help in the speed figure department to worry our top pick, but with just four career starts the V. Cerin-trained son of Will Take Charge certainly has room for improvement. The barn’s “go to” rider U. Rispoli stays aboard. Brazilian Summer, away for more than a year but training quite well for his return, is waiver protected by new trainer V. Garcia and could fire a big shot off the bench. He’s run well over this track in the past and probably is a bit better than his 12-1 morning line gives him credit for.*

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2.26.2021:

1/ST BET AI Picks for This Week's Triple Crown Preps

This weekend offers a trio of Triple Crown prep races toward the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. To help you tackle the diverse set of races, the 1/ST BET app’s artificial intelligence provides its look at the John Battaglia Memorial from Turfway Park, the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn and the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park. Selections provided by the 1/ST BET app measure each contender against the 10 leading factors for each race. The 1/ST BET app looks at 52 handicapping factors and more than 200,000 past races to determine its AI selections. You can use the automated handicapping factors, or create your own factor filters to incorporate angles you prefer. Friday, Feb. 26 // Turfway Park // John Battaglia Memorial Stakes // Race 5 // 8:16 PM ET #1 Gretzky the Great // 28%W // 48%P // 59%S#6 Pico d’Oro // 18%W // 29%P // 40%S#3 Twirling Mamba // 10%W // 21%P // 30%S#4 Like the King // 9%W // 22%P // 32%S#8 Hush of a Storm // 8%W // 15%P // 25%S#11 Catman // 5%W // 13%P // 21%S#12 Warrior in Chief // 4%W // 10%P // 18%S#9 Fort Moultrie // 4%W // 9%P // 14%S#13 Bakwena // 4%W // 12%P // 16%S#2 The Predicament // 3%W // 5%P // 11%S#5 Kinetic Sky // 3%W // 5%P // 11%S#7 Hard Rye Guy // 3%W // 5%P // 11%S#10 Notable Exception // 3%W // 5%P // 11%S Saturday, Feb. 27 // Oaklawn Park // Grade 3 Southwest Stakes // Race 10 // 5:58 PM ET #4 Jackie’s Warrior // 26%W // 47%P // 65%S#1 Essential Quality // 20%W // 38%P // 55%S#7 Spielberg // 13%W // 25%P // 35%S#6 Woodhouse // 13%W // 31%P // 48%S#2 Saffa’s Day // 12%W // 26%P // 44%S#3 Last Samurai // 9%W // 18%P // 30%S#5 Santa Cruiser // 6%W // 15%P // 23%S Saturday, Feb. 27 // Gulfstream Park // Grade 2 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth // Race 14 // 6:10 PM ET #8 Greatest Honour // 27%W // 38%P // 49%S#1 Drain the Clock // 17%W // 38%P // 49%S#2 Prime Factor // 12%W // 21%P // 36%S#7 Tarantino // 8%W // 19%P // 31%S#10 Papetu // 8%W // 25%P // 38%S#5 Jirafales // 8%W // 12%P // 20%S#4 Fire At Will // 6%W // 14%P // 27%S#6 King’s Ovation // 6%W // 12%P // 22%S#3 Sososubtle // 4%W // 10%P // 15%S#9 Tiz Tact Toe // 4%W // 10%P // 12%S

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2.26.2021:

Friday, February 26: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6. Laurel Park // Race 7 // 3:18PM ET4-Lady Fox (5/2) Has dramatically improved in her last pair for high percentage trainer C. Gonzalez after being claimed for just $16,000 last September and in her present form seems quite capable of extending her winning streak to three in this starter optional claiming miler for fillies and mares. Broke her maiden two run back by 27 lengths vs. low level competition and then came right back to demolish a restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming field by more than five lengths, blowing past her rivals with an impressive late kick. Protected today, the daughter of Imagining must tackle tougher rivals but at 5/2 on the morning line she’ll offer good wagering value both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play. Aqueduct // Race 5 // 3:25PM ET7-Gold Bear (5/2) First-time starter vans up from South Florida for T. Pletcher after displaying plenty of ability in a series of sharp workouts at Palm Beach Downs. Though his pedigree suggests he’ll eventually do his best work over a distance of ground, the son of Pioneerof the Nile has rained like he’ll be quick enough to act at this six furlong trip, and with the barn’s “go to” local rider K. Carmouche taking the call this $25,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase appears extremely live and well-meant. We’ll make him a play at or near his morning line of 5/2.

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2.26.2021:

Friday, February 26: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click here to view today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Full Draw; 6-Tiz ViciousForecast: Tiz Vicious joins the P. Miller barn, removes blinkers, drops to the bottom-rung maiden claiming level and shows a heathy work tab at San Luis Rey Downs while stretching out to a distance that produced a career top speed figure two runs back. In a race lacking in effective closers, the son of Violence should find himself comfortably placed on or near the lead throughout. Full Draw is guaranteed a ground-saving, first flight trip from his favorable inside post position, and after hitting the board in his last pair he’s in good form with speed figures that fit. The son of Union Rags was more than four lengths clear of the rest over this track and distance in a similar affair last month and not much more will be needed to handle this modest bunch. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play.RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Wilson Monk; 5-Scary Fast SmileForecast: Based on what we’ve seen of him in the morning, Wilson Monk simply should be too fast for his four rivals in this maiden special weight sprint for state-bred older horses. First-time starters breaking from the rail always are problematic, but this 5-year-old gelding by Midnight Lute will take some catching if he breaks even moderately well. Scary Fast Smile has been in the frame in all four of his career starts and has earned steadily rising speed figures in each outing. Drawn comfortably outside, the son of Smiling Tiger will have every chance to pick up Wilson Monk from the quarter pole home should that one make any mistakes along the way. We’ll prefer ‘Monk on top but include both in our rolling exotics in a race that seems highly likely to boil down to the two betting favorites.RACE 3: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: BUse: 6-Warrens Candy Girl; 8-Big BeautyForecast: Big Beauty displayed ability when a solid runner-up in her debut last month, closing with interest in a strong, productive race that has seen the winner (Disko Fever) come back to win and the third place finisher (Big Clare) return to finish a strong second. Based on pedigree, the C. Sise, Jr.-trained filly seems certain to improve with experience and distance, so with the switch to hot-riding F. Prat and a recent six furlong bullet workout (6f, 1:13.3h) at San Luis Rey Downs the daughter of Mr. Big is listed as the 9/5 morning line favorite and logically so. Warrens Candy Girl is a six-race maiden without tactical speed and therefore isn’t one to truly trust, but the daughter of Clubhouse Ride, runner-up in her last four starts and adding Lasix for the first time, is on paper the one to fear most. She has numbers that are better than par for the level, switches to A. Cedillo, and is another getting Lasix for the first time, so improvement certainly can be expected.RACE 4: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: C+Use: 1-Great Power; 5-Old Indian Trick; 6-Rebel WarForecast: We’ll go three deep in this $20,000 claiming sprint for older horses but otherwise pass the race. Old Indian Trick, in his third start off a long layoff, produced a forward move when third over the track and distance in a similar restricted (nw-3) $20,000 claiming sprint last month and looked sharp in a subsequent workout to indicate the M. Puype-trained gelding is ready to improve again. He does his best work from a pace-pressing position and given the projected race flow for this race the son of Ministers Wilds Cat should find himself just where he wants to be. Great Power earned a good number winning two runs back for $16,000 but then finished fourth at 60 cents on the dollar when protected in starter’s allowance company over the Golden Gate Fields all-weather surface. Back in 13 days on what clearly is his preferred track and dropping to a realistic spot, the R. Saldana-trained son of Blame is reunited with “win” rider J. J. Hernandez and seems likely to draft into a ground-saving, second flight position and have every chance from the quarter pole home. Rebel War has trained well for his comeback and could fire a big shot off the bench in his first start since June of 2019 and his first as a gelding. He’s the quickest horse in the field and will take them as far as he can.RACE 5: Post: 2:40 PT Grade: B-Use: 5-Bob Daniels; 8-ThriveForecast: We’ll try to survive and advance using just two in this state-bred maiden sprint restricted to 3-year-olds, but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead. Bob Daniels ran like a short horse in his debut when finishing a respectable fourth at Los Alamitos in December, and then lost all chance after stumbling badly at the start in a grass sprint here last month in a strong race won by next-out winner Hockey Dad. The son of Race Day sports a healthy recent work tab for the always-dangerous J. Mullins/T. Baze trainer-jockey combo and represents a reasonable gamble at 5-1 on the morning line. Thrive has done some decent work in the a.m. leading up to his racing debut and the son of Constitution should be fit enough for a good effort after landing the comfortable outside post position and attracting F. Prat. The barn doesn’t often with first-timers but this son of Competitive Edge is bred for speed and a sharp recent bullet gate work should have him on his toes.RACE 6: Post: 3:12 PT Grade: B+Use: 3-Soothsay; 4-Just DistortedForecast: Soothsay has trained like a win-early type for top connections, doing everything that has been asked of her like a filly of some quality. She displayed excellent gate speed in a recent bullet five furlong workout (:59.2hg) that was the fastest of 32 for the distance, so we’re expecting the daughter of Distorted Humor and La Canada S.-G2 winner Spellbound to break well and lead the way in this maiden sprint for sophomore fillies. Here’s another positive factor: the jockey/trainer team of F. Prat and R. Mandella is nothing less than lethal (39% with a massive ROI). Just Distorted, a $400,000 yearling by Distorted Humor also has displayed very good speed in the a.m. while preparing for her debut and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. The J. Wong barn hits at an exceptional 23% with first-timers while producing a significant flat-bet profit so this very well-regarded filly seems very likely to be fit and ready.RACE 7: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Goodtingscominpink; 2-Zucchera; 7-Sugar PickelForecast: In a race that projects to be slowly run early, Goodtingscominpink should be able to take full advantage of her rail post position and draft into an ideal ground-saving stalking position in and then have every chance to kick home when called upon over a turf course that has produced a prior win and four other in-the-frame finishes from six starts. The five-year-old mare appeared sharp and eager in a recent workout for her first outing since November, so with the Cerin barn’s “go-to” rider J. Hernandez taking the call let’s put the daughter of Clubhouse Ride on top and hope to get close to her morning line of 5/2 on the tote. Zucchera, a closing fourth (beaten just over a length) while taking the worst of the race flow in a similar affair over this course and distance last month, is another that has looked sharp in recent a.m. drills and appears the most dangerous of the late-runners. A one-paced, grinding sort that will require some help up front, the R. Baltas-trained mare switches to top grass rider U. Rispoli, and if she can stay within range during the early stages the daughter of Tapizar could make some serious noise late. Sugar Pickel stretches out, worked nicely over the training track (bullet half mile drill in 47 4/5 seconds), and retains F. Prat. She may be a bit better than her 6-1 morning line indicates.RACE 8: Post: 4:16 PT Grade: B-Use: 4-Wild Arch; 5-Our Bonnie Lass; 6-Cosmic CowgirlForecast: A little will go a very long way in the Friday finale, a bottom-rung ($20,000) maiden claiming main track miler for fillies and mare. Our Bonnie Lass rates a slight edge on top after the daughter of Birdstone continued her improving pattern when finishing second (while five lengths clear of the rest) against a similar group in an effort that produced a career top speed figure in her most recent outing last month. She’s most effective on the front end and gate-to-wire tactics almost certainly will be employed by bug girl J. Pyfer, who has gotten good run out of this R. Bell-trained filly in her last two starts. Wild Archis a fit on numbers and finished a willing runner-up while five lengths clear of the rest in her most recent outing. She’s a one-paced six-race maiden but should find herself within reasonable range of the projected leader throughout. Cosmic Cowgirl drops to the bottom, returns to dirt, adds blinkers, retains J. J. Hernandez and stretches out again in her second start off a layoff, so there are plenty of reasons to believe that improvement is likely. Toss her in.

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2.25.2021:

Friday, February 26: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Picks

LEG A // LAUREL, RACE 9 (4:17PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT) VICTIM OF LOVE won a Grade III sprint off a 3-1/2 month layoff, then ran third in the Grade I Ballerina Stakes to eventual Breeders' Cup FM Sprint runner-up Serengeti Empress. She is working bullets for her return from a six-month layoff and will be a popular solo play. LEG B // SANTA ANITA, RACE 3 (4:35PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 1 MILE (TURF) BIG BEAUTY took money in her 6F turf debut, steadied at the top of the stretch and finished a clear second to Disko Fever, who returned with a sharp 6-1/2F allowance victory in 1:15.3. Her sire, Mr. Big, was a proven router, winning twice in nine career starts. SUNSHINE BABE finished 2-1/2 lengths behind Big Beauty after a troubled start, lacked stretch kick with Lasix in her second go-round and is by Grazen, a top 10 California sire in earnings the last two years. LEG C // GULFSTREAM, RACE 8 (4:44PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF) Two 3-year-olds arrive off victories, one off a near miss and two others after setting the pace for $50,000. It adds up to an 'ALL' punch on the Stronach 5 ticket. LEG D // LAUREL, RACE 10 (4:49PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT) GET LIT class drops out of three races that produced winners, adds blinkers and is best of those that have run. But first-time starters WHITE NITRO (hot barn) and FLASH LIGHTENING (fast works) are worth a second look. LEG E // GOLDEN GATE, RACE 3 (4:53PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (ALL WEATHER) BIG AWARD, third in her 6F debut versus $50k California breds, dueled with Luxury Liner, who went wire-to-wire in a $32,000 and $25,000 claimer after that win. TAMA'S ARCH rallied at 5-1/2F but was 'fanned' out of the money from the outside post. She draws the rail, should get ample pace flow and offers good value. SUGGESTED $1 TICKET Leg A: 3 Leg B: 3, 8 Leg C: ALL Leg D: 1, 6, 9 Leg E: 1, 3 Cost: $72

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2.25.2021:

Southwest, Fountain of Youth Analysis & BTH Finale

Two major 3-year-old races, the twice-postponed Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park and the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park, promise to alter top rungs of the Kentucky Derby points standings. The former race is worth 10-4-2-1 points, respectively, to the top four finishers and the latter rewards a hefty 50-20-10-5 points. Below is horse-by-horse analysis of each race plus a suggested wager. First, let’s talk Beat the Host: Greg Peterson did some standings altering himself as he posted a season-high weekly earnings total of $273, well above the previous mark of $185.50 posted by Craig Yoshino Jan. 13. Peterson’s monster score moved him into third place overall in the cumulative earnings race ($514), behind Steven Cziguth and Maria Cimino at $555.50 and $527.50, respectively. Price horses were plentiful last week as both second and third place finishers Cziguth ($230.50) and Christopher Skotz ($221.50) also topped Yoshino’s previous weekly high total. Peterson, Cziguth and Skotz earned $1,000, $750 and $250, respectively, in weekly prizes. Saturday is your last chance to qualify for the $15,000 Beat the Host Championship on March 13 by defeating NBC Sports analyst and former Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship winner Eddie Olcyzk. Registration is free and players must make single, ‘live’ $5 Win wagers on one horse in each of 10 mandatory races. $2,000 in weekly prizes also is on the line. OAKLAWN PARK // $750,000 GRADE 3 SOUTHWEST STAKES Race 10 // 5:58PM ET 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Derby Points 1. ESSENTIAL QUALITY (COX/SAEZ) - 6/5 They say you have to knock out the reining champ before you get to wear the crown. If true, that means someone will need to knock off Essential Quality in here. Unbeaten in 3 starts at 2, he won the Eclipse Award as the nation’s top freshman male by defeating #4 Jackie’s Warrior and 12 others in the Gr. 1 BC Juvenile. A hot early pace may have aided his closing charge that day but he has been closer to the pace before while winning the Gr. 1 Breeders Futurity. Both of those Grade 1 races were at Keeneland around two turns. He hasn’t raced since that November victory but has worked every 6-7 days at Fair Grounds. Trainer Brad Cox continues his winning ways stateside in 2021, will Essential Quality do likewise? It’s always interesting to see how horses develop in sophomore seasons because there’s always a question about if they’ll effectively make that huge step from 2 to 3. If you’re interested in wagering against a champion who hasn’t been in the ring in a while that may or may not have improved his game, the twice-delayed Gr. 3 Southwest is your cup of tea. Win Contender. 2. SAFFA'S DAY (ASMUSSEN/SANTANA JR.) - 15/1 This son of Carpe Diem has two maiden wins to his credit. One came in his initial voyage in October, but he later was disqualified from that victory. A pair of stakes tries came in his next two starts. He was sixth in the Nyquist Stakes at Keeneland in November and a well-beaten fourth in the Springboard Mile at Remington in December. That latter effort should have earned him points toward a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate, but he raced with Lasix and that’s not allowed this season in races awarding Derby points. Saffa’s Day finally earned and kept a diploma following a maiden win last out at Oaklawn Park in January. He’s a longshot in here off that maiden tally. Pass. 3. LAST SAMURAI (STEWART/COURT) - 20/1 This Malibu Moon colt won a 7-furlong maiden race at Churchill in Sept. Wrapped around that effort are a pair of poor outings. This guy would need to turn his ship around in a hurry to have a say about the outcome of this in this race. Pass. 4. JACKIE'S WARRIOR (ASMUSSEN/ROSARIO) - 9/5 Like 2-year-old champ #1 Essential Quality, Jackie’s Warrior hasn’t started since the Gr. 1 BC Juvenile where he was fourth as the odds-on choice. That was his fifth 2-year-old start, his first around two turns and, most critically, his first loss. The defeat figuratively stole the Juvenile Eclipse Award right from between Jackie’s Warrior’s hooves. Heading into the BC Juvenile not only was this colt unbeaten; he had never been headed at any call. It was a hot early pace that afternoon and Jackie’s Warrior stalked perfectly, made the lead in the stretch and fell apart late. Was it the two turns that caused his downfall? Or, was he tuckered out from a perfect 4-race win streak that began in June at Churchill and ended in November at Keeneland? He has trained well for this race at Fair Grounds—every 6-7 days for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who bats 20% off 61-180 days layoff, according to Daily Racing Form stats. This son of Maclean’s Music appears to be the only true speed in this race. That’s an advantage over #1 Essential Quality. Has Jackie’s Warrior improved since November and can he negotiate a mile and one-sixteenth around two turns as effectively as he handled shorter distances and one turn in his first four wins? Big question, but if the answer is ‘yes,’ he wins. Win Contender. #5 SANTA CRUISER (DESORMEAUX/ERAMIA) - 12/1 This fellow ought to be fit. He raced Feb. 13 in the Gr. 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds and barely picked up his hooves. He was a big price, but some gave him a puncher’s chance that afternoon off a troubled, late-running, well-beaten fourth placing in the Gr. 3 Lecomte Stakes. Other than the fact that he should be more fit than some of his foes, there’s not much to recommend this guy for prime finish positions. Bottoms of Tris and Supers. 6. WOODHOUSE (TROUT/CABRERA) - 15/1 Got to admit he’s fit. He last raced Feb. 11 when third in a muddy mile and one-sixteenth allowance race at Oaklawn Park. That followed a December maiden win at Remington going one mile. Woodhouse was nearly 17-1 in the allowance race and lost by only one length. He’s got a late-running style and that along with fitness could find him rounding out the bottom legs of exotics. Bottoms of Tris and Supers. 7. SPEILBERG (BAFFERT/GARCIA) - 6/1 This son of Union Rags seems a cut below the usual Baffert-trained Oaklawn Park monsters. Perhaps Frankenstein will show up here for the Gr. 2 Rebel or Gr. 1 Arkansas Derby. This colt’s won 2 of 7 starts—a Del Mar maiden and the Gr. 2 Los Alamitos Derby. Last out he finished fourth in the Gr. 3 Robert Lewis, beaten more than 11 lengths. In his final work for this race, he was outworked to the wire while inside fellow Baffert 3-year-old Freedom Fighter, second to the Baffert-trained Concert Tour in the Grade 2 San Vicente at Santa Anita. Baffert is the only trainer with such incredible depth in the sophomore division, but this guy is not a member of the trainer’s ‘A’ team. Exotics Only. BOTTOM LINE It’s pretty much a guessing game between dual Gr. 1 winners 6-5 favorite #1 Essential Quality and 9-5 second choice #4 Jackie’s Warrior. Both are coming off layoffs, have trained forwardly and are conditioned by guys who are solid at having horses ready to fire off the bench. A slight edge goes to #4 Jackie’s Warrior based on his early speed advantage. There doesn’t seem to be too much of that in this race. #7 Spielberg may be closest to #4 Jackie’s Warrior early and he might hang around for a piece. Overall, let’s give the edge to #4 Jackie’s Warrior in a race that really doesn’t inspire much wagering interest. GULFSTREAM PARK // $300,000 GRADE 2 FASIG-TIPTON FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH STAKES Race 14 // 6:10PM ET 50-20-10-5 Kentucky Derby Points 1. DRAIN THE CLOCK (JOSEPH JR./ZAYAS) - 5/1 This son of Maclean’s Music has won 4 of 5 starts—all sprints—and had a legit excuse for his only defeat when an iron broke and he lost the rider. Last out at Gulfstream, he comfortably won the Gr. 3 Swale Stakes by more than 6 lengths. He’s got speed, the rail and some talent. That combination makes him dangerous. Can he effectively negotiate two turns? Who knows? At the finish of the Swale he certainly looked as if he could easily go around again. He’s 3 for 3 at Gulfstream, too. Drain the Clock also hasn’t missed a beat since beginning his career for 21% trainer Saffie Joseph. Jockey Edgard Zayas is a 28% winner when riding for Joseph. The colt’s 5 career starts have come once-a-month since September and his Beyer Speed figures have improved in each start, except for the time when he lost the rider. Lots to like. Win Contender. 2. PRIME FACTOR (PLETCHER/ORTIZ JR.) - 5/1 Trainer Todd Pletcher hits at 24% and jockey Irad Ortiz wins at 27% this season at Gulfstream. Together they’re batting an amazing 33%. Those stats alone make Prime Factor somewhat of a threat in here. He’s only raced twice—a romping nearly 9 length maiden win first out and a well-beaten third in the Gr. 3 Holy Bull behind #8 Greatest Honour. This guy was the GR. 3 Holy Bull favorite who stalked the early pace before coming up short in the lane. Can that effort be forgiven? Sure, it can. But for what reason? The colt raced 3-wide the whole way, but the pace wasn’t very demanding, and he had nothing in the lane. It’s always a bad idea to exclude a Pletcher/Ortiz runner from a Gulfstream wager but that last race was pretty disappointing. Exotics Only. 3. SOSOSUBTLE (DE LA CERDA/LOPEZ) - 20/1 This gelding won a state-bred maiden mile race at Gulfstream by more than 4 lengths at 18-1 last out. That was a dirt start after a failed turf try first out. He would be a big surprise in here. Pass. 4. FIRE AT WILL (MAKER/CARMOUCHE) - 7/2 Winner of the Gr. 1 BC Juvenile Turf at 30-1, this Declaration of War colt will be making his first start since November and his first over what should be a fast dirt track. He’s got 3 wins in 4 starts—2 on turf and 1 over just 3 foes in the off-the-turf With Anticipation over a sloppy track at Saratoga. The Mike Maker-trained colt also won the Gr. 2 Pilgrim at Belmont on turf. Can he shift his sparkling turf talent to the main track? As a rule, we believe that nearly all horses favor one surface over the other. It’s rare to find an animal that is equally effective on turf and dirt. It happens but it’s rare. Based on that, we’ll go against Fire At Will in here and consider him more strongly when he returns to turf. Pass. 5. JIRAFALES (DELGADO/CASTELLANO) - 30/1 Was soundly defeated last out in the Gr. 3 Holy Bull at 32-1. Pass. 6. KING'S OVATION (ROMANS/LANERIE) - 15/1 Second by more than 6 lengths to Drain the Clock last out in the Gr. 3 Swale, the Not This Time colt will try two turns for the first time. He has a sparkling :59 4/5 best-of-42 workout on his resume for this. Still, he’ll need to really pull a rabbit out of the hat to have a say in this outcome. Pass. 7. TARANTINO (BRISSET/GAFFLAIONE) - 8/1 Here’s another runner that’s had some turf success and was able to finish second to #8 Greatest Honour in the Gr. 3 Holy Bull on dirt. At 2, he broke maiden and was second by a nose in the Zuma Beach--both on Del Mar and Santa Anita turf, respectively. In December, he won an allowance grass race at Gulfstream. In the Gr. 3 Holy Bull he forced the early pace and was able to finish evenly. He has improved Beyer Speed Figures in each race for trainer Rodolphe Brisset and that’s always a good sign for a 3-year-old. He’ll probably be stalking the pace again in here but it’s asking a lot of this son of Pioneerof the Nile to improve too much on his last try at nearly 27-1. Exotics Only. 8. GREATEST HONOUR (MCGAUGHEY/J. ORTIZ) - 9/5 This son of Tapit looked sensational winning the Gr. 3 Holy Bull Stakes last out at Gulfstream. Trainer Shug McGaughey has traversed this Gulfstream sophomore path before and was successful negotiating it with Kentucky Derby winner Orb in 2013. Greatest Honour seems to have similar talent to Orb, including a strong finishing kick. It’s not unreasonable to think that this colt could follow in Orb’s Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby-winning hoofprints. Greatest Honour races from off the pace and that’s not the best place to come from going a mile and one-sixteenth at Gulfstream Park, but he appears to be better than these foes. Most Probable Winner. 9. TIZ TACT TOE (HESS JR./MARAGH) - 30/1 This gelding was claimed for $50k last out by trainer Bob Hess. Connections look to parlay that expenditure into a quick buck in the Gr. 2 Fountain of Youth. This guy hasn’t won a race yet and switches to dirt for the first time so a win in here would be gigantic upset. Pass. 10. PAPETU (SANO/ALVARADO) - 15/1 This son of Dialed In was a respectable 5-1 odds in the Gr. 3 Holy Bull and finished a respectable fourth. Unfortunately, he was more than 10 lengths behind winner #8 Greatest Honour. Papetu was second in the Mucho Macho Man just before the Holy Bull, explaining the Holy Bull mutuel attention. He has 2 five and one-half furlong wins to his credit and a pair of drubbings in the Gr. 2 Saratoga Special and Gr. 1 Hopeful at Saratoga on his 2-year-old resume. Pass. BOTTOM LINE #8 Greatest Honour looks like the real deal. It took him 4 starts to break maiden and that’s a bit unusual for a really good horse, but his Beyer Speed Figures have improved with each start—a great sign. Trainer Shug McGaughey doesn’t rush his horses and this guy is a great example of how the Hall-of-Famer works his magic. #1 Drain the Clock is most dangerous. He’s got the rail, speed and talent. It will be interesting to see if anyone attempts to run with him early. #2 Prime Factor probably will stalk the pace along with #7 Tarantino. #10 Papetu probably will want to go early from the 10 hole. Still, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of early speed other than #1 Drain the Clock. A lack of early speed favors #1 Drain the Clock and hurts #8 Greatest Honour. A 1-2 finish, in either order, seems the most logical outcome. $20 EXACTA ($20) #8 Greatest Honour #1 Drain the Clock $10 EXACTA ($10) #1 Drain the Clock #8 Greatest Honour Race On!

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2.25.2021:

Jon White's Picks for Southwest Stakes & Fountain of Youth

It looks like this year’s Grade III Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park is finally going to be run. The Southwest originally had been scheduled for Feb. 15. But because of the unusual wintry weather at this time of the year in that region, the race was moved to Feb. 20, then to Feb. 21. And then it was moved yet again to this Saturday. All indications are it’s not going to be moved again. Heading the field of seven in the Southwest is Essential Quality, the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male. The Kentucky-bred Tapit colt, who is three for three, will be making his first start since winning the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at odds of 7-2 last Nov. 6 at Keeneland. He also won last year’s Grade I Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 3. Brad Cox trains Essential Quality, who breaks from the inside post Saturday. Also making his 2021 debut in the Southwest is Jackie’s Warrior, who finished fourth as the 9-10 favorite in the BC Juvenile, his lone defeat in five lifetime starts. The Kentucky-bred Maclean’s Music colt was four for four prior to his setback at the Breeders’ Cup. He won last year’s Grade II Saratoga Special in August, Grade I Hopeful Stakes in September at Saratoga and Grade I Champagne Stakes in October at Belmont Park. Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen conditions Jackie’s Warrior, who drew post 4 in the Southwest. The first four finishers in the Southwest will earn 10-4-2-1 points toward the Kentucky Derby. One horse I absolutely would have thrown out in the Southwest if he had been entered is Keepmeinmind. Winner of the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs in his most recent start, he would have had his work cut out for him vs. Essential Quality and Jackie’s Warrior under the best of circumstances. But Keepmeinmind missed too much training due to Oaklawn’s track being closed to have had any legitimate shot to beat Essential Quality and Jackie’s Warrior in the Southwest. I honestly wonder if Man o’ War, Secretariat or Citation could have defeated Essential Quality or Jackie’s Warrior this Saturday if they had gone into the race having missed as much training as Keepmeinmind has for trainer Roberto Diodoro. Considering the training Keepmeinmind has missed, his connections made the decision -- wisely, in my opinion -- to target Oaklawn’s Grade II Rebel Stakes on March 13. The Rebel will be contested at the same 1 1/16-mile distance as the Southwest. For me, in terms of the Southwest, choosing between Essential Quality and Jackie’s Warrior is extremely difficult. Jackie’s Warrior probably is going right to the front and will be able to set a comfortable pace. This is in contrast to the BC Juvenile. Jackie’s Warrior chased a hot pace in the BC Juvenile, then paid the price and weakened in the final furlong. On the other hand, ever since Essential Quality’s first race, I have thought he could be a special colt. When unveiled in a six-furlong maiden race at Churchill on Sept. 5, he had a troubled trip, yet overcame it and won by four emphatic lengths while giving every indication he would relish going farther. Next, Essential Quality was a pace factor from the outset and won the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Futurity by 3 1/4 lengths. And then in the 1 1/16-mile BC Juvenile, he was eighth early and rallied to win by three-quarters of a length. For Xpressbet.com, my BC Juvenile selections were: 1. Essential Quality, 2. Jackie’s Warrior, 3. Reinvestment Risk. Sittin On Go was my “nice-price danger.” In terms of Saturday’s Southwest, I’m again picking Essential Quality to win. I do so even though I think this just might be an ideal situation in terms of pace for Jackie’s Warrior to avenge his BC Juvenile defeat. But I would feel like a traitor if I don’t stick with Essential Quality after he came through for me at the Breeders’ Cup and paid $9.20 to win. My selections for the Southwest are below: 1. Essential Quality2. Jackie’s Warrior3. Spielberg4. Saffa's Day GREATEST HONOUR TOPS FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH Coming off his decisive 5 3/4-length triumph in Gulfstream Park’s Grade III Holy Bull Stakes at odds of 5-2 on Jan. 30, Greatest Honour no doubt will be a strongly backed favorite in Saturday’s Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes at that same track. The Fountain of Youth, which has enticed a field of 10, will reward the first four finishers with 50-20-10-5 points toward a starting berth in the Kentucky Derby. Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, Greatest Honour lost his first three races, then won a 1 1/16-mile maiden contest at Gulfstream on Dec. 26. He went on to get his maiden diploma at Gulfstream on Dec. 26, followed by his Holy Bull victory in his stakes debut. Considering the short price Greatest Honour is going to be this Saturday, I would love to pick against him. But I can’t, not off what I saw from the Kentucky-bred Tapit colt in the Holy Bull. My selections for the Fountain of Youth are below: 1. Greatest Honour2. Fire At Will3. Drain the Clock4. Prime Factor Greatest Honour takes an improving Beyer Speed Figure pattern into the Fountain of Youth. He recorded a 72 Beyer at first asking, then a 77, then a 79, then an 83, then an 89 in the Holy Bull. I admit that, for me, Greatest Honour’s breeding does add to his appeal. He’s a son of the premier sire Tapit and the Street Cry mare Tiffany’s Honour. Tiffany’s Honour is a half-sister to Rags to Riches and Jazil. Rags to Riches was voted a 2007 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly. She won the Grade I Belmont Stakes that year by defeating no less a foe than Curlin, who subsequently was twice voted Horse of the Year. One would think that becoming the first filly to win the Belmont in 102 years would go a long way toward getting Rags to Riches into the Hall of Fame. But so far she has not received enough support to join that exclusive club. The biggest stumbling block seems to be that Rags to Riches made only seven career starts. But despite making just seven career starts, Rags to Riches won more Grade I races (four) than Winning Colors (three) or Genuine Risk (two). Winning Colors, the 1988 Kentucky Derby winner, and Genuine Risk, the 1980 winner of the Run for the Roses, are both in the Hall of Fame, as they should be. For those Hall of Fame voters who refuse to give a thumbs up to Rags to Riches, what about Justify? He made only six lifetime starts, yet I’d say it’s a slam-dunk that Justify will be elected to the Hall of Fame when he first becomes eligible in 2024. Mainly for his feat of sweeping the Triple Crown, Justify will deservedly go into the Hall of Fame. And when Justify does get into the Hall of Fame off only six career starts, it will help point out just how ludicrous it is that Rags to Riches has been kept out of the Hall of Fame primarily because she made just seven career starts. Fire At Will does intrigue me in the Fountain of Youth. He is another who has an improving Beyer Speed Figure pattern. The Kentucky-bred Declaration of War colt received a 63 Beyer in his first race, then a 75, then an 80, then a 90 when he won the Grade I BC Juvenile Turf by three lengths as a 30-1 outcast in the betting. It was rather surprising to see Fire At Will sport such long odds at the Breeders’ Cup following his two-length win in the Grade II Pilgrim Stakes on turf Oct. 3 at Belmont. Fire At Will does have experience racing on dirt. As a maiden, he won the off-the-turf With Anticipation Stakes on a sloppy Saratoga main track prior to the Pilgrim. Of course, he is facing a much tougher task on the dirt this time when going against such a tough opponent as Greatest Honour. I am very interested to see if Fire At Will can give a good account of himself in a Grade II affair on dirt this Saturday. If he does, the Grade I Florida Derby on March 27 and quite possibly the Grade I Kentucky Derby on May 1 could be in the cards for him. If Fire At Will does not run well Saturday, look for him to go back to racing on turf. Fountain of Youth entrant Drain the Clock is coming off a 6 1/4-length win in Gulfstream’s Grade III Swale Stakes at seven furlongs on Jan. 30. Victorious in four of five career starts, the Kentucky-bred Maclean’s Music colt most assuredly can be excused for his only defeat. In the Jean Lafitte Stakes at Louisiana’s Delta Downs last Nov. 30, Drain the Clock raced close up early, then had a stirrup break and unseated jockey Heriberto Figueroa on the backstretch. For some, that incident conjures up memories of the 1970 Longacres Mile, the biggest race in the Pacific Northwest. Turbulator was favored in that race at 6-5 when coming off a win in which he lowered the world record for 6 1/2 furlongs by two-fifths of a second. But his left stirrup broke leaving the starting gate. Miraculously, jockey Larry Pierce stayed on Turbulator, but it was far from easy. In spite of a broken stirrup and being boxed in for every step of the final three furlongs, Turbulator lost that race by only 2 1/2 lengths. Many consider it the finest performance in defeat in the history of racing in the Pacific Northwest. By the way, Drain the Clock is owned by Slam Dunk Racing and Madaket Stables. Nick Cosato is the managing partner of Slam Dunk Racing. Cosato is the person who made a $500 wager at the Wynn Sports & Race Book in Las Vegas on Justify to win the 2018 Kentucky Derby at odds of 300-1. Cosato collected $150,000 when he cashed that ticket. Prime Factor attempts to rebound in the Fountain of Youth after finishing a disappointing third as the 11-10 favorite in the Holy Bull. The Kentucky-bred Quality Road colt wound up 9 1/2 lengths behind Greatest Honour that afternoon. Quality Road won the 2009 Fountain of Youth. PLETCHER, RAGS TO RICHES HALL OF FAME FINALISTS Todd Pletcher trains Prime Factor. Todd Pletcher is an absolute cinch to be voted into the Hall of Fame this year in his first year of eligibility. He trained Rags to Riches. Pletcher and Rags to Riches are among the 10 finalists announced Wednesday for 2021 Hall of Fame induction. How wonderful would it be if both Pletcher and Rags to Riches were to get voted into the Hall of Fame in the same year? But my guess is that while Pletcher is going into the Hall of Fame this year, Rags to Riches probably once again will be denied membership. The other Hall of Fame finalists this year are American Pharoah (first year of eligibility), Blind Luck, Game On Dude, Havre de Grace and Kona Gold, plus jockey Corey Nakatani and trainers Christophe Clemente and Doug O’Neill. American Pharoah, who in 2015 became the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years, joins Pletcher as a foregone conclusion to be voted into the Hall of Fame this year. The 2021 inductees will be announced on May 5. BATTAGLIA MEMORIAL SET FOR FRIDAY NIGHT An overflow field of 13, including one also eligible, is entered in the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park on Friday evening. The 1 1/16-mile race will be contested on a synthetic surface and offers Kentucky Derby points to the first four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 scale. This race is named in honor of the late general manager of Latonia, which is now Turfway Park. John Battaglia’s son, of course, is Mike Battaglia, a longtime track announcer and morning-line maker who called a slew of Kentucky Derbies and still makes the morning-line odds for the 1 1/4-mile classic. I once worked with a member of the Battaglia family. When I was a Daily Racing Form chart-caller at Louisiana Downs in 1976, my call-taker was John Battaglia Jr. Mike Battaglia has said that his father first got involved in horse racing by providing selections to The Kentucky Post newspaper. John Battaglia told the editor of the paper that he could do a better job of picking winners than the guys who were doing it. Battaglia said that if he didn’t pick more winners, they didn’t have to pay him. I have to think even John Battaglia would not have had an easy time trying to pick the winner of this year’s John Battaglia Memorial. It looks like it’s a wide-open race to me. My John Battaglia Memorial selections are below: 1. Kinetic Sky2. Gretzky the Great3. Catman4. Pico d’Oro After picking the chalky Essential Quality to win the Southwest and the chalky Greatest Honour to win the Fountain of Youth, I’m shooting for a better price in the Battaglia Memorial. Kinetic Sky is 9-2 on the morning line. Brad Cox trains Kinetic Sky. Cox seems to win just about everything these days (except the Saudi Cup with Knicks Go). A Kentucky-bred by the hot sire Runhappy, Kinetic Sky comes off a three-length maiden win in a Fair Grounds maiden race at one mile and 70 yards. In Kinetic Sky’s only other start in New Orleans, he finished third behind Proxy and Afwan on Nov. 26. Proxy would go on to finish second in Fair Grounds’ Grade III Lecomte Stakes and Grade II Risen Star Stakes. Gretzky the Great, the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the Battaglia Memorial, makes his first start since finishing sixth in the BC Juvenile Turf last Nov. 6. He won the Grade I Summer Stakes on turf before that at Woodbine. Trained by Hall of Famer Mark Casse, Gretzky the Great is named for the legendary hockey player who also has owned a piece of a number of Thoroughbreds through the year. For example, Gretzky was involved in the ownership of Golden Pheasant, an Arlington Million and Japan Cup winner who happens to be the all-time favorite horse of Frank Mirahmadi, Santa Anita’s track announcer. Who knows? Maybe two horses named for Gretzky will make their way into the starting gate for this year’s Kentucky Derby. The Great One, a 14-length maiden winner at Santa Anita on Jan. 23 after losing the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity by a nose to Spielberg, also is named for Gretzky. Doug O’Neill trains The Great One, who is scheduled to make his next start against Life Is Good and company in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 6. Catman has lost three straight since winning the Laurel Futurity on turf last Oct. 3. Trained by Michael Maker, perhaps Catman can get into the superfecta at what should be a juicy price (15-1 morning line) in Friday’s Battaglia Memorial. I might have picked Catman higher than third if he had drawn a better post than 11. Another superfecta candidate is Pico d’Oro (8-1 morning line). Billy Morey trains Pico d’Oro, who finished a close third in the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes at Aqueduct on Jan. 31. The Kentucky-bred Curlin colt was victorious in his lone start at Turfway. That could bode well for him under the lights Friday. JON WHITE'S 2021 KENTUCKY DERBY TOP 10 There are no changes to my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week. Of course, that is highly unlikely to be the case again next week. In all likelihood, what happens in this Saturday’s Southwest and Fountain of Youth will have an impact on next week’s Top 10. My Kentucky Derby Top 10 for this week is below: 1. Essential Quality2. Life Is Good3. Caddo River4. Greatest Honour5. Mandaloun6. Concert Tour7. Medina Spirit8. Hot Rod Charlie9. Keepmeinmind10. Roman Centurian LIFE IS GOOD CONTINUES TO SPARKLE IN A.M. Last Sunday morning at Santa Anita, Life Is Good once again was poetry in motion when he effortlessly worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. The workout was listed as breezing rather than handily by the official clockers. At Southern California tracks, a workout rarely is listed as breezing, which is to indicate that the horse worked considerably easier without any urging at all than a horse whose workout is termed handily. This was the sixth consecutive workout by Life Is Good that has been listed as breezing. As someone who has covered racing at Southern California tracks in one capacity or another since 1981, I do not recall another horse having such a string of breezing works. What’s also noteworthy is two of Life Is Good’s breezing works have been bullet drills. When a horse goes so easily to get a rare breezing designation, it’s even rarer for the work to be the fastest of the day at the distance. On Feb. 8, Life Is Good’s six-furlong work in 1:12.00 breezing was the fastest of nine works at the distance that morning. Last Sunday, his five-furlong drill in :59.60 was the fastest of 54. Life Is Good now has had 18 recorded SoCal works. None were listed as breezing prior to his current streak of six straight. To put what Life is Good has been doing into some context, consider how it compares to some of the other elite horses trained by Baffert, such as 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify. American Pharoah had 27 recorded workouts prior to the Kentucky Derby. None were listed as breezing. During American Phoroah’s entire racing career, only two of his 42 SoCal works were listed as breezing. Justify had 17 SoCal works before the Kentucky Derby. Again, none was listed as breezing. What about 2020 Horse of the Year Authentic? Due to COVID-19, the Kentucky Derby was moved from May 2 to Sept. 5. Only one of Authentic’s 56 SoCal works prior to the Kentucky Derby was listed as breezing. Arrogate did not run in the 2016 Kentucky Derby. He blossomed during the second half of the year and smashed Saratoga’s 1 1/4-mile track record when he won the Grade I Travers by 13 lengths. Arrogate would go on to capture the Grade I BC Classic, Pegasus World Cup and Group I Dubai World Cup. During Arrogate’s 11-race career, of his 65 SoCal works, just three were listed as breezing. What about going back to Baffert’s first two Kentucky Derby winners, Silver Charm in 1997 and Real Quiet in 1998? Of Silver Charm’s 36 SoCal works before the Kentucky Derby, only one was listed as breezing. Of Real Quiet’s 28 SoCal works prior to the Kentucky Derby, three were listed as breezing. GOSDEN WINS OPULENT SAUDI CUP John Gosden, who trained Eclipse Award winners Bates Motel and Royal Heroine in the first half of the 1980s when a SoCal conditioner, now is widely recognized as one of the best horsemen in the world, perhaps even the best. I did not pick the winner of last Saturday’s $20 million Saudi Cup, the richest horse race on the planet. My choice, Knicks Go, finished fourth. The horse I picked second, Charlatan, did finish second in what was a fine effort in defeat. The horse I picked third, Mishriff, did win the Saudi Cup. This was what I wrote: “Watch out for Mishriff. He’s got class (winner of the Group I French Derby on turf last year), a great trainer (John Gosden) and has run well on dirt at King Abdulaziz Racecourse (second in last year’s Saudi Derby).” Watch out, indeed. Mischriff won at odds of 19-1. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS I also wrote this last week: “Depending on what happens this Saturday, Knicks Go’s reign at the top of the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll could be short-lived. If Knicks Go gets beat in the Saudi Cup, he no doubt will drop out of the No. 1 spot in next week’s poll.” And that’s exactly what happened. Saudi Cup runner-up Charlatan moved to the top of the Top Thoroughbred Poll this week. The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 353 Charlatan (25)2. 288 Knicks Go (1)3. 265 Maxfield (5)4. 264 Monomoy Girl (6)5. 160 Swiss Skydiver5. 156 Colonel Liam7. 93 Gamine8. 92 Jesus’ Team9. 73 Channel Maker9. 55 Whitmore The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 345 Essential Quality (26)2. 295 Life Is Good (5)3. 238 Mandaloun (4)3. 225 Greatest Honour (1)5. 188 Medina Spirit6. 165 Caddo River (1)7. 101 Concert Tour8. 81 Keepmeinmind9. 70 Jackie’s Warrior10 65 Risk Taking

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2.24.2021:

Fountain of Youth Stakes Post Draw Reaction

Ten runners passed the entry box for Saturday’s Grade 2 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes, featured among 9 stakes on a 14-race card. The action gets underway at 11:30AM ET with post time for the main event slated for 6:10PM ET. Greatest Honour, winner of the Jan. 30 Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes, headlines the Fountain of Youth and will begin from post 8 as the 9-5 morning-line favorite. He’ll try to give trainer Shug McGaughey his third victory in this race since 2013, joining Orb and Code of Honor. The Fountain of Youth re-matches the top-5 finishers of the Holy Bull. In addition to Greatest Honour, returnees include Tarantino (post 8), beaten 6-5 favorite Prime Factor (post 2), Papetu (post 10) and Jirafales (post 5). Tarantino and Prime Factor have the most speed of the Holy Bull returnees and the draw gives Prime Factor the decided advantage among those with a short run into the clubhouse turn. The Fountain of Youth pace almost certainly comes from 7-furlong Swale winner Drain the Clock, who drew post 1 and will be on a send-mission. This will be his first 2-turn bid after winning 4 of 5 sprints. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Fire at Will begins from post 4 in his sophomore return and will be able to save ground, but may take dirt in his face racing inside and behind others. The wider draw for late-running Greatest Honour should be mitigated some if he’s patient into the clubhouse turn. 1/ST BET & Xpressbet offer a $20 Money-Back Special on the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth. Get up to $20 back if your win bet finishes second or third. For more Fountain of Youth coverage this week, be sure to check out Johnny D’s Thursday blog “On Track” for horse-by-horse analysis. Plus: Eddie Olczyk and Jeff Siegel provide their video analysis Thursday at XBTV.com. 2021 Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Field Jockeys and official track morning line odds: #1 Drain the Clock // Edgard Zayas // 5-1#2 Prime Factor // Irad Ortiz Jr. // 5-1#3 Sososubtle // Paco Lopez // 20-1#4 Fire at Will // Kendrick Carmouche // 7-2#5 Jirafales // Javier Castellano // 20-1#6 King's Ovation // Corey Lanerie // 15-1#7 Tarantino // Tyler Gaffalione // 8-1#8 Greatest Honour // Jose Ortiz // 9-5#9 Tiz Tact Toe // Rajiv Maragh // 30-1#10 Papetu // Junior Alvarado // 15-1

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2.23.2021:

1/ST BET AI Picks for Tampa Bay's Wednesday Stakes

Tampa Bay Downs has a rescheduled stakes double-offering Wednesday with a pair of turf sprints sharing the weekday marquee. Let’s dig into the artificial intelligence of the 1/ST BET app for a deeper dive into the main events, providing data-driven insight on an exciting day of racing at a track you may not always frequent.Selections provided by the 1/ST BET app measure each contender against the 10 leading factors for each race. The 1/ST BET app looks at 52 handicapping factors and more than 200,000 past races to determine its AI selections. You can use the automated handicapping factors, or create your own factor filters to incorporate angles you prefer. We’ve included the official track morning line odds with the selections. Tampa Bay Downs // Race 7 // 3:21 pm ET // Turf Dash Stakes // 5 furlongs (turf) #5 The Critical Way (4-1 ML) // 31%W // 41%P // 50%S#2 Imprimis (8-5 ML) // 13%W // 29%P // 40%S#4 My Boy Lenny (15-1 ML) // 11%W // 21%P // 33%S ** main track only **#9 Turned Aside (3-1 ML) // 9%W // 18%P // 33%S#1 Oceanic (20-1 ML) // 7%W // 18%P // 24%S#6 The Connector (8-1 ML) // 7%W // 16%P // 25%S#11 Jazzy Times (15-1 ML) // 6%W // 15%P // 30%S#3 Quarky (12-1 ML) // 5%W // 15%P // 19%S#10 Fox Run (15-1 ML) // 5%W // 12%P // 22%S#7 Arcadia Calls (20-1 ML) // 3%W // 8%P // 12%S#8 Tench (20-1 ML) // 3%W // 8%P // 12%S Notes: Imprimis and The Critical Way re-match from their Jan. 1 Janus Stakes first-third finish at Gulfstream Park, separated by only a neck in a 3-way photo finish. The Critical Way has the early speed and has won over the track already, while Imprimis is the classy finisher making his first start on Tampa’s lawn. Turned Aside is a multiple stakes-winning turf sprinter by American Pharoah, changing trainers from Linda Rice to Mark Casse for the first time. According to the Betmix database, Casse has more Tampa Bay Downs stakes wins since 2013 than any other trainer (14 total, 22% strike rate). Tampa Bay Downs // Race 9 // 4:21 pm ET // Lightning City Stakes // 5 furlongs (turf) #4 The Goddess Lyssa (3-1 ML) // 29%W // 38%P // 46%S#10 Lenzi’s Lucky Lady (10-1 ML) // 12%W // 26%P // 36%S#9 Jeanie B (6-1 ML) // 10%W // 19%P // 30%S#5 Payntdembluesaway (8-1 ML) // 8%W // 16%P // 30%S#1 The Great Kath (20-1 ML) // 6%W // 16%P // 21%S#7 Miss Auramet (4-1 ML) // 6%W // 14%P // 22%S#12 Ode to Joy (8-1 ML) // 6%W // 13%P // 27%S#6 Sethamee Street (10-1 ML) // 5%W // 13%P // 16%S#14 Nightlife (12-1 ML) // 5%W // 11%P // 19%S ** also-eligible **#2 Royal Collection (5-1 ML) // 3%W // 7%P // 10%S#3 Weekend Fun (20-1 ML) // 3%W // 7%P // 10%S#8 Awsum Roar (15-1 ML) // 3%W // 7%P // 10%S#11 Bluefield (15-1 ML) // 3%W // 7%P // 10%S#13 Roman d’Oro (6-1 ML) // 3%W // 7%P // 10%S ** also-eligible ** Notes: Morning line favorite The Goddess Lyssa scores 17 points higher than the next-closest competitor, but will be racing on turf for the first time. She’s won 5 of 7 on dirt, including the Minaret Stakes. Speedy Lenzi’s Lucky Lady has made the lead at some point in 7 of her 8 career starts and offers value on the ML. Payntdembluesaway aims for 7 straight wins while rising in class. Royal Collection has won 3 of her last 4 against easier competition, takes on stakes runners for the first time, and is dismissed by the 1/ST BET algorithm despite 5-1 in the morning line.

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2.23.2021:

Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis-$20,000 Guaranteed Pool

Pompano Park has 10 races scheduled with the 0.50 Pick 4 set to roll in Race 6. The sequence has a $20,000 guaranteed pool with a 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.On Monday night, every winner except one was leading coming into the stretch or only one length from the top. The driver with the hottest hands was Wally Hennessey who steered four winners. The leading trainer on the card was Michael Deters who took two pictures.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Wild Nite Tina (6-1)-Tossing last from the 8-hole in the slop. Likes to race close to the top of the stack and should be there throughout. Has hit the board in 6 of 9 starts at the Pomp and could surprise at a square price.6-Glenferrie Blade A (6/5)-Last week, starting from post 9 in the slop didn't work out well, but tonight should be different. Hennessey takes the lines this time and will likely be leaving to get the top. Should command some respect and control the race.Race 74-Ask Me Ifi Care (5-1)-Has won at this level before and possess the gate speed to be put in play early. Six-year-old mare is no stranger to the PPk winner's circle, has taken 12 pictures in 37 starts. Looks like a player and should offer a fair price.6-Prairie Westerngal (5/2)-Consistently a threat at this class and is a must use but will probably be bet down. Hennessey steers and he knows this mare very well. Has hit the board 16 times with 6 wins in 19 Pompano starts.7-Casie's Believer (5-1)-Drew off versus Open II company in a sharp win and is worth a swing off that effort. Chindano barn has 7 wins in 21 starts in the last 30 days and might get overlooked at the windows.Race 82-Shes A Major Lady (7-1)-Paced the back half in .57 last week on an off-track. Rolled off cover to win last and Boyd could look to work a similar trip here.3-Mach Me Onemore (3-1)-Beckwith trainee hasn't been consistent but Hennessey is back for his 2nd straight steer. Using because she could land on top or in the pocket behind #1 the 9/5 program chalk and trip out.Race 93-Another Beach Day (5/2)-Drops after a big try in the slop to cash a 3rd place check. Has only 1 win in 12 starts at the Pomp but should like the company. Was used aggressively last week and will add points because normally doesn't race on the lead.5-BNB (3-1)-Has the gate speed to get the top and Chindano barn has been hot. Looks like a player in a tough race.7-Rock Star Melinda (3-1)-Raced well in last but the trip wasn't the best and now tries Lasix for the 2nd time. Miller is aboard tonight, and he has won with this mare before.0.50 Pick 41,6/4,6,7/2,3/3,5,7Total Bet=$18Check me out on Twitter!

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2.23.2021:

1/ST Look: Santa Anita Park Stats

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Santa Anita Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Southern California. And be sure to support “The Great Race Place” by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Santa Anita Park.HeadlinesSanta Anita has a $424,910 Rainbow 6 carryover heading into this 3-day racing week, Friday-Sunday … Feature races this week will be Saturday’s Pasadena Stakes for 3-year-old turf milers and Sunday’s Tiznow Stakes for Cal-bred dirt milers … Unbeaten Sham winner Life Is Good worked a bullet 5 furlongs Sunday in 59.60 for the March 6 San Felipe Stakes, part of the Santa Anita Handicap Day undercard … 28-year-old Flavien Prat posted his 1,000th career victory last Friday at Santa Anita and leads the current meet standings heading into this week.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 was cancelled due to weather issues at Laurel Park. Stronach 5 races this Friday, February 26, will be:Leg A: Laurel Park Race 9 with a post time of 4:17 pm ETLeg B: Santa Anita Race 3Leg C: Gulfstream Race 8Leg D: Laurel Race 10Leg E: Golden Gate Fields Race 31/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Santa Anita Park last week, each winning at a 35% or greater win rate. Note that jockeys Umberto Rispoli and Joel Rosario were out last week with travel, and the riders remaining turned out to be a key factor. The 1/ST BET app tabbed a strong 34% winners on the week and showed a $14.80 flat-bet profit.Jockey 6 Mo. Win %Lifetime EarningsAvg. Best 2 of 3 SpeedTrends Last Week-- Jockey Flavien Prat dominated in the absence of Umberto Rispoli and Joel Rosario, going 20: 9-4-2. He not only won 45% of his mounts, he won 33% of the races offered on the week and was in the exacta in nearly half of the offerings (13-27).-- Apprentice jockey Emily Ellingwood won with 2 of her 4 mounts, popping with $9 and $24 winners, both coming in dirt miles. She was 1-for-22 at the meet prior, but now has 3 wins in her last 8 mounts.-- Trainer Richard Baltas was on the money at 9: 4-0-2, all at $9 or less and a trio of winners at 2-1 or less. He used 4 different riders on his 4 winners.-- Trainer Peter Miller had best week in a month, going 8: 2-2-1 and perhaps turning the corner on his slump. He had a $33 winner among those successes.-- Trainer Peter Eurton advanced to 8-for-20 (40%) over the past 3 weeks with a $23 upsetter among his 3 limited starts this week.-- Main track favorites were 12: 7-1-1 last week and now are 27-for-53 over the past 4 weeks.

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2.23.2021:

1/ST Look: Gulfstream Park Stats

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Gulfstream Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in South Florida. And be sure to support Gulfstream by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Gulfstream Park.HeadlinesGulfstream Park has a $62,672 Rainbow 6 carryover and $250,000-guaranteed pool for Wednesday’s kickoff card for the week … The Rainbow 6 was hit last Saturday by a single ticket for more than $700,000 … Saturday’s Fountain of Youth Stakes Day megacard includes 9 stakes in all, 8 of the graded variety … Probables for the Fountain of Youth, which will be drawn Wednesday, include Holy Bull Stakes 1-2-3 finishers Greatest Honour, Tarantino and Prime Factor, as well as 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Fire at Will and fleet Swale sprint winner Drain the Clock.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 was cancelled due to weather issues at Laurel Park. Stronach 5 races this Friday, February 26, will be:Leg A: Laurel Park Race 9 with a post time of 4:17 pm ETLeg B: Santa Anita Race 3Leg C: Gulfstream Race 8Leg D: Laurel Race 10Leg E: Golden Gate Fields Race 31/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Gulfstream Park last week, each winning at a 26% or greater win rate and flat-bet profit.Jockey Current YearLast E1 PaceAvg. Speed Last 3Trends Last Week-- Trainer Peter Walder had a week of weeks, going 8: 6-0-1 and nearly matching his 8-win total for the meet prior. He has won with 6 consecutive starters dating back to last Thursday. Among those victories are $9, $13 and $15 returns.-- Trainer Mike Maker posted a 7: 4-0-1 mark, winning both attempts with favorites and posting all 4 wins with horses 4-1 or less. Maker went 2-for-3 with maiden claimers and is 7-for-14 with them at the meet.-- Trainer Kent Sweezey’s 8: 2-1-2 week makes him 15: 5-2-3 over the past 2 weeks with a $1.38 ROI for every $1 bet. He’s 2-for-4 with jockey Luis Saez and 6: 2-2-2 with Paco Lopez.-- Jockey Corey Lanerie continued his red-hot ways with another 5-win week (23% wins) and winners at $13, $16 and $60. Lanerie also won 5 races the week prior with $12, $13, $21, $22 and $33 scores. He boasts a $2.29 ROI for every $1 bet the past 2 weeks from a 10-for-46 mark (22%).-- Favorites vastly under-performed last week at 15-for-53 (28%), though jockey Miguel Vasquez was reliable on chalk at 6: 4-2-0.

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2.23.2021:

1/ST Look: Golden Gate Fields Stats

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Golden Gate Fields. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Northern California. And be sure to support GGF by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Golden Gate Fields.HeadlinesGolden Gate Fields has a $45,583 carryover in the Rainbow 6 jackpot for the return of racing Thursday … GGF’s 2021 El Camino Real Derby winner Rombauer will bypass Saturday’s San Felipe at Santa Anita and aim for a 1-1/8 miles test next in either the Santa Anita Derby or a roadtrip, trainer Michael McCarthy told the Santa Anita notes team … The Golden Hour Double and Pick Four will be offered Friday-Sunday this week in conjunction with the final races each day at GGF and Santa Anita. Last weekend’s Golden Hour Pick Four pools averaged nearly $190,000 Saturday and SundayStronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 was cancelled due to weather issues at Laurel Park. Stronach 5 races this Friday, February 26, will be:Leg A: Laurel Park Race 9 with a post time of 4:17 pm ETLeg B: Santa Anita Race 3Leg C: Gulfstream Race 8Leg D: Laurel Race 10Leg E: Golden Gate Fields Race 31/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Golden Gate Fields, each posting at least 35% winners and a flat-bet profit. Speed factors dominated the action at GGF. The 1/ST BET app was on fire with 44% winners on top for the week and showed a flat-bet profit.Avg. Speed Last 3Speed Last RaceBest Speed Last 3Trends Last Week-- Favorites crushed it at 26: 15-1-5, boasting 57% wins, and have won 45% in February overall.-- Trainer Jack Steiner won with his only starter and has gone 6: 2-2-0 with limited bids the past 3 weeks.-- Leading trainer Jonathan Wong went 8: 3-0-1 and is now 9-for-24 over the past 2 weeks – but that has resulted in a 20% flat-bet loss as all 9 winners were 2-1 or less.-- Trainer Jeff Bonde posted a 3: 2-0-1 week, but with 1-1 and 6-5 short prices.-- Trainer Steve Specht won with both starters, also short prices at 4-5 and 7-5. The barn has gone 5-15 (33%) in February (8: 3-3-0 teamed with Frank Alvarado).-- Jockey Catalino Martinez topped the riders at 12: 4-2-4 with all winners at 5-2 or less, but he did have a 15-1 runner-up along the way. He was 3-for-3 aboard favorites.

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2.23.2021:

1/ST Look: Maryland Jockey Club at Laurel Park Stats

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Laurel Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Maryland. And be sure to support Laurel Park by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Maryland Jockey Club.HeadlinesDue to last Friday’s cancellation, Laurel Park adds Thursday racing to this coming week … Hibiscus Punch’s $85.60 return in Saturday’s Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie was the nation’s second-highest payout in a graded stakes so far in 2021. Only Captivating Moon ($89) paid more in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Stakes … Laurel-based 2019 Remsen winner Shotski returns to his homebase to run for the first time since his maiden breaker when he battles Thursday in the Race 8 allowance co-feature … Grade 3 Vagrancy and local What a Summer Stakes winner Victim of Love makes her first start Friday in a Race 9 allowance since finishing third in Saratoga’s Grade 1 Ballerina … Nominations close Saturday for Laurel’s next major stakes day, a 5-event bonanza March 13 that includes the $100,000 Private Terms on the Preakness path.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 was cancelled due to weather issues at Laurel Park. Stronach 5 races this Friday, February 26, will be:Leg A: Laurel Park Race 9 with a post time of 4:17 pm ETLeg B: Santa Anita Race 3Leg C: Gulfstream Race 8Leg D: Laurel Race 10Leg E: Golden Gate Fields Race 31/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Laurel, each posting at least 24% wins. The factor Trainer Current Meet posted 33% wins and a massive $108.80 profit if you bet $2 on every top choice in that factor to win.Avg. Best 2 of 3 SpeedTrainer Current MeetLast Race ClassTrends Last WeekNote: Laurel ran only 18 races last week (for the second straight week) due to weather-related cancellations.-- Jockey Horacio Karamanos had an impressive 11: 3-1-3 record that included a massive $5.48 ROI for every $1 bet. He had $12, $22 and $85 winners.-- Trainer Jerry Robb won the Wide Country Stakes with red-hot Street Lute and is now 13: 6-1-2 at Laurel since Jan. 30.-- Trainer Justin Nixon won with both starters he sent out, netting $11 and $85 returns – the latter by Hibiscus Punch in the Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie. No other trainer won multiple races last week.-- The jockey-trainer tandem of Angel Cruz and Claudio Gonzalez has a 5-for-11 record the past 3 weeks.-- Favorites tallied 3 of the 6 Winter Sprintfest Stakes on Saturday.

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2.22.2021:

Monday, February 22: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis $20,000 Guaranteed Pool

Pompano Park has a 12-race card scheduled with the 0.50 Pick 4 starting in Race 6. The sequence has a $20,000 guaranteed pool with a 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.On Sunday night, the driver with the hottest hands was Dave Miller with three pictures. The top trainers on the card were Jennifer Giuliani, Rick Plano, and Kelly Walker with two trips to the winner's circle. As usual speed ruled as seven winners were on top turning for home. The other three picture-takers were within two lengths of the lead at the top of the stretch.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 65-Rebellious (2-1)-Bumps up but is no stranger to this class and won versus this kind on 1-11. Winner in 19 of 37 PPk starts and should be a player in what appears to be a two-horse race.6-Skip To My Lou (3-1)-Missed a start but after winning 3 straight was probably due for a rest and has followed that schedule before. Should be tough if dialed on high and chances go up if Hennessey can't steal a quarter. Lou will probably grind it out, short field should help.Race 73-Northern Skyway (5-1)-Cashed a 2nd place check at this class from post 10. Loses Hennessey to #9 but has a post edge over the program favorites. Chindano can work a trip from this post and win at a fair price.4-Overnight Shipper (9-1)-Drops out of the Open II class and fits better here. There isn't big gate speed in this race and Hoffman could leave and get a pocket ride. Eight-year-old does know how to win and could pop at a square price.7-Serenity Cruise (4-1)-This is the one with the most jump out of the gate and my guess is Plano leaves and gets the top. Using and playing against the two program chalks the 8/9.Race 81-Cruise Captain (3-1)-Not loving the 3-1 morning line, but this is soft field, and 2-15 qualifier was fine. Hennessey is back and could get the pocket behind #8 and roll by down the lane.8-Ben Rockin (5/2)-It looks like Ben has enough gate speed to get the top. The concern is...How easy will it be to get there and usually doesn't race on the engine. But looks like a major player either on the point or in the pocket.Race 94-Impacter (4-1)-This 7-year-old has been an obvious use under horse, gets close but can't win. The 5-6-8 are the program chalks and will look to other options in an odd feeling affair. Maybe Miller finds a way to squeak by near the wire at a nice price.5-Mister Muscle (5/2)-Has been off for 3 weeks and was racing like the rest could be beneficial. Hennessey gets the call and as usual and should be out and rolling for the top. If the time away helped or if Wally can steal a quarter, it could be picture time.6-Boinganator (7/2)-Got the benefit of a DQ win for 2nd straight picture. Does miss a start but fits well with this group. Wallis should be leaving and could fall in behind #5 and get a sweet trip.7-Captain Krupnik (25-1)-Makes 3rd start for new barn and will use looking for a big price while leaving #8 off the ticket. There could be a hectic start and not everyone leaving will be standing tall down the lane. That's the play for the Captain.My Ticket Race 6) 5,6 Race 7) 3,4,7 Race 8) 1,8 Race 9) 4,5,6,7Total Ticket Cost) $24 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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2.22.2021:

Monday Myths: Do Second-Time Starters Improve the Most?

Welcome to a new handicapping series for our Monday blog space entitled “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities. Assumption: Horses make their biggest improvement between their first and second start. Background: A time-honored, bandied-about phrase among handicappers and horsemen has been that you can expect a horse making his or her second start to show their biggest leap forward in their career. The assumption is that the initial experience and a more seasoned and fit runner in the second appearance provides a recipe for instant improvement. Data Points: I crunched the numbers in the Betmix database for every Thoroughbred race in North America over the past 5 years, going back to Feb. 22, 2016. I looked at all starters who were making their first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth career starts. Their average finish position (placing), win percentage and $1 return on investment was tracked. The initial study included all field sizes, a secondary study looked only at field sizes of 8 or more runners so not to skew the average finishing position numbers with small field sizes. Overall Findings: First-time starters had an average finishing position of 5.30, a 10.0% win rate and a $.80 ROI for every $1 bet. Second-time starters had an average finishing position of 5.00, an 11.9% win rate and a $.73 ROI for every $1 bet. Third-time starters had an average finishing position of 4.94, an 11.8% win rate and a $.66 ROI for every $1 bet. Fourth-time starters had an average finishing position of 4.73, a 13.0% win rate and a $.72 ROI for every $1 bet. Fifth-time starters had an average finishing position of 4.62, a 13.7% win rate and a $.75 ROI for every $1 bet. Sixth-time starters had an average finishing position of 4.53, a 14.2% win rate and a $.73 ROI for every $1 bet. Seventh-time starters had an average finishing position of 4.46, a 14.3% win rate and a $.75 ROI for every $1 bet. Eighth-time starters had an average finishing position of 4.37, a 15.4% win rate and a $.83 ROI for every $1 bet. Ninth-time starters had an average finishing position of 4.55, a 14.6% win rate and a $.81 ROI for every $1 bet. Tenth-time starters had an average finishing position of 4.44, a 14.8% win rate and a $.83 ROI for every $1 bet. Overall Findings Verdict: Second-time starters showed the biggest improvement in average finish position at .30 better per starter and also showed the largest increase in win percentage between starts at +1.90%. They’re not necessarily a great bet, however, as the public is on to this and the ROI is a soft $0.73. Very interestingly, the worst ROI to bet is a third-time starter at $0.66, coming immediately after that noticeable improvement in the second start. The public falsely expects the improvement to continue, but the average finish position in the third start makes the most negligible improvement in the study (just .06 better) and the win percentage actually drops a tiny tick. Also note, a horse’s average finish position improved slightly at every start until they reached their ninth career start. The same numbers bore out when you factored the study for field size of 8 or more starters. The average finish position of second-time starters was .38 better than debut runners, easily the largest improvement between any set of starts from first through tenth. Bottom line: This old handicapping saw is sharp. Indeed, second-time starters do show the most improvement and the numbers bear that out. We also learned that the public fails to absorb this information properly. Improvement from start one to start two should not be immediately trusted to continue, and it’s a bad bet to assume it will. Additional Details: You can go into Betmix and run your own queries for a deeper dive into this theory and any that you can create. For instance, take a look at the tracks you play most often to see if they fall in line with this study’s conclusions. I took a second dive by examining second-time starters who broke their maiden at first asking and then faced winners. Those debut winners had a better second-time average finish position (4.35) against winners next time than those second-timers who lost their debuts and were back against maidens (5.11).

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2.21.2021:

Sunday, February 21: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis-$25,000 Guaranteed Pool

Cal Expo has a 12-race card this evening with the 0.20 Pick 4 beginning in Race 9. That sequence has a $25,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Last night, except for a handful of times the winner was on the lead turning for him. Near the top was the place to be as no one closed from further back than two lengths off the lead to win.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 92-Sarah Toga Again (9/2)-Qualifier after a sick scratch was better than it looked, did pace the 2nd half in 57.2. Gets some necessary class relief, Plano takes the lines and that shouldn't hurt.3-Blue Gem (15-1)-Will toss last from post 8 and could get sucked around here and stay in the mix. Can pass foes down the lane and this is a scattered bunch so will take a swing for a price.10-Gordy Again (5-1)-Roland trainee is camera shy and fits with this crew. The post makes the price and the last 2 starts have been better. Will need a trip but if the journey is smooth it could be picture time.Race 101-Bobs Time (6-1)-Comes off an even effort after an injured scratch and was off 3-weeks. Looks like a player if 100%, can close in a hurry but will need to mind manners.2-Rockinscience (5-1)-Won at this level on 1-17, now drops to face similar and should enjoy the company. Plano trainee might be cycling back to top form and is threat to take top honors.5-Outlaw Blue By You (7/2)-Doug Chappell is back in the bike and he gets along well with this 7-year-old. Raced from the back in last when starting from the 8-hole. Gets some needed class relief and could be sitting on a big try.8-PH Hippie (8-1)-Versatile gelding can race on the lead or come from off cover. Faced $8k claimers in last and cashed a 3rd place check. Lackey can put in play and be in striking range turning for home at a solid price.Race 112-Cardinal Rule (8-1)-Steps-up after ground saving win and might be overlooked at the windows. Best to respect as last 2 races have been better. Has taken 3 pictures at CalX in 8 tries and this post draw could help chances.4-Bettor Lady (7/2)-Has only 2 wins in last 24 starts but recent form has been sharp. Likes to roll late, Plano can work that kind of trip and the pace could be lively.Race 122-Senseless Beauty (15-1)-Svendsen takes a seat and that could make a difference. Needs an efficient trip and with this post draw that could happen. Willing to take a swing for a price in a race without much form and the chalk starting outside.3-Place At The Beach (9/2)-Drops to a better level for success. Barn has been cold but should be competitive versus this crew.4-Selma O'Brien (6-1)-There are reasons to think Selma won't be 6-1, she has only 1 win in the last 29 starts and is 0 for 11 at CalX. All that said, did show some life last week and paced the 2nd half in .58. Stewart can get her into striking range at the top of the lane and pop at nice odds.8-Prom Queen (2-1)-Four-year-old mare drops and should like the company but has a bunch of even efforts at this meet. Gets a positive driver change with Roland talking the lines, so will use but not with a lot of confidence.My Ticket Race 9) 2,3,10 Race 10) 1,2,5,8 Race 11) 2,4 Race 12) 2,3,4,8Total Ticket Cost) = $19.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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2.21.2021:

Sunday, February 21: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Gulfstream Park – Fourth Race – Post time: 2:06 ET3 – Salit (3-1)Ran very well in her debut last month when overcoming a slow start and an extremely wide trip to rally with courage to finish second in a middle distance turf event for maiden special weight 3-year-old fillies. The daughter of American Pharoah seems certain to improve with that bit of experience behind her, but today she tries the main track, a concern because most of her sire’s offspring have performed considerably better on the lawn. However, a series of good main track workouts prior to her first start gives hope that she’ll adapt to the surface switch, so the K. McPeek trained filly is worth a gamble in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.Santa Anita – Eighth Race – Post time 4:20 PT7 - Bella Vita (2-1)Makes her first start since last May and has trained like she’s a better type now than she was then. The S. Callaghan-trained daughter of Bayern lands the lovely outside draw and can pop and go or stalk and pounce depending upon how F. Prat assesses the race flow. Stakes-placed last year as a 3-year-old, the daughter of Bayern returns in state-bred listed affair and seems the solid choice as a win play and rolling exotic single.

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2.21.2021:

Sunday, February 21: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click to view today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Commanding Chief; 5-Holy Emperor; 7-Fat StacksForecast: Fat Stacks shows the popular two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern combined with the maiden-to-maiden claiming angle so we’re expecting the R. Hess, Jr.-trained gelding to improve considerably in this modest nine furlong turf affair. Bred for the trip and with J. Hernandez staying aboard, the son of Drosselmeyer is a fit on figures and likely has more upside than most of the others who have been somewhat exposed. Commanding Chief has hit the board in nine of 11 career outings and has solid speed figures for this level. One of these days he’ll find a field he can beat, maybe today. Holy Emperor has a few races in New York that chart very well with these and picks up hot-riding F. Prat. He’s a one-paced sort but projects to draft into a good second flight spot and have every chance from there. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to Fat Stacks.RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Noble Contessa; 6-Paige RunnerForecast: Paige Runner was out of her element when matched with the stakes-quality filly As Times Goes By last time out but she’s back where she belongs today and seems capable of regaining her winning form. On pure numbers, she’ a stick out. Noble Contessa, a distant second two runs back behind Paige Runner and second again in her most recent start, seems likely to fire a good shot and will be especially dangerous if ‘Runner regresses. She’s most effective on the front end and could take this field a long way if not pressured early.RACE 3: Post: 1:36 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Clearly Gone; 3-Too Much HeavenForecast: Clearly Gone drops to a realistic spot while remaining above her claim level, and in her second start off a layoff the P. Miller-trained mare picks up F. Prat and lands a good inside draw in this $32,000 seller for fillies and mares. She’s won over this course in the past and projects to enjoy a comfortable second flight trip. Too Much Heaven is slightly slower on pure speed figures than ‘Gone but warrants a decent look while returning to her winning level. In a field without much pace, she might inherit the role as the controlling speed. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Clearly Gone on top.RACE 4: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: XUse: Pass/No PlayForecast: This bottom-rung maiden claiming main track miler is inscrutable. Half the field exits the same race and none are trustworthy. We’ll pass the race while suggesting that rolling exotic players use as many as their budget allows.RACE 5: Post: 2:42 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Epidemic; 3-Tivoli Twirl; 8-Eagle ChiefForecast: Tivoli Twirl flashed intense speed in a hot race but faded badly in the stretch in a disappointing debut earlier this month. The son of Twirling Candy switches to grass and removes blinkers, so we’re expecting a much better performance from a colt who had performed nicely in a.m. drills prior to his first start. A nice half mile breeze just four days ago should have him on edge, so at 4-1 on the morning line the B. Baffert-trained colt may offer some good wagering value. Eagle Chief shows an improving pattern with rising speed figures in each of his three starts to date. A decent third over this course and distance three weeks ago, the gelded son of Into Mischief projects to settle in the second flight and then be first over should the speed types wilt under pressure. Epidemic has trained like a quick colt for his debut and is worth tossing in at 8-1 on the morning line. The rail draw sprinting on grass this meeting has been a death trap, but if he leaves running the R. Hanson-trained son of Orb may get loose early and brave late. These are the three we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Tivoli Twirl.RACE 6: Post: 3:14 PT Grade: BSingle: 4-MichalskaForecast: Michalska appears to be a progressive type, and after finishing a good second in a similar affair sprinting on turf the daughter of Jimmy Creed switches back to the main track while continuing to look sharp in a.m. preps. The A. Marques-trained sophomore graduated at first asking on dirt during the fall Del Mar season, regains J. Hernandez, and projects to settle into a stalking position with dead aim on the leaders at the head of the lane. At 4-1 on the morning line, she’s a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 7: Post: 3:46 PT Grade: BSingle: 4-Jamming Eddy; 7-Ian GlassForecast: Let’s take a shot and put Ian Glass on top in this turf sprint for $40,000 older claimers. The Hard Spun gelding won a two-turn miler vs. $25,000 seller last month, was haltered by S. MIyadi (strong stats with this angle) and shows the route-to-sprint angle and a sharp recent workout for his new connections. The projected pace flow looks soft, so we’re anticipating a good stalking trip at or near his morning linen of 5-1. Jamming Eddy exits a hot race on the dirt – he was a weakening fifth after prompting a blazing pace – and if the P. Miller-trained gelding can shake loose early he could easily roll all the way to the wire. F. Prat, who has won on him in the past, stays aboard.RACE 8: Post: 4:20 PT Grade: B+Single: 7-Bella VitaForecast: Bella Vita makes her first start since last May and has trained like she’s better now than she was then. The S. Callaghan-trained daughter of Bayern lands the lovely outside draw and can pop and go or stalk and pounce depending upon how F. Prat assesses the race flow. Stakes placed last year during her 3-year-old campaign, the daughter of Bayern returns in state-bred listed affair and seems the solid choice as a win play and rolling exotic single at or near her morning line of 2-1.RACE 9: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: BUse: 6-She’s a Perfectlady; 9-La V.; 10-New DramaForecast: Shes’a Perfectlady drops into a seller for the first time and may have found her friends. The J. Sadler-trained filly shows the route-to-sprint angle, drops out of straight maiden competition, switches to F. Prat, and turned in a recent bullet workout over the training track to have her on edge. La V., away for almost a year, returns in a soft spot, removes blinkers, and showed enough ability last year to expect she’ll act very well against this level of competition. The work tab looks intriguing, so the daughter of Midnight Lute could easily fire a big shot off the bench. New Drama, another returning off a long layoff, also can be expected to be dangerous in her first start for a tag. She gets a break in the weights with bug boy D. Centeno aboard and her speed figures in a pair of outings last year make her a strong fit at this level.

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2.20.2021:

Saturday, February 20: Meadowlands Late Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has a 13-race card set to go with the 0.50 Late Pick 4 starting in Race 10. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout, and it will be my focus.Last night, Dexter Dunn led the drivers with three wins. Kelvin Harrison led the conditioners with two trips to the winner's circle. Speed held with nine of 13 winners leading at the top of the lane.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 101-Scirocco Rob (7/2)-Just missed last week going off at 7-1 but won't be that price here. Dube should have Rob forwardly placed and not be far off the lead turning for the wire.2-Buck Dancer (8/1)-Gets AMac back and he won with this 5-year-old on 1-23. Has been trying hard since moving up to this level. Could fire out and find a soft quarter and not look back.Race 111-American Boy N (3-1)-Drops to the level of recent success and TMac sticks. Should be put in play early and looks like a major threat.7-On Accident (5-1)-This is another dropper who should like the company. AMac might be sending and could land in an up-close seat. Looks like a player at a square price.8-Warrawee Unique (7/2)-Knocked out at the start in last start at PcD and is right back at the Big M with Gingras taking a spin tonight. Not sure about blasting out to the top but might duck and move later. The pace should be brisk and that won't hurt chances for a picture.Race 123-Cool Clifford (7/2)-Comes off a nice try and this is a more comfortable spot. AMac steers again, put in a flat line in last and could take a picture if minds manners.4-Eplosive Ridge (3-1)-Callahan's choice drops to a spot to shine. Has won 3 of 6 at M1 this year and draws well enough to add to that total.Race 131-Ohio Vintage (6-1)-Drops and has the speed to win at a square price. Needs the right steer and TMac was rolling down the lane with this 5-year-old on 2-6. Should be worth a swing but can't afford to be too far back at the top of lane and pilot knows the same.4-Skyway Fireball (3-1)-Hasn't raced since 2-4 and this will be the 1st M1 start but has done good work at Hoosier on a larger oval. Dunn is between the pipes, lands in a soft spot and should be there at the wire.6-TJ Blast (7/2)-Tried hard last week and this field isn't as tough. Needs a trip and an honest pace but off the last try it is best to respect.My Ticket Race 10) 1,2 Race 11) 1,7,8 Race 12) 3,4 Race 13) 1,4,6Total Ticket Cost) $18 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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2.20.2021:

Saturday, February 20: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Aqueduct – 8th race – Post time: 4:50 ET8 – Brattle House (3-1)Won her debut last November over this track and distance by a value much greater than her 5 & 1/2 length margin gives her credit for, and we suspect that this New York-bred filly will deliver a repeat victory despite the class hike to this year’s edition of the Maddie May Stakes. Very quick from the gate in her first start, the daughter of Malibu Moon opened up at will entering the lane was eased up to a virtual walk in the final stages of the race to win like a future star. She’ll probably have to put in a full day’s work this time, but the C. Clement-trained sophomore, a $775,000 yearling purchase, should be more than up to the task. At 3-1 on the morning line she’s a win play and rolling exotic single.Gulfstream Park – 11th race – Post time: 5:16 ET7 – Mrs. Danvers (2-1)Earned a career top speed figure – one that is usually associated with Grade-1 company – when trying two turns for the first time and winning the Comely S.-G3 with complete authority in her most recent outing in late November in New York. Freshened and training like she’s fit and ready for her 4-year-old debut in this year's renewal of the Royal Delta S.-G3, the daughter of Tapit should settle just off the leaders outside and then have every chance to exert her superiority from the quarter pole home. She’s 2-1 on the morning line and she’ll offer good wagering value in the win pool at anywhere near that price.

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2.20.2021:

Saturday, February 20: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click to view today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B-Use: 4-Arctic Roll; 6-Rocking Redhead;8-Applecross; 9-BestrellaForecast: The opener is a grass grab bag for first-level allowance fillies and mares and requires a considerable spread in rolling exotic play. Applecross, a non-threatening fifth (beaten two lengths) in a similar affair last time out while taking the worst of the race-shape, adds blinkers today with the hope that the hood will help produce improved tactical speed. Yet to visit the winner’s circle in the U.S. after six starts, the former English performer has run well in better company than she’s facing today, so at 6-1 on the morning line we’ll give her a slight edge on top based primarily on price. Bestrella is an interesting Irish invader making her U.S. debut with European form that makes her competitive at this level. She first arrived in California last summer and has taken a very long time to acclimate, but her recent workouts indicate she’s fairly fit, she’s run well off layoffs in the past, and lands the barn’s “go-to” rider D. Van Dyke. She’s another listed at 6-1 on the morning line, and as a first-time Lasix user she’s a “must use.” Rocking Redhead was a visually pleasing maiden winner in November at Del Mar and makes her first start since off a series of average-at-best recent workouts on the main track. She’s clearly a turf specialist, so it’s entirely possible that her morning activity doesn’t provide a true indication of her fitness. If ready, she’s more than good enough to score again. Arctic Roll, a two-time winner over the local lawn, has been away since June but has looked pretty good in recent workouts to indicate she’s fit to fire a good shot. The blinkers off angle catches the eye and so does her morning line of 15-1. She’s worth tossing in as a saver or a back-up.RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Swift as I Am; 2-SabudaForecast: You can include him if you like but we have a suspicion that the 8/5 morning line favorite Hockey Dad might be worth playing against in this allowance optional claiming sprint for state-bred 3-year-olds. The son of Nyquist was impressive breaking his maiden last month on grass, but his first outing (on dirt) was far less than that and his recent workouts indicate he’s a much better mover on turf than he is on dirt. So, let’s try to beat him. Swift as I Am flopped at even money in a similar event last month but has returned to work well for J. Sadler so we’ll give him a chance to bounce back with a top effort. From the rail the son of Danza has only one way to go, so if he leaves cleanly and makes the running inside he may never look back. Sabuda earned a huge, career-top speed figure when easily disposing of maiden $50,000 foes last time out and if he can reproduce that type of effort against this stronger group the Metaboss colt could be very dangerous right back. He gets a considerable break in the weights with the switch to bug girl J. Pyfer and figures to be pressing the pace every step of the way. In a five runner field, these are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics.RACE 3: Post: 1:36 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Tony Ann; 4-Just a Kiss Away; 7-Isn’t She LovelyForecast: This maiden special weight turf sprint for sophomore fillies came up a bit light, so we’ll use two first-timers along with the best of the known element. Isn’t She Lovely earned decent speed figures in a pair of fourth place efforts at Del Mar last summer when facing what turned out to be stakes-quality competition and could easily be a better type this time around for R. Mandella. She returns with Lasix and blinkers following a series of quick recent workouts that should have her fit and ready, and with the blazingly-hot F. Prat taking the call for a barn that has sensational stats with layoff runners, this daughter of Into Mischief is clearly the one to beat. Just a Kiss Away is a fast-working debut runner from the E. Kruljac barn with two recent bullet drills at Los Alamitos to indicate some talent. The daughter of Twirling Candy certainly is bred for speed and in a race that projects to have soft early splits she could wind up being the one to catch. Tony Ann has done some good work in the a.m. for P. D’Amato and although this stable doesn’t often win with newcomers this daughter of Cairo Prince may represent danger from off the pace.RACE 4: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: C+Use: 1-Theluteismine; 6-Evenerevenworse; 8-June GloomForecast: Maiden $50,000 claiming state-bred 3-year-olds sprint six and one-half furlongs to kick off the Rainbow Pick-6 in an anything-goes type of race that offers nothing to trust. We’ll use three and hope to get by. June Gloom is a first-timer that has attracted F. Prat and has the benefit of the cozy outside post, so the P. Miller-trained gelding, with a decent work tab at San Luis Rey Downs on his resume, rates top billing pretty much by default. A couple of recent six furlong drills should have him fit enough, so if he can run at all, this would be a good place to show it. Another debut runner, Evenereveworse, has shown a bit of ability in the a.m. for R. Ellis (quite capable with first-timers) so at 8-1 on the morning line we’ll include him on our ticket. Theluteismine has hit the board in two of his last three starts with speed figures that fit at this level and clearly is the best of the experienced group. Not sure he’s worth his 9/5 morning line price but if the fresh faces aren’t much, he’s the likely winner.RACE 5: Post: 2:42 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Maestro Dearte; 2-Ward ‘n JerryForecast: We’ll double the fifth race, a 10-furlong starter’s allowance event with the two main players drawing the favorite inside post positions. Ward ‘n Jerry has been consistently racing against much tougher stakes (and in many case graded) company of late but sneaks into the field due to the unusual conditions of the race and on paper simply outclasses the field over a course that has produced four of his six career victories. The veteran son of Lucky Pulpit still appears sharp and eager in his morning trials and is a perfect two-for-two over this 10-furlong distance, so with “win rider” F. Prat staying aboard the 8-year-old gelding looks well-spotted to regain his winning form. Maestro Dearte, a sharp closing second in a $50,000 claimer almost two months ago, has trained steadily since and should appreciate today’s added distance. From the rail he’s guaranteed a ground-saving trip and having finished first or second in six of 12 starts over the local lawn the P. Eurton-trained gelding is worth including somewhere on hour ticket at 8-1 on the morning line.RACE 6: Post: 3:14 PT Grade: B+Single: 4-Motown MusicForecast: Motown Music appears to have much in his favor in this allowance optional claimer over a mile on the main track. The lightly-raced and progressive son of Quality Road shows rising speed figures in each of his four races, most recently earning a strong number when second (beaten a neck) over this track and distance at this condition last month. He continues to train well, adds blinkers for the first time, switches to J. J. Hernandez, and could inherit the role as the controlling speed if his connections choose that option. In a five-runner affair and at 9/5 on the morning line, the M. Glatt-trained gelding is a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 7: Post: 3:46 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Mucho Unusual; 5-Red Lark; 8-Charmaine’s MiaForecast: This year’s edition of the Buena Vista S.-G2 is a deep and contentious affair offering several possibilities, some at good prices. We’ll go three-deep and hope that’s enough. Charmaine’s Mia made her first start for new trainer P. D’Amato in the Las Cienegas S.-G3 earlier this meeting and left her previous form far behind with a fast, highly-rated and visually impressive win while earning a career top speed figure. Today she’ll try to prove she can handle two-turns (she finished last in her only prior route races a couple of years ago) but based on her recent workouts we’re convinced the daughter of The Factor can get the trip. While she won pressing the pace throughout in the Las Cienegas, it wouldn’t be shocking to see patient tactics employed today due to the presence of other committed speed types drawn inside of her. Mucho Unusual always gives her best, loves this turf course (five wins in nine starts) and is perfectly drawn in the two-hole that should enable her to use her excellent tactical speed to secure an ideal second flight, ground-saving journey. Red Lark is the most dangerous of the closers. Victimized by a crawling pace in the American Oaks-G1 in late December, the Irish-bred filly did well to finish as close as she did (fourth, beaten less than three lengths) and her excellent late turn of foot combined with today’s projected much quicker pace flow makes her extremely dangerous at 8-1 on the morning line.RACE 8: Post: 4:20 PT Grade: C+Use: 3-Varoma; 4-Made in KarooForecast: A little will go a long way in this modest $30,000 maiden claiming main track miler for sophomore fillies. Made in Karoo has numbers that can win, adds blinkers, and switches to F. Prat. She certainly won’t have to improve much to beat this field. Varoma exits a series of tougher races while stretching out for the first time and seems likely to find herself as the controlling speed. She’s not particularly fast on figures and with Trippi on the bottom side of her pedigree she’s no sure thing to enjoy the distance, but if she’s ever going to stay a mile it’ll be in her first try against a group like this. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics, but if you have the budget to go deeper, feel free to do so.RACE 9: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Cruel Intention; 2-Coast of Roan; 6-Southern HorseForecast: The finale is a stronger-than-par first-level allowance grass dash. Cruel Intentionjust missed as the favorite in a similar affair over this turf course when making his first start since August. He’s worked well since, so we suspect he’ll run just as well if not better today, though his inside draw at this extended sprint trip dictates his front-running strategy over a course and distance that has promoted the closing types. He picks up F. Prat so at 5/2 on the morning line we’ll put him on top, but not single him. Coast of Roan returned off a layoff to win a starter’s allowance affair over this course and distance last month while earning a number that makes him a fit despite the class hike. He’s got the proper closing style for the trip and with some help up front should be quite dangerous in the final stages. Southern Hope is an Irish invader with good credentials – he was a stakes-placed twice in valuable handicaps overseas – and looks like a live item in his U.S. debut as a first-time Lasix user for J. Sadler. Based on his running style overseas, the one-time Argentine performer should be motoring home in the final stages.

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2.20.2021:

Saturday, February 20: Eddie Olczyk's Best Bets

1/ST and NBC Sports handicapper Eddie Olczyk has been heating up in February and provides a pair of key plays Saturday at Gulfstream and Santa Anita. Follow Edzo’s plays each week – only with 1/ST and Xpressbet!Gulfstream ParkRace 9 // 4:12 pm ET // claiming // 1 mile (turf)#9 Auburn Hills (12-1 ML)I am thinking he needed his last after a 3-month layoff, making a middle move and tiring. Palace Malice gelding drops in class while making key second start off of the layoff. Distance is no problem and value is there at anywhere near the morning line. Win-place bet.Santa AnitaRace 7 // 6:46 pm ET // Grade 2 Buena Vista Stakes // 1 mile (turf)#6 Sedamar (8-1 ML)Big-time pace play could trip out in the stakes feature. She gets plenty of speed to chase and seems to be on the improve. In the Megahertz Stakes last time out, she closed into a slow pace and still managed second. She’ll get more pace to help her today. Big win bet.Last Saturday’s 2 spot plays netted a pair of winners, including Howbeit ($15) at Santa Anita. Let’s hope to keep a bit of a roll going with 3 scores in the last 4 spot plays. Good luck this weekend!

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2.19.2021:

Friday, February 19: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click to view today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: A-Single: 3-Du JourForecast: Du Jour has the makings of a very nice colt, especially on grass for which he’s primarily bred for. The son of Temple City, an excellent runner-up to next-out winner Cathkin Peak in his debut last November, subsequently ran much better than the line will show in a maiden main track affair last month, when he was forced to race wide throughout while making a premature move, hitting the front in mid-stretch, but then paying the price late to wind up third in a strong race for the level. It’s clear by the string of excellent recent drills on the training track that this talented sophomore is ready to produce another forward move, and with the switch to F. Prat he’s sure to receive the patient ride that will bring out his best. At anywhere close to his morning line of 9/5, he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: BUse: 4-Li’l Grazen; 5-Sadie Bluegrass; 6-ClockstrikestwelveForecast: Bay Area shipper Sadie Bluegrass, successful in seven of 11 career outings and versatile enough to win on any surface or distance, can be trusted for another major effort while clearly very likely accepting the role as the controlling speed. She’s back in 16 days after outrunning a second-level allowance field in gate-to-wire fashion over a mile (her first two-turn try) but she’s back sprinting today and will take some catching based on the projected pace flow. It should be noted that she’s quite capable of stalking and pouncing if the situation dictates, so R. Gonzalez has the option of assessing the race-shape and improvising if need be. While Sadie Bluegrass will be the main punch in the win pool and in rolling exotic play, we’ll also include a couple of back-ups for protection. Clockstrikestwelve is a strong fit at this level based on speed figures, though most of her good work has been accomplished over a distance of ground. A thoroughly genuine and consistent race mare, she’ll be seeking her fifth straight score but will have to do so as a deep closer in a race that might be slowly run early. With F. Prat taking the call, she’ll be the one to worry about the most from the quarter pole home. Li’L Grazen earned a confidence-building win at Los Alamitos in a mixed-breed affair in early December and is another that has a legitimate look based on her strong speed figures from last summer (when trained by P. Miller). First or second in seven of 14 career outings over the local main track, the veteran mare should at least get a piece of it.RACE 3: Post: 1:36 PT Grade: B-Use:1-In Vronsky Style; 2-Starship Chewbacca; 6-Queen’s CodeForecast: In Vronsky Style is a 3-year-old making his debut in this state-bred maiden sprint and has trained well enough to warrant strong consideration in a race in which the known element seems suspect. The P. D’Amato-trained gelding has looked good of late in dirt track workouts but based on pedigree could easily be much more comfortable on the lawn, so we’ll put him on top and hope that he leaves cleanly from the rail and can secure a good early position. It should be noted that this high percentage stable has below average stats with first-time starters, so we’ll include a couple of others in our rolling exotic play for support. Starship Chewbacca, a five-race maiden and making his first start on grass (bred for it), has hit the board in four of five career outings and has earned speed figures that are par for this level. The H. Zucker-trained 4-year-old gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug girl J. Pyfer and projects to be prominent throughout. Queen’s Code ran well when third in his debut on grass at Del Mar last fall but was a non-factor in his most recent outing when trying dirt. Back on the lawn today, the son of Desert Code switches to J. J. Hernandez and should have dead aim and every chance when the field straightens for home.RACE 4: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: XUse: 3-McWherter; 5-Little RachelForecast: We’ve got this maiden $50,000 main track sprint for older horses down to two main contenders, neither of whom will offer much wagering value. McWherter seems like the logical top pick, though he’s listed as the second choice on the morning line. The lightly-raced son of Goldencents, a strong runner-up vs. similar last month, switches to the main track today and based on pedigree should be more effective on dirt than turf, so a forward move is likely. Little Rachel (7/5), a filly tackling the boys, exits a fast, highly-rated maiden special weight affair and in fact has earned speed figures in her last two starts that are good enough to beat this field. We’re expecting the winner to be one or the other, so we’ll use both in our rolling exotics while otherwise passing the race.RACE 5: Post: 2:40 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Let’s Go Now; 6-Unbreakable; 8-LookintogetevenForecast: Let’s Go Now lands the rail and adds blinkers in this grassy nine furlong maiden claimer for older fillies and mares so we suspect front-running tactics will again be employed after the daughter of Tiznow established the running before weakening late vs. similar last time out. She’ll have to stick better today while negotiating an extra furlong, so the task won’t be easy, but the E. Harty-trained five-year-old has plenty of room for improvement in what will be just her fifth career start and recent workouts indicate she’s starting to figure things out. There’s some value here at or near her morning line of 6-1. Unbreakable, third in the same race Let’s Go Now just finished fifth in, is a one-paced grinder but has hit the board in two of her last three outings and really won’t need to improve much to pose a serious threat in a soft field. Lookintogeteven, an 11-race maiden, gets the worst of the draw but returns to grass and has a few back races that chart well with these. The switch to F. Prat certainly helps. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with Let’s Go Now getting top preference.RACE 6: Post: 3:12 PT Grade: CUse: 2-Gotta Be Lucky; 3-Info’s Treasure; 4-Lady O’ PradoForecast: Here’s another spread race, a main track miler for $12,500 claiming fillies and mares. Use as many as you can afford to. Indy’s Treasure shows the blinkers off angle that we always like and sports a prior win over the Santa Anita main track, so in her first outing following a two month vacation the I. Kruljac-trained mare may be as good as any. She’ll be grinding away from off the pace and may be able to tag the speed if the pace comes faster than average. Lady O’ Prado cut out fast splits before finishing a distant second under these conditions three weeks ago in a four-runner race that produced a decent number. Not much more will be needed today. Gotta B Lucky finally figured out how to win in her 20th career outing and did so when handling $20,000 foes over this track and distance last month thanks to a good stalking trip. She earned a number that makes her competitive right back in this $16,000 (nw-2) affair, so we’ll toss in her.RACE 7: Post: 3:45 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Midnight Mystery; 7-Hoop Dream; 9-I’m Leaving YouForecast: Midnight Mystery is steadily progressing with experience and may have found a home on grass after graduating in a recent turf sprint with a good stalking trip and solid speed figure. Today he stretches out to a mile for the first time, and like we always say if he’s ever going to get the trip it’ll be in his first try. The War Front gelding worked well since raced, lands a comfortable inside draw, and should be on or near the lead throughout. I’m Leaving You, the 9/5 morning line favorite, may be unattractive at that price, having failed as the favorite in a similar affair in his last outing seven weeks ago. Freshened and training steadily since, the Broken Vow gelding must overcome an outside draw but picks up hot-riding F.Prat and looks to be the most dangerous of the closing types. Hoop Dream has competitive numbers over this course and distance and really won’t have to improve much to win, especially if the pace-flow (fast) winds up complimenting his closing style. At 6-1 on the morning line, he’s worth including somewhere.RACE 8: Post: 4:16 PT Grade: B-Use: 4-Defense Wins; 7-Eel PointForecast: Defense Wins has the proper style for this extended sprint distance, and although failing to deliver the goods as the favorite in two of his last three outings the D. O’Neill-trained gelding shouldn’t have any excuses today. He won’t have to be used early to gain a favorable second flight, stalking position, and with anything close to his best effort he’ll be hard to contain in the final furlong. Eel Point, a bit rusty when a non-threatening fifth vs. starter’s allowance foes on New Year’s Day, shows a healthy work pattern since and drops for the money while stretching out to his preferred seven furlong trip. The 8/5 morning line favorite, he’s comfortably drawn outside, switches to J. J. Hernandez, and is fast enough on numbers to win at this level. These two are tough to separate, so we’ll include both in rolling exotic play.RACE 9: Post: 4:46 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Ultimate Hy; 4-Rockie CausewayForecast: Ultimate Hy ran quite well in her debut last month, rallying after a slow start to finish an eager second over this course and distance when facing a similar older maiden special weight field of fillies and mares. She has every right to improve off that performance, and if she does the B. Heap-trained filly will be hard to beat. Rockie Causeway, the morning line choice at 2-1, is a five race maiden with speed figures that are good enough to win a race at this level. She had no excuse when out-gamed (and missing by a head) as the chalk vs. similar last month but the daughter of Giant’s Causeway seems certain to get plenty of play right back. Today’s pace flow should be softer, so with a good stalking trip under F. Prat the R. Baltas-trained filly will have every chance to earn her diploma.

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2.19.2021:

Friday, February 19: National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6.Golden Hour Pick-4 (final two races from Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita Park)Ticket: ($6.00)Leg 1: 4, 7Leg 2: 1Leg 3: 2, 4Leg 4: 1, 2, 5Leg 1 – Eighth Race (Santa Anita)Use: 4-Defense Wins; 7-Eel PointWe’ll double the first leg of today’s Golden Hour Pick-4. Defense Wins has the proper style for this extended sprint distance, and although failing to deliver the goods as the favorite in two of his last three outings the D. O’Neill-trained gelding shouldn’t have any excuses today. He won’t have to be used early to gain a favorable second flight, stalking position, and with anything close to his best effort he’ll be hard to contain in the final furlong. Eel Point, a bit rusty when a non-threatening fifth vs. starter’s allowance foes on New Year’s Day, shows a healthy work pattern since and drops for the money while stretching out to his preferred seven furlong trip. Comfortably drawn outside, switches to J. J. Hernandez, and is fast enough on numbers to win at this level.Leg 2 - Seventh Race (Golden Gate Fields)Single: 1-Party SpiritParty Spirit made a successful U.S. debut last month when beating maidens convincingly in a race that that produced a next-out win by the runner-up, and today she moves into first-level allowance company while shortening to a sprint, The M. Badilla-trained filly appears to have a sharp turn of foot, so this drop back in trip shouldn’t be an issue, though she’ll need good racing luck from her rail draw. Two easy breezes since she raced are a positive sign, so at 6-1 on the morning line this English import offers good wagering value both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.Leg 3 – Ninth Race (Santa Anita)Use: 2-Ultimate Hy; 4-Rockie CausewayUltimate Hy ran quite well in her debut last month, rallying after a slow start to finish an eager second over this course and distance when facing a similar older maiden special weight field of fillies and mares. She has every right to improve off that performance, and if she does the B. Heap-trained filly will be hard to beat. Rockie Causeway is a five race maiden with speed figures that are good enough to win a race at this level. She had no excuse when out-gamed (and missing by a head) as the chalk vs. similar last month today’s pace flow should be softer, so with a good stalking trip under F. Prat the R. Baltas-trained filly will have every chance to earn her diploma.Leg 4 – Eighth Race (Golden Gate Fields)Use: 1-Windy City Red; 2-Cristiano’s Dream; 5-Mister BoldWe’ll go three-deep in our Golden Hour Pick-4 ticket in this allowance/optional claiming sprint restricted to 3-year-olds. Santa Anita shipper Mister Bold crushed a state-bred field last month with speed figures that makes him clearly the one to beat. He’s perfect in three starts around one turn; the only real question mark is the all-weather surface, which he’ll be competing over for the first time. Windy City Red, another SoCal invader, makes his first start since being gelded for high-percentage trainer J. Wong and broke his maiden over this synthetic surface last summer. He’ll be running on late. Cristiano’s Dream was a pleasing debut winner from off the pace last month, gets an extra half furlong to work with today, and with a forward move could be heard from in the final furlong.

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2.18.2021:

1/ST BET AI Picks for Laurel's Winter Sprintfest Stakes

Saturday’s rescheduled Winter Sprintfest at Laurel Park presents a 6-stakes bonanza, co-featuring the Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie and Grade 3 General George. The Miracle Wood opens the stakes spree in Race 3, matching potential Preakness hopefuls on Maryland’s road to the Triple Crown. Whether you’re new to following Maryland racing or a seasoned veteran, the 1/ST BET app can help you make data-driven and informed decisions. Selections provided by the 1/ST BET app measure each contender against the 10 leading factors for each race. The 1/ST BET app looks at 52 handicapping factors and more than 200,000 past races to determine its AI selections. You can use the automated handicapping factors, or create your own factor filters to incorporate angles you prefer. Laurel Park // Race 3 // Miracle Wood Stakes // 1:32 pm ET #4 Maythehorsebewithu // 30%W // 48%P // 61%S #5 Kenny Had a Notion // 21%W // 37%P // 57%S #1 Tiz Mandate // 15%W // 34%P // 54%S #3 The King Cheek // 10%W // 20%P // 30%S #7 Subsidize // 10%W // 32%P // 48%S #2 Newyearsblockparty // 8%W // 19%P // 29%S #6 Silent Service // 5%W // 11%P // 20%S Laurel Park // Race 4 // John B. Campbell Stakes // 2:04 pm ET  #8 Bankit // 36%W // 45%P // 59%S #6 Dixie Drawl // 16%W // 35%P // 51%S #4 Forewarned // 14%W // 31%P // 45%S #7 Galerio // 12%W // 28%P // 51%S #1 Zabracadabra // 7%W // 24%P // 32%S #3 Cordmaker // 5%W // 20%P // 32%S #2 Deal Driven // 5%W // 9%P // 14%S #5 Awesome DJ // 5%W // 9%P // 14%S Laurel Park // Race 5 // Nellie Morse Stakes // 2:37 pm ET  #9 Lucky Stride // 29%W // 50%P // 64%S #1 Landing Zone // 19%W // 31%P // 44%S #5 Flashnydynamite // 11%W // 22%P // 34%S #7 Wicked Awesome // 9%W // 24%P // 36%S #4 Lucky Move // 8%W // 17%P // 28%S #2 Daphne Moon // 6%W // 15%P // 24%S #8 Artful Splatter // 5%W // 12%P // 21%S #10 Dreamer’s Moon // 4%W // 14%P // 19%S #3 Gracetown // 4%W // 10%P // 17%S #6 Pat’s No Fool // 4%W // 7%P // 13%S Laurel Park // Race 6 // Wide Country Stakes // 3:12 pm ET  #5 Street Lute // 32%W // 46%P // 62%S #6 Buckey’s Charm // 18%W // 40%P // 47%S #1 My My Girl // 14%W // 30%P // 49%S #3 Fraudulent Charge // 10%W // 24%P // 39%S #2 Salt Plage // 8%W // 22%P // 29%S #4 Miss Leslie // 4%W // 10%P // 29%S #7 Little Huntress // 4%W // 9%P // 15%S #8 Whiskey and Rye // 4%W // 9%P // 15%S #9 Lady Clau // 4%W // 9%P // 15%S Laurel Park // Race 7 // Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie Stakes // 3:46 pm ET  #8 Hello Beautiful // 30%W // 53%P // 60%S #1 Sharp Starr // 20%W // 41%P // 54%S #6 Hibiscus Punch // 19%W // 34%P // 47%S #4 Estilo Talentoso// 7%W // 16%P // 33%S #2 Club Car // 7%W // 17%P // 35%S #3 Dontletsweetfoolya // 6%W // 16%P // 30%S #5 Suggestive Honor // 5%W // 11%P // 20%S #7 Needs Supervision // 5%W // 11%P // 20%S Laurel Park // Race 8 // Grade 3 General George Stakes // 4:19 pm ET #4 Majestic Dunhill // 28%W // 44%P // 56%S #2 Funny Guy // 12%W // 29%P // 36%S #6 Share the Ride // 11%W // 18%P // 31%S #8 Arthur’s Hope // 11%W // 27%P // 38%S #3 Lebda // 7%W // 16%P // 23%S #5 Fortunate Friends // 7%W // 13%P // 20%S #7 Informative // 7%W // 12%P // 21%S #9 Chilly in Charge // 7%W // 19%P // 31%S #10 Tattooed // 6%W // 13%P // 18%S #1 Laki // 5%W // 9%P // 24%S

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2.18.2021:

Friday, February 19: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Picks

STRONACH 5 ANALYSIS LEG A // LAUREL, RACE 9 (4:17PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT) This field of Maryland breds in proven at Laurel Park, with a combined 123-23-24-18 record, mandating an "ALL" play to start the day. LEG B // SANTA ANITA, RACE 4 (4:35PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 1/2 FURLONGS (TURF) KRISTEL'S REBEL debuts for O'Neill with a good work tab, a dam who won on turf and a tempting price with jockey looking for first win of meet. QUEEN'S CODE raced 5-wide and ran third in his debut on the grass behind a winner who finished second five times in MSW company. JUNGLE BOY missed his entire 3-year-old season, but he is a full brother to $438k earner Mr. Hinx, who won 2 of 3 on the turf. LEG C // LAUREL, RACE 10 (4:48PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 7 FURLONGS (DIRT) PARDON THE PUN blew commanding stretch leads in his last four route attempts, now shortens up to 7F. TALE OF DIXIE awaited room mid-turn against Pardon The Pun, finished a willing third and makes his third start of a cycle. WAR LIGHT didn't run to his bullet workout at Fair Hill in his $40,000 debut but he can't be discounted. UNION CHARM debuted as a 4-year-old in MSW company at Belmont, showed nothing in four starts, now starts for a new barn. LEG D // GULFSTREAM, RACE 9 (5:16PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF) ARCH OF FIRE, far back after a slow start in his MSW turf debut at Saratoga, made an eye-catching move on the turn before flattening out while 5-wide in the stretch. He takes on multiple-winning Florida breds but still might be good enough to carry today's Stronach 5 hopes at 30-1 on the morning line. LEG E // GOLDEN GATE, RACE 3 (5:25PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (ALL WEATHER) OF GOOD REPORT, crowded at the start on his return to the main track, rallied 5-wide to a brief stretch lead but settled for third behind repeater Harmon (5-19, $118k). SUGGESTED $1 TICKET Leg A: ALLLeg B: 4, 5, 6Leg C: 6, 7, 8, 10Leg D: 8Leg E: 2 Cost: $120

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2.18.2021:

Saudi Cup Picks + Quigley Hits Prices in Beat the Host

Santa Anita’s Tom Quigley hit on 2 of 10 Beat the Host picks Saturday but posted a strong $75.50 total based on payoffs for $5 Win wagers. In Santa Anita’s third race, Quigley correctly tabbed Capper ($9.80) and later added Merneith ($20.40) in the eighth race. It’s the fourth time in six weeks a host has posted a flat-bet profit. The top three players from this week’s action are David Bernat ($177.50), Peter Grau ($175.50) and Kyle Newcomb ($156). They collect $1,000, $750 and $250, respectively. Pacesetters in the race for seasonal cumulative earner honors shifted this week as Adam Haskins assumes command over Randy Bird $448.50 to $440. Maria Cimino is next with $434.50. Peter Grau ($426.50), Craig Yoshino ($425) and Andrew Ma ($400) round out the top six that are separated by a mere $48.50. By comparison, hosts this season have compiled a respectable $349.50 in cumulative earnings. If eligible, that total would rank 16th overall in the race for seasonal cumulative earnings. Not bad. Not bad at all. Gulfstream’s Ron Nicoletti leads all hosts with $82.50 in weekly earnings, just $2 better than the total produced by Santa Anita’s Millie Ball in week 2. Quigley’s Saturday total is third best, so far, at $75.50. Two hosts remain in weekly Beat the Host play, with Gulfstream’s Acacia Courtney at the plate Saturday. NBC Sports analyst Eddie Olcyzk handles the anchor lap. If you haven’t already played Beat the Host this season, what the heck are you waiting for? All it takes to play is a ‘live’ $5 Win wager on one horse in each of 10 competition races. If your earnings exceed the hosts, you qualify for the Beat the Host Championship Round. If your earnings are in the top 3 of all players that week, you earn a share of $2,000. And, here’s the best part, since Beat the Host competition wagers are ‘live,’ you get to keep what you win. Pick a few winners and you’re ahead for the day without winning a prize! Saturday’s Gr. 2 Risen Star Stakes really didn’t deliver much Kentucky Derby insight except for enhancing the budding Brad Cox legend. His charge Mandaloun turned the tables on Midnight Bourbon and Proxy, the duo in front of him in the Gr. 3 Lecomte in January. Mandaloun wore blinkers for the first time in the Risen Star and a :59 4/5 workout over a ‘good’ track had him tight. All angles considered, there doesn’t seem to be too much between the trio. Therefore, none of these appear to be Derby winner’s circle threats at this time. Originally, in this space, the idea was to provide horse-by-horse, in-depth handicapping analysis of all major Kentucky Derby prep races. However, Mother Nature has forced the folks in Hot Springs, Arkansas to postpone the Southwest Stakes until next Saturday. That leaves this weekend without a US-based major 3-year-old stakes race. No worries. If we can adapt to a worldwide pandemic, we certainly can handle a spell of freezing temperatures in the southern states. Saturday, conveniently, they just happen to be running what’s billed as the ‘World’s Most Valuable Horse Race’ at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It’s the $20 million Saudi Cup--center jewel of a desert evening card that includes 31 Group and Grade 1 winners chasing a total of $30.5 million. There’s also a Friday card that includes eight races--four as part of an International Jockey Challenge. Saturday’s action begins at 4 pm local time, which is 8 a.m. Eastern. The Saudi Cup is scheduled for 12:40 pm ET. As we’ve experienced over decades of Dubai racing for breakfast, money won in the morning spends just as well as money won in the afternoon. Watch and wager on Saudi action with Xpressbet. Below is one man’s horse-by-horse opinion of the $20 million Saudi Cup field and recommended play: First, some things you should know: This is a one-turn, about one mile and one-eighth dirt race. Most European runners are not used to racing on dirt. They could shy from kickback, not be comfortable with the quicker pace and be a bit long-fused for a one-turn dirt race. In last year's inaugural running of this race, US-based horses occupied four of the first five finishing positions. Godolphin's Dubai-based Benbatl was third. Odds below are from William Hill as posted at oddschecker.com Thursday morning ET. #1 CHUWA WIZARD (JPN) - Okubo/Tosaki - Japan - 10/1 This 6-year-old horse was the Japan Racing Association’s dirt champion of 2020 and won the 2020 Grade 1 Champions Cup last out. That’s a qualifying race for the Saudi Cup. To make an impression in this field he’ll need to run much better than he ever has. It is noteworthy that his price (10-1) at William Hill on Thursday morning (according to oddschecker.com) is way less than one would expect. Is this ‘smart’ money or just ‘fans’ of Japanese racing getting down on their favorite son? We’ll Pass. #2 BANGKOK (IRE) - Balding/Moore - England - 33/1 This 5-year-old is fit—having just won the mile and one-quarter Winter Derby Trial at Lingfield Feb. 6. Fitness is a critical handicapping factor to yours truly and his recency may help but he’s not close to being of this quality. This will be his first start on dirt, but he has handled synthetics at Lingfield and Wolverhampton. Jockey Ryan Moore is world class, but he’ll need to be a Houdini-level magician to pull off an upset here. Pass. #3 GREAT SCOT (GB) - Mushrif/Alfouraidi - Saudi Arabia - 50/1 This 5-year-old returns to the scene of the crime—he finished 12th of 14 in this race last year—and may be victimized again. The good news is that he doesn’t have to travel. He’s playing a ‘home’ game while the rest of the field is ‘away.’ That could be the only edge he has and that just isn’t enough. Pass. #4 MAX PLAYER (USA) - Asmussen/Rispoli - United States - 25/1 Winning the Saudi Cup would be a great way to snap a drought. 4-year-old Max Player hasn’t won a race since the 2020 Gr. 3 Withers, when trained by Linda Rice. He has two wins in 7 starts and was third in the Gr. 1 Belmont and Gr. 1 Travers, as well as fifth in the Gr. 1 Kentucky Derby and Gr. 1 Preakness. The Saudi Cup will be his first race since Old Hilltop. Trainer Asmussen just missed winning this race last year when mare Midnight Bisou’s late charge fell just short of a resilient Maximum Security. FYI…Asmussen actually may end up ‘winning’ the inaugural Saudi Cup because the first-place purse is still withheld pending the conclusion of a trial for Jason Servis Maximum Security’s former trainer. Strangely, Midnight Bisou’s odds of ‘winning’ the Saudi Cup actually may be better than Max Player’s. Bottom of Exotics Only. #5 KNICKS GO (USA) - Cox/Rosario - United States - 3/1 Owned by Korea Racing Authority, this 5-year-old grey son of Paynter won the Gr. 1 Pegasus Cup last out in wire-to-wire fashion and is expected to go the lead again in here. He’s drawn inside #9 Charlatan, the other speed horse in the race. Jockey Rosario will want to have the lead and to save ground inside. At some point, #9 Charlatan will come calling and that will be when the 2021 Saudi Cup will be decided. Can Knicks Go turn back the challenge and register his fifth consecutive victory and seventh overall, or will he succumb to #9 Charlatan’s bid? Among other Knicks Go successes are two record-setting runs at Keeneland and the BC Dirt Mile. He’s won 6 of 18 races and over $3 million. Trainer Brad Cox currently is the hottest conditioner in the nation. Can he extend that domination to Saudi Arabia? Win Contender. #6 GLOBAL GIANT (GB) - Gosden/Dettori - England - 25/1 If you like #11 Simsir, then you’ve got to give this 6-year-old a gander. He finished second to #11 Simsir in the Bahrain Trophy after breaking slowly and finishing well late. He’s got the world-famous combination of trainer John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori on his side, but he might need a bit more than that. He’ll be switching from Bahrain turf to Saudi dirt and backing up from a mile and one-quarter to one mile and one-eighth. He’s won 4 of 17 overall with 6 more in the money finishes. #7 TACITUS (USA) - Mott/Velazquez - United States - 12/1 Some call him a disappointment. We all should be so lucky as to own an equine ‘disappointment’ that earns more than $3.2 million. Winless at the Grade 1 level in 7 tries, he’s also never been worse than fourth in those races. At age 5 it would be a surprise to see him jump up and win one now, but it’s not impossible. Fourth (what else?) in the BC Classic in November, he was fifth in the Saudi Cup last year—his worst finish ever. The good news for those who haven’t given up on him winning a Grade 1 race is that he will get the kind of early pace he needs to be successful. The bad news is that one mile and one-eighth may be bit short for his best. Another piece of good news for Tacitus backers is that he will not be favored in here. Last year, he lost five consecutive times as the public choice. Exotics Only. #8 SLEEPY EYES TODD (USA) - Silva/Moreno - United States - 25/1 Purchased for a mere $9k as a weanling, 5-year-old Sleepy Eyes Todd has banked nearly $900k! Now, that’s a success story. ‘Todd not only has money in the bank, he’s also collected an abundance of frequent flyer miles, too. This will be his 12th start out of 17 at a different racetrack. And, of course, it comes halfway around the world from his US base. He’s a multiple Gr. 3 winner and was fourth last out in the Gr. 1 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream. He’ll need to turn the tables on that race’s winner #5 Knicks Go to be successful here and that’s a tall order. He is a closer and ought to have enough pace to run at, but he’s never won a race of this magnitude. Exotics Only. #9 CHARLATAN (USA) - Baffert/Smith - United States - 11/8 If 4-year-old Charlatan crosses the Saudi Cup finish behind another horse, it will be a new experience for the son of Speightstown. He’s finished first in all four starts, including the Gr. 1 Malibu last out at Santa Anita Dec. 26, but previously was disqualified from victory in the Gr. 1 Arkansas Derby because of a failed drug test. His last two works are solid—including one at seven panels in 1:24 3/5--both capped by strong Baffert-style gallop outs. He’s got enough speed to sit comfortably off whatever pace is determined by #5 Knicks Go. Does Charlatan have the quality and stamina to catch and dispose of that foe while holding off closing charges from other talented foes? We believe he does. The next time Bob Baffert sends a ‘short’ horse postward, it will be the first time. Charlatan will be ready and, we believe, good enough. The Pick to Win. #10 MILITARY LAW (GB) - Al Mheriri/Fresu - United Arab Emirates - 10/1 This 6-year-old son of Dubawi ships in from his UAE base. Last out he won the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 at about one mile. He has a couple of in the money finishes against Group 1 and Group 2 competition. He comes from off the pace, so that style should be effective in here. He’s won 5 of 11 with 3 seconds and has done well on dirt since moving to Dubai from the barn of John Gosden in England where he raced on grass and all-weather surfaces. He may be the kind of ‘local’ runner with a chance to hit the board. Exotics Only. #11 SIMSIR (IRE) - Nass/de Vries - Bahrain - 33/1 This 5-year-old gelding’s claim to fame came in November when he won the $673,000 Bahrain International Trophy. He bested a few Group 1 winners in that race. He’s earned over $509k in 4 wins and 3 seconds from 11 starts. He’s basically a front-runner, but he’ll find those positions spoken for in the Saudi Cup. He’s got a grinding style, so he probably won’t be able to make up a bunch of ground late. He finished fourth in a recent prep race at a mile and one-quarter. Pass. #12 MISHRIFF (IRE) - Gosden/Egan - England - 7/1 He finished second last year in the Saudi Derby over this track, so you know he can handle dirt and, in particular, this dirt. He’s won 4 of 8 races, including the Group 1 French Derby. He’s probably better at 10 furlongs than at 9 and has tactical turf speed. However, he also has habit of breaking slowly…and that’s against fellow European runners. With 5 US-based runners in this field, if Mishriff breaks slowly Saturday, he’s going to find himself well back in the field and eating a lot of kickback. The distance, along with the pace picture are concerns for trainer John Gosden, one of the world’s best at his craft. Exotics Only. #13 DEREVO (GB) - Al Katahni/Demuro - Saudi Arabia - 50/1 This 5-year-old gelding has a bit of a home field advantage. He won by a nose last Saturday in the King’s Cup over this track. That was at a mile and one-quarter and he used the entire distance to make his wide closing charge count. He has won 4 of 12 starts and has two wins over synthetic surfaces and one on turf. He will have hands full in this race. Pass. #14 EXTRA ELUSIVE (GB) - Charlton/H. Doyle - England - 33/1 There are a few things to note about this Roger Charlton-trained, dual Group 3 winner. He’s usually a front runner but won’t be there in here. Too many others have early pace. He’s got to stay wide and out of the kickback. That’s the job of jockey Hollie Doyle, who’s ridden him in his last four starts. She’s a rising riding star and this wide draw in post 14 will help her and Extra Exclusive avoid getting hit with too much dirt. Like with most turf horses, racing on the dirt can be…excuse the pun…an ‘eye-closing’ experience. A piece of the pie would be this one’s major goal. Pass. BOTTOM LINE The Choice: #9 Charlatan - He’s unbeaten, fresh and is trained by Bob Baffert. What else would you like? Second Best: #5 Knicks Go - Comes off victory in the Pegasus World Cup and this may be too much, too soon in an attempt to complete a challenging worldwide parlay. Could Run Well: #7 Tacitus - We know, we know, you’re tired of betting Tacitus to win. OK. How do you feel about using him in exotics? That seems his most likely fate. #12 Mishriff - He’s handled the track before and is trained by one of our favorites of all time. Worth exotic consideration. #10 Military Law - Has finished in the money with top competition and didn’t have to ship around the world for this. Maybe…in exotics at a price? SUGGESTED PLAY $0.50 Superfecta ($16.50) First: #9 CharlatanSecond: #5 Knicks GoThird: #7 Tacitus, #12 Mishriff, #10 Military LawFourth: All Runners Race On! 

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2.18.2021:

Jon White's Selections for $20 Million Saudi Cup

It was 40 years ago that John Henry, a gelding who rose to stardom from relative obscurity, won the world’s first $1 million Thoroughbred race, the Arlington Million, by a scant nose. John Henry won 39 times during his extraordinary career. Of those 39 victories, the 1981 Arlington Million quite possibly was his finest because of what he overcame in order to prevail. Ron McAnally did nothing less than a fantastic job as John Henry’s trainer. “He won that day despite the unfavorable conditions,” McAnally once told me with respect to the 1981 Arlington Million. “The surface was so soft and John adjusted to it to come from way back and win by a nose.” Daily Racing Form’s esteemed Joe Hirsch wrote: “The bottom line is that John Henry won when his cause appeared completely lost.” John Henry defeated such accomplished runners as Madam Gay, second to Shergar in Ascot’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes; Key to Content, winner of the United Nations Handicap at Atlantic City; and Argument, who had been victorious in the 1980 Washington, D.C., International. But it was a 40-1 longshot by the name of The Bart who came within a whisker of beating John Henry in the inaugural Arlington Million. As a huge John Henry fan (like so many others), I was tickled that he won Thoroughbred racing’s first seven-figure event. But I also could not help but feel sorry for The Bart and his connections, most especially trainer John Sullivan. To lose a $1 million race by such an excruciatingly small margin was about as brutal a defeat as it gets. Speaking of The Bart, when I was a writer for the Daily Racing Form in the early 1980s, I broke the story of his retirement from racing. One afternoon while I was typing away in the Del Mar press box, I received a phone call out of the blue. “This is John Sullivan,” he said. “What’s up, John?” I asked. “Unfortunately, I’ve got a scoop for ya. The Bart is retired. I wanted you to have it first.” I told Sullivan I was sorry to hear that. I then told him how appreciative I was that he was giving me the scoop. While the purse for the 1981 Arlington Million was a huge deal at the time, races worth $1 million are fairly commonplace nowadays. And four decades after John Henry nosed out The Bart in the first running of the Arlington Million, a race offering a $20 million purse, the Saudi Cup, will be held this Saturday at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. America’s Knicks Go and Charlatan head the field of 14 entered in this year’s Saudi Cup, which has the distinction of being the world’s richest horse race. Knicks Go is No. 1 in this week’s first 2021 NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. Charlatan is No. 2. The other American shippers running in this year’s Saudi Cup are Max Player, Tacitus and Sleepy Eyes Todd. Brad Cox trains Knicks Go. Cox was voted a 2020 Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer. Knicks Go is taking a four-race winning streak into the Saudi Cup. His two most recent victories have come at the Grade I level. The Maryland-bred colt took the Grade I BC Dirt Mile by 3 1/2 lengths in his final start of 2020, then won Gulfstream Park’s Grade I Pegasus World Cup Invitational by 2 3/4 lengths in his first start of 2021. The 1 1/8-mile Pegasus was Knicks Go’s first time going longer than 1 1/16 miles in his 18-race career. The Saudi Cup will be run at 1,800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles) around one turn. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert trained Paynter, the sire of Knicks Go. Paynter at 3 finished a close second to Union Rags in the Grade I Belmont Stakes and won the Grade I Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. In this year’s Saudi Cup, Baffert will be trying to beat Paynter’s son Knicks Go with Charlatan, who has finished first in each of his four career starts. Charlatan won a division of last year’s 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby by six lengths, but then was disqualified from purse money due to a medication violation. In his most recent start, Charlatan won Santa Anita’s Grade I Malibu Stakes at seven furlongs on Dec. 26. The Kentucky-bred Speightstown colt sat comfortably just off the fast early pace set by Nashville, then drew away in the lane to win with authority by 4 1/2 lengths. Jon White's selections for the Saudi Cup: 1. Knicks Go2. Charlatan3. Mishriff4. Chuwa Wizard I’m going with Knicks Go over Charlatan in a very tough call. My main reason for giving the nod to Knicks Go is he recorded a 108 Beyer Speed Figure the one time he’s raced 1 1/8 miles. In Charlatan’s lone start at 1 1/8 miles, he received a career-low 96 Beyer. This is quite a disparity. But I have considerable respect for Charlatan. He is an extremely talented colt who has yet to be anything but first at the end of a race. And I will not be the least bit surprised if he once again is in front at the end of Saturday’s Saudi Cup. Watch out for Mishriff. He’s got class (winner of the Group I French Derby on turf last year), a great trainer (John Gosden) and has run well on dirt at King Abdulaziz Racecourse (second in last year’s Saudi Derby). One also should never take horses from Japan lightly on the international stage these days. Chuwa Wizard won the Group I Champions Cup on dirt Dec. 6 in Japan. SOUTHWEST STAKES POSTPONED YET AGAIN Wintry weather certainly has wreaked havoc on the racing schedule at Oaklawn Park. It has caused the cancellation of eight racing days from Feb. 12 through this Sunday. The sport is slated to resume there on Feb. 25. The Grade III Southwest Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race on the road to the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby on May 1, was supposed to have been run at Oaklawn on Feb. 15. Then the race was moved to Feb. 20. Then it was moved to Feb. 21. And now it has been moved to Feb. 27. The Southwest situation no doubt has been frustrating for the connections of Essential Quality, Keepmeinmind and Jackie’s Warrior, the three marquee 3-year-olds expected to run in the race. Essential Quality, the undefeated Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male of 2020, sits atop my Kentucky Derby Top 10. Keepmeinmind, who is No. 9, won the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 28. Jackie’s Warrior won a pair of Grade I races last year, the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga and Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. He then finished fourth as the 9-10 favorite in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland on Nov. 6. Essential Quality won the BC Juvenile at odds of 7-2. Hot Rod Charlie ran second at 94-1, while Keepmeinmind came in third at 30-1. Hot Rod Charlie currently is No. 8 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10. Jon White's Kentucky Derby Top 10 for this week 1. Essential Quality2. Life Is Good3. Caddo River4. Greatest Honour5. Mandaloun6. Concert Tour7. Medina Spirit8. Hot Rod Charlie9. Keepmeinmind10. Roman Centurian The plan still is for Essential Quality to run in the Southwest, according to 2020 Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox. The same goes for Jackie’s Warrior, according to Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. The two colts have been able to continue their training regimen at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds. Because the Southwest is being run at a later date than originally scheduled, Fair Grounds’ Grade II Louisiana Derby on March 20 has been taken “out of play” for Essential Quality’s second start of the year, Cox told BloodHorse’s Bob Ehalt. Cox said the two races “that are in play” after the Southwest for the Kentucky-bred Tapit colt are the Grade II Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 3 or Oaklawn’s Grade I Arkansas Derby on April 10. As for Keepmeinmind, his Southwest status is up in the air. That’s because he is stabled at Oaklawn, the winter base of trainer Robertino Diodoro. In addition to the canceled race dates at Oaklawn, horses have not been able to train there due to the wintry conditions. “For us to run [in the Southwest], we need to be on the track on the weekend and we’ll just play our cards from there,” Diodoro was quoted as saying in a Daily Racing Form story written by Mary Rampellini. “Our plan is still to run in it. But I really can’t see us running next weekend if we’re not on the track by Saturday.” While Diodoro’s preference remains to run Keepmeinmind in the Southwest, the trainer stressed that “our number one goal is to do what’s right for the horse.” If Keepmeinmind does not start in the Southwest, Diodoro said the alternate plan is for the Kentucky-bred Laoban colt to await the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn on March 13. Like the Southwest, the Rebel is a 1 1/16-mile race. RISEN STAR WINNER RETURNS TO DERBY TOP 10 Mandaloun is back on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week following his victory as the 2-1 favorite in Fair Grounds’ Grade II Risen Star Stakes at 1 1/8 miles last Saturday. A close-up third early in the field of 11, Mandaloun took the lead with slightly more than a furlong to go, then went on to get the job done by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:50.39. Proxy came in second at 4-1. Midnight Bourbon, 5-1 in the wagering, finished third, a half-length behind Proxy. These were the same first three finishers in the 1 1/16-mile Lecomte Stakes on that same track Jan. 16, only on that occasion Midnight Bourbon won, Proxy was second and Mandaloun third. Going into the Lecomte, Mandaloun had been No. 10 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10. He dropped off my Top 10 after he did not win the Lecomte. Senor Buscador drops off my Top 10 this week after he finished fifth as the 5-2 second favorite in the Risen Star. The plan for Mandaloun is for him to make his next start in the $1 million Louisiana Derby, which will be contested at 1 3/16 miles. Cox trains three on this week’s Top 10. In addition to No. 1 Essential Quality, he conditions No. 3 Caddo River and No. 5 Mandaloun. Caddo River lost his first two starts, both at seven furlongs. The Kentucky-bred Hard Spun colt subsequently won a one-mile maiden race by 9 1/2 lengths at Churchill on Nov. 15, then cruised to a 10 1/4-length triumph in Oaklawn’s one-mile Smarty Jones Stakes on Jan. 22. The next scheduled start for him is the $1 million Rebel. Bob Baffert also trains three on my current Kentucky Derby Top 10. They are No. 2 Life Is Good, No. 6 Concert Tour and No. 7 Medina Spirit. Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby a record-tying six times (Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, War Emblem in 2002, American Pharoah in 2015, Justify in 2018 and Authentic in 2020). Ben Jones likewise has six Kentucky Derby victories to his credit (Lawrin in 1938, Whirlaway in 1941, Pensive in 1944, Citation in 1948, Ponder in 1949 and Hill Gail in 1952). Mandaloun raced with blinkers for the first time in the Risen Star. He recorded a career-best 98 Beyer Speed Figure. He now has won three of four lifetime starts. He’s been the favorite in each of his races. In terms of other recent Risen Star winners, Mandaloun’s 98 Beyer Speed Figure stacks up quite well. It’s the highest Beyer by a Risen Star winner since El Padrino likewise posted a 98 Beyer in the 2012 renewal. Below are the Beyer Speed Figures for Risen Star winners going back to 1992 (the figures prior to 2020 are listed in the American Racing Manual, which is now digital only): 2021 Mandaloun (98)2020 Wells Bayou (91)2019 War of Will (90)2018 Bravazo (93)2017 Girvin (93)2016 Gun Runner (89)2015 International Star (92)2014 Intense Holiday (97)2013 Ive Struck a Nerve (96)2012 El Padrino (98)2011 Mucho Macho Man (94)2010 Discreetly Mine (94)2009 Friesan Fire (97)2008 Pyro (90)2007 Notional (92)2006 Lawyer Ron (106)2005 Scipion (89)2004 Gradepoint (98)2003 Badge of Silver (106)2002 Repent (102)2001 Dollar Bill (102)2000 Exchange Rate (97)1999 Ecton Park (95)1998 Comic Strip (91)1997 Open Forum (91)1996 Zarb’s Magic (100)1995 Beavers Nose (92)1994 Fly Cry (100)1993 Dixieland Heat (93)1992 Line in the Sand (88) LIFE IS GOOD AGAIN FAVORED IN FUTURE WAGER In Pool 1 of the 2021 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW), which closed on Nov. 29, Life Is Good was the 5-1 favorite among the 22 individual horses and the “All 3-Year-Old Fillies” option. Essential Quality was the second choice at 8-1. In Pool 2 of the KDFW, which closed on Jan. 24, Life Is Good was the 7-1 favorite among the 23 individual horses. Essential Quality again was the 8-1 second choice. In Pool 3 of the KDFW, which closed last Sunday, Life Is Good again was the 7-1 favorite and Essential Quality the 8-1 second choice among the 23 individual horses. The actual 3-1 favorite in Pool 3 was the “All Others” option. Life Is Good is two for two after winning Santa Anita’s Grade III Sham Stakes on Jan. 2 for Baffert. The Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt recorded a 101 Beyer Speed Figure in the Sham. Life Is Good is scheduled to make his next start in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 6. Authentic last year won both the Sham and San Felipe. He would go on to capture the Kentucky Derby and BC Classic for Baffert en route to 2020 Eclipse Awards as champion 3-year-old male and Horse of the Year. Below are the final odds for Pool 3 of the 2021 KDFW: 3-1 “All Other 3-Year-Old Males”7-1 Life Is Good8-1 Essential Quality9-1 Greatest Honor14-1 Prevalence15-1 Caddo River16-1 Mandaloun17-1 Concert Tour25-1 Keepmeinmind25-1 Medina Spirit25-1 Risk Taking26-1 Jackie’s Warrior28-1 Dream Shake30-1 Fire At Will35-1 Candy Man Rocket35-1 Hot Rod Charlie37-1 Highly Motivated38-1 The Great One39-1 Senor Buscador41-1 Midnight Bourbon41-1 Roman Centurian52-1 Freedom Fighter74-1 Swiftsure91-1 Nova Rags NTRA REVEALS ITS FIRST POLLS FOR 2021 The first editions of this year’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll and Top 3-Year-old Poll were announced Tuesday. The Top Thoroughbred Poll is indicative of who might be crowned a divisional champion and, moreover, Horse of the Year. Eligible journalists and broadcasters each week submit their Top 10 horses, with points awarded on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points basis. The 2021 Top Thoroughbred Poll concludes after the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar on Nov. 5-6. Voting in the final Top 3-Year-Old Poll of 2021 will be released following the Grade I Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 5. Depending on what happens this Saturday, Knicks Go’s reign at the top of the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll could be short-lived. If Knicks Go gets beat in the Saudi Cup, he no doubt will drop out of the No. 1 spot in next week’s poll. If Charlatan wins the Saudi Cup, look for him to move up a notch to No. 1 next week. The Top 10 in the first NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll of 2021: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 341 Knicks Go (27)2. 250 Charlatan (4)3. 232 Maxfield (1)4. 223 Monomoy Girl (3)5. 146 Colonel Liam5. 124 Swiss Skydiver7. 102 Jesus’ Team8. 72 Gamine9. 56 Channel Maker9. 55 Whitmore The Top 10 in the final NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll of 2020: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 355 Authentic (34)2. 311 Improbable (2)3. 309 Monomoy Girl (1)4. 132 Vekoma5. 111 Swiss Skydiver6. 107 Tiz the Law7. 104 Gamine8. 100 Rushing Fall9. 97 Whitmore10. 82 Maximum Security FIRST 3-YEAR-OLD POLL TOPPED BY ESSENTIAL QUALITY Essential Quality received by far the most first-place votes and is No. 1 in this year’s first NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll. The Top 10 in the first NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll of 2021: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 325 Essential Quality (24)2. 272 Life Is Good (5)3. 212 Greatest Honour (1)3. 212 Mandaloun (4)5. 176 Medina Spirit6. 137 Caddo River (1)7. 85 Concert Tour8. 84 Keepmeinmind9. 66 Jackie’s Warrior10 63 Risk Taking The Top Three-Year-Old Poll that the NTRA released listed Mandaloun third with 212 points and Greatest Honour fourth with 204. However, a number of voters incorrectly spelled it Greatest Honor. Those eight points were not properly attributed to Greatest Honour. Thus, I have credited him with those eight points, which puts him in a tie for third with Mandaloun.

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2.17.2021:

$20 Million Saudi Cup Post Position Draw Reaction

A capacity field of 14 starters entered today for Saturday’s second edition of the $20 million Saudi Cup, the headliner among 8 stakes worth at least $1 million each. Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup winner Knicks Go will start from post 5 over the 1-1/8 miles trip. Xpressbet and 1/ST BET will have full-card wagering on the action from Riyadh. The 1-1/8 miles races at Riyadh begin on a backstretch chute that makes this a 1-turn race similar to what you see at Belmont Park. There’s about a 5-furlong run on the straight before the only left-hand turn. There’s more than ample time to get position, leaving the starting positions relatively insignificant. The lone turn is an expansive bend, so saving ground around it can be beneficial. Front-running Knicks Go shares the marquee, and potentially the front end of the Saudi Cup, with Charlatan, who starts from post 9. Jockey intent will be important here, but being outside among this pair is likely some advantage. Charlatan from the outer draw likely applies the outside pressure to Knicks Go, drawn to his inside, at some point. Knicks Go certainly is the more committed front-runner of the pair and will be put on the track where his rider wants him into the far turn. Knicks Go has won all 4 starts in 2020-’21, including the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup in back-to-back starts. Charlatan has crossed the wire comfortably first in all 4 career starts, but was disqualified from May’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby for a post-race positive test. The American contingent also includes Tacitus (post 7), Max Player (post 4) and Sleepy Eyes Todd (post 8). Tacitus returns to Riyadh after a fifth-place finish here a year ago and has earned more than $3.2 million as a multiple Grade 2 winner. Max Player, third in the Grade 1 Belmont before fifth in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, makes his first start since October. Sleepy Eyes Todd is a Grade 2 winner of nearly $900,000 and has started in 10 different US states prior to this international roadtrip. American runners were 4 of the first 5 across the wire last year led by Maximum Security and Midnight Bisou. Godolphin’s Benbatal was the best non-American finisher, placing third. Top world challengers in 2021 include Mishriff (post 12), last year’s Saudi Derby runner-up on dirt and French Derby hero on turf for renowned trainer John Gosden. The first of 8 races from Saudi Cup Day begins at 8AM ET with post time for the Saudi Cup at 12:40PM ET. Race 6 will be the Saudi Derby (11:10AM ET) and includes Steve Asmussen-trained Cowan, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, Springboard Mile and Smarty Jones Stakes. Saudi Arabia // Race 8 // 12:40PM ET // $20 Million Saudi Cup // 1-1/8 miles PP // Horse // Jockey // Trainer // Country 1 // Chuwa Wizard // Keita Tosaki // Ryuji Okubo // Japan 2 // Bangkok // Ryan Moore // Andrew Balding // England 3 // Great Scot // Adel Alfouraidi // Abdullah Mushrif // Saudi Arabia 4 // Max Player // Umberto Rispoli // Steve Asmussen // United States 5 // Knicks Go // Joel Rosario // Brad Cox // United States 6 // Global Giant // Frankie Dettori // John Gosden // England 7 // Tacitus // Bill Mott // United States 8 // Sleepy Eyes Todd // Miguel Silva // United States 9 // Charlatan // Mike Smith // Bob Baffert // United States 10 // Military Law // Antonio Fresu // Musabbeh Al Mherir // United Arab Emirates 11 // Simsir // Adrie de Vries // Fawzi Nass // Bahrain 12 // Mishriff // David Egan // John Gosden // England 13 // Derevo // Christian Demuro // A.M. Al Kahtani // Saudi Arabia 14 // Extra Elusive // Hollie Doyle // Roger Charlton // England Check out Johnny D’s horse-by-horse analysis of the Saudi Cup in this week’s On Track blog, posted Thursdays at Xpressbet.com. Xpressbet and 1/ST BET will offer a Saudi Cup Day Money Back Guarantee, up to $10 per race, on your win bets throughout the entire card. If your win bet finishes second or third, you will receive up to $10 per race back into your account. See Xpressbet.com and the 1/ST BET app for details.

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2.16.2021:

1/ST Look: Golden Gate Fields Stats

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Golden Gate Fields. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Northern California. And be sure to support GGF by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Golden Gate Fields.HeadlinesThe Rainbow 6 carryover will be $31,154 heading into Friday’s start to the racing week … The Super High Five carryover will be $19,727 as well … Last Saturday’s El Camino Real Derby winner Rombauer earned a Preakness Win & You’re In berth as well as 10 qualifying points to this year’s Kentucky Derby … 2019 Bear Fan Stakes winner Princess Vivian makes her second appearance of 2021 in Friday’s Race 2 allowance … Windy City Red, local representative in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint for trainer Jonathan Wong, makes his GGF return Friday in a Race 8 allowance finale that’s part of the Golden Hour Double with Santa Anita and Golden Hour Pick Four.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $511 to 354 winning tickets, all winners at 4-1 or less. Stronach 5 races this Friday, February 19, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:17 pm ETLeg B – Santa Anita Park Race 3Leg C – Laurel Park Race 10Leg D – Gulfstream Park Race 9Leg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 31/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Golden Gate Fields, each posting at least 35% winners and a flat-bet profit.Lifetime EarningsSpeed Last RaceITM (In The Money) %Trends Last Week-- Jockeys Kyle Frey and Evin Roman each won 7 races on the week, capturing 14 of 40 offered, and combined for 25 exacta finishes in the 40 races. Frey got the big prize in the El Camino Real Derby aboard Rombauer. All 14 winners for these 2 prime pilots were 2-1 or less.-- Trainer Jonathan Wong was 16: 6-2-4, but all 6 of his winners were 9-5 or less -- 5 of them ridden by jockey Evin Roman. Wong posted a 9: 5-1-2 record with favorites on the week.-- Trainer Tim McCanna went 13: 5-1-2 with a $1.62 ROI for every $1 bet. He had a $15 winner among his successes as well as 14-1 and 15-1 shots finish third. McCanna went 3-4 with jockey Armando Ayuso.-- Trainer Cliff Delima posted a 7: 3-0-1 record, including $7, $17 and $67 winners. That netted a whopping $6.54 ROI for every $1 bet. Delima's victories all came in 5-1/2 furlong dashes, 2 with jockey Franciso Monroy. That combo also had a 23-1 shot in the money.-- Trainer Michael McCarthy won with both of his SoCal shippers, including El Camino Real Derby winner Rombauer.-- Trainer Jack Steiner was runner-up with his only starter on the week, and has gone 5: 2-2-0 with limited shots the past 2 weeks.

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2.16.2021:

1/ST Look: Maryland Jockey Club at Laurel Park Stats

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Laurel Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Maryland. And be sure to support Laurel Park by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Maryland Jockey Club.HeadlinesPostponed due to winter weather, last Saturday’s $900,000 Winter Sprintfest stakes card will be re-offered this Saturday, Feb. 20, in its entirety. Co-features among the 6 stakes include the Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie and the Grade 3 General George. Shippers already on the grounds like Majestic Dunhill and Sharp Starr remained at Laurel Park to train … The Rainbow 6 carryover will be $4,889 heading into Friday’s start to the racing week … In only his second mount after neck and back fractures forced him to the sidelines for 200 days, jockey Feargal Lynch returned to the winner’s circle Monday on the President’s Day card at Laurel.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $511 to 354 winning tickets, all winners at 4-1 or less. Stronach 5 races this Friday, February 19, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:17 pm ETLeg B – Santa Anita Park Race 3Leg C – Laurel Park Race 10Leg D – Gulfstream Park Race 9Leg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 31/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Laurel, each posting at least 30% wins. It was a rare week in which speed factors were not among the most effective.Last 3 Race ClassTrainer MeetTrainer 6 Months Win %Trends Last Week-- Laurel ran only 18 races last week with cancellations Saturday and Sunday. No jockey had more than 2 wins and only 1 trainer had multiple winners.-- Leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez kept his roll going at 9: 3-0-1. He’s gone 9-22 over the past 2 weeks, including 4-8 with jockey Angel Cruz.-- Trainer Keiron Magee went 3: 1-0-1 and upped his mark over the past 2 weeks to 8: 3-0-4. All 7 of his in-the-money finishers came in the claiming or maiden claiming ranks.-- Trainer Jerry Robb finished second with his lone starter and is now 5 for 12 over the past 3 weeks.-- Favorites under-performed at 18: 5-2-7, netting 28% wins and 39% in the exacta.

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2.16.2021:

1/ST Look: Gulfstream Park Stats

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Gulfstream Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in South Florida. And be sure to support Gulfstream by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Gulfstream Park.HeadlinesThe Rainbow 6 carryover will be $83,722 heading into Wednesday’s start to the racing week with a $250,000-guaranteed pool … The Super High Five has a $8,274 carryover as well … Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano returns Wednesday following a November surgery to clean up some upper leg debris near his hip. He has a single mount in Race 9 to start his comeback … Feature race this week is Saturday’s Grade 3 Royal Delta in the distaff division … Fountain of Youth winner Greatest Honour closed as the 9-1 individual third choice in last week’s Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3 … Gulfstream’s Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup winner Knicks Go is in Riyadh for Saturday’s $20 million Saudi Cup, which you can wager on the full card with Xpressbet and 1/ST BET.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $511 to 354 winning tickets, all winners at 4-1 or less. Stronach 5 races this Friday, February 19, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:17 pm ETLeg B – Santa Anita Park Race 3Leg C – Laurel Park Race 10Leg D – Gulfstream Park Race 9Leg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 31/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Gulfstream Park last week, each winning at a 25% or greater win rate. The 1/ST BET app picked a strong 34% winners on top last week at GP and showed a flat-bet profit with top choices.Best Speed DistanceJockey MeetAvg. E2 (Early) PaceTrends Last Week-- Trainer Kent Sweezey went 7: 3-1-1 with a $1.76 ROI for every $1 bet. He went 3: 2-1-0 with favorites, but also had a 67-1 shot finish third.-- Trainer Shug McGaughey’s barn was on point at 5: 3-0-2 and a $2.38 ROI for every $1 bet. Among those was a 9-2 winner and 11-1 in the money. Jockey Jose Ortiz rode all 3 winners.-- Trainer Steve Dwoskin went 2-for-4, popping $9 and $25 winners. Miguel Vasquez rode both winners, 1 each on turf and dirt. Dwoskin had been 0-20 at the meet prior to the victories.-- Trainer Ian Wilkes had one of his best weeks of the meet at 6: 2-2-1-- Jockey Corey Lanerie won 5 races last week at 21% and posted an ROI of $2.16 for every $1 bet. He booted home winners at $12, $13, $21, $22 and $33. Wins came for 5 different barns, but Lanerie and Dale Romans teamed for a strong 3: 1-2-0 week ($22 winner, 7-1 runner-up among them).-- Jockey Luis Saez was reliable on favorites with a 4: 3-0-1 mark. He’s 10: 6-0-3 on favorites since Feb. 5 at Gulfstream.-- Favorites won both stakes last week and now are 16: 11-2-1 in stakes over the last 4 weeks at GP.

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2.16.2021:

1/ST Look: Santa Anita Park Stats

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Santa Anita Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Southern California. And be sure to support “The Great Race Place” by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Santa Anita Park.HeadlinesThe Rainbow 6 carryover will be $234,846 heading into Friday’s start to the racing week … Feature races this week include Saturday’s Grade 2 Buena Vista on turf and Sunday’s Spring Fever for Cal-bred distaff sprinters … Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens will take over as agent for jockey Drayden Van Dyke later this month … Santa Anita-based Sham Stakes winner Life Is Good closed as the 7-1 individual favorite in last week’s Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3 … Santa Anita’s Grade 1 Malibu winner Charlatan is in Riyadh for Saturday’s $20 million Saudi Cup, which you can wager on the full card with Xpressbet and 1/ST BET.Stronach 5Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $511 to 354 winning tickets, all winners at 4-1 or less. Stronach 5 races this Friday, February 19, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:17 pm ETLeg B – Santa Anita Park Race 3Leg C – Laurel Park Race 10Leg D – Gulfstream Park Race 9Leg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 31/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Santa Anita Park last week, each winning at a 32% or greater win rate and a flat-bet profit. Note that Santa Anita was the 1/ST BET app’s strongest track in America last week with 41% winners picked on top by the Handicapping feature.Avg. Late Pace% Horses BeatenSpeed Last RaceTrends Last Week-- Trainer Peter Eurton continued his hot recent ways with a 10: 4-1-0 week. He’s now 7-for-17 over the past 2 weeks.-- Trainer Bob Baffert had another lively week at 10: 4-3-2, which included $10 and $20 winners, the latter coming in Grade 2 company with Merneith.-- Trainer Andrew Lerner went 2-for-4 with claiming victories at 9-5 and 6-1 while luring top jockeys Flavien Prat and Joel Rosario.-- Trainer Paddy Gallagher made the most of limited starts, posting a 3: 2-0-0 mark with $13 and $21 victories both coming in turf miles.-- Jockey Flavien Prat had his best week of 2021 with a 28: 11-6-2 mark. That’s 39% wins and a 61% in the exacta. Prat was 2-2 with Richard Mandella and Peter Eurton. Prat was 10: 5-2-0 in dirt races.-- Favorites were 16: 8-5-2 on dirt last week, hitting 50% wins, 81% in the exacta and 94% in the trifecta. Over the past 3 weeks, dirt chalk is now 20-for-41 (49%).

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2.16.2021:

Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis-$20,000 Guaranteed Pool

Tonight, the Pompano Park Pick 4 begins in Race 6. The sequence has a $20,000 guaranteed pool with a 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 63-BNB (6-1)-Drops to a level of previous success. Could land in the 2 hole, get sucked around and roll by late at a square price.4-Gold Star Igotdis (4-1)-Won at this class off a nice trip and this mare can stay good for a while. Best to respect chances of a repeat in a tough race.5-Landry Seelster (5/2)-Woodbine invader makes 3rd local start and this is also the 3rd time for Lasix. Showed improvement last week in a fast mile. Should be in the hunt if upswing continues.6-Mach Me Onemore (3-1)-Versatile gal just missed in last after being used a couple of times. Hennessey is back in the bike and maybe he can squeeze more out of this camera-shy mare.Race 75-Cult Icon (9-1)-Might get a 2-hole trip with this post draw or if the chalks are sluggish off the gate, may land on top. Should be a very nice price so will use with that in mind and has won 4 of 15 at the Pomp.7-Tempus Seelster (9/2)-Needs to find a way to get off the gate into a good seat with enough gas to be pulled out of a hole and sweep by. If the pace is hot that could happen, like it did on 1-26.8-Crisp Mane (2-1)-Has the gate speed to get the point or a good early seat. That gives this guy the edge from a tactical standpoint over Tempus and others. Using but not in love with the price and will look for better value.Race 81-Regil Electron (6-1)-Switched over to the Shetler barn on 2-1 and qualified well. That was an improved effort and a flat line. Paced a 56.4 back half and can be put in play early. Could challenge the chalk down the lane and Chip isn't the most determined.3-Don't Chip Me (3/2)-Cashes enough checks to pay bills but finds ways to lose on a regular basis. This is a soft field so must include but is no bargain at 3/2.Race 94-JK Kissntell (5/2)-Chindano barn is batting 30% in the last 30 days and drops to a good spot to add to the win total. Should be able to get the top and could stay in control.6-Charms Little Sis (2-1)-Broke at the start last week but should be in the hunt here with a smooth trip. Short field could help this slow starter in an ugly race.0.50 Pick 43,4,5,6/5,7,8/1,3/4,6Total Bet=$24Check me out on Twitter!

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2.15.2021:

Monday Myths: When the Morning Line Dives

Welcome to a new handicapping series for our Monday blog space entitled “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities. Assumption: Horses bet down from longshot morning-line prices are live and must be considered. Background: Last week’s Monday Myths looked at “They Knew,” the assumption that first-timers and long layoff horses bet to favoritism were insider jobs worth backing. The numbers proved that false, but in presenting them, some readers made reasonable questions about what exactly “They Knew” means. The suggestion that any horse bet down hard off its morning line qualifies in that vein prompted me back to the database. Is it true? That’s the entire point of this series. Let’s find out. Data Points: I crunched the numbers in the Betmix database for every race over the past 5 years, beginning with the start of the 2016 season. I looked at how the public bet every horse in each race based on their morning line and final odds. We studied longshots at 20-1, 15-1 and 10-1 in the morning line and compared their win % and ROI based on how far they were or were not bet down from that price. We then compared those results to all horses in those odds ranges no matter the morning line suggestion. Overall Findings: Horses morning-lined at 20-1 and who remain 15-1 or more win 2% with a $0.74 ROI. All horses who go off 15-1 or more win 2% with a $0.66 ROI. Horses morning-lined at 20-1 and who remain 10-1 to 14-1 win 7% with a $0.88 ROI. All horses who go off 10-1 to 14-1 win 6% with a $0.80 ROI Horses morning-lined at 20-1 and who remain 5-1 to 9-1 win 12% with a $0.99 ROI. All horses who go off 5-1 to 9-1 win 11% with a $.80 ROI. Horses morning-lined at 20-1 and who are bet 9-2 or less win 25% with a $0.99 ROI. All horses who go off 9-2 or less win 26% with a $0.82 ROI. Horses morning-lined at 15-1 and who remain 15-1 or more win 2% with a $0.67 ROI. All horses who go off 15-1 or more win 2% with a $0.66 ROI. Horses morning-lined at 15-1 and who remain 10-1 to 14-1 win 7% with a $0.86 ROI. All horses who go off 10-1 to 14-1 win 6% with a $0.80 ROI Horses morning-lined at 15-1 and who remain 5-1 to 9-1 win 10% with a $0.83 ROI. All horses who go off 5-1 to 9-1 win 11% with a $.80 ROI. Horses morning-lined at 15-1 and who are bet 9-2 or less win 22% with a $0.88 ROI. All horses who go off 9-2 or less win 26% with a $0.82 ROI. Horses morning-lined at 10-1 and who remain 10-1 or more win 4% with a $0.74 ROI. All horses who go off 10-1 or more win 3% with a $0.72 ROI. Horses morning-lined at 10-1 and who remain 5-1 to 9-1 win 11% with a $0.87 ROI. All horses who go off 5-1 to 9-1 win 11% with a $.80 ROI. Horses morning-lined at 10-1 and who are bet 9-2 or less win 22% with a $0.88 ROI. All horses who go off 9-2 or less win 26% with a $0.82 ROI. Overall Findings Verdict: No doubt longshot-priced horses in the morning line who are bet down win more often than those whose prices remain high as suggested by the ML projection. That could be a product of a bad morning line guesstimate. But note ‘live’ horses bet down from higher morning lines don’t win any more often than their counterparts who wind up at similar final prices as bet by the public. In other words, all 4-1 shots win about the same rate within a point or two no matter if they were 4-1 in the morning line or bet down from 15-1. But there are very notable differences in your returns. With a takeout of approximately 17% in the win pool on average, that means you need $0.83 back on each play to neutralize the takeout. Betting horses 10-1, 15-1 and 20-1 in the morning line who are bet down considerably off that number does show a much more attractive ROI than all runners in those price ranges, and in many cases beats the ROI. In fact, horses 20-1 in the morning line bet into single-digit odds is almost a break-even proposition, one of the stronger ROI angles you’ll see in handicapping. Bottom line: Sometimes the morning line projection is just plain off, and other times the public congeals around an opinion that may not look obvious on paper. Either way, horses that move considerably off their large morning line projections may provide more value than you think. The ROI on these horses is considerable and noteworthy, cancelling out some of that urge to deem them an underlay and undervalued. They won’t win any more often than other horses at similar final prices, but they can move your needle further ahead in your account balance. Additional Details: You can go into Betmix and run your own queries for a deeper dive into this theory and any that you can create. For instance, take a look at the tracks you play most often to see if they fall in line with this study’s conclusions. Better yet, look at individual trainers and see who might have the most ‘live’ barns when their ML longshots are bet down. For instance, Rusty Arnold is 7: 3-2-1 the last 5 years when a 20-1 ML shot is bet to single-digit odds ($2.51 ROI). Try it out for yourself!

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2.15.2021:

Monday, February 15: Pompano Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Pompano Park has a 13-race card scheduled with two Pick 4 sequences and both have a $30,000 guaranteed pool. My focus will be on the 0.50 Late Pick 4 which begins in Race 10.David Miller was the driver with the hottest hands on Sunday with three wins. Trainer Paul Holzman led the conditioners with two pictures.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 102-The Lionking As (5-1)-Got the pocket ride in last but the leader stopped in the stretch. Should be sitting on top or in the 2-hole behind the morning line chalk #4. Either trip could work out well.4-In Secret (9/5)-Bumps up and comes off a dominant win. Drew well and Miller could be taking another picture with a smooth trip.Race 111-Rockin Machine (9/2)-Steps-up after drawing off by 6 lengths to beat the $15k claimers. Will need a top effort but this post draw should keep him close to the program chalk #7. Looks to be worth a swing in case the favorite doesn't bring his fastball.7-Ulikeanyother (2-1)-Form has been great in the last 6 races and is the one to beat again. Winner in 5 of 9 at the Pomp should be tough.Race 123-Try Try Again (7/2)-Three wins in 6 starts this year after going 0-17 in 2019. Will use as MacDonald could get a cozy trip with this post draw.6-Keegan Ho (6-1)-Eight-year-old is an honest horse and Plano may look to come off cover. There could be a couple inside who will go for the top and if the 7 leaves the pace could be lively. Then chances for success go up.7-Timon As (7/2)-Looked like a winner going into the last turn but Wrenn made a careless error going inside of a pylon and was taken down. Should be a player here again but might not get to the half in only 57 seconds.Race 133-Chick Magnet (7/2)-Drops to the softest spot this meet. Doesn't have much gate speed but Wallis should be able to work a trip versus these and roll off cover. The 7 & 9 will probably leave and there could be an honest pace.7-Poof Daddy (5/2)-Form has been dull but this is about as low as Daddy can drop. Has the gate speed to get on the engine and not look back.9-Keystone Real Deal (3-1)-This 11-year-old hasn't seen the winner's circle since at least 2019 possibly longer. But someone has to win this race and has been passing foes down the lane. Could be in the hunt with the right trip and might be overlooked at the windows.My Ticket Race 10) 2,4 Race 11) 1,7 Race 12) 3,6,7 Race 13) 3,7,9Total Ticket Cost) =$18 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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2.15.2021:

Monday, February 15: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click to view today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Annangel; 3-An Eddie Surprise; 4-Gypsy BluForecast: Annangel sports the route-to-sprint angle that we always like, in addition to having shown her preference for this shorter trip with a maiden victory over five furlongs last summer during her English 3-year-old campaign. Exiting the Lady Shamrock S. and realistically spotted in this $50,000 seller, the R. Baltas-trained filly is reunited with “win” rider J. Hernandez and projects to be forwardly placed throughout with every chance to seal the deal. She’s 4-1 on the morning line and at that price offers good value in the win pool. For protection in rolling exotic play, you should consider An Eddie Surprise and Gypsy Blu. The former, a veteran older mare with five previous scores and a stakes win over the Santa Anita turf course, remains above her claim level in a sign of confidence by P. Miller and seems certain to be bearing down late under F. Prat. ‘Blu, in the frame in eight of 10 career outings over the local lawn, has solid, consistent speed figures and is listed as the 9/5 morning line favorite in what is her first ever start for a tag.RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Va Va Vegas; 3-Big StoryForecast: Big Story chased home subsequently graded stakes-placed The Chosen Vron in a hot, highly-rated maiden sprint earlier this meeting and returns following a series of sharp workouts in a similar extended sprint for state-bred sophomores. The Mr. Big gelding has the perfect stalking style for this distance, is a first-time Lasix user, and should be prominent throughout in a race that projects to have moderate early splits. He main rival (and the morning line favorite at 6/5) is Va Va Vegas, improving (according to his numbers) after finishing second in his first two starts but beaten at odds-on without apparent excuse in both. The Empire Way colt continues to train well for B. Baffert and may inherit the role as the controlling speed. We’ll prefer Big Story on top but have tickets using both in our rolling exotics.RACE 3: Post: 1:36 PT Grade: B-Use: 5-Lavender; 7-Colombian GoldForecast: This restricted (nw-3) $30,000 turf miler for older fillies and mares doesn’t have much in it, so we’ll try to survive and advance using just two. Lavender, a two-time winner over the local lawn, is listed as the 9/5 morning line favorite and probably won’t offer much value at that price, but the P. Miller-trained mare makes a major switch to J. Rosario while dropping out of a tougher starter’s $50,000 allowance affair, stretches out to her preferred trip, and appears capable of producing the last run. Colombian Gold, also with a pair of victories over the Santa Anita sod, projects to be on or near a very soft pace (if her connections want her to be), even though she’s always been primarily a closing type. F. Prat stays aboard, knows her well, and always has been skilled in adapting to the race flow.RACE 4: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: B-Use: 4-Herd Immunity; 5-Hot BoxForecast: Hot Box returns to his winning level and a repeat of his five length score at Los Alamitos when competing for this $32,000 tag two runs back will be good enough to handle this assignment. The Heat Shield gelding failed to fire when pitted against starter allowance optional claiming company here last month, but a recent good workout indicates he’s in fine shape and should find himself on or near the lead throughout. Herd Immunity, away since last September and making his first start since being gelded, shows a steady series of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs to have him fit and ready, and with F. Prat taking the call the P. Miller-trained 3-year-old appears well-meant in his first outing for a tag. The son of Union Rags won over this track as a 2-year-old in his debut, so we know he can fire fresh.RACE 5: Post: 2:42 PT Grade: BUse: 6-Cargo; 10-MinehunterForecast: Cargo, a fast-working first-timer from the P. D’Amato barn, looks well-spotted to win at first asking in this six furlong grass sprint for maiden state-bred 3-year-olds. Obviously bred for grass, the son of Point of Entry has been given a solid foundation of drills, including a nice gate move (5f, 1:00 2/hg) just five days ago that points him out. With F. Prat taking the call for a hot outfit, he’s the logical morning line favorite at 5/2. Minehunter was unplaced in his debut in a similar spot last month but the Slew’s Tiznow gelding has done some excellent work in the a.m. since then and seems sure to improve with the addition of blinkers. Despite his outside draw, the M. Puype-trained sophomore may be quick enough to get over and secure a good pace pressing trip, maybe even make the lead. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Cargo.RACE 6: Post: 3:14 PT Grade: BUse: 4-Fenway; 5-Star SailorForecast: Fenway was supposed to be a good thing in his debut last month, leaving at even money in a maiden special weight main track miler following a series of excellent a.m. workouts. The son of Into Mischief cut out hot fractions to the turn, then completely fell apart, but we’re expecting an infinitely better performance today from the B. Baffert-trained colt, who continues to impress in the a.m. and shows the critical blinkers off angle designed to help him switch off during the early stages. If he’s going to be a serious 3-year-old, today would be a good time to show it. Star Sailor was part of the pace in his most recent outing and held on reasonably well to finish second, beaten just under four lengths. The Union Rags colt probably will be patiently handled today and on paper appears to be the dangerous of the closer/stalker contingent.RACE 7: Post: 3:46 PT Grade: BUse: 3-Lighthouse; 7-OleksandraForecast: Oleksandra exits six consecutive graded stakes races and today finds class relief while dropping into a listed affair against a group of fillies and mares that she should be able to handle. The veteran daughter of Animal Kingdom (she’s seven now) defeated the boys three races back when winning the Jaipur S.-G1 in New York and recent workouts indicate the N. Drysdale-trained mare isn’t too far removed from that form. Over a course that plays to her closing style, we’re expecting she’ll produce a winning late kick under J. Rosario. Lighthouse was a bit below her best when third in the recent Las Cienegas S.-G3 last month in her first start since September. Assuming she needed the race, the daughter of Mizzen Mast can step forward today and give the favorite a target to run at.RACE 8: Post: 4:20 PT Grade: C+Use:1-Awhitesportscoat; 5-Horse Greedy; 6-OctopusForecast: The Monday nightcap is an extended sprint for $16,000 older claimers. We’ll go three deep and hope to get home a price. Awhitesportscoat, listed at 8-1 on the morning line, makes his first start since being haltered by K. Mulhall, whose stats with the first-off-the-claim angle in a limited sample catch the eye. A four time winner at this extended sprint distance, the veteran Hansen gelding will need some luck from his rail post, but with a patient ride and clear sailing through the lane he’s capable on his best day of tagging the leaders. Octopus is racing in good form, though he’s never really been too dependable when favored (and he’ll probably be that today). F. Prat stays aboard and will have the son of Shackleford in the firing line throughout. Horse Greedy, an ex-class horse making his first start since behind claimed by P. Miller (powerful with this angle), is reunited with “win rider” J. Hernandez while dropping to his lowest level. He’s clearly nowhere near what he once was, but in this league, he has to be respected.

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2.14.2021:

Sunday, February 14: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis-$25,000 Guaranteed Pool

Cal Expo has a 12-race card scheduled to close out the weekend. The 0.20 Pick 4 begins in Race 9 and it will be my focus. The sequence has a $25,000 guaranteed pool with a 16% takeout.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 92-Bettor In The Bank (6-1)-Veteran drops to a better level for success but will need a cozy trip. Roland takes the lines and he won with this 11-year-old on 1-2 versus easier. Can pass foes down the lane with the right steer and should be a solid price.5-In For The Chase (5/2)-Steps-up as an odds-on winner and was Cutting's choice over #2. Has won 10 of 31 at CalX and Plested trainee can take another picture versus this crew.6-Vicious Aloicious (6-1)-Has only 2 wins in the last 42 tries but has shown improvement in the last couple of races. Kerwood's choice over #3 and he might be able to squeeze out a win.8-Ridonkuloso (9/2)-Plano's choice over the #4 could beat this crew with a top effort. Will likely leave for the top or duck and make an early move. Either way it will be about the trip and how much fight will be left to finish off the mile.Race 101-Tropical Fruit (12-1)-This mare might be able to beat the boys tonight. This isn't a deep group and Stewart can get sucked around with this post draw and rally down the lane at a nice price.6-Johnny Ringo (3-1)-Program chalk paced the last half in 56.2 and just missed in last. Gets a post edge over last week's winner #8 and may even the score tonight.9-Glen (5-1)-Svendsen seems to get the best out of this 4-year-old. From this post the price should be much better than even money, as was the case last week.Race 111-Jupiter Johnny (5-1)-This is a 1.5-mile race which adds to the confusion. Thinking that Cutting will protect the rail and race near the top of the stack. Has been rallying down the lane but hasn't won in 11 tries at CalX. Not sure any were at this distance.5-To The Limit (8/5)-No real value at the morning line but does like to roll late and has won 13 of 57 at CalX. Often, the added distance races aren't won by a closer but rather someone who races near the point. That is a co