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1.18.2021:

Monday Myths: We're Talkin' 'Bout Layoffs

Welcome to a new 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:It seems as though horses coming off of long layoffs are winning more and more these days.Background:What is deemed a long layoff is subjective, but for this study I’ve chosen 120 days or more as the base. The old days of a 30-day layoff are far gone, most horses racing far fewer times per year than yesteryear. A 120-day break is essentially 4 months, and would indicate a horse was either given a long winter break or was forced to the sidelines for some reason beyond the normal time just waiting for the next spot. We don’t want to misread a quality horse being aimed at a specific spot in these layoff numbers, so 120 days provides that breathing space.Data Points:I looked at the Betmix database going back to its Jan. 1, 2013 beginning and crunched the numbers for all horses who had been away from the races for 120 or more days. I measured the overall trend-line for all tracks in terms of win percentage for such runners and $1 return on investment (ROI). I also tackled some of the numbers by circuits. Lastly, I took a cursory look at slightly shorter layoffs for a comparison.Overall Findings:--2013 extended layoff horses won 10.74% with a $0.71 ROI.--2014 extended layoff horses won 11.26% with a $0.73 ROI.--2015 extended layoff horses won 11.42% with a $0.76 ROI.--2016 extended layoff horses won 10.79% with a $0.74 ROI.--2017 extended layoff horses won 10.98% with a $0.72 ROI.--2018 extended layoff horses won 10.94% with a $0.71 ROI.--2019 extended layoff horses won 10.88% with a $0.66 ROI.--2020 extended layoff horses won 10.39% with a $0.73 ROI.--Overall extended layoff horses won 10.74% with a $0.71 ROI.--NYRA (Aqu/Bel/Sar) extended layoff horses won 13.17% with a $0.80 ROI.--SoCal (SA/Dmr/Lrc-TB) extended layoff horses won 11.77% with a $0.84 ROI.--Florida (GP/GPW/Tam) extended layoff horses won 11.89% with a $0.78 ROI.--Gulfstream extended layoff horses won 10.89% in 2013, 12.72% in 2017 and 13.05% in 2020.--Santa Anita extended layoff horses won 9.96% in 2013, 13.30% in 2017 and 12.11% in 2020.--Horses off 60-90 days for comparison sake won 12.55% from 2013-2020.--Horses off 60-90 days for comparison sake won 12.55% in 2013, 12.56% in 2017 and 11.54% in 2020.Overall Findings Verdict:Nationally, the percentage of extended layoff horses winning peaked with a rise in 2015, but has settled evenly since then with 2020 its lowest success rate in the study (down more than a full point since its peak). That could have been due to the pandemic and schedule changes, or perhaps some increased horse safety measures and awareness. If you bet NYRA consistently, you see an extended layoff win percentage far above the national average (2.43 points higher), while popular circuits in SoCal and Florida also are higher than the national average by about a point each. NYRA has been consistent across the years in its percentages being higher than most, while Gulfstream’s extended layoff winners have been growing through the years; Santa Anita was on a rapid ascent from 2013-’17, but has trended downward of late, perhaps owing to its recent horse safety measures. In terms of race class, claimers performed far worse than any other class level off extended layoffs, the other race classes very similar in performance.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, tracks with the highest win percentage for extended layoff horses– where I found Hawthorne (15.70%), Aqueduct (15.11%) and Belmont (15.10%) topping the list, and tracks like Delaware Park (4.69%), Evangeline Downs (5.93%) and Delta Downs (5.96%) at the bottom of the list. I also crunched which race class was most impacted by extended layoff horses. Maiden claimers had only 9.30% wins with such layoffs, while every other race class was consistent between 11.22% and 11.92%.

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1.18.2021:

Monday January 18: Pompano Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

Pompano Park has 13 races ready to roll with the Early 0.50 Pick 4 starting in Race 6. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool with a 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 63-Keegan Ho (7/2)-Beaten chalk was parked into a 28.3 second quarter and was beaten by a well-meant winner who got a smooth steer. Back in at the same class and could make amends with a better journey.7-Susie's Sister (2-1)-Draws outside and steps-up but does come off an impressive win drawing off by 7 lengths. This looks like a 2-horse race and may have to grind it out, but best to respect connections.Race 72-Bradon Hanover (9/2)-Needs a good steer to get the job done at this level and has the pilot to do so. This was Miller's choice over the 3/9. Should be forwardly placed and could benefit from a fast pace but might be over bet.6-Make A Statement A (6/5)-Program favorite deserves that status and Hennessey should be on the engine or in the 2-hole soon after the word-Go.7-Unlikeanyother (7/2)-Normally not my play to use a winner of 2 straight who takes a big step up. But this Pet Rock five-year-old made me pause. Last 2 wins were done easily, with solid fractions and has the gate speed to land in a good seat.Race 86-Darty (9/5)-Comes off a sharp win, was used a couple of times and powered by down the lane. This is a bump up but should be able to handle this crew with a similar effort.7-Muscle Star (7/2)-Using over #5 who is coming off a sick scratch and hasn't raced since 12/28. There are risks involved here, does break stride every now and then. This is the 1st start for new barn and will rely on the Beckwith-Hennessey connection to help keep him trotting. Using under the assumption the price will be better than the morning line.Race 91-Lightfootedlegend (2-1)-Has struggled at this level and is only 1 for 12 at the Pomp. But from the rail Hennessey could get the top or the 2 hole without using much gas. Will respect chances but will look to others with more value.3-Sooo Handsome (3-1)-This veteran know his way to the winner's circle in south Florida. But did run into a tough winner in last. Got the pocket ride but the Lion King As snuck in a 29.1 third quarter and that was enough to seal the deal. That was the first time Plano left in a while and will look for another aggressive drive.5-Billie Blue (8-1)-If the pace is hot this mare can catch the boys and roll by down the lane. Came off a win and stepped up to this class but raced from the back as the 2 chalks left. Regular pilot Mike Simmons is back tonight and will look for him to get a better seat and come off cover at a price.My Ticket Race 6) 3,7 Race 7) 2,6,7 Race 8) 6,7 Race 9) 1,3,5Total Ticket Cost) $18 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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1.18.2021:

Monday, January 18: 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: BUse: 3-Becca Taylor; 5-Big StretchForecast: Big Stretch may be most effective around one corner and based on pedigree (Mr. Big) she should be even better on turf than dirt. After graduating in late November at Del Mar on the main track from off the pace, she gets a chance to utilize her tools under ideal conditions as a first-time Lasix user while retaining J. Rosario. There’s wagering value at or near her morning line of 7/2. Becca Taylor also should be included in rolling exotic play. A winner at first asking sprinting on dirt at Los Alamitos last month with a pretty good speed figure, the daughter of Old Topper moves up a notch, has a nice training track breeze since raced and is another that is eligible to race with Lasix now that she’s turned three.RACE 2: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Mastering; 3-Canadian PrideForecast: Canadian Pride was worn down by subsequent stakes winner Kiss Today Goodbye when second while more than six lengths clear of the others at Del Mar last time out and the son of Creative Cause has worked extremely well since, so we’re expecting the lightly-raced gelding to step forward again while expecting that he’ll be sent from the gate to make the lead. And in his role as the controlling speed, P. Eurton-trained 4-year-old he should be tough to catch. Mastering returned off a long layoff and defeated maidens in good style over this track and distance last month while earning a big figure that makes him dangerous right back. The B. Baffert-trained gelding projects to have dead aim and every chance from the quarter pole home. Preference on top goes to Canadian Pride but we’ll include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 3: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Invincibella; 2-Jumping Jill Flash; 3-AcaiForecast: The main contention in this restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming turf sprint for fillies and mares is drawn inside with the P. Miller barn represented by Invincibella and Jumping Jill Flash. The former sports both blinkers off angle and the route-to-sprint maneuver while switching to hot-riding J. J. Hernandez and is guaranteed an ideal ground-saving trip from her rail post position. The latter, a Woodbine invader adding blinkers for the first time and picking up J. Rosario, should be prominent throughout and have every chance when the pressure is turned on. Acai, freshened since mid-November, was nosed out in a starter’s allowance dash at Del Mar last time out and fits on figures; however, the concern is that this six furlong trip might be stretching her limit. These are the three we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with Invincibella (6-1), the best price of the three, getting a very slight edge on top.RACE 4: Post: 2:05 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Jungle Roar; 2-Hallowed GiftForecast: Hallowed Gift is gradually improving and with this drop to the maiden $20,000 level the J. Sadler-trained gelding may have found a field he can outlast. Two strong workouts at Los Alamitos since raced is a positive sign and so is the switch to J. Rosario. Jungle Roar has numbers that can win but his lack of early speed combined with his rail post position are concerns. Freshened since October and now in the J. Mullins barn, the son of Animal Kingdom will be a major threat in the final stages if he can secure a decent trip. We’ll give Hallowed Gift the edge on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 5: Post: 2:36 PT Grade: B-Use: 4-Predictable Tully; 8-Bristol Bayou; 10-BellizeForecast: Maiden $50,000 claiming fillies and mares sprint six furlongs on grass in a challenging affair that could produce an upset. Let’s try Bellize at 8-1 on the morning line. She’s a second-off-the-claim play for Drysdale (not many stats with that angle!) while turning back from a grass miler (speed/fade) and showing recent good works to indicate a form reversal is possible. The lightly-raced mare by Noble Mission is relatively unexposed, unlike most of the others. Predictable Tully, runner-up under these conditions at Del Mar in early November, probably won’t need much better than that effort to graduate today, though having failed three times as the favorite the Irish-bred filly may be a hard one to trust. Bristol Bayou has sprinted okay over this turf course vs. straight maidens in the past, and if she can reproduce her best effort the daughter of Carpe Diem should at get a piece of it. All three should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have extra tickets keying Bellize on top.RACE 6: Post: 3:08 PT Grade: B-Use: 4-Horse Greedy; 6-Oil Can KnightForecast: Oil Can Knight returns to his favorite track – he’s won four of eight starts at Santa Anita – so we’re expecting the veteran gelding to find his best stuff in this $25,000 claiming sprint for older horses. Third as the favorite in a similar affair at Los Alamitos last month without mishap, the S. Knapp-trained son of Can the Man should be able to settle just off the leaders and then have his chance when it counts. If Oil Can Knight doesn’t fire his best shot, Horse Greedy certainly can win and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. Th ex-classer returns to his claim (and winning) level after almost two months off, switches to J. Rosario, and has looked solid in recent drills to indicate he’s fit enough for a good effort.RACE 7: Post: 3:40 PT Grade: XSingle: 4-Mucho UnusualForecast: Mucho Unusual out-classes this field, simple as that. Winner of the nine-furlong R. J. Frankel S.-G3 last month but equally effective at this one mile trip, the daughter of Mucho Macho Man is listed at 9/5 on the morning line but seems certain to go lower while switching to J. Rosario, who won a graded stakes race with her a couple of years ago. With tactical speed and the versatility to win from just about anywhere, she’s a logical top pick and short-priced rolling exotic single.RACE 8: Post: 4:13 PT Grade: BSingle: 2-TejonForecast: Tejon is re-equipped with blinkers, drops for the money run and returns to the Santa Anita main track over which he earned his maiden diploma almost a year ago. From his inside draw, the son of Square Eddie seems certain to employ gate-to-wire tactics, and in a field with suspect closers he’ll have every opportunity to roll all the way to the wire. In a race in which nothing else inspires, let’s go with the R. Baltas-trained gelding as a short-priced rolling exotic single.RACE 9: Post: 4:43 PT Grade: C+Use: 1-Mount Pelliar; 2-El Joy; 10-GoldiniForecast: The finale is a maiden $50,000 claimer over a mile on turf that requires a bit of a spread in rolling exotic play. Mount Pelliar shows up in a seller for the first time, lands the good rail and gets Lasix and F. Prat, so we’re expecting the R. Hanson-trained gelding to improve considerably. He’s a good fit on numbers, so we’ll put him on top. Goldini is drawn farther out than we’d prefer but the son of Goldencents split the field in his debut sprinting against an infinitely tougher group so he should be quite competitive against this softer band. El Joy is gradually improving with racing and warrants a look after finishing a close third in a maiden $75,000 affair at Del Mar in November. Adding Lasix, the Kitten’s Joy sophomore retains J. J. Hernandez and projects to enjoy a comfortable second flight, ground-saving trip.

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1.17.2021:

Sunday, January 17: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis - $25,000 Guaranteed Pool

Sunday night's Cal Expo card has 13 races scheduled with the 0.20 Pick 4 starting 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 92-Solongo (15-1)-Swinging for a price and if this 6-year-old could duplicate the 155.3 mile from 2 back it could be time for a rare picture.3-Cowboys Dirtyboots (6-1)-Bumps up a notch after one of the better efforts in a while. This will be the 3rd time Cutting steers and upswing could continue.4-He Grins Again (3-1)-Beaten chalk at this class last week should be the major threat here. But faded down the lane in last and will need to be better. Should have no excuse but this field might be better than the last group.6-Mystic Ruler (12-1)-Raced well against better from the 8-hole and looks like a player here. It's doubtful the morning line price will hold up but should go off at fair odds.Race 102-Chase Me Forever (15-1)-Has been racing better in last 2 starts without Lasix. Could leave to land a close-up seat and get sucked around. Using in a field where the program chalk #5, has 4 wins in the last 33 starts.5-Bngs Express (3-1)-Will likely be bet and should be in the mix but barn is not doing well over the last 30 days. Using but not with an abundance of confidence.10-California Rock (6-1)-Post doesn't help but gets Plano between the pipes and was his choice. Drops and has 10 wins in 28 starts at CalX.Race 112-Steady Breeze (2-1)-Makes 3rd start for Roland and last was the best effort in a while. This is also the 3rd start since shipping into CalX and could get the top and not look back. Beaten chalk in last 2 may finally reward backers.Race 122-Get My Good Side (3-1)-Broke in last as an odds-on favorite but Cutting is back and it was his choice. Hasn't taken a picture in the last 21 starts but could compete if minds manners.5-Mr Steal Your Girl (5/2)-Roland's choice over #2 has shown some abilty to pass foes down the lane, more than most others. Needs to show more but this a very weak group.7-Hagginatthebeach (6-1)-Plano steers his own pupil in 2nd start of the meet. Lightly raced mare won 3 of 13 last year and has a shot to surprise at a square price if tight enough.My Ticket Race 9) 2,3,4,6 Race 10) 2,5,10 Race 11) 2 Race 12) 2,5,7Total Ticket Cost) $7.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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1.17.2021:

Sunday, January 17: 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: 8-Summer Rose; 10-Rockie Causeway; 11-Vronsky Zips AwayForecast: Rockie Causeway, in the frame in her last three but away since the fall, returns for R. Baltas with reasonable work tab at San Luis Rey Downs and shortens to a sprint for the first time in her four-race career. A beaten choice in her last three, the daughter of Giant’s Causeway certainly can win this below average maiden special weight affair for older fillies and mares but certainly isn’t one to trust. Summer Rose may be the quickest in the field and in her first try on grass the daughter of Jimmy Creed may carry her speed a little farther than she did in her comeback last month at Los Alamitos. She continues to burn up the track in the morning, so at 6-1 on the morning line the P. D’Amato-trained mare is worth including on your ticket. The first-timer Vronsky Zips Away has done some decent work in the a.m. and is bred on both sides of her pedigree to enjoy sprinting on grass. In a race in which there are no apparent world beaters, she may have a decent sort of look, her extreme outside post notwithstanding.RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: CUse: 3-Destiny’s Journey; 5-Girona; 8-Majestic DivaForecast: Here’s a low-level claiming middle distance affair for older fillies and mares in which nothing would surprise. The pace scenario promises to be contested so don’t be surprised if the race falls apart in the stretch. Majestic Diva, a three-time winner over the local main track and fresh from a victory against a slightly lesser group at Los Alamitos, can be effective right back if held up early and allowed to run late. Destiny’s Journey just beat a slightly tougher group on New Year’s Day and has won back-to-back races in the past, so she’s a major player, though she may have to accept a stalker’s role, something she’s never been that comfortable with in the past. Girona, in with a feather and training well, won a starter’s race sprinting over five furlongs at Los Alamitos last month but today will try to carry her speed two-turns. We have serious doubt she can run this far, but loose-on-the-lead speed always is dangerous, so we’ll toss her in on a ticket or two. Tread lightly.RACE 3: Post: 1:33 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Bench Judge; 5-Dark PrinceForecast: Bench Judge is back sprinting where he’s most comfortable and looks capable of producing the last run in this starter optional claiming grass sprint. Freshened since November and sporting a strong, healthy work pattern at San Luis Rey Downs, the P. Miller-trained gelding retains J. Rosario, shows a prior win over the course, and has numbers that are better than par for this level. Dark Prince continues to impress in the morning, is re-equipped with blinkers, and ran better than the line will show when rallying to finish fourth after some early trouble in a hot main track sprint earlier this month. At 6-1 on the morning line, he can be included on a ticket or two as a saver.RACE 4: Post: 2:05 PT Grade: XSingle: 4-KennebecForecast: Kennebec shows up in a seller for the first time, gets Lasix and F. Prat, and has very little to worry about in this maiden $40,000 dirt miler for 3-year-olds. At 3/5 on the morning line, he’ll offer no wagering value other than as a short-priced rolling exotic single in a race that probably is best left alone.RACE 5: Post: 2:37 PT Grade: BSingle: 2-Big Clare; 6-Big Beauty; 7-Our Little TigerForecast: Our Little Tiger flashed promise in her debut last fall when rallying after a slow start to finish a willing third over the local lawn when facing what may have been a tougher state-bred maiden filly field than this. The daughter of Smiling Tiger has worked quite well since then for her low profile connections, so if she can manage to leave with her field today, she should be along in time while offering a good gamble at or near her morning line of 5-1. Worth consideration in rolling exotic play as back-ups or savers are Big Clare and Big Beauty, two debuting daughters of the good grass sire Mr. Big with work tabs that indicate at least some ability. The former, from the P. D’Amato barn, attracts F. Prat and has recorded some flashy clockings at Los Alamitos, while the latter hails from a barn that has excellent stats with first-timers and shows a work tab at San Luis Rey Downs that should have her plenty fit.RACE 6: Post: 3:07 PT Grade: B+Use: 5-Love My Jimmy; 7-Hung JuryForecast: Hung Jury won his debut in clever style at Woodbine in late October and was promptly purchased privately by a winning outfit. The son of Maclean’s Music has trained in good style since arriving in California and should have every chance to score again from a comfortable outside draw under F. Prat. The one to fear most is Love My Jimmy, a big figure maiden-claiming winner over this main track last month. The son of Tapiture has looked good in the morning since that victory and seems certain to produce another forward move. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Hung Jury.RACE 7: Post: 3:37 PT Grade: BUse: 3-Altea; 5-Hermaphrodite; 8-QuickForecast: Older fillies and mares don’t have many opportunities on this circuit to compete over a mile and one-half on grass, so the form can appear a bit muddled. We have a suspicion that Altea will enjoy the trip, and the veteran mare, a solid middle-distance performer throughout her career, finally gets her chance. Though she was winless in eight starts in 2020, the French-bred mare faced some stiff tasks, but against this group she certainly has credentials to break through. Hermaphrodite is an out-and-out stayer and though her two outings since being imported from Europe have been below her best, she certainly has a right to step forward today under conditions that are made to order for her. She retains J. Rosario and can beat a field of this level based on her best Timeform ratings from France. Quick has run well in marathons in the past, most recently when a willing third in the 11-furlong Red Carpet S.-G3 at Del Mar in November. A similar effort today puts her right there.RACE 8: Post: 4:07 PT Grade: B+Single: 5-As Time Goes ByForecast: As Time Goes By has a chance to develop into a very nice filly and the lightly-raced daughter of American Pharoah, fresh from a sharp maiden win at Los Alamitos and working very well since, seems set to produce another significant forward move in her first try around two-turns. She switches to J. Rosario and seems likely to draft into an ideal stalking position outside and then have every chance to dispose of her rivals from the quarter pole home. At 8/5 on the morning line, she’s a win play at anywhere near that price and a logical rolling exotic single.RACE 9: Post: 4:37 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Commanding Chief; 8-Croi MorForecast: Florida invader Croi Mor finds a soft spot in his local debut and offers reasonably good value at 8-1 on the morning line in this maiden-claiming $50,000 turf miler for older horses. His form in recent races make him a solid contender, and a series of local recent drills indicate he’s plenty fit for his first outing since September. Commanding Chief is another major player returning from a vacation (he’s been away for 11 months) but this will be his first start for a tag and on pure numbers he’s dangerous. The J. Sadler-trained five-year-old has run well over this course in the past, so it’s just a matter of whether he’s ready. The work tab is okay, nothing great, and this barn has weak stats with layoff runners, so there are mixed signals to consider. At 5/2 on the morning line, he’s worth including as a back-up, but nothing more.

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1.17.2021:

Sunday, January 17: My Late Pick 4 Ticket Sunday at Gulfstream

Gulfstream Park has one of the better late Pick 4 sequences since it began its Championship Meet last month.Three good groups of allowance optional claimers and a promising field of upper-maiden claimers will congregate for the last four, beginning at 3:42 p.m. ET.High Five Cotton starts it off as the probable solid favorite in the eighth race and will probably be a single on a lot of tickets.However, the veteran Charlie the Greek has done his fair share of good things over the strip and also figures in the outcome.Here’s a look at the Gulfstream Pick 4 on Sunday:Race 8 (3:42 p.m. ET, allowance optional claiming)HIGH FIVE COTTON was second last time, ending his four-win win stretch. He’s been sharp at Monmouth and most recently Tampa Bay Downs and is not in a real tough spot for his first GP start. The biggest question for him is in regards to the mile distance, which will be contested around one turn, like his other races.CHARLIE THE GREEK was claimed by the Catanese barn last out and while he hasn’t hit the board in his last three, he often is a factor vs. state-breds and looks for his 10th local win.Race 9 (4:13 p.m. ET, allowance optional claiming)R MAN JOE wasn’t sharp in his last two, but those were at GP West. He’s back to a preferred course, where he’s won two of five. Expect a form reversal.MACHO BLUE has had strong performances in his last three races, with a win and third-place finishes in his last two. He dropped a three-horse photo last time and he usually brings his best. He’s a “tough out.”BALISTICO was close in his last four and responded with a good third when he stepped up in class. Capable of a big effort here.ZANNO is lightly raced with just four starts but ran a solid third in his last one, which came over this course in April. Has severalworks in the past month and is ready to run again.Race 10 (4:45 p.m. ET, allowance optional claiming)HEIRESSINDY looks for her first win since July. She just hasn’t run a bad one lately but has been stuck on second in her last three. Talented filly will be a factor.PRINCESS BETTY won two of her last three and comes in off a solid win on the front end. Can adjust to any pace.IMPECCABLE STYLE was on the board in her last four and was in some very strong races last year. She was second in the G3 Indiana Oaks and most recently was third in an allowance at Keeneland. Makes her first start for the Walsh stable.STORIE BLUE finished three-quarters of a length behind Impeccable Style at Keeneland and was third in the G3 Santa Ysabel at Santa Anita. Her best makes her a big player in this one.Race 11 (5:17 p.m. ET, maiden claiming)LORD FLINTSHIRE doesn’t have a lot of speed and will be far back early but could get a big break if other contenders can’t get the distance. Was second last out and takes a slight step up in class.EAMONN tired in his debut and moves over to the turf course. Bred to run all day on the turf and will get plenty of support.THE GREAT OZ was second in his debut and then weakened in his next two. He should have no problem with turf and is bred to go long on the front end.My TicketRace 8) #7 High Five Cotton, #8 Charlie the Greek.Race 9) #1 R Man Joe, #2 Macho Blue, #6 Balistico, #8 Zanno.Race 10) #2 Heiressindy, #4 Princess Betty, #6 Impeccable Style, #7 Storie Blue.Race 11) #5 Lord Flintshire, #6 Eamonn, #11 The Great Oz.Total Ticket Cost) 7,8/1,2,6,8/2,4,6,7/5,6,11 = $48 for $0.50

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1.16.2021:

Saturday, January 16: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has a competitive 15-race card scheduled for tonight. The 0.50 Early Pick 4 begins in Race 6. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Yacht Seelster (8-1)-Had a nice try from post 9 at this class last week and raced from the back. Dunn is back in the bike, should be forwardly placed and is well worth a swing at the morning line price.2-Decision Day (6-1)-Fired hot off the bench, now steps-up and AMac steers instead of Zeron. Has enough gate speed to be put in play early and could be better than last week at a square price.4-Semi Tough (3-1)-Got on the engine and was just a bit short after being off since 12-26. Took 7 pictures last year in 21 starts. Gingras returns and this could be the spot to get 1st Big M win, currently (0-8).Race 71-Warrawee Unique (9/2)-Idle since 11-20 and comes off an okay tune-up but this isn't a strong group and a soft spot if ready.3-Incredible Shark (7/2)-Gets some post relief, drops to a better level, and makes 2nd straight Big M start. The barn has been so-so but like #1, this is a beatable field.5-American Boy N (3-1)-Makes 3rd start off the bench and was on the point in last. Should be on the ticket but was camera shy last year going 2-23.Race 81-Ollie's Ztam (6-1)-Comes off a dull try at the Meadows, but Gingras should have him near the top of the stack and could pop at a square price.5-Lachie Maguire N (9/2)-Got on the engine in last 2 starts and faded down the lane both times. Loses Dunn and Zeron may look to work a ground saving trip and roll by late. This is the 3rd start in sequence, needs a good steer and an honest pace.8-Italian Delight N (3-1)-Steps-up again after winning 2 straight. Normally not a time for me to use, but both wins were done easily and probably is the one to beat again.Race 94-B Stoney (7/2)-Comes off 2 big efforts from the 8-hole and just missed versus better in last. Allard steers instead of Dave Miller but he knows how to blast out and get on the engine. Should be a major player and can take a picture if steals a quarter.7-Paduka N (9/2)-Has a similar M.O. to #4 but Todd McCarthy could land in the 2-hole and trip out at a fair price.8-De Los Cielos Deo (8-1)-The 2 above should be leaving as well as #9. So, if a speed battle ensues here is the closer that could pick up the pieces.My Ticket Race 6) 1,2,4 Race 7) 1,3,5 Race 8) 1,5,8 Race 9) 4,7,8Total Ticket Cost) $40.50 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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1.16.2021:

Saturday, January 16: 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: 12:00 PT Grade: C+Use: 1-Agamemnon; 2-Jetovator; 5-Shady Empire; 10-I Wll NotForecast: The Saturday opener is a difficult state-bred allowance sprint on dirt that requires a considerable spread in rolling exotic play. Use as many as your budget allows. Shady Empire was nosed out in a similar affair at Los Alamitos last month that produced a career top speed figure, and with another forward move today the J. Bonde-trained gelding may be as good as any, especially with the switch to J. Rosario. Jetovator is eligible to this condition right back after winning an identical race on a different surface (grass) last month. Whether he can be as effective on dirt remains to be seen but based strictly on speed figures he’s a serious player. I Will Not is solid on form, having finished a good second at this level last month at Los Alamitos with a competitive speed figure. The son of Square Eddie projects to settle in the second flight and then have his chance from the quarter pole home. Agamemnon ran well two races back when missing in a photo at 43-1, but then didn’t fire in a similar spot in his most recent outing. The Grazen gelding continues to impress in the a.m. and likes this track, so at 8-1 on the morning line we’ll include him on our ticket.RACE 2: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B+Single: 4-Burnin TurfForecast: Burnin Turf has much in his favor in this maiden state-bred turf miler for older horses. The D. Blacker-trained gelding, third in both of his starts with rising speed figures, has worked well since his most recent outing in late November and should continue his improving pattern as he gains experience. With the switch to F. Prat and the always-popular blinkers off angle, the son of Acclamations seems pretty solid at 2-1 on the morning line, and at that price we’ll make him a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 3: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: BUse: 3-Mister Bold; 4-Swift as I AmForecast: Swift as I Am was nosed out in a similar allowance optional claiming sprint at Del Mar in late November, and with steadily rising speed figures and a healthy recent series of workouts the J. Sadler-trained gelding should be hard to beat. The son of Danza was nearly seven lengths clear of the rest when beaten last time out, and with J. Rosario staying aboard he’ll probably leave at a shorter price than his morning line of 3-1.Mister Bold, listed as the 5/2 morning line choice, is the one to fear most and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. Back sprinting after finishing a close fourth when favored in the one mile King Glorious S. at Los Alamitos last month, the J. Bonde-trained colt gets Lasix, blinkers and F. Prat, so there’s every reason to believe he’ll fire his best shot while turning back to his preferred trip.RACE 4: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-She’s Devoted; 2-Leggs Galore; 5-Warrens ShowtimeForecast: She’s Devoted gets a class test today while moving in stakes competition after a pair of nice wins to begin her career, her debut last winter over this turf course and then most recently in an entry-level allowance grass dash at Del Mar. She’s developed a late-running style and therefore should appreciate today’s extra furlong, so with some help up front and good racing luck from the rail the daughter of Grazen may be able to to tag the speed at 4-1 on the morning line. Leggs Galore seeks her fourth straight score, with all three of here prior wins accomplished sprinting on turf. She has excellent early speed and projects as a strong pace factor throughout, perhaps even the controlling speed. She’s also 4-1 on the morning line and a “must use” in rolling exotic play. The most dangerous of the deep closers is Warrens Showtime, a four time winner over the Santa Anita turf course but clearly (so far) most effective over a distance of ground. She’ll be running on strongly late.RACE 5: Post: 2:02 PT Grade: C+Use: 5-Complete Control; 7-Allergic to LogicForecast: We’ll try to survive and advance in this maiden $50,000 claiming sprint for state-bred 3-year-old fillies using just two in our rolling exotics. If you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead. Complete Control makes her eighth career start but her first with Lasix while returning to the maiden claiming ranks after finishing a respectable fourth in maiden special weight Cal-bred company at Del Mar in late November. On pure numbers she’s a strong fit at this level and had run well over this main track in the past. She’s hardly a standout but the logical top pick. Allergic to Logic is a first-timer from the B. Koriner barn with win-early breeding (Smiling Tiger) and a work tab that indicates some ability. With F. Prat taking the call she has the look of a live item, even from a barn that doesn’t have good stats with debut runners. Tread lightly here.RACE 6: Post: 2:33 PT Grade: B+Use: 6-Closing Remarks; 7-Sensible CatForecast: Closing Remarks ran into a roadblock when attempting to rally along the rail entering the stretch in the Jimmy Durante S.-G3 at Del Mar last month and lost whatever chance she may have had, eventually being taken in hand late and winding up last of 10. She tries state-bred foes today and is reunited with “win rider” M. Smith, so with better luck the daughter of Vronsky may be capable of producing the last run. Sensible Cat, a smart winner of her last two with rising speed figures, is the likely choice and one to beat. She has good tactical speed to ensure a clean trip and can settle just off the leaders and then kick home when called upon. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a couple of extra tickets keying Closing Remarks on top.RACE 7: Post: 3:05 PT Grade: XSingle: 1-The Chosen VronForecast: The Chosen Vron graduated at first asking in very impressive fashion, establishing the pace in hand and then kicking clear with ease to earn a powerful number like a gelding with a future. The future is today in this year’s edition of the Cal Cup Derby, and from the rail he should be capable of controlling the race from the start to finish over a two-turn trip that we anticipate will be within his capabilities. He’s 8/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, so we’ll make the E. Kruljac-trained sophomore a rolling exotic single and leave it at that.RACE 8: Post: 3:37 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Ward ‘n Jerry; 4-Indian Peak; 8-AcclimateForecast: Here’s a deep and competitive nine furlong grass affair for older horses that offers several possibilities. Indian Peak, listed at 8-1 on the morning line, catches the eye in his first start since joining the B. Koriner barn. A stakes winner over this course and distance as a 3-year-old, the son of Comic Strip should receive the patient ride he requires from J. Rosario, and in a race loaded with pace types it’s possible the son of Comic Strip can produce a sufficient late kick to register an upset. The works look good and this colt could easily be a better four year old then he was as a sophomore. Acclimate and Ward ‘n Jerry both exit graded stakes races and should appreciate this softer assignment. The former does his best work on the front end, but with other committed speed types in the field P. D’Amato-trained gelding may be forced to employ stalking tactics, which has never been his favorite type of trip. The latter, a four-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course and back with “win rider” F. Prat, will suited the projected pace flow and figures to come running in the final furlong.RACE 9: Post: 4:09 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Tigre Di Slugo; 3-Fashionably FastForecast: Fashionable Fast is the defending Cal Cup Sprint winner and certainly can win it again this year if he’s ready to fire off a more than five month layoff. The works are decent enough, but the son of Lucky Pulpit doesn’t really have a history of firing fresh, so it’s possible that he’s a race away from behind dead tight. Tigre Di Slugo continues to impress both in the morning and in the afternoon, and if he can negotiate a good trip from the rail the Smiling Tiger gelding figures very strongly. Most effective as a late-running sprinter and with J. Rosario riding him back, the M. Puype-trained gelding earned a career top speed figure when beating a first-level allowance field at Del Mar in late November in his first start in nine months, so we’re expecting a forward move and a big effort despite the class hike. The proven class horse Fashionably Fast gets a very slight edge on top but both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 10: Post: 4:41 PT Grade: B-Use: 5-Miss Baylee; 6-Another Eddie; 7-Omg It’s Jessica; 10-AnnietownForecast: The finale is a grass grab bag for state-bred maiden 3-year-old fillies. Anything goes. Omg It’s Jessica tipped her hand when narrowly missing in her debut at Los Alamitos last month but if she can build on that effort today the daughter of Smiling Tiger from the dam of the good Cal-bred sprinter Oliver should be capable of earning her diploma. She’s the quickest of the known element, but with so many newcomers in the field the pace scenario looks muddled. Another Eddie, third in the same race Omg It’s Jessica exits, goes for a trainer whose second-time starters often improve, and this daughter of Square Eddie certainly is bred on both sides of her pedigree to move on the lawn. Annietown is a Cal-bred by Speightstown debuting for Glatt (solid stats with first-timers) and with F. Prat taking the call she certainly has the makings of a live item. Miss Baylee, a promising second when well-backed in her debut last June, returns for B. Koriner with a series of good works and could easily be a better type this time around.

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1.15.2021:

1/ST BET AI Picks for Saturday Laurel Stakes

Saturday’s $550,000 Winter Carnival at Laurel Park features 6 stakes races on a 9-race card that begins at 12:25 pm ET. We’ve resourced the 1/ST BET app’s artificial intelligence handicapping to help you with the stakes selections. Download the 1/ST BET app and use its free handicapping tools to make your own selections for Laurel Park and racetracks throughout North America.Note: we’ve included the official track morning line odds with each of the 1/ST BET selections.Race 3 // Geisha Stakes // 1 mile#2 Gale (6-5) // 33%W#6 Coconut Cake (7-2) // 16%W#4 Kiss the Girl (9-2) // 15%W#5 Artful Splatter (5-1) // 15%WRace 4 // Fire Plug Stakes // 6 furlongs#2 Laki (2-1) // 32%W#5 Share the Ride (9-5) // 21%W#3 Penguin Power (6-1) // 16%W#4 Karen’s Notion (8-1) // 11%WRace 5 // Jennings Stakes // 1 mile#3 Cordmaker (5-2) // 30%#5 Tattooed (6-1) // 15%#9 Galerio (6-1) // 15%#4 Hall Pass (8-1) // 10%Race 6 // What A Summer Stakes // 6 furlongs#3 Hello Beautiful (1-1) // 32%W#6 Malibu Mischief (6-1) // 20%W#1 Club Car (9-2) // 15%W#4 Cause Im Edgy (20-1) // 9%WRace 7 // Xtra Heat Stakes // 6 furlongs#3 Sweet Lute (1-1) // 32%W#2 Miss Leslie (3-1) // 21%W#6 Plane Drunk (12-1) // 15%W#8 Whiskey and Rye (6-1) // 10%WRace 8 // Spectacular Bid Stakes // 7 furlongs#8 Maythehorsebewithu (3-1) // 33%W#3 Nobody Knew (4-1) // 22%W#9 Erawan (6-1) // 12%W#7 Shackqueenking (7-2) // 10%W

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1.15.2021:

Saturday, January 16: Edzo's Longshot Bets at Gulfstream

Xpressbet handicapper Eddie Olczyk is back with a pair of Saturday spot plays at Gulfstream Park on Sunshine Stakes Day in South Florida. This duo offers juicy prices on a stakes-laden program.Gulfstream Park // Race 9 // Sunshine Classic Stakes // 3:46 pm ET // 1-1/8 miles dirt#7 Kaufy Bean (10-1 ML)His allowance third Dec. 11 was a good return from a 7-month layoff. He's tactical and the distance should be do-able. Kaufy Bean should provide value here with #1 Noble Drama and #3 Last Judgment expected to get a lot of action on the board.Gulfstream Park // Race 11 // Sunshine Turf Stakes // 4:50 pm ET // 1-1/16 miles turf#8 Clear Destination (15-1)While this gelding's record only shows 1 win on the grass in 9 career races, keep in mind only 2 of those turf attempts have been around 2 turns like today's race. He finished second in both, including last time out over this course at 35-1. Those races put him in the mix here at an overlay price. There's plenty of pace to run at with Proven Strategies, Monforte and Max KO front-running types.The pucks have dropped this week in the NHL and the ponies are in high gear. It's a great time of year as I look forward to next week's Pegasus World Cup Betting Challenge!

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1.15.2021:

Friday, January 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: C+Use: 6-Lookin So Lucky; 7-Acoustic ShadowForecast: Acoustic Shadows drops into a maiden claimer for the first time and switches to F. Prat, so based on those two angles alone the L. Powell-trained filly should be hard to beat in a modest turf miler. She’s fast enough on pure numbers to win and should get the patient ride she appears to prefer. Lookin So Lucky exits the same race as ‘Shadows and actually finished ahead of her chief rival in that early January affair, winding up fifth after pressing the issue to the top of the lane. While we don’t expect her to be on the lead today, the A. Barba-trained filly is a fit on figures and projects to draft into a comfortable stalking position and then have her chance from the quarter pole home. In a race that offers little wagering value, both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 2: Post: 1:02 PT Grade: C+Use: 2-Alvaaro; 3-Stackin SilverForecast: Stackin Silver, away since last April and plummeting in class, returns as a first-time gelding, gets in light due to the presence of bug girl J. Pyfer, and hails from a barn that has superior stats with layoff runners. The Union Rags gelding should be part of the pace throughout – maybe even on the lead – and with a prior win over this track and distance the R. Baltas-trained 4-year-old may be the one to beat. Alvaaro easily handled a $16,000 restricted (nw-2) field last month at this trip and should be tough right back despite the relatively quick turnaround. From his 2-hole draw the son of Old Fashioned may be sent to establish the running, though the option to stalk and pounce is available if ‘Silver is committed to be the controlling speed. We’ll try to get by using just these two in our rolling exotics in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.RACE 3: Post: 1:32 PT Grade: B+Single: 5-Fat StacksForecast: Let’s take a stand and single the second-timer starter Fat Stacks, who performed admirably in his debut when finishing second at Del Mar sprinting on grass in November and seems likely to step forward in this six furlong maiden special weight turf dash for older straight maidens. The son of Drosselomeyer stayed on nicely and then galloped out far in front in that race, so we suspect today’s extra furlong will do him nothing but good. A steady, easy series of recent workouts should have him primed and ready for a barn that always does well with second timer starters, so at 3-1 on the morning line he’s likely to offer sufficient wagering value.RACE 4: Post: 2:05 PT Grade: XSingle: 5-HozierForecast: Hozier has trained like a very good prospect for B. Baffert and seems to have found an ideal spot to score at first asking in this six furlong main track sprint for maiden 3-year-olds. The son of Pioneerof the Nile, purchased as a Saratoga yearling for $625,000, displayed good speed and plenty of quality in a pair of recent gate works, so we’ll prefer him over stable mate Concert Tour, who also should get plenty of play but truthfully hasn’t been as impressive in the morning. We’ll make Hozier a rolling exotic single but at 6/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower there’s not much else we can do with him.RACE 5: Post: 2:34 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Mischiffie; 3-PositForecast: This $40,000 claiming turf sprint for fillies and mares should boil down to two main players. Posit, a first-off-the-claim play for V. Cerin (always dangerous with this angle) returns waiver protected in her first outing in 10 months and has trained well enough to be plenty fit for a big effort off the bench. Most effective on or near the lead and with a prior win over the local lawn, the daughter of Cairo Prince catches a field without too much early zip so she should have her chance from a pace-pressing/forcing position. Mischiffie vans down from Golden Gate Fields, where she has been training steadily waiting for a chance to run after joining the high-percentage J. Martin barn. A two-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course, the veteran Irish-bred mare can be tough on the lead or from a stalking position and has run well fresh in the past. We’ll give Posit the edge on top but use both in our rolling exotics.RACE 6: Post: 3:04 PT Grade: BSingle: 2-NaansenseForecast: We’ll single Naansense in this woeful maiden $20,000 claiming miler for older fillies and mares simply because there’s nothing else in here to embrace. Lightly-raced (just two starts) and theoretically with more room to improve than the others, the daughter of Bayern has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern, exits a much tougher race, and makes a pivotal jockey switch to J. Rosario. The D. O’Neill-trained filly projects as the controlling speed, and in race with no dangerous closing types she should have every chance to dominate gate-to-wire.RACE 7: Post: 3:34 PT Grade: BUse: 5-Ohio; 6-SombeyayForecast: Sombeyay is an East Coast invader with form in graded stakes company last year that makes him the one to beat in this third level allowance grass miler for older horses. In a race that projects to be slowly run early, the son of Into Mischief should either be on the lead or comfortably placed in a stalking position under F. Prat while enjoying the type of trip that has produced his best results. The P. Miller/F. Prat is as potent a trainer/jockey combo as there is (41%, strong flat-bet profit). Ohio, now 10-years-old but still willing and able, returns for his first start in 10 months and certainly has a right to be a bit rusty, but the Brazilian-bred gelding is a former Grade-1 winner over this course and distance and the works say he should be ready for a good effort, though he may be a race away from being dead tight. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have extra tickets keying Sombeyay on top.RACE 8: Post: 4:04 PT Grade: C+Use: 5-Gryffindor; 6-Rideo; 9-R Cha ChaForecast: The Friday nightcap is a messy $10,000 middle distance main track affair for older horses that requires a bit of a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll go three-deep and hope that’s sufficient. Gryffindor is just 2-for-29 during his career but the good news is that both of those victories were accomplished over the Santa Anita main track. He drops to his lowest level ever but is facing open (as opposed to restricted) company, so this isn’t necessarily an easier group than he’s been facing. However, on pure numbers he’s a fit and he’s likely to benefit from the switch to hot-riding J. J. Hernandez. Rideo, unraced since late October due to the temporary closer of Golden Gate Fields, finds a suitable spot for the high-percentage J. Martin barn and should be a live item following a clever synthetic track score up north. While that victory came against a softer $5,000 field, the son of Candy Ride earned a number that projects to be quite competitive on the raise. R Cha Cha gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug boy A. Centeno and may employ front-running tactics, though there are others who might have the same game plan. Twice a winner over the Santa Anita main track, the veteran gelding can act with this group on his best day and is worth throwing in.

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1.14.2021:

Friday, January 15: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Picks

STRONACH 5 ANALYSIS January 15, 2021 LEG A // LAUREL PARK // RACE 8 (3:55PM ET) SCAMPER ALONG romped after three rivals stopped and another broke slowly; however, the winning time was only 2/5 slower than a $5,000/nw4 race for boys earlier on the Penn National card. She also projects a good stalking trip with STEP BY STEP and SEVILLA SANGRIA to help set her up for a repeat score. SCAMPER ALONG could be a Stronach 5 solo play to reduce the ticket cost, but COUGAR VISION is worth considering as a value play after a 5-wide trip as the beaten favorite off a three-month layoff.   LEG B // GULFSTREAM PARK // RACE 8 (4:11PM ET) LEO'S DIAMOND, a first-out winner at Gulfstream for $50,000 a year ago, was compromised by troubled starts in her last two main-track sprint attempts and takes an all-or-nothing type class drop today. LALALI dueled and held third in a long sprint won by Socially Astray, who came back to win by 4 lengths at the non-winners of 3 level. She makes her third start after eight months away and jockey Hector Berrios suits her well. LEG C // LAUREL PARK // RACE 9 (4:25PM ET)BALTINGLASS gets Lasix and shows a steady work tab for his debut for a 21-percent barn. UNCLE CECIL drops, gets in light-weighted and adds Lasix  for his third start. No one else in the field has finished in the money. GOLDIE'S BOY worked well leading up to his 7F debut but he couldn't keep up with the runaway, 1-to-5 winner. LEG D // SANTA ANITA PARK // RACE 3 (4:32PM ET) FAT STACKS made a late run at 2-to-5 winner Master Ryan in a promising 5F debut. LUVLUV lacked stretch kick in turf routes, but he needs an alert start and some pace flow to win as a first-time gelding. LIL RICHARDS BELLO rallied strongly in his lone turf try, dueled in a series of main-track sprints as the beaten favorite since then, now sheds the blinkers. LEG E // GOLDEN GATE FIELDS // RACE 3 (4:49PM ET) Go at least 5-deep in this maiden claimer with five first-time starters and sporadic form from those that have run. $1 STRONACH 5 TICKET: Leg A: 1, 7   Leg B: 5, 10 Leg C: 4, 7, 9 Leg D: 4, 5, 10 Leg E: 4, 5, 9, 11, 12 TOTAL COST: $180      

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1.14.2021:

1/ST BET AI Picks: Santa Anita $57K Super High 5 Carryover

Not only is the carryover in Friday’s Santa Anita Super High 5 pool more than $57,000, but players using the 1/ST BET App get a free spin worth up to $10 in refunds. It’s a fantastic way to start the racing week at the Great Race Place. Your task is to select the top 5 finishers in the race, in order, to take down the prize. We’ve crunched the 1/ST BET app’s data for Race 1 on Friday to help you assemble a potentially lucrative Super High 5 ticket. 1-NICOLE GRACE (30-1 ML) // 6%W // 14%P // 22%S 2-UNBREAKABLE (5-1 ML) // 16%W // 27%P // 43%S 3-LET’S GO NOW (8-1 ML) // 6% W // 22%P // 37%S 4-OLIVE YOU MORE (5-1 ML) // 10%W // 25%P // 43%S 5-AMIKO CHOW (7-2 ML) // 10%W // 17%P // 24%S 6-LOOKIN SO LUCKY (3-1 ML) // 25%W // 46%P // 64%S 7-ACOUSTIC SHADOW (9-5 ML) // 27%W // 49%P // 66%S Most Likely Winners, according to 1/ST BET: 7, 6 Most Likely Out of the Top 5, according to 1/ST BET: 1, 5 Suggested ticket construction, according to 1/ST BET: 7, 6 with 7, 6 with 2, 3, 4 with 2, 3, 4 with 2, 3, 4= $12 for a $1 wager Note: California rules require at least 7 horses in a race to offer the Super High 5 wager, so in the event of a scratch in Friday’s Race 1, the wager’s carryover would be extended to the next available race with 7 or more starters (in this case Race 3). Looking ahead on the 1/ST BET app to Race 3, #5 Fat Stacks has a 19% win projection in a spread-out field, clearly top choice by the algorithm.

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1.14.2021:

Saturday, January 16: Santa Anita Pick 4 Picks & Ball Sets High Bar for White

Millie Ball, talented XBTV and Santa Anita simulcast personality, turned in a strong performance Saturday as the host-to-beat in Week 2 of Xpressbet's Beat the Host competition. Ball impressively selected 5 winners in 10 races. While Ball is based in SoCal and delivers post parade observations from Santa Anita on the track's simulcast feed, her richest Saturday winner came with Grey Charlotte in the 11th at Gulfstream Park, returning $23.50 (based on a $5 contest wager). She also selected Ride a Comet ($6.20) in the 10th at Gulfstream. Her mutuel total of $80.50 was strong enough to reduce the number of Sweep the Host candidates to a mere 8 after two weeks of competition. Jon White, Santa Anita's morning line maker and a Beat the Host target since the competition's inception nearly a decade and a half ago, is the host-to-topple this week. Historically, he's been a 'tough out,' nearly always showing a profit with BTH contest wagers. Ball set the bar high but White's eligible to clear it. Hoping to match a hot hand against White is tournament veteran Steve Glynn. He topped all players Saturday with $157.50 in earnings to collect a $1,000 weekly prize. Glynn earned $55.50 in Week 1 and leads all players in seasonal cumulative earnings with $213. He's also among those eligible for a $6,000 Sweep the Host Bonus that goes to any player who defeats hosts in all 9 weeks. Steven Moses, Randy Murphey, Darlene Wolfson, Lou Kotzman, Scott Shore, Zackary Agamenoni and John Maskel remain alive for the lucrative Sweep Bonus. After two weeks, Andrew George and Andrew Ma ($175 each) are Glynn's closest pursuers in total mutuel earnings. Stephen Hausmann ($170.50) and Larry Cartwright ($170) are next. The top two cumulative seasonal earners will win seats to the 2022 Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship ($6,000 value each). The next three finishers will receive seats in the Ultimate Betting Challenge March 6, 2021 ($3,000 value each). Christopher Cupples ($148.50) and Andrew George ($146) won $750 and $250 each, respectively, by finishing second and third behind Glynn Saturday. They join Week 1 $1,000 prize winner Karen Toyama ($110.50); runner-up and $500 prize winner Terry O'Brien ($105.50) and a trio of players that tied for third--Frank Urbiha, Ralph Rozanski and Thomas Burchfield ($104.50) collected $83.33 each. Overall, 258 players have defeated either hosts Jeremy Plonk or Millie Ball and have qualified for the Beat the Host Championship Round. A total of 7 rich tournament seats will be awarded to top BTH Championship finishers, including 1 seat in the 2022 Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship ($6,000 value) and 6 spots in either the Florida Derby (March 27, 2021) or Santa Anita Derby (April 3, 2021) tournaments ($1,500 value each). Make sure to punch your ticket to the BTH Championship by defeating a host just once. Seven chances remain beginning Saturday with Jon White and continuing each Saturday in January and February. BTH registration is free and all it takes for a crack at $2,000 in weekly prizes is a single 'live' $5 win wager on one horse in each of 10 competition races ($50 total). And, since competition wagers are 'live,' you could show a profit even if you don't win a prize! You know you're going to play Gulfstream and Santa Anita Saturday. Why not take a shot at making some extra moolah along the way? See you Saturday! Perhaps, Beat the Host players will find some helpful information below as yours truly analyzes the Santa Anita Late Pick 4. Santa Anita Late Pick 4 Analysis and Suggested Wager RACE 7 (3:00PM ET) // CALIFORIA CUP DERBY // 1 1/16 MILE (DIRT)) Begin this late Pick 4 with the $200k California Cup Derby and a field of 9 going one mile and one-sixteenth. On paper, this looks like a race that could include a 'single' for small budget players and act as a 'spread' for contrarians with deeper pockets. That's because #1 The Chosen Vron has shown talent but it's been just once and only around one turn against fellow maidens. Today, as they say, the water is deeper. #1 The Chosen Vron was 2-1 favorite in his first start going six and one-half furlongs at Santa Anita Dec. 27 and he didn't disappoint. Away quickly, he established the lead and drew off late for a six and three-quarter length win while posting an impressive 87 Beyer Speed Figure. Jockey Joel Rosario takes over for John Velazquez and probably will employ similar front-running tactics from the advantageous rail post in this mile and one-sixteenth test. Will The Chosen Vron duplicate his maiden voyage and negotiate two turns as easily as he handled one bend? Don't know. That's why they call this gambling. One thing's for sure, he will be included on a vast majority of Pick 4 tickets. Beat him to exponentially increase the payoff of this sequence. #3 Big Fish hopes a few of these get silly up front and force #1 The Chosen Vron to go faster earlier than he'd prefer. If that happens, Big Fish might have something to say about the outcome. He's got a closing style that has worked most effectively on turf—both wins on that surface. He's chased open-stakes company the last four times out, so he's acted with much better than most of these have. JJ Hernandez takes over for Umberto Rispoli. Blinkers, worn for all but the last 2 races, will return for trainer Dave Hofmans. This guy has upset potential. #4 Good With People has faced mostly Cal-bred stakes foes in 5 starts since breaking maiden first out in July at Del Mar. He tried 2 turns last out in a one-mile test at Los Alamitos. He forced the early pace but faded a bit at the end. Can he handle an extra sixteenth of a mile? The more important question might be: How much early pressure will he apply to #1 The Chosen Vron? Trainer Peter Miller usually isn't a guy to wager against, but this seems a tough spot for Good With People. #5 Play Chicken has won 2 of 3 starts, already successfully negotiating 2 turns on turf to break maiden at Santa Anita and last out in the King Glorious at Los Alamitos while defeating #4 Good With People in the process. He's got enough speed to be just off whatever pace develops and blinkers added last out may have helped turn the tables on 'People who had defeated 'Chicken in the 7-furlong Golden State Juvenile. This fellow's not flashy, but he's got some things going for him. #6 None Above the Law is a second Peter Miller runner in here. This one lacks speed and would appreciate an early pace battle between #1 The Chosen Vron and Miller's other entrant #4 Good With People. This gelding broke maiden for a state-bred $50k tag first out and would need to do better than he has before to win this but Miller's pulled rabbits out of hats before. Comeback Hall of Fame jock Kent Desormeaux rides. A reach. #7 Positivity broke maiden first out and then promptly won the state-bred Graduation Stakes. Those were for 2-year-old specialist trainer Luis Mendez. In two starts for new conditioner Pat Gallagher, he's been second and sixth. The former was a close runner-up finish behind #4 Good With People and the latter was a stumbling start troubled trip in the Gr. 2 Los Alamitos Futurity. It would be easy to dismiss that last race and unearth a colt who has run 3 solid races in as many starts. All things considered, not too shabby. #8 Warrens Candy Man is a maiden with 5 starts under his belt. Yours truly isn't in the habit of playing maidens against winners, let alone maidens against stakes runners. If things should get heated up front, this guy could come running with a vengeance. Unlike many of these, he's proven around two turns, even though they all were on turf. He was nearly 9 lengths behind #1 The Chosen Vron last out. That's a lot of ground to make up. RACE 8 (3:30PMET) // UNUSUAL HEAT TURF CLASSIC // 1 1/8 MILE (TURF)   The $200k Unusual Heat Turf Classic Presented by City National Bank has attracted an intriguing mix of proven state-bred star fixtures and fresh, up and coming prospects. The mile and one-eighth turf distance will force a few of these to stretch out a bit further than they'd prefer and others to cut back from successful long-distance appearances. #1 Brandothebartender seems best suited for an in-the-money finish. He's 0-2 at the distance and was third last out going six furlongs in a $62,500 optional claimer. That effort was just two weeks ago, and blinkers come off for this, so you know he's fit. However, he's 8-years-old and was 0-8 in 2020. Note that the last 5 times jockey Umberto Rispoli has ridden the gelding they've produced 2 seconds and 3 thirds. #2 Ward and Jerry is another 8-year-old attempting to turn back the clock. He has been facing better--5 races against open graded stakes company in his last 7 starts. He's 0-4 at this distance and has done his best work at longer trips. Flavien Prat aboard for Mike Puype (21% combo) is interesting. He was a well-beaten second in this race last year. #3 Fly to Mars hails from the potent Peter Miller barn, has some pace, is drawn inside and has some back races that fit well in here. He's 7 and still successful—he won his last start easily at the $25k claiming level going one mile on turf—but these seem tougher. He's never tried this distance on turf and is 4 for 10 over SA green. Back to the future for this guy as his 2018 races fit but recent stuff seems below what's needed. #4 Indian Peak deserves a long look in here. He's 4 and this will be his first race against elders. That's a hill he needs to climb, for sure, but he's got a decent enough record to think his future should be bright. He's won 4 of 11 starts, is 2 of 5 on grass with 2 seconds, including 1 for 1 at today's distance and 1 for 2 on SA turf with a second. Joel Rosario rides for Brian Koriner in the colt's first away from the Howey Quinn barn. He won the Snow Chief at this distance over this surface in June and hasn't raced since August. #5 Mackie's Water is a Gr. 2 winner with 5 wins in 12 starts over the SA turf course. He's also won 3 of 8 on turf at this distance. At 7 he's another that might be seeing his best years in the rear-view mirror. He made just 2 starts last year and both were for claiming tags. He was claimed by the sharp Tim Yakteen outfit last out, maybe with this race in mind. Can he produce a blast from the past? That's the question a few of these need to answer. #8 Acclimate is a 7-year-old gelding that missed 2020 entirely…almost. He squeezed in an appearance on Nov. 27, 2020 and it was a good one. He set the pace and finished fourth, beaten just 2 lengths, in the Gr. 2 Hollywood Turf Cup at a mile and one-half over the Del Mar turf course. That's the best recent race in the field. He like SA turf with 4 wins in 11 starts and is 1 for 2 at the distance. His most recent 3 wins all were accomplished going wire-to-wire, so expect jockey Tyler Baze to have him hustling early. #10 Margot's Boy is a 4-year-old with a decent record against state-bred foes. All 3 of his wins have come in wire-to-wire fashion and that clashes with #8 Acclimate's plans. Perhaps these 2 will tangle early with #7 Heck Yeah and #3 Fly to Mars to produce a decent early pace that might set things up for a closer. RACE 9 (4:00PM ET) // DON VALPREDO CALIFORNIA CUP SPRINT // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT) The $150k Don Valpredo California Cup Sprint at six furlongs has an emphasis on speed and that's how it should be. The Golden State is the home of speed and that's been proven time and again whenever east coast invaders attempt to 'run early' with west coast flyers. With all the speed signed on here some may look for a closer to upset the applecart in the lane. Either way, horseplayers will have options to consider. #1 Tigre Di Slugo needs a hot pace to set up his closing style and he'll get one in here. There's a ton of speed in this race and jockey Joel Rosario, who won aboard this gelding last out, is an expert at timing a closing charge. Obviously, Tigre Di Slugo has some physical issues, this will be just his sixth start and he's 6-years-old. When he shows up, he's for real with 3 wins in 5 starts. #3 Fashionably Fast has the most impressive resume. He's won 7 of 18 starts, 3 for 6 at SA and 3 of 6 at the distance. From late 2019 through early 2020, he won 6 in a row, including 4 state-bred stakes races. No other runner in this field can claim that kind of achievement. He's been gone since August but has a notable work tab with moves at 7-day intervals that include two nice five panel moves and a pair of six-furlong leg stretchers. He has earned respect. #6 Loud Mouth has developed nicely into a capable 5-year-old whose last 2 races fit very nicely here. Those were upsets at nearly 11-1 in a $40k SA optional claimer and 13-1 in the $100k state-bred Cary Grant stakes at Del Mar. Both of those victories were at distances at least a half furlong further than this. The good news is that Loud Mouth has enough speed to be in contention early just off the lead. #8 Brickyard Ride will add some spice to early proceedings. The 4-year-old has won 5 of 11 starts, including 3 of 4 at SA and 3 of 5 at the distance. He's got to be respected off those figures alone. This will be his first stakes challenge, so that's new territory for him. He's really fast, though, and speed always is dangerous. Note that apprentice jockey Centeno rides in here without a weight break. #10 Jamming Eddy enjoys the talents of the Peter Miller/Flavien Prat combination (31%). He'll need to step things up in her off recent performances when he finished behind #1 Tigre Di Slugo and #6 Loud Mouth in respective races. The 5-year-old gelding would need to do better than he ever has to win this. RACE 10 (4:30PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 FURLONGS (TURF) This is an interesting 3-year-old maiden race going six furlongs on turf…or it's not. #6 Another Eddie and #7 Omg It's Jessica are obvious choices off December first-out efforts against each other. Aside from them players could go in a multitude of directions. #1 Squared Shady more racing experience than any filly in the race. That's sometimes a negative. She's had chances—two on turf—and hasn't been able to get the job done. She's got speed, is drawn inside and that's the shortest way around there, however, she doesn't seem to have enough 'stick' to get the job completely done. Racing a half-furlong further than ever probably won't help. Exotics only. #5 Miss Baylee was purchased at the '19 Keeneland September sale for $32,000. That's notable because all but 3 of these 14 are home breds (#1 Squared Shady brought $30k as a 2yo and #14 Our Little Tiger cost $6,500 as a yearling). This daughter of Dominus made her first start for 2-year-old specialist trainer Luis Mendez and was bet down to even money. She raced evenly to finish second to next-out winner My Girl Red. Brian Koriner is the new trainer (0-6 1st time with him) and Kent Desormeaux rides off a string of works that includes a 5 furlong move in 1:01 4/5. Interesting. #6 Another Eddie hails from the Reddam Racing outfit and is trained by Ben Cecil. She was third first-out behind next stall neighbor #7 Omg It's Jessica. Dispatched at 9/2 she broke a bit slow and gained ground toward the finish. Trainer Cecil is solid with 2nd time out runners (2 for 6). Another Eddie is by Square Eddie, a solid turf sire. She's posted steady works since raced. Obvious inclusion. #7 Omg It's Jessica finished more than three lengths in front of #6 Another Eddie when they met Dec. 13 at Los Alamitos. This filly showed speed that afternoon and was caught late. That was at five and one-half furlongs and today's race is at six. Will the experience she gained first out help her to hold her speed for an extra half furlong? And, of course, this time she's racing on grass. J. J. Hernandez replaces Umberto Rispoli in the saddle. Obvious inclusion. #10 Annietown, owned and bred by Al and Sandee Kirkwood, is interesting for several reasons. The first-time starter is by a solid turf sire in Speightstown, who demands a hefty $90k stud fee. That's a pretty penny in this Calbred field context. She has two Santa Anita works worth mentioning—:59 3/5 Nov. 23 and 1:01 1/5 gate move Dec. 14. Flavien Prat has been recruited to ride and trainer Mark Glatt and jockey Prat are a powerful 24% over 54 mounts. Lots to intrigue. #13 Big Claire must draw into the race from the also-eligible list, but she has some angles in her favor if she does. Trainer Phil D'Amato has given her a series of nice five-furlong breezes to show that she's very fit and that she has some talent, too. The breezes came at Los Alamitos and those works usually are a bit on the faster side, but 5 consecutive works at that distance since Dec. 5 is a statement. Recruiting jockey Flavien Prat is another sign pointing toward a decent performance. $.50 LATE PICK 4 TICKET Race 7: 1, 3, 5, 7 Race 8: 4, 8 Race 9: 3, 6, 8 Race 10: 6, 7, 5, 10 TICKET COST: $48 Race On!

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1.13.2021:

Jon White's Early Look at the Jan. 23 Pegasus World Cup

Though it has been run only four times, Gulfstream Park’s Pegasus World Cup Invitational has firmly established itself as an important event on the American racing stage. It has become a prime early-year target. This year’s 1 1/8-mile Pegasus will be held on Jan. 23. With a purse of $3 million; it is one of America’s richest races. The Pegasus winners have been Arrogate in 2017, Gun Runner in 2018, City of Light in 2019 and Mucho Gusto in 2020. Mucho Gusto, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, will not be back to defend his title. It was announced that the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Mucho Macho Man has been retired from racing after emerging from a Jan. 5 gallop at Santa Anita with an injury. “He came up with a minor soft tissue injury that will knock him out of the Pegasus and Saudi Cup,” the Thoroughbred Daily News quoted Baffert as saying. Baffert elaborated on Mucho Gusto’s situation to Daily Racing Form’s Steve Andersen, “He would need a lot of time off to recover,” Baffert said. “We’d have to give him six months, so he’ll be retired.” Even though the Pegasus has been run just four times, its brief history may offer a clue as to who will be victorious in this year’s renewal. Three of the four winners sported the best last-race Beyer Speed Figure. Those three winners also exited a Breeders’ Cup race. Arrogate went into the 2017 Pegasus off a half-length win and big 120 Beyer Speed Figure in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park. Arrogate then won the inaugural Pegasus with authority by 4 3/4 lengths as the 9-10 favorite for Baffert. When Gun Runner ran in the 2018 Pegasus, he was coming off a 2 1/4-length win and 117 Beyer Speed Figure in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar. Gun Runner then won the second Pegasus by 2 1/2 lengths as the 11-10 favorite for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. City of Light went into the 2019 Pegaus following a 2 3/4-length win and 110 Beyer Speed Figure in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs. Trained by Michael McCarthy, City of Light trounced his Pegasus foes when he bounded home a 5 3/4-length winner as the 9-5 second choice in the wagering. The 2020 Pegasus was the first time that the winner did not boast the best last-race Beyer Speed Figure. The best last-race Beyer of 105 belonged to Diamond Oops, a figure he posted when victorious by one length in Gulfstream’s Mr. Prospector Stakes. Mucho Gusto, coming off only a 95 Beyer Speed Figure when fourth as a 9-10 favorite in the Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park, won the 2020 Pegasus by 4 1/2 lengths at odds of 3-1 for Baffert. Mucho Gusto’s Pegasus was the best performance and final win of his career. What about this year’s Pegasus? Will the winner again be the starter with the best last-race Beyer Speed Figure? If so, the winner will be Knicks Go. The best last-race Beyer among the current Pegasus invitees is the 108 that Knicks Go recorded in his 3 1/2-length Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile triumph at Keeneland on Nov. 7 for trainer Brad Cox. In Knicks Go’s three starts since Cox has taken over the training duties, the 5-year-old Maryland-bred son of Paynter has won in dominant fashion by 7 1/2, 10 1/2 and 3 1/2 lengths. One possible problem for Knicks Go in the Pegasus is it will be the farthest he’s ever raced. But in all three starts for Cox in races at one mile or 1 1/16 miles, Knicks Go has increased his lead in the final furlong. That’s an encouraging sign in terms of Knicks Go being asked to compete at 1 1/8 miles for the first time. Knicks Go’s last-race 108 Beyer even exceeds the last-race figure by fellow Pegasus invitee Charlatan. In Charlatan’s most recent start, he registered a 4 1/2-length victory and 106 Beyer Speed Figure in the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. However, while Charlatan remained on the list of Pegasus invitees as of Jan. 10, he is not expected to be entered. The $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb 21 is the likely next start for Charlatan, according to Baffert. That’s certainly good news for Knicks Go and everyone else eyeing the upcoming Pegasus in light of how terrific Charlatan looked in the Malibu. True Timber will go into the Pegasus off a sparkling 5 1/2-length win and strong 106 Beyer Speed Figure in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Dec. 5 for trainer Jack Sisterson. True Timber finished eighth in the 2020 Pegasus when trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. True Timber does not seem to be fond of Gulfstream’s main track. In three starts on that track, he has not finished better than fourth. Pegasus invitee Tax was credited with a 105 Beyer Speed Figure in his most recent start, a 4 1/2-length victory in Gulfstream’s Harlan’s Holiday Stakes on Dec. 12. Trained by Danny Gargan, Tax ran ninth in the 2020 Pegasus. Another 2020 Pegasus participant invited back to run in this year’s renewal is Mr Freeze. Trained by Dale Romans, Mr Freeze registered a 100 Beyer Speed Figure when he finished second to Mucho Gusto in last year’s Pegasus. In Mr Freeze’s most recent start, he ran fifth and received a 98 Beyer in the Grade I Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 27. Something else to keep in mind vis-a-vis the 2021 Pegasus is the first four editions were won in the same manner. All four winners raced just off the early pace. Also, all four winners had the lead with three furlongs to go and remained in front the rest of the way. All in all, I think there is a pretty good chance that 2021 will be like 2017, 2018 and 2019 in that the Pegasus will be won by the horse with the best last-race Beyer Speed Figure, Knicks Go. It’s not hard to envision Knicks Go being in front with three furlongs to go and then staying in front from there to the finish. SANTA ANITA HONORS BASEBALL LEGEND LASORDA Last Friday, Santa Anita paid tribute to baseball’s Tommy Lasorda, who died the night before of a heart attack at his home in Fullerton, Calif. He was 93. Santa Anita placed a saddlecloth with the L.A. Dodgers insignia over the Seabiscuit statute in the track’s walking ring last Friday. After a moment of silence before the first race, Santa Anita hornblower Jay Cohen played “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” to honor Lasorda. Back in the day, Lasorda could be spotted from time to time attending the races at Santa Anita. He would sit in the box seats section with Hall of Fame trainer Laz Barrera. Lasorda and Barrera became friends when Lasorda was playing winter baseball in Cuba in the 1950s. When I heard the news that Lasorda had passed away, I immediately thought back to 1969 and 1970, two of my favorite years while growing up in Spokane, Wash. In those years I was a huge fan of the Spokane Indians, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Turbulator (not necessarily in that order). In the spring of 1969, Lasorda took over as the manager of the Spokane Indians, the Dodgers’ Triple-A farm club in the Pacific Coast League (PCL). In the fall of 1969, Turbulator took Spokane’s Playfair Race Course by storm when he won seven straight races in a little over two months at distances ranging from six furlongs to two miles. From the get-go, Lasorda tried to increase interest in the Spokane Indians. He discussed it in his 1985 book “The Artful Dodger,” co-written by David Fisher. “Naturally, this being my first season in Spokane, I wanted to get the people of that city excited about their team,” Lasorda said. “I started in spring training. It was my responsibility to call the Spokane newspapers from Vero Beach [Florida] after every exhibition game to report the line score and highlights. And every day, I would call and tell them that we’d won. It didn’t really matter what happened on the field in Dodgertown, in the Spokane newspapers we were undefeated: Spokane wins 5-1 as Tommy Hutton drives in two runs. Billy Russell gets four hits in leading Spokane to an 8-2 victory. Spokane wins 1-0, a great pitchers’ battle.” But one day, after Lasorda reported that the Indians had crushed the Albuquerque Dukes, the Dodgers’ Double-A club, the jig was up. Elten Schiller, who at the time was general manager of the Dodgers’ minor league affiliates, happened to be in Albuquerque and saw in their newspapers that the Dukes had won, contradicting Lasorda’s report to the Spokane newspapers that the Indians had won. When Schiller discovered what was going on, “he told me that I had to start reporting the correct scores,” Lasorda said. In Lasorda’s first year as manager, his team did not win the PCL title. “The Spokane Indians finished second in 1969, a very disappointing second, although we set a league record by stealing 207 bases,” Lasorda said in his book. “But we couldn’t run if we didn’t get on base. My education as a manager was continuing. I had a different experience each day and I tried to learn something from each one. It became obvious to me that the most important part of a manager’s job is getting his team mentally and physically prepared to play, because once the game started there were a limited number of moves I could make. Any manager or coach naive enough to believe he’s responsible for winning a game is in serious trouble. I knew that if I didn’t show up one night my team still had an excellent chance of winning, but if I showed up the next night and the team didn’t, I had no chance of winning.” Lasorda was determined to win the 1970 PCL crown with the Spokane Indians. “The first day my squad got together in Vero Beach I told them we were going to win, and the way we were going to win was to pay the price,” Lasorda said. Lasorda told the team “we’re gonna work like my wife shops, all day long.” And that’s exactly what happened. “We were on the field from early in the morning till late in the afternoon,” Lasorda said. “I’ve never had a team better prepared for a season than opening day, 1970. I had no doubt we were going to win the championship.” The Indians opened the 1970 season in Salt Lake City on April 14. That same day Lasorda and his wife, Jo, celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. Twelve days later Turbulator kicked off his marvelous 1970 campaign, which would be highlighted by a stakes victory on Aug. 16 in which he broke the 6 1/2-furlong world record by two-fifths of a second. Turbulator is widely considered to be one of the best racehorses ever seen in the Pacific Northwest. The Spokane Indians team of 1970 is widely considered to be one of the best minor league teams of all time. They won 94 games and lost 52. “We won our divisional pennant by an incredible 26 games, then beat the Hawaii Islanders in four straight games for the league championship,” Lasorda recalled in his book. Spokane outscored Hawaii 36-0 in that four-game sweep. “We led the standings every day of the season,” Lasorda continued. “We had a team batting average of .299. What a team we had; more than half of them eventually played in the major leagues, including Bob Stinson, Tommy Hutton, Bobby Valentine, Steve Garvey, Tom Paciorek, Bill Russell, Davey Lopes, Bill Buckner, Sandy Vance, Doyle Alexander, Charlie Hough, Bobby O’Brien, Jerry Stephenson, Jose Pena, Von Joshua and Mike Strahler.” Back then, I spent many nights listening to Spokane Indians baseball games on my transistor radio. Herb Hunter was the announcer. Even better, whenever the Dodgers played at night, I also listened to lots of their games. Those were magical evenings when hearing the iconic Vin Scully’s play-by-play emanating from the little transistor radio on my pillow. I was able to listen to those Dodger games because they were broadcast on Los Angeles radio station KFI-AM. That 50,000-watt station could be heard loud and clear at night in Spokane. I also listened to the fantastic Chick Hearn broadcast Laker games on another powerful 50,000-watt L.A. station, KNX. My idolization of Hearn was such that my nickname from seventh grade all the way through high school was Chick. With Lasorda still at the helm, the Spokane Indians finished third in the Northern Division of the PCL in 1971. In 1972, Lasorda won another PCL title with Albuquerque, which that year had become the Dodgers’ Triple-A club instead of Spokane. In 1973, Secretariat ended a 25-year Triple Crown drought. Before the start of the 1973 major league season, Lasorda was named third base coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers. And then, on Sept. 29, 1976, he was named manager of the Dodgers, replacing the retiring Walter Alston. MEETING LASORDA AT DODGER STADIUM While working as a writer for the Daily Racing Form in 1985, I stopped by the Laz Barrera barn at Hollywood Park on the morning of June 5. After asking Barrera about a number of his horses, I started to walk away when he said, “Are you doing anything tonight?” “No, not really,” I said. “Do you want to go to the Dodger game tonight?” he asked. “Sure,” I said without hesitation. And so it was that Barrera, his son Larry, a friend of Larry’s and yours truly were at Dodger Stadium that evening to see the Dodgers play the New York Mets. To make it even better, it was Fernando Valenzuela pitching for the Dodgers vs. Dwight Gooden for the Mets. For this baseball fan, it was pure heaven. I took a copy of Lasorda’s book “The Artful Dodger” with me to the stadium that evening. Thanks to Laz Barrera, we all met with Lasorda in his office before the game. Not only did I show Lasorda that I had his new book, I told him that I grew up in Spokane and had seen him manage there. “I enjoyed my time in Spokane,” Lasorda said, while signing the book. “And, man, that was some team we had there in 1970.” This was how Lasorda signed the book: to Jon - You and the Dodgers are both great Your friend, Tom Lasorda *** After Lasorda signed the book, he handed an autographed baseball to each of us. “I’m sorry that not all players have signed these baseballs,” Lasorda said apologetically. When we left his office to head for our seats, the first thing we all did was to see if Fernando Valenzuela had signed the ball. Unfortunately, his name was nowhere to be found. Our seats were right behind the Dodgers’ dugout. And what a game we saw. Fernando and a 20-year-old Doc Gooden put on quite a show, a tremendous pitchers’ duel, with the score tied 1-1 going to the ninth inning. Ray Knight had hit a solo home run in the third inning for the Mets. Pedro Guerrero crushed an 0-2 fastball into the seats to tie the game in the sixth inning. In the eighth inning, the Dodgers had Gooden on the ropes. The Dodgers loaded the bases with nobody out. But then Gooden struck out the next three batters. And it took a total of only nine pitches to strike those three players out! The Dodgers who struck out in the eighth inning were Greg Brock, Mike Scioscia and Terry Whitfield. All told, in a complete-game gem, Gooden had 12 strikeouts that evening. The Mets scored four runs in the top of ninth inning to win the game 4-1. Not surprisingly, Lasorda was not in a good mood after such a tough loss. According to the Los Angeles Times’ story on the game written by Gordon Edes, Lasorda did not take kindly to a question posed to him after the game by a member of the media. “Dodger manager Tom Lasorda, a big believer in the squeeze bunt, erupted when someone asked him why he didn’t choose that option with Scioscia, a good bunter at the plate,” wrote Edes. “ ‘Gooden’s a tough man to squeeze on,’ Lasorda said, the decibel level rising. ‘You should know a little bit about the game. Learn about the game.’ ” When I read that in the L.A. Times the next day, I could not help but picture the contrast between such a friendly Lasorda with four visitors in his office before the game and such an agitated Lasorda with the media after the game. “What a kick Lasorda was,” retired Los Angeles Times sports editor Bill Dwyre wrote for that newspaper after Lasorda’s death. “For those of us in the newspaper business, he was the ultimate baseball character, a laugh-a-minute quote machine. Dodger beat writers in the Lasorda managerial days should have paid for the privilege instead of getting salaries. He often yelled at sportswriters about the various ink-stained transgressions and then, at the end of the tirade, gave them a wink and a grin. He loved sportswriters almost as much as he loved yelling at them. He never underestimated their value.” In 1988, the underdog Dodgers won the National League’s Western Division, then upset the New York Mets and Oakland A’s in the playoffs to win the World Series for the second time under Lasorda. In the first game of the 1988 World Series, Kirk Gibson hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off premier closer Dennis Eckersley to give the Dodgers an epic 5-4 victory. My good friend Russell Hudak, who for many years made the morning line at Hollywood Park, Del Mar and Los Alamitos, phoned me to say that he had a ticket for me to attend Game 1 of the 1988 World Series with him. I was calling charts for the Daily Racing Form at the time. It killed me to say I couldn’t go to the game because I had to work. I did not think there was any possible way that I could leave Santa Anita after the races and get to the game on time via the crowded freeways. To this day I regret not finding some way to take that day off from work or at least leave work early so I could be at that game when Gibson hit his famous home run. And to this day I still have never been to a World Series game. In Game 2, Orel Hershiser pitched a shutout to defeat the mighty A’s. The Dodgers won 6-0. Hershiser also was the winning pitcher in Game 5, which the Dodgers won 5-2. In 1988, Hershiser received the Cy Young Award, the Championship Series MVP Award and World Series Award. He’s the only player to ever receive those three awards in the same season. Also in 1988, Hershiser broke the record of 59 consecutive scoreless innings pitched that had been held by former Dodger Don Drysdale. Hershiser’s streak began on Aug. 30 and ended in the final game of the season on Sept. 28. One day during Hershiser’s scoreless streak, it occurred to me that while Fernando Valenzuela’s signature was not on the baseball given to me by Lasorda in 1985, maybe Hershiser had signed it. Because that ball did not mean all that much to me at the time without Fernando’s signature on it, I had put it away and lost track of it. I spent an entire afternoon in 1988 looking for that baseball in order to see if Hershiser’s signature was on it. Finally, I did find it. And yes, Orel Hershiser’s signature is on it. All these years later that particular baseball does now mean a lot to me, not only because Hershiser’s signature is on it, but also because it was given to me by none other than Thomas Charles Lasorda.

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1.13.2021:

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.HeadlinesThe Friday-Sunday racing menu features Saturday’s $550,000 Winter Carnival stakes series, boasting 6 stakes races and the unveiling of the inaugural Spectacular Bid Stakes for 3-year-olds … Local star and 2020 Pimlico Special winner Harpers First Ride is scheduled to depart for Gulfstream and the Pegasus World Cup 10 days from the Jan. 23 showcase. Laurel-based trainer Claudio Gonzalez will breeze the veteran once over the track with Laurel pilot Angel Cruz slated to ride … The Rainbow 6 has a $2,515 carryover to start the week … Royal Number announced his candidacy for Laurel’s 3-year-old stakes series Jan. 9 with a 1-1/16 miles allowance victory by more than 7 lengths for trainer Mike Trombetta. The Feb. 13 Miracle Wood or March 13 Private Terms could be next.Stronach 5Last week’s $1 Stronach 5 paid $6,382 to 16 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, January 15, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:55Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 8Leg C – Laurel Park Race 9Leg D – Santa Anita Race 3Leg 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 27% winners. Speed factors returned to dominate the factors at Laurel, doing so for the fifth time in the last 6 weeks.Speed Last RaceAvg 2 of Last 3 SpeedBest Speed DistanceTrends Last Week-- Apprentice jockey Alexander Crispin starred with an 18: 8-5-3 week. Add that to his 10-for-26 prior week and we’re looking at an 18-for-44 run riding at a ridiculous 41%. He’s winning for everyone; 8 different trainers 2 weeks ago, and 7 different trainers last week.-- Jockey J.D. Acosta had one of his best weeks in some time with a 9: 4-0-1 run. Going back to the start of December, he had been 1-for-51 prior. Acosta had riding doubles Jan. 9-10 on back-to-back days, including winners paying $9, $11 and $26. His ROI for the week was $2.80 for every $1 bet.-- Trainer Dale Capuano was 4: 2-1-0 with limited bids. He was 2-for-2 riding Alexander Crispin ($4.60 and $8.80 winners). The barn is on an 8: 4-2-1 run since Jan. 3 at Laurel.-- Trainer Hugh McMahon’s barn continues a strong 2021 start. His 5: 2-2-0 week makes him 11: 4-2-1 since Jan. 1 at Laurel. He’s 9: 3-3-1 with his claimers.

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1.13.2021:

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 comes into the Wednesday-through-Sunday week with an $57,333 carryover (and guaranteed pool of $100,000 on Wednesday) … Saturday’s card is dubbed the Sunshine Stakes, featuring a quartet of stakes for the Florida-breds … Last year’s Swale and Gotham winner Mischevious Alex returned to action here Jan. 10 with a sharp allowance sprint score, now in the care of Saffie Joseph Jr., and figures to be a stakes sprinter to watch in 2021 … Xpressbet Beat the Host this week will pit Santa Anita oddsmaker Jon White against the public, matching 5 contest races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park for a share of $60,000 in seasonal prizes … The Pegasus World Cup is a little more than a week away on Jan. 23. For limited on-site ticket information, visit Pegasusworldcup.com.Stronach 5Last week’s $1 Stronach 5 paid $6,382 to 16 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, January 15, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:55Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 8Leg C – Laurel Park Race 9Leg D – Santa Anita Race 3Leg 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 24% or greater win rate. The factor Win % was a top-3 performer for the third straight week and produced a $34.60 profit if you bet each top choice for $2 win.Win %Last Race ClassBest Speed Last 3Trends Last Week-- Jockey Paco Lopez had his best week of the Championship Meet, posting a 29: 7-6-4 record. Those 24% winners netted a $1.30 ROI for every $1 bet. Lopez was 2-for-2 riding for Carlos David.-- Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. continued his strength with a 17: 6-1-1 that featured 35% wins for the second straight week. He went 2-for-2 aboard Saffie Joseph Jr. trainees.-- Trainer Bill Mott went 5: 3-1-0 on the week, including a pair of 3-year-old maiden special weight winners. Mott was 3-for-7 a week ago, so he’s 6-for-12 during his recent tear.-- Trainer Mark Casse’s barn perked up with an 8: 3-2-1 run and $1.58 ROI for every $1 bet. Among those scores was Grade 3 winner Ride a Comet. Casse had been only 3-for-34 at the meet before last week’s rise.-- Favorites topped just over 40% on the week in a powerful showing, clicking right at 40% on both dirt and turf. Turf maiden claimers continued their meet-long dominance at 13: 6-2-0.

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1.13.2021:

1/ST Look: Santa Anita 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 starts this Friday-Sunday racing week with a $309,483 carryover, while the Super High Five has a $57,690 carryover as well … Saturday’s program features 5 stakes for California-breds topping $900,000 in purses … Sunday’s main event will be the Grade 3 Astra for turf marathon fillies and mares … The dual-track Golden Hour Double and Golden Hour Pick Four return to Santa Anita with Golden Gate’s 2021 opening day. Match the winners in the last race at each track each day, as well as the final 2 on each card ... Xpressbet Beat the Host this week will pit Santa Anita oddsmaker Jon White against the public, matching 5 contest races from Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park for a share of $60,000 in seasonal prizes.Stronach 5Last week’s $1 Stronach 5 paid $6,382 to 16 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, January 15, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:55Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 8Leg C – Laurel Park Race 9Leg D – Santa Anita Race 3Leg 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 26% or greater win rate and all the speed category.Jockey 2 Yr Win %Last Late PaceDistance PedigreeTrends Last Week-- Trainer John Sadler was 8: 2-0-3 on the week after going 2-for-18 to start the season. His winners were $14 and $60 doozies, both coming on turf.-- Trainer Phil D’Amato had a 5: 2-1-1 record that included a $35 winner on turf and a 22-1 runner-up on dirt. After starting the meet 1-for-10, he’s now 4-for-14 since.-- Trainer Kristin Mulhall made the most of limited chances, going 2-for-2 on the week with short-priced horses at 3-2 and 9-5, both in 6-furlong dirt sprints. The barn is now 7: 4-0-1 at the young meet with a $3.36 ROI for every $1 bet.-- Trainer Shelbe Ruis won with her only starter last week ($8.20) and now is 4: 3-0-1 at the meet.-- Jockey Umberto Rispoli owned the joint, posting an 18: 7-2-2 record and massive $3.58 ROI for every $1 bet. Rispoli was 11: 4-1-1 on turf. The top pilot managed $17, $20 and $60 winners.-- Favorites underperformed for the second straight week at 8-for-28 (29%), making them just 17-for-64 over the past 2 weeks (27%). Allowance favorites are just 3-for-19 at the meet after a 1-for-7 week.

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1.12.2021:

Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Pompano Park has a 10-race card ready to go tonight. The 0.50 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 61-Dads Filly (12-1)-The break in last is cause for pause but will take a swing at this price. This isn't a group of All-Stars and this mare did have 5 wins in 2020 which was more than anyone except #6 who had 9. This is the spot to get sucked around and surprise. Also has 8 wins and 8 second place finishes at the Pomp in 28 starts.6-New Number Who Dis (3-1)-This gal was driven by the trainer-owner until tonight as Dave Miller takes a spin. Recent form is form is so-so but has faced better. My guess is the public will be betting like the race is already over but is difficult to leave out.7-Even Louder (2-1)-Here is the camera-shy morning line chalk who makes 2nd start since a sick scratch. Likes to leave and has decent gate speed but there will be 2 or 3 others trying the same. Has the speed to beat this crew but needs a smooth trip.Race 71-Northern Dali (10-1)-Beat Open II company on 12/1 and 12/22 and this field doesn't appear any tougher. Not sure if the rail helps but 10-year-old does know how to pose and with a decent trip could do so again.2-Rockin Serena (5/2)-Takes a good step-up in class after wiring the field in last. Has won 11 times in 39 starts and has come 2nd or 3rd in 18 races at the Pomp with a 151.1 mark. Has raced itself into shape since arriving in December and best to respect.3-Bellacache (5-1)-Has been in the hunt with a fair post draw as is the case tonight. Needs to be forwardly placed and use one move to roll by. This mare cashes a lot of checks and has the speed to win here with the right trip.6-Come Get The Cash (9/2)-Usually does best work when forwardly placed and has been facing better. MacDonald could blast out to get a close-up seat. If that plan works out, chances for a picture at a square price go up.Race 82-Casie's Believer (5-1)-Comes off a nice effort versus Open mares last week. Should be able to get the top or the 2-hole and could offer a square price.3-Crisp Mane (3-1)-Ohio shipper is 0-6 at PPk but has hit the board 5 times. Gets a positive driver change with Miller taking the lines and has a post edge on some tough foes.Race 94-Happy Heart (3/2)-Winner of 3 straight steps-up and was Hennessey's choice. This 8-year-old had only 6 starts last year, this will be the 2nd in 2021 and is on a roll. Will use but not a fan of the short price and will lean toward #6.6-Glennferrie Blade A (5/2)-Miller's choice drops from Open company and recorded 2 wins in previous starts versus $15K claimers. Can get it done on the engine or off cover, looks like a major player.0.50 Pick 41,6,7/1,2,3,6/2,3/4,6Total Bet=$24Check me out on Twitter!

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1.11.2021:

Monday Myths: The Good & Bad of the Rail

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: It’s 1/11 today, so all eyes are on the 1. And on the racetrack, there’s a common debate whether starting on the rail is a plus or a minus. Background: The rail always will be the shortest way around the track. I’ll never forget as a kid, my sister came to the track with us once and picked 6 winners from 10 races. We plowed through the form and deep skills, she simply admitted, “I just bet the 1 every race because they don’t have to run as far.” Of course, you’re not winning 6 of 10 doing that in the long run, but there’s a common belief among experienced horseplayers that the rail can actually be a bad thing: you can’t sit off the pace, you must commit to the front; there are tight quarters with rivals and the pine; and there are no breathers. So which is it, advantage or adversary? Data Points: Common dirt distances that I studied in the Betmix database are sprints at 6 furlongs, as well as routes as the most common 1-1/16 miles trip. Not only did I study the results by distance, but also field size. Does being on the rail differ in a 6-horse field vs. a fuller field? I also looked at the reliability of rail favorites. The timeframe included all North American tracks over the past 5 years. Overall Findings: -- Rail horses win 14.61% in 6-furlong sprints ($0.79 ROI), highest win % of any post position. Post 3 is next-best at 14.35%, and then it’s a full point back to the next-closest (post 6 at 13.46%). The rail is almost 2% better than every other post than this pair. -- Rail horses win 15.37% in 1-1/16 mile routes ($0.78 ROI), highest win % of any post position, outpacing post 2 (14.59%) as next-closest and another solid point-plus better than any other post. -- In 6 furlong sprints, the rail horse wins 16.69% in 6-horse fields and 8.88% in 12-horse fields. The win % actually is a touch stronger in 12-horse fields compared to the random chance of numbers winning (1/6 and 1/12 as comparables). -- In 1-1/16 miles routes, the rail horse wins 17.80% in 6-horse fields and 7.25% in 12-horse fields. Field size has a more negative impact on the rail horse in large-field routes than sprints by comparison. -- Rail favorites won 39.70% in 6-furlong sprints, compared to 37.38% for all favorites not starting from the rail. -- Rail favorites won 40.14% in 1-1/16 miles routes, compared to 36.43% for all favorites not starting from the rail. Overall Findings Verdict: The rail, for all its perceived and real difficulties, still remains the best place to be in dirt racing, where speed is king and saving ground obviously doesn’t hurt. At the sprint and route distances studied, post position No. 1 was the most common winner by percentage. But ROI shows fans likely overbet the rail in routes as a majority of posts at 1-1/16 miles have a stronger return than the 1-hole. When it comes to favorites, rail horses out-perform those not on the rail by a solid margin, especially in route distances. Bottom line: having the best horse on the rail is a good thing, not a reason to look elsewhere. 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, which tracks and particular distances are most advantageous to the rail, and where might vulnerabilities lie? What about the turf races? One refrain that you always hear about is 2-year-olds struggling from the rail. A quick query showed that the rail wins just 12.20% in 2-year-old races at 6 furlongs (down from 14.61% noted above for all ages), so the numbers back up that juvenile worry. Now it's your turn to go dig and make your game stronger.

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1.11.2021:

Monday, January 11: Pompano Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Pompano Park has a 13-race card scheduled for this evening including two Pick 4 sequences. The Early Pick 4 starts in Race 6 and the 0.50 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 10. I will focus on the Late Pick 4 and both sequences have a $30,000 guaranteed pool.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 102-Caviart Reagan (7-1)-Veteran drops to the level of last win and should offer some value. Simons shouldn't have much trouble getting on the engine and that route could lead to a picture.4-Loud Splash (2-1)-Recent form has been dull but Hennessey takes the lines and maybe he will be able to wake this5-year-old up. Might be able to fall into the pocket or get the point in front of #2 and did beat Open Handicap company here on 11/29.Race 115-Explosivebreakaway (7/2)-Did not miss the board here until last week after breaking stride. Did have 4 straight second place finishes at this class. Will take a swing with this favorable post draw. Best to respect, did win over $53K in 2020 with only 17 starts.6-DG's Caviar(3-1)-Doesn't usually break but every once in a while, like last week, will take a bad step. In the previous race appeared to be fired out of a canon going down the lane. Goes right back in the box so assuming there aren't any issues. Should be a major player.7-Muscles For Life (3/2)-Got some revenge on #6 in last due to the miscue. Not sure Hennessey can get the top and steal a quarter. Using, but at 3/2 will hope others cross the line first.Race 123-Pittsburgh Hanover (8-1)-Will look here and toss the 2nd chalk #1 off the ticket. Was in fine form before making a rare break in last. Should be a juicy price, Ingraham can work a stalking trip hoping for quick fractions and then roll by late.4-Groovey Kid (8/5)-Hennessey will look to wire this field after coming off a win. Steps-up but will be bet and will need a top effort for an encore.5-TT Conway (5-1)-Even effort in last after being off almost a month and now tries Lasix for the 2nd time. Versatile sort who draws well and fits if ready for a big try.Race 132-Peter Dalt (4-1)-Comes off a win in a quick mile and could benefit from a similar trip here. Usually is camera shy and faces better but best to respect versus this bunch.4-Rocksapatriot (8-1)-Drops to the level of last win and tries Lasix for the first time. Has been in the money in 7 of 14 starts at PPk with 3 pictures. Has the speed to compete with this crew and will use at a nice price with the chalk stuck with post 9.9-Lets Roll (2-1)-Wired the field in last and has the gate speed to use the same script tonight. Has won 5 of 12 at the Pomp and if gets the top without using up much gas it will be probably be another win in south Florida. Does face a better field so will look to others as well and will likely be bet hard.My Ticket Race 10) 2,4 Race 11) 5,6,7 Race 12) 3,4,5 Race 13) 2,4,9Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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1.10.2021:

Sunday, January 10: Pompano Park Pick 5 Analysis - $150,000 Guaranteed Pool

Tonight at Pompano Park there is a $24,046 carryover for the 0.50 Pick 5 which begins in Race 1. The sequence has another $150,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 12-What a Hunk (3-1)-Steps-up but does get Hennessey tonight and a 2-hole trip could be in the cards.3-General Jackson (9-1)-The General tries hard but will need a few breaks and the right trip to take a picture. It's best to not overlook, because could end up on the point in control of the mile.8-Susie's Sister (3/2)-This is a solid threat but starts slowly and broke in last. The 8-hole is also cause to pause because will likely have to grind its way around. Hard to leave out versus this group and hoping for the right trip. But doesn't offer any value at the morning line price.Race 22-Uknow What To Do (5/2)-Dunn drives and trains this Muscle Mass 7-year-old who might be the fastest of this crew. Comes off a nice effort but is 1-23 at the Pomp. In context that isn't so bad, no one has more than 1 win here and 5 from this field are winless in south Florida.3-Fleet Cessna (9-1) -This amateur pilot has been in only 14 races but is in a spot to get sucked around. Has shown decent speed for this field while racing at Nfld. Has had excuses in PPk races and now gets a decent post draw.4-Windsun Hugo (3-1)-The pilot has only 60 drives under his belt but this 9-year-old can leave and had 4-wins in 2020. That is the top tick in this field for last year. Looks like the one to beat with a decent steer.6-Noble Prize (8-1)-Usual pilot left the gate in last and that isn't the typical course of action. Faded to finish 4th but the effort was better and could offer a decent price.Race 32-Ey Cowboy (6-1)-Step-up but there aren't any monsters in here and Hennessey takes a seat. Should be on the lead in or in the pocket and could offer a fair price.4-Villiam (7/2)-Only 1-21 in 2020 but should be forwardly placed for Team Chindano and recent form has been good. Has hit the board in 3 of 4 PPk starts and has taken 1 picture. Looks like a player and chances go up with some quick fractions.5-Rockin M ((7/5)-Has been cashing checks versus better and should enjoy the company. This guy has plenty of speed but seems like a follower. Needs to be on the ticket but can't fully trust.Race 43-Plus One (2-1)-0-7 at the Pomp but drops to a comfortable level and has had some very quick miles on the 5/8's at Plainridge. Should be able to take control early on and cash the biggest check as long as the journey is smooth.Race 55-Ripped Up (7/2)-This is another Amateur Driver event and will stick with the program chalks here. This mare came off cover to win 2 starts back and can be posing with a similar effort this evening. Trainer steers and could make the most of the post draw.7-Piercewave Hanover (1-1)-Joins the Beckwith barn after racing at the Big M and on the east coast. Has been facing better and has a lifetime mark at Plainridge of 153. Idle since 12/18 so trusting barn will have ready for a top effort. If King can provide a decent steer it could be time to notch a rare win. Makes 1st PPk start from an outside post for a provisional driver, so this could be an interesting mile.My Ticket Race 1) 2,3,8 Race 2) 2,3,4,6 Race 3) 2,4,5 Race 4) 3 Race 5) 5,7Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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1.10.2021:

Sunday, January 10: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Santa Anita Analysis & Wagering StrategiesSpecifically 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 Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Golden: 4-Quick and Dirty; 6-Ivy LeagueForecast: Golden rallied into slow fractions in a decent debut effort when a willing third vs. similar at Del Mar last month and has every right to produce a forward move with that bit of experience behind her. Her R. Mandella-trained stable mate,Ivy League, finished a nose behind her in that same race and removes blinkers, so improvement is possible as well, though with already four career outings she may have a bit less upside than Golden. We’ll also toss in Quick and Dirty was a solid runner-up in an expensive maiden claimer in her only start and has worked well since for a barn that has superior stats with second-time starters. Truthfully, these three are tough to separate but we suspect the race winner is among them.RACE 2: Post: 1:04 PT Grade: C+Use: 1-Miss Fia; 2-Jungle Juice; 4-GidgettaForecast: Three of the five starters in this first-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares have legitimate credentials to win, so we’ll include all three in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race. Gidgetta returns to dirt and broke her maiden over this track almost a year ago with a good number, and while she’s been sparingly raced since then the daughter of Fast Anna has winning connections and a solid series of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs to have her primed to produce a forward move. In a race without much speed, she projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Jungle Juice is strong in the speed figure department based on two excellent races in Kentucky last fall and if she repeats either one today, she certainly can win. The veteran mare has 32 races on her resume but just two on dirt, both victories. Miss Fia shows rising numbers and is fresh from a clever score in a starter’s allowance sprint at Los Alamitos last month. With another forward move in just her seventh career start the daughter of Maclean’s Music will be right there.RACE 3: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Lady Mystify; 3-Honor AmericaForecast: We’ll double the third race, a maiden special weight sprint for 3-year-old fillies that came up a bit light. Honor America set the pace before weakening late in her debut at Los Alamitos last month but has returned to work quite well for the high percentage S. Ruis barn and seems certain to produce a significant forward move with that effort behind her. Hot-riding J. J. Hernandez stays aboard. Lady Mystify, a good runner-up in the same race Honor American exits, also has a right to step forward while switching to F. Prat. The P. Eurton barn has good stats with the second-time starter angle, and with a solid recent five furlong workout over this track since raced the daughter of Bernardini is strictly the one to beat.RACE 4: Post: 2:05 PT Grade: BUse: 6-N. K. Rocket Man; 7-Full DrawForecast: N. K. Rocket Man seems most comfortable as a late-running sprinter and with a legitimate drop from straight maiden to this bottom-rung maiden $20,000 level the son of Unusual Heat appears well-spotted to graduate. At this seven furlong trip, the D. Pederson-trained 5-year-old will be able to settle early and then pick up steam whenever the pace flow dictates. Full Draw ran well when nosed out at this level during the fall meeting, and if he can run back to that race today the Union Rags gelding should every chance. His two outings since that good race were below par but there were excuses for both. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with preference on top to N. K. Rocket Man.RACE 5: Post: 2:35 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Aqua Seaform Shame; 5-Gypsy Blu; 8-Heathers GreyForecast: Aqua Seaform Shame, rested since October and training at San Luis Rey Downs like she’s fit and ready, exits a pair of tougher stakes races and looks capable of regaining her winning form in this second-level allowance turf dash that should suit her to a “T.” Most effective around one turn, she projects to enjoy an ideal ground-saving, stalking trip, and with her best effort she should be along in time while offering value at or near her morning line of 3-1. Gypsy Blu and Heathers Grey probably are worth including on your ticket for protection. The former, in her first start since the fall, picks up F. Prat and is a three-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course while the latter has been routing most of her career but could be dangerous on the turn back in trip over a turf course that has produced two of her wins.RACE 6: Post: 3:05 PT Grade: BUse: 5-Captain Scotty; 6-ItalianoForecast: Ex-classer Captain Scottylooks pretty solid in this $40,000 sprint for older horses, though at 8/5 on the morning line he’s not likely to offer much wagering value. The P. Miller-trained gelding seeks his third straight score and once again clearly projects as the controlling speed, so if he has at least one good one left the son of Quality Road should be hard to catch. Italiano picks up bug girl J. Pyfer and as such will be getting nine pounds from the favorite, so we’ll include him as well. A two-time winner over the local main track, the veteran son of Twirling Candy should find himself in a good stalking spot and then have his chance if ‘Scotty gets a little late.RACE 7: Post: 3:35 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Nice Ice; 3-Ellie Arroway;5-HurleyForecast: Let’s go for a price in this wide-open $40,000 claiming turf miler for older fillies and mares. Hurley, a first off the claim play for R. Hess, Jr., is capable of winning a race at this level if she can avoid trouble. She’s often victimized by bad trips – most of the time due to self-caused trouble – but with a good pace to chase and clear sailing through the lane the veteran daughter of Mucho Macho Man can pose a serious threat in the final furlong. A bullet recent workout (47 3/5 seconds, fastest of 14 on the training track) gives strong indication that she’s spot on, so at or near her morning line of 10-1 she’s worth a bit of a gamble. Ellie Arroway, a two-time winner over this course and distance, logically is the one to beat. Away since late October but with a healthy, steady work pattern in recent weeks to have her on edge, the daughter of Street Boss projects to inherit a comfortable pace-stalking trip. Nice Ice likely will try gate-to-wire tactics from the rail and has back numbers that make her dangerous. She won over this course and distance at this level in late October and is another sporting a steady work tab that should have her ready to roll off the bench.RACE 8: Post: 4:05 PT Grade: BUse: 3-Qahira; 4-Acting OutForecast: Acting Out has really gotten good of late and gets tested for class while taking on stakes competition for the first time in this year’s renewal of the Kalookan Queen. With rising numbers and the versatility to handle any surface or pace scenario, the daughter of Blame projects to be within range to the head of the lane and then have her chance to seal the deal, just as she did in her last pair. A recent bullet workout at Los Alamitos (47 seconds, fastest of 30) gives indication that she has plenty more to give. Qahira, thoroughly genuine and consistent and with numbers that are good enough to win, is the one Acting Out has to worry about the most. Freshened since September, the daughter of Cairo Prince switches to J. Rosario and will have a strong pace presence every step of the way. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll give Acting Out a very slight edge on top.RACE 9: Post: 4:35 PT Grade: B-Use: 5-Inner Beauty; 6-Plum Sexy; 8-Nimbostratus; 11-Miss DracarysForecast: The finale is a messy grass sprint for entry-level allowance sophomore fillies. We’ll try to get by using four in rolling exotic play, but nothing would surprise us. Plum Sexy is back sprinting where she belongs and a repeat of her sharp maiden score over the local lawn during the fall meeting makes her a major player at 8-1 on the morning line. Miss Dracarys won sprinting on grass in her debut in New York with a huge speed figure, though we’re not sure the number is entirely accurate. She’ll be heard from late if she can negotiate a decent trip from her extreme outside post position. Nimbostratus and Inner Beauty both are returning to a sprint and both should improve considerably at this shorter trip. The former gets Lasix and F. Prat while the latter was fourth in a Group-2 turf six furlong affair at The Curragh in Ireland last year in a race that looks stronger on paper than this one.

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1.9.2021:

Saturday, January 9: 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 Report RACE 1: Post: 12:00 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Rip City; 2-Gregdar; 5-Lane Way Forecast: The Saturday opener is a highly competitive first level allowance turf miler with several legitimate contenders. Rip City seeks his fifth straight score and is guaranteed a good ground-saving trip from his favorable rail draw. A two-time winner over the local lawn with solid, consistent recent speed figures, the son of City Zip should settle in the second flight then have his chance from the quarter pole home. Lane Way exits a pair of stakes races and is back where he belongs. The son of Into Mischief continues to train well and may be the most dangerous of the closing types. Gregdar is lightly-raced and improving with racing, and in a race without much early speed he should find himself close up throughout, perhaps even on the lead. If not respected, he could take this field a very long way. RACE 2: Post: 12:32 PT Grade: B+Use: 3-She’s a Dime; 6-Anna Fantastic Forecast: Anna Fantastic is lightly-raced with rising speed figures and most recently ran a career top when missing by a head while four lengths clear of the rest in a better-than-par race for the level over this track and distance during the fall season. Freshened and training well, the K. Headley-trained filly seems the solid choice at 9/5 on the morning line. She’s a Dime is worth including on your ticket as well, at least as a saver. Impressive in victory at Los Alamitos in a starter’s allowance ($16,000) sprint last month, she’s fast enough on pure numbers to be dangerous and could be heard from late if she can get some help up front. RACE 3: Post: 1:04 PT Grade: B+Single: 7-Rose’s Crystal Forecast: Rose’s Crystal is an eight-race maiden and just failed at 70 cents on the dollar when third in a similar maiden turf miler at Del Mar, but this is her easiest chance to date so we’ll give her a chance to make amends. The daughter of Grazen has run well over this course in the past, has looked sharp and willing in the a.m. in recent drills and should be capable of settling in mid-pack and producing a winning late kick. At 5/2 on the morning line, she’s a win play and rolling exotic single. RACE 4: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: C+Use: 3-Jan Jan Can; 7-Wicks and Chappies; 12-Sweet Sonny; 13-Majestic Mountain Forecast: Bottom-rung maiden claiming older fillies and mares sprint six furlongs in a race that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Sweet Sonny gets a break in the weights, ran well over this track and distance two runs back when earning a career top speed figure and drops to her lowest level ever. Once a $250,000 auction purchase, the daughter of Twirling Candy may have finally found her friends today. Wicks and Chappies, in the frame in her last pair and most recently a distant third in a fast, highly-rated race, finished a neck in front of our top pick when the faced each other last October and is the one to fear most. Jan Jan Can plummets to the bottom and certainly should improve in this league. She’s a fit on numbers and should be running on late. Majestic Mountain seems to be training well and adds blinkers for the first time, so she could easily be better than shown.RACE 5: Post: 2:05 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Zucchera; 4-Cover Version Forecast: Zucchera has been chasing tougher of late but this class drop into the restricted (nw-2) $20,000 claiming ranks seems like a winning move. Although she lacks tactical speed, the daughter of Tapizar should be able to manufacture a sufficient late kick to get up in time. Her recent numbers are better than par for this level and J. Rosario rides her back. Cover Version also has a look on the class drop. The veteran mare actually is a bit faster on pure figures than our top pick but is a deep closing type that needs pace up front and room to rally to have her best chance. Her maiden-claiming win two races back charts quite well with these. RACE 6: Post: 2:35 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Brananx; 7-Thelusteismine; 10-Rest Easy Two Four Forecast: Here’s another maiden claiming sprint, this one for $50,000 state-bred sophomores. Rest Easy Two Four joins the V. Cerin barn following a pair of decent runner-up efforts, the first at Golden Gate Fields and then most recently when beaten a neck in a lesser race at Los Alamitos. His numbers are progressing, the switch to hot-riding J. J. Hernandez is a positive factor and at this extended sprint trip the son of Shanghai Bobby should settle just off the leaders and then have his chance when the pressure is turned on. Theluteismine removes blinkers and shows up in a seller for the first time, two strong angles for the high-percentage P. Miller barn. A fit on speed figures and with F. Prat back aboard, the son of Boisterous is a logical contender. Brananx, second in both of his outings but with speed figures that are a little light for the level, certainly has room to improve with added experience and will be a factor if he can avoid trouble from the rail. The A. Mathis-trained gelding vans down from Golden Gate Fields and picks up U. Rispoli, so at 6-1 on the morning line he’s worth including on your ticket. RACE 7: Post: 3:05 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Earls Rock; 7-North Pole Forecast: North Pole has disappointed in his last pair after a promising debut run but this son of Pioneerof the Nile – purchased as a yearling for $1,050,000 – is a first-time Lasix user removing blinkers and switching to turf and given the projected pace scenario the S. Callaghan-trained colt looks very much like the controlling speed. With the switch to J. Rosario, he looks quite capable of dominating from gate to wire while offering a good gamble at 7/2 on the morning line. We’ll also have on our ticket Earls Rocket, a newcomer from Ireland making just his second career start and his first for P. D’Amato, who always does well with these Euro-imports. A decent runner-up in his debut last September, his local works have been okay, and we suspect he’ll turn up a live item under F. Prat. RACE 8: Post: 3:35 PT Grade: B+Single: 3-Fighting Mad Forecast: Fighting Mad flopped at 2/5 when third in the Zenyatta S.-G2 last September, came out of the race somewhat worse for wear and was given the rest of the year off. She returns in a race she’s supposed to win, and her recent workouts indicate she’s plenty fit and ready. Most effective on the front end but not necessarily a need-the-lead type, the B. Baffert-trained mare is listed at 9/5 on the morning line but seems certain to go lower. She’s a logical rolling exotic single. RACE 9: Post: 4:05 PT Grade: B+Single: 4-Lighthouse Forecast: Jolie Olimpica and Oleksandra have the credentials to win this year’s edition of the Las Cienegas S.-G3 and rolling exotic players who feel the need to include them on their ticket can do so, but we’re going to take a stand with the lightly-raced and improving Lighthouse, winner of a valuable listed sprint stakes at Kentucky Downs last September and before that narrowly beaten in the Daisycutter S. at Del Mar. The daughter of Mizzen Mast has good tactical speed and then can really turn it on when set down in the final furlong. A prior winner over the local lawn and training like she’s primed and ready, the S. Callaghan-trained four-year is listed at 5/2 on the morning line and offers wagering value both in the win pool and as a rolling exotic single. RACE 10: Post: 4:35 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Defense Wins; 4-Great Power Forecast: Great Power once was well regarded but never panned out, so he’s making his living now in the moderate claiming ranks. Though beaten at even money when second at Del Mar last time out, the son of Blame has trained well since for new connections and should fire a big shot off the bench. A prior winner over the local main track, he’s projects as a strong pace presence in this six furlong affair and may be able to stick it out. Defense Wins, back sprinting where he belongs for new connections, needs some luck from the rail but has several back speed figures that are more than good enough to win. If he can get strong handling from the 10-lb. bug he’ll be threat in the final furlong.

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1.8.2021:

Saturday, January 09: Meadowlands Pick 5 Analysis

The Meadowlands card kicks-off with the 0.20 Pick 5 which will have a hefty $100,000 guaranteed pool. The sequence has a 15% takeout and will be my focus.Last night, the driver with the hottest hands was Todd McCarthy with four trips to the winner's circle. All 13-races were won by different conditioners.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 15-My Pal Joe (3-1)-Got the top, went to the 3/4's in 122 and sealed the deal drawing off by >2 lengths with a 27.4 kicker on 1/2. Fits with this crew and last week's career best of 149.4 was too good to not consider the possibility of an encore.8-Always And Again (5-1)-Doesn't usually make an early move to get the top but did so in last and faded down the lane. It was still a good try to finish 2nd after being off 3-weeks. Looking for the same pilot to come off cover this week and the pace could be lively.Race 22-So So De Vie (3-1)-George Nap steers and has had success in the past with this 4-year-old. Looking for an aggressive steer and could leave and not look back.3-Keystone Honor (10-1)-Ten-year-old still knows how to win but blasting off the gate usually isn't his thing. Having the rail in last didn't help, the trip wasn't smooth but did roll late when able. Zeron is back in the bike and he should work a more efficient journey in 2nd Big M start.4-Western Redhot (7/2)-Dunn takes over for Gingras and this small barn has won twice in 3 tries over the last 30 days. Redhot has won 2 of last 3 and will string along in 4th start for new connections.Race 34-No Time To Play (10-1)-Took the long way around in last, gets post relief and now MacDonald takes the lines. Looks to be worth a swing at the morning line price.6-I Got The Looks (15-1)-Was facing better when last here and now makes 2nd start on Lasix. Comes off a nice effort at Philly considering being idle for 3 weeks. Another price shot that is worth a look in a race without a standout.8-Graceful Winner (9/2)-Has been off since 12/18 but Dunn returns, and he will need to work a smooth trip from this post. Drops, has hit the board in 2 of 3 starts at M1 with a picture and should be in the hunt with the right steer.9-Swan In Motion (7/2)-Drops and 4-year-old tries Lasix for the 2nd time. Came home in 56.2 in last and could be better tonight so hard to leave off the ticket. But is trip dependent, needs honest fractions plus could be over bet and faces older mares.Race 41-Sugar Town (9/2)-Drops in 3rd start since 10/28/19 after being bet down in last and didn't show much. But this is a softer spot and gets post relief. Should leave quick enough to protect the rail and stay in the hunt.5-Toppville Olympian (8-1)-Comes off 2 qualifiers and improved in the 2nd but hasn't raced since 10-3 so there are question marks. Should like the company and Dunn sticks after steering in both qualifiers. Will respect chances in a race where many have issues.7-Saying Grace N (3-1)-Cullipher trainee was bet down in last which was 1st time Lasix and broke at the start. Dave Miller drives and that won't hurt. Using and hoping for a rebound and to not be over bet.Race 51-Semi Tough (5-1) -Makes 8th Big M start looking for its 1st win, and this is a spot to shine. Joe B takes a spin, and he can blast out and try to wire this bunch. Not sure that's the winning recipe but could control this race at a square price.5-JK Will Power (10-1)-Gets a new pilot and some needed class relief. Bartlett could work a stalking trip and rally down the lane. Has the speed to be a threat and this post draw shouldn't hurt chances.8-Stonedust (7/2)-It looked like this 7-year-old was going to take a picture last week but just fell short from post 10. Dave Miller was listed on a few but sticks again with the Cullipher barn. Looks like a major threat but was only 1-19 in 2020.My TicketRace 1) 5,8 Race 2) 2,3,4 Race 3) 4,6,8,9 Race 4) 1,5,7 Race 5) 1,5,8Total Ticket Cost) $43.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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1.8.2021:

Saturday, January 9: 1/ST BET Picks for Sam Houston Pick 6 Mandatory Payout

Sam Houston Race Park opened its 2021 season Friday, and on Saturday will be rolling over a $51,876 carryover in the Space City Jackpot Pick 6 bet. The money was left from last March when the meet abruptly ended due to the pandemic, and Saturday’s Pick 6 will feature a mandatory payout (does not require a single-ticket winner).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 (9:33PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 1/16 MILES (TURF)#8 RICK’S RAIDER (20-1) // 24% Win#10 SLEW TANG CLAN (20-1) // 14% Win#2 FLEXATI (8-1) // 14% Win#1 (BOURBON WISDOM (8-5) // 13% WinNotes: Longshots abound from the algorithm, which welcomes back RICK’S RAIDER from a nearly 4-year layoff as the 1/ST BET top choice. You’ll obviously want to tread cautiously and include others, where prices continue among the top picks. Strong morning line favorite BOURBON WISDOM has more recent form with 4 top-3 finishes since October.RACE 6 (10:00PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 5 1/2 FURLONGS#2 LUCKY PROMISE (9-2) // 27% Win#6 ULTIMATE (2-1) // 19% Win#5 TAPPED TO THE MAX (3-1) // 15% Win#1 BOBBY BRINKLEY (7-2) // 12% WinNotes: The top choice LUCKY PROMISE is a very healthy price for high-percentage trainer Austin Gustafson and finished second at Remington Park behind BOBBY BRINKLEY. Both appear contenders here, along with Steve Asmussen’s Kentucky invader ULTIMATE.RACE 7 (10:27PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 FURLONGS#1 VEGAS GUY (1-1) // 30% Win#5 TIZTRUCULENT (8-1) // 17% Win#2 NEW DICE (20-1) // 11% Win#4 HE’S A BOMB (15-1) // 10% WinNotes: Logical Pick 6 single VEGAS GUY has the 1/ST BET highest win projection in the sequence at 30% and the largest spread to the second choice at 13 points. High-percentage trainer Robertino Diodoro brings this one in from Kentucky, and was a debut runner-up at Keeneland. First-time starters are under-valued by the AI picks due to insufficient data, but BEAR BRIAN and BURNZ DA BOSS are rookies to consider in the event the favorite does not compete.RACE 8 (10:54PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS#4 VERRAZANO FIRST (9-5) // 27% Win#3 JC’S NIGHTCAP (7-2) // 19% Win#7 IMPACT PLAYER (5-2) // 15% Win#6 GOLD CRUSHER (8-1) // 11% WinNotes: Top 1/ST BET choice and morning line chalk VERRAZANO’S FIRST looks for his fifth straight win. He won 4 in a row in Chicago before being claimed by mid-south regional stalwart Karl Broberg. This one could be another potential single.RACE 9 (11:21PM ET) // OPTIONAL STARTER // 5 1/2 FURLONGS#7 BOURBON COWBOY (7-2) // 27% Win#2 ONOMATOPOEIA (5-2) // 18% Win#8 MINER HEAT (6-1) // 14% Win#1 COCO TIGER (10-1) // 12% WinNotes: 9-year-old veteran BOURBON COWBOY comes off a victory and will be making his local debut. He’s 1 of 3 last-out winners in a competitive lineup of 8. This may be a race to get a little extra coverage. The algorithm longshot COCO TIGER adds blinkers for a good barn and returns to his preferred dirt footing.RACE 10 (11:48PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 FURLONGS#2 CATCH THE DEVIL (5-2) // 25% Win#4 MY GOLDEN BLING (7-2) // 16% Win#3 BUBBLE LINE (15-1) // 12% Win#6 JAN’S TAPIN GO (10-1) // 7% WinNotes: While the 25% win projection for CATCH THE DEVIL might be a few points lower than some of the others in the Pick 6 sequence, consider this is a 14-horse field. That’s a significant number and 9-point spread to second choice MY GOLDEN BLING. The large fields are where many players spread their options. If you can focus here on 1 or 2 runners and connect, you reduce your ticket costs greatly. Of the first-time starters not represented in the AI picks, TURNIN AND BURNIN figures most prominently.

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1.8.2021:

Friday, January 8: Jeff Siegel's 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-Blue Star; 3-Big Flint; 8-CircleofchampionsForecast: Many of these exit the same race, a maiden turf miler at Del Mar in mid-November and are hard to separate. Circleofchampions got into a speed duel in that race while having to deal with torrid early fractions and paid the price in the final furlong, weakening to wind up 10th without being knocked about in the closing stages. Today he removes blinkers, adds Lasix, and retains U. Rispoli, so this time with patient handling the C. Gaines-trained sophomore could improve considerably at a nice price. He’s 6-1 on the morning line so let’s go for a price and put him on top. Blue Starhad no visible mishap when sixth beaten just over two lengths in that same race but gets Lasix, blinkers, and a comfortable inside draw while retaining J. Rosario and therefore seems likely to produce a forward move at 5-1 on the morning line. Big Flintwas a race-shape aided runner-up in that same race in what was his debut and has every right to improve with that performance under his belt. He’s another adding Lasix for the first time and shows a steady, healthy work tab for P. Eurton, so we’ll include him as well, though at 9/5 on the morning line he’s probably not going to offer much wagering value.RACE 2: Post: 1:02 PT Grade: B-Use: 5-Vangogo; 7-Enriched by DebForecast: Enriched by Deb takes a nosedive in class and may have found her friends in this restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares. Freshened since early November, training well for R. Baltas, and with a prior win over the local main track, the daughter of Munnings should find herself on or near the lead throughout. Vangogo broke her maiden by herself at Los Alamitos last month and earned a fairly competitive speed figure in the process. This is a tougher group but the J. Wong-trained mare may be the quickest of the quick, so if she can get loose on the lead again she could take this field a very long way. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Enriched by Deb on top.RACE 3: Post: 1:32 PT Grade: B+Use: 6-Hail Freedom 10-That CoreyForecast: Hail Freedom flashed excellent speed before weakening in the lane in his debut sprinting on dirt last month in what was an extremely fast, highly-rated affair. Today, the D. O’Neill-trained colt stretches out to a distance he’s bred to like and switches to grass, a surface he’s bred to love. With the addition of Lasix and retaining J. Rosario in a race without much speed, the D. O’Neill-trained colt could easily take this group gate-to-wire and will offer good wagering value at or near his morning line of 3-1. For protection, you may want to include on a ticket or two That Corey, poorly drawn outside but with improving form for B. Cecil and with the always-dangerous two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern. We’re expecting the son of Square Eddie to be comfortably placed outside in a stalking position and then have every chance from the quarter pole home.RACE 4: Post: 2:05 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Lunatic; 5-Agreetodisagree; 8-Peachtree RoadForecast Maiden 3-year-old fillies meet over a mile on the main track, with Peachtree Road showing the proper pattern (two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out) that often leads to a significant forward move. The daughter of Quality Road adds Lasix, retains M. Smith, and was a respectable third in a productive race last time out while earning a speed figure that projects to be good enough to beat this field. Lunatic also is adding Lasix and has two sprints under her belt so she, too, seems likely to improve over a distance of ground for the hot P. Miller barn. She’s slower on speed figures than our top pick but at least the numbers are moving in the right direction. Agreetodisagree, yet another with two solid educational sprint runs behind her, took the overland route to finish a credible fourth vs. similar in her most recent outing, adds Lasix, and projects to be forwardly placed early and then have her chance late.RACE 5: Post: 2:34 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Windy City Red; 6-Gator ShiningForecast This race is loaded with speed – Teton Valley, Exhalting and Superman Shaq are among those that have only one way to go – so let’s zero in on a pair of contenders who have shown the ability to settle early and produce a late run. Gator Shining adds Lasix and graduated gamely when rallying from mid-pack at Del Mar in his second career start in mid-November. The R. Baltas-trained colt should once again be able to settle early and produce a good late kick. Windy City Red was overmatched in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint-G1 at Keeneland but before that ran quite well over this turf course when third beaten just a half-length in the Speakeasy S. during the fall meeting. The J. Wong-trained colt adds Lasix and vans down from Golden Gate Fields where he’s been training steadily but unable to race due to the track’s temporary closure.RACE 6: Post: 3:03 PT Grade: BUse: 8-Sybil’s Kitty; 9-Wandering PatrolForecast: Sybil’s Kitty returns to her favorite track – both of her wins were earned over the Santa Anita dirt strip – so we’re expecting this K. Mulhall-trained mare to regain her winning form in this soft $10,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares. She should be part of the pace throughout in a field without much projected speed. Wandering Patrol is guaranteed an in-the-clear stalking journey from her outside draw, and in her first start in a claimer the daughter of Square Eddie could improve considerably at this level. Way back in the spring of 2018 the B. Cecil-trained mare broke her maiden at first asking over this track and distance. We’ll try to get by using just these two in our rolling exotics with a preference on top to Sybil’s Kitty.RACE 7: Post: 3:32 PT Grade: B+Single: 3-Salvator MundiForecast: Salvator Mundi was beaten a neck when third in a similar affair at Del Mar in mid-November and not much more will be needed to return to winning form in this competitive turf miler for allowance optional claiming older horses. Successful over this course and distance last summer and with strong, consistent recent speed figures, the P. D’Amato-trained gelding retains regular U. Rispoli and projects to settle in an ideal second flight, stalking position and then kick home when called upon. At 4-1 on the morning line, he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 8: Post: 4:01 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Zestful; 8-Pubilius SyrusForecast: Ex-classer Pubilius Syrus has really gotten good of late, winning his last three with authority while earning consistently rising speed figures, most recently at Los Alamitos in a starter’s allowance race with a number just three points below his career best. With a nice five furlong workout since raced, the V. Cerin-trained horse seems set for another major effort, so with the patient ride he requires and a bit of help up front the son of Candy Rise looks capable of extending his streak. Zestful will employ gate-to-wire tactics from the rail and if not pressured early seems likely to take this field a very long way. A 10-time winning son of Ghostzapper, the veteran gelding shortens from nine furlongs to a flat mile, a distance that has produced four of his victories, and his recent numbers make him dangerous once again. We’ll prefer Pubilius Cyrus slightly on top but use both in our rolling exotics.RACE 9: Post: 4:30 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Foray; 6-Worthy Turk; 7-Fly to MarsForecast: Fly to Mars went too fast too early and paid the price when fading back to seventh in a tougher optional $40,000 grass affair at Del Mar in late November but against this softer crew the P. Miller-trained gelding should return to good form. He prefers the front end, but with Foray drawn inside of him and likely to employ gate-to-wire tactics the veteran gelding should be content with a pace-stalking journey, a trip that he’s been successful with in the past. “Win rider” F. Prat gets back aboard and the work tab in recent weeks at San Luis Rey Downs looks steady and healthy. Worthy Turk does his best work over this course and at this mile trip. With the switch to F. Prat and the class drop to the $25,000 level he could be dangerous as a deep closer should a legitimate pace materialize. Foray, away for 11 months and returning for a moderate tag, has a condition question but if ready certainly can be dangerous on the front end. He’s shown a liking for the local lawn in the past, so we’ll include him in our rolling exotic play, at least as a back-up or a saver.

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1.8.2021:

Saturday, January 9: Eddie Olczyk's Saturday Spot Plays

Here are my key plays for a trio of races along the east coast on Saturday. We'll finish up with a longshot price late in the day at Gulfstream.GULFSTREAM PARK RACE 7 (3:15PM ET) //MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 1 MILE (DIRT)#6 SOUND MONEY (4/1 ML) The last work for Chad Brown's 3-year colt says "go time." See that move for yourself in our exclusive XBTV Workout library, where he drills in company with today's Gulfstream Race 5 maiden special weight entrant Untreated. Sound Money did not like the off track in his last start, and should be up close to the pace on Saturday. He had a good debut run 2 races back at Churchill on a fast track, and the forecast is for sunny skies in South Florida.AQUEDUCT RACE 8 (3:50PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT) #3 MY ROXY GIRL (4/1 ML) I believe she cannot win on the front end like she tried when going a mile, but can from off the pace while turning back to 6 furlongs. Hoping jockey Eric Cancel (her 7th different rider in her last 8 starts) sits and makes 1 run. There's plenty of pace in this race to run down. GULFSTREAM RACE 11 (5:21PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)#8 LA PINTA (15/1 ML)Hey, that last race was bad and the race running line looks even worse -- even if from an outside post position. She's still fairly outside in here Saturday, but there are some positives to look at with this longshot. Her first career race was good. She races first-time Lasix Saturday. A warm Junior Alvarado jumps in the saddle and they'll have some pace to run into. This is the type of horse who can really pump up exotics at a good number. I'm thinking her odds could be as high as 20-1 off that last bad race. Good luck and Happy New Year as well!

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1.7.2021:

Friday, January 8: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Picks

LEG A // LAUREL // RACE 8 (3:55PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 1/16 MILES (DIRT) JOURNEYTOTHEMOON saved ground, eased out to the favorable part of the racetrack and surged late to defeat a next-out, 14-length winner in his 6F debut. Her sire, Tourist, was a multiple Grade I winner going a route of ground. WONDERWALL buried $25,000 maiden claimers, but she enters a 33-percent claim barn, gets a hot apprentice jockey and offers a tempting price. LOVE IN HER EYES improved with blinkers, won a MSW route for her new connections, now gets Lasix. LEG B // LAUREL // RACE 9 (4:25PM ET) // CLAIMING // 7 FURLONGS (DIRT) CRUSH IT, third in the Maryland Million Starter Handicap at this distance two starts back, was the beaten favorite in a follow-up key race won by Manolette (14-46, $289k). NOVA BOY, first or second in 19 of 34 starts, packed late wallop in short sprints and got up to win in his second start for this barn. CANDYGRAMFORMONGO, a heavily-bet sprinter and 3-5 at Laurel Park, tries longer distance for 44-percent claim barn. LEG C // SANTA ANITA // RACE 3 (4:32PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 1 MILE (TURF) J C EXPRESS showed a pulse in becoming the only Cal-bred in the field with turf routing experience and gets in light-weighted. BUKAYO'S hopes to follow the lead of his half brother, Kakistocracy, who graduated in his second start on the stretch-out to one mile off a 5F sprint debut. HAIL FREEDOM chased a 2-1 debut winner through fast splits before tiring at 6-1/2F on the main track. LEG D // GULFSTREAM // RACE 9 (4:42PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF) UNCAGE THE CAT has shown marked improvement, overcame trouble to break his maiden off a four-month layoff and is confidently spotted by top trainer. STAR WEAVER shook a duel, opened up and got caught late in the same spot. LEG E // GULFSTREAM // RACE 10 (5:13PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF) Pletcher firster SIX MINUS is a son of English Channel; his mare was unraced but a sibling to four turf winners. He has a series of works dating to the fall at Saratoga. BOURBON THUNDER took money in both starts, has turf influence on both sides, is a first-time gelding and can be used at 15-1. SUGGESTED $1 STRONACH 5 TICKET LEG A: 2, 3, 4LEG B: 5, 7, 8LEG C: 1, 5, 6LEG D: 1, 4LEG E: 4, 11TICKET COST: $108.00

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1.7.2021:

Jon White's List of the Top 10 Performances of 2020

Now that it’s 2021, many horseplayers understandably reflect on what occurred on the American racing stage in 2020. With that in mind, I have compiled my list of the Top 10 performances by a Thoroughbred in the United States last year. A Thoroughbred’s performance can make this list for a variety of reasons, such as: --A win by a big margin while showing brilliance. --Recording a fast final time and/or speed figure. --Being especially game in victory or defeat. --Overcoming adversity. --Defeating a particularly strong group of opponents. --Carrying more weight than usual and/or spotting considerable weight. --Achieving something historic or unusual. The importance of the race itself also plays a role in determining whether or not I believe a performance deserves to make the list. And now, drumroll please, here is my list of the Top 10 performances of 2020: 10. IMPROBABLE in Saratoga’s Grade I Whitney Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on dirt Aug. 1. (A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred City Zip colt; owned by WinStar Farm, CHC and SF Racing; trained by Bob Baffert; ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.) Improbable was shipped across the country and dominated three of the better older male runners in the country to win by two lengths at odds of 3-1. He defeated the likes of By My Standards (5-1), Tom’s d’Etat (who stumbled at the start as the even-money favorite) and Code of Honor (5-2). Going into the Whitney, Improbable had lost six in a row when racing outside California. His victorious performance in the Whitney, an important race in New York, cemented his standing as one of the nation’s elite older males. Improbable completed his Whitney journey in 1:48.65 and received a 106 Beyer Speed Figure. This was part of a three-race winning streak he put together at the Grade I level in 2020. At Santa Anita Park on June 6, Improbable won the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup by 3 1/4 lengths (105 Beyer). After the Whitney, he registered an emphatic 4 1/2-length win in Santa Anita’s Grade I Awesome Again Stakes on Sept. 26 (a career-best 108 Beyer). Improbable concluded his 2020 campaign and racing career by finishing second in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on Nov. 7 (a 108 Beyer to equal his career-best figure). He lost the BC Classic to a younger Bob Baffert-trained runner, 3-year-old Authentic. If Improbable had won the BC Classic, he quite likely would have been voted Horse of the Year. 9. TARNAWA in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland at 1 1/2 miles on turf Nov. 7. (A 4-year-old Irish-bred Shamardal filly; owned by The Aga Khan; trained by Dermot Weld; ridden by Colin Keane.) On the list of the Top 10 performances by a Thoroughbred in the United States last year, this ranks as the highest on the turf. Ninth with a half-mile to go, Tarnawa rallied to prevail by one length at odds of 9-2. The classy mare Magical finished second, followed by Channel Maker in third. How well did Tarnawa run in the BC Turf? Her 109 Beyer Speed Figure was better than the 104 Beyer posted by Bricks and Mortar when he won the 2019 edition at Santa Anita. Bricks and Mortar was voted America’s 2019 Horse of the Year. Tarnawa prevailed by one length while completing 1 1/2 miles in 2:28.02 on a turf course classified as firm. It was the first Breeders’ Cup win for highly respected 72-year-old Dermot Weld, a two-time winner of the world-famous Melbourne Cup (Vintage Crop in 1993 and Media Puzzle in 2002). Weld is the only European-based trainer to win an American Triple Crown race, having done so with Go and Go in the 1990 Belmont Stakes. Tarnawa went into the BC Turf having won all three of her 2020 races. After winning a Group III race in Ireland in her first start of the year, she took France’s Group I Prix Vermeille and Group I Prix de l’Opera. Following those performances by Tarnawa, Weld felt that she was the best chance he’d ever had to win a Breeders’ Cup race. Colin Keane guided Tarnawa to her BC Turf triumph. Keane replaced Christophe Soumillion, who could not ride at the Breeders’ Cup because of a positive coronavirus test. 8. VEKOMA in Belmont Park’s Grade I Carter Handicap at seven furlongs on dirt when the track was sloppy June 6. (A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Candy Ride colt; owned by R. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables; trained by George Weaver; ridden by Javier Castellano.) Backed down to 8-5 favoritism, Vekoma had the lead in the opening furlong before deferring to 16-1 American Anthem. After relinquishing the advantage, Vekoma was content to stalk before retaking the lead turning into the stretch. He then splashed away from his opponents in the stretch to reach the finish 7 1/4 lengths in front. Noted for his way of moving in which it appears he is paddling with his front legs, Vekoma gave the impression he was swimming home on the wet track. He posted a laudable final time of 1:21.02. Vekoma received a 110 Beyer Speed Figure, best of his eight-race career. He was the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the Grade I BC Sprint on Nov. 7 despite drawing post 14, but was withdrawn due to reportedly spiking a temperature after arriving at Keeneland from New York. On Nov. 8 it was announced that Vekoma had been retired from racing. Only two horses recorded a higher Beyer Speed Figure than Vekoma in 2020, a 112 by Volatile in the Aristides Stakes and a 111 by Authentic in the BC Classic, a pair of performances that rank higher on this list. 7. GAMINE in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Keeneland at seven furlongs on dirt Nov. 7. (Owned by Michael L. Petersen; trained by Bob Baffert; ridden by John Velazquez.) Off a bit awkwardly, Gamine sat just off the speedy and classy Serengeti Empress early. After striking the front approaching the eighth pole, Gamine drew off with gusto to win by 6 1/4 lengths as the 11-10 favorite. Her final time of 1:20.20 on a lightning-fast surface smashed Keeneland’s track record of 1:21.32 set by Taris in 2014. Trainer Bob Baffert has called Gamine a superstar. This is high praise in that it comes from from someone who certainly has the bona fides to know a superstar when he sees one. Baffert is a two-time Triple Crown winner, having swept the coveted series with Amerian Pharoah and Justify. With 16 wins in Triple Crown events to his credit, Baffert is the all-time leading trainer in that regard, two ahead of second-place D. Wayne Lukas. Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby six times, Preakness Stakes seven times and Belmont Stakes three times. Additionally, Baffert has won the BC Classic four times (Bayern, American Pharoah, Arrogate and Authentic). With her win in the BC Filly & Mare Sprint, Gamine remained undefeated (four for four) in races around one turn. 6. WIN WIN WIN in Saratoga’s Grade I Forego Stakes at seven furlongs on the dirt when the track was sloppy Aug. 29. (A 4-year-old Florida-bred Hat Trick colt; owned by Live Oak Plantation; trained by Michael Trombetta; ridden by Javier Castalleno.) The instant this race was over, I was sure that this win by Win Win Win would make my list of the Top 10 performances by a Thoroughbred in the United States for 2020. The 2020 Forego was contested during a downpour that made seeing the horses a challenge. Win Win Win’s trainer, Michael Trombetta, watched the telecast of the race when unable to see what was happening on the backstretch because it was raining so hard. Win Win Win, No. 7, was last early. When Win Win Win soon dropped so far behind that he disappeared from the screen, Trombetta then watched the 7 chicklet at the bottom of the screen, only the chicklet also soon disappeared. “He dropped so far back his chicklet number actually went off the screen,” Trombetta said after the race. The trainer understandably became quite concerned. “Honesttly, I assumed something bad might have happened where he took a bad step or something,” Trombetta said. “I thought he was absolutely out of the race and might not have had a chance to even finish. But turning for home, he came back on the screen.” Win Win Win not only reappeared on the screen, he unleashed a furious rally in the final quarter. Racing extremely wide into the stretch, he roared down the lane while in the middle of the track and won by a half-length in 1:21.71. “Unbelievable,” Trombetta said. It certainly was. On Sept. 28 it was announced that Win Win Win had been retired from racing due to a tendon injury. For some, Win Win Win’s Forego rally brought to mind the most famous stretch runner of them all, Silky Sullivan. Win Win Win was as far back as 16 lengths in the Forego before coming on with a rush to win by a half-length at odds of 7-1. In an incredible performance captured for posterity on film by Joe Burnham (the only person to receive an Eclipse Award for cinematography), Silky Sullivan came from much farther behind than 16 lengths to win a 6 1/2-furlong allowance sprint at Santa Anita on Feb. 25, 1958. Riding the handsome 3-year-old colt for the first time in a race that day was the legendary Bill Shoemaker, whose agent was Harry Silbert. Reggie Cornell trained Silky Sullivan. “I was sitting with Reggie in his box that day,” Silbert told me in an interview I did with him for a story about Silky Sullivan that I wrote for the May 1982 edition of the Thoroughbred of California magazine. “Reggie had told Bill that it was very important not to rush the colt. “Well, Silky Sullivan dropped so far behind early you couldn’t believe it. I’m telling you, he was a sixteenth of a mile behind the next-to-last horse. I didn’t think he had a prayer, so I put my binoculars down. Reggie looked over at me and said, ‘I told him not to rush the colt, but this is ridiculous!’ “Just then, I picked up my binoculars again, and Silky started his move. And he won! For him to win from that far back was…well…unbelievable. I’ve even seen the film of that race several times since, and each time I still can’t believe he makes up that much ground.” Silky Sullivan won by a half-length after being 41 lengths behind early. That’s not a typo. If you look at his lifetime past performances, you will see that 41 lengths was how many lengths off the early pace he was in that remarkable 1958 triumph, which you can watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT_YxcoDhtY When I talked to Shoemaker about that win from 41 lengths behind, this was what he said: “Going down the backstretch, I didn’t think he had a chance to even finish in the money. I must’ve been 25 lengths behind the next-to-last horse. I honestly didn’t think he’d beat a horse that day, but then, really, it was kind of a mediocre field. Anyway, he won. Even I was surprised.” 5. VOLATILE in Churchill Downs’ Aristides Stakes at six furlongs on dirt June 6. (Owned by Phoenix Thoroughbreds III and Three Chimneys Farm; trained by Steve Asmussen; ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr.) Making his stakes debut, Volatile raced a close-up third early, took over at the top of the stretch and poured it on in the lane to win by eight lengths as a 1-2 favorite. He completed six furlongs in a scorching 1:07.57, which was just .02 of a second off the track record set by Indian Chant in 2007. “He’s just a tremendous talent,” Asmussen said of Volatile after the Aristides. Volatile recorded a 112 Beyer Speed Figure. This was the highest Beyer of 2020. In his next start, Volatile won Saratoga’s Grade I, seven-furlong Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap by 1 1/4 lengths on July 25. That would be his final race. On Sept. 21 it was announced that Volatile had been retired from racing due to a hairline fracture of his right front cannon bone. 4. TIZ THE LAW in Saratoga’s Grade I Travers Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on dirt Aug. 8. (A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred Constitution colt; owned by Sackatoga Stable; trained by Barclay Tagg; ridden by Manny Franco.) In my view, this was the finest performance of Tiz the Law’s nine-race career. After the Travers, he finished second as the 7-10 favorite in the Grade I Kentucky Derby (won by Authentic), then ran sixth in the Grade I BC Classic (also won by Authentic). On Dec. 30 it was announced that Tiz the Law has been retired from racing. Jack Knowlton, managing partner of Sackatoga Stables, told Ray Paulick of the Paulick Report that exercise rider Robin Smullen, assistant to trainer Barclay Tagg, “sensed something wasn’t right” after she took Tiz the Law out for a routine gallop on the morning of Dec. 29 at Palm Meadows training center in Florida. Tiz the Law had been scheduled to have a Jan. 3 workout in preparation for the Grade I Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 23. “I got the call from Barclay that I always dread,” Knowlton said. “Our vet took X-rays and found there was significant bone bruising in the lower part of the cannon bone in a front leg. We had another vet take a look at it and both said the same thing: ‘You really don’t have any choice [other than to retire him].’ I’m really thankful that Robin caught it when she did.” Tiz the Law won the Travers with authority by 5 1/2 lengths as the 1-2 favorite. His final time was an excellent 2:00.95 in hundredths, or 2:00 4/5 in fifths. These are the five-fastest editions of the Travers in fifths: Time Horse (Year) 1:59 1/5 Arrogate (2016)2:00 flat General Assembly (1979)2:00 1/5 Honest Pleasure (1976)2:00 4/5 Tiz the Law (2020)2:00 4/5 Easy Goer (1989) Tiz the Law was credited with a career-best 109 Beyer Speed Figure for his Travers victory. It was the second-highest Beyer by a 3-year-old going farther the one mile in 2020, exceeded only by Authentic’s 111 in the BC Classic. Since Bernardini registered a 116 Beyer Speed Figure when victorious in the 2006 Travers, only one Travers winner has recorded a higher Beyer than Tiz the Law’s 109. Arrogate ran a monstrous 122 Beyer when he won the 2016 renewal by 13 1/2 lengths in 1:59.36, or 1:59 1/5 in fifths, to obliterate Saratoga’s 1 1/4-mile track record by four-fifths of a second set by General Assembly in 1979. Below are the Beyers for the Travers winners going back to 1990 (the figures prior to 2020 are listed in the American Racing Manual, which now can be purchased in a digital format): 2020 Tiz the Law (109)2019 Code of Honor (105)2018 Catholic Boy (104)2017 West Coast (108)2016 Arrogate (122)2015 Keen Ice (106)2014 V.E. Day (102)2013 Will Take Charge (107)2012 Alpha (100)*2012 Golden Ticket (100)*2011 Stay Thirsty (101)2010 Afleet Express (105)2009 Summer Bird (110)2008 Colonel John (106)2007 Street Sense (108)2006 Bernardini (116)2005 Flower Alley (110)2004 Birdstone (108)2003 Ten Most Wanted (112)2002 Medaglia d’Oro (113)2001 Point Given (117)2000 Unshaded (109)1999 Lemon Drop Kid (110)1998 Coronado’s Quest (107)1997 Deputy Commander (110)1996 Will’s Way (114)1995 Thunder Gulch (110)1994 Holy Bull (115)1993 Sea Hero (109)1992 Thunder Rumble (109)1991 Corporate Report (109)1990 Rhythm (104) *Dead heat 3. AUTHENTIC in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland at 1 1/4 miles on dirt Nov. 7. (A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt; owned by Spendthrift Farm, MyRacehorse.com Stable, Madaket Stables and Starlight Racing; trained by Bob Baffert; ridden by John Velazquez.) What was at stake in this race has a lot to do with why it ranks this high. It appeared there was a good chance it would determine who would be the 2020 Horse of the Year. In all likelihood, this is going to be the case. On the strength of Authentic’s Grade I victories in the Kentucky Derby and BC Classic, along with a third Grade I win in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, he is an overwhelming favorite to be elected 2020 Horse of the Year. Improbable finished a solid second in the BC Classic as the 7-2 second choice in the wagering. Global Campaign came in third at 25-1, one length behind Improbable. Rounding out the finish, in order, were Tacitus, Maximum Security, Tiz the Law, Title Ready, By My Standards, Tom’s d’Etat and Higher Power. In retrospect, Authentic’s adversaries made a huge tactical error when permitting him to set an uncontested pace. To his credit, Authentic’s natural early zip allowed him to have such an ideal trip. But one can only imagine that when the dust settled, some of the connections of the other nine BC Classic starters were wondering, “Where is a rabbit when you need one?” It does not take an Einstein to see what might well happen in the BC Classic once Authentic was allowed to bowl along comfortably on the front end, furlong after furlong. In his seven 2020 starts, he won every time he led at the first call and lost both times he didn’t. Authentic won the BC Classic, America’s richest race with a purse of $6 million, by a clear-cut 2 1/4 lengths. He was sent away at 4-1. It seemed that on the two occasions in which it really mattered, Authentic found a way to get the job done. When the 3-year-old male title quite possibly was on the line in the Run for the Roses, Authentic came through. Similarly, when the Horse of the Year crown quite possibly was on the line in the BC Classic, Authentic again came through. Authentic’s final time was 1:59.19. Or was it? Once again Thoroughbred racing embarrassed itself in terms of the timing of its races. There initially were no fractional times listed in Equibase’s BC Classic chart. The final time was listed as 1:59 (1:59.19). In the chart’s comments, it said: “Due to a timer malfunction, the times were timed manually using video.” Many questioned the official final time of 1:59.19. Even the Trakus system used by Keeneland disagreed with the 1:59.19 clocking. The Trakus system timed the race in 1:59.82. And then yet another clocking, 1:59.60, became the official final time for the 2020 BC Classic. Keeneland and Equibase issued the following statement on Nov. 11: “Prior to the running of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (Gr. 1) on November 7, 2020, at Keeneland, a photo eye at the start of the race originally was tripped, which resulted in an error when attempting to operate the timing system manually causing inaccurate timing for all fractions and the final time of the race. A final time of 1:59.19 was initially provided by Equibase using the available video replay. After subsequent and more detailed review and timing of the race from multiple sources and camera angles, Keeneland and Equibase have determined the fractional times for the Classic (:23.20, :46.48, 1:10.32, 1:34.64) and confirmed a final time of 1:59.60. The Classic chart has been updated and the running of Authentic in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic is now the official track record for the 1 1/4-mile distance at Keeneland.” Acccording to Keeneland and Equibase, Authentic broke American Pharoah’s track record of 2:00.07, which had been established by the Triple Crown winner when he registered a 6 1/2-length victory in the 2015 BC Classic. It took Keeneland and Equibase four days to finally come up with fractional times and a final time for this year’s BC Classic (a race ironically sponsored by a company that makes watches). “This is ridiculous. This is embarrassing. This is inexcusable,” I wrote for Xpressbet.com after the BC Classic. “Humans can control a rover 48 million miles away on Mars, but seemingly can’t time the 2020 BC Classic without problems.” The timing problem with the 2020 BC Classic was not an isolated case. Timing problems were rampant all over the country in 2020, primarily due to a number of tracks embracing a GPS technology that produced questionable times. Andrew Beyer was one of those who doubted the authenticity of Authentic’s original 1:59.19 clocking, just as Beyer did not believe it when he saw 1:55 on the board for Secretariat’s final time at the 1973 Preakness. Due to an electronic malfunction, the official final time for the 1973 Preakness became 1:54 2/5, which was the time that Pimlico clocker E.T. McClean had on his watch. But Beyer and many others felt the final time of 1:54 2/5 still was too slow. This skepticism proved to be justified, first by two DRF clockers who timed Secretariat in 1:53 2/5, then later by modern technology that proved Secretariat’s final time actually had been 1:53. Beyer’s skepticism of the original final time of 1:59.19 in this year’s BC Classic also proved to be justified when Keeneland and Equibase announced that the original official clocking of 1:59.19 had been changed to 1:59.60. The difference between 1:59.19 (1:59 flat in fifths) and 1:59.60 (1:59 3/5 in fifths) is significant. To use the longstanding rule of thumb that a fifth of a second equals one length, the difference in the two clockings is two lengths. That’s a lot. As for Authentic’s Beyer Speed Figure for his BC Classic triumph, he originally was credited with a 109. It was then upped to a 111. The 111 ranked as the second-highest Beyer Speed Figure of 2020. What was American Pharoah’s Beyer Speed Figure for his victory in the 2015 BC Classic at Keeneland when his final time of 2:00.07 was supposedly slower than Authentic’s 1:59.60? American Pharoah received a 120 Beyer for that performance, a figure considerably higher than Authentic’s 111 for his win in the 2020 BC Classic. 2. GAMINE in Belmont Park’s Grade I Acorn Stakes at one mile on dirt June 20. (A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred Into Mischief filly; owned by Michael L. Petersen; trained by Bob Baffert; ridden by John Velazquez.) This scintillating performance deserved a 10 on a “wow scale” of 1 to 10. I came very close to ranking it No. 1 for 2020. Breaking from the inside post, Gamine dashed immediately to the front. She flaunted her speed while setting fractions of :22.48, :45.28 and 1:09.33. Gamine proceeded to run up the score on her rivals in the stretch and won in isolated grandeur by 18 3/4 lengths as the 3-5 favorite. Gamine’s margin of victory was the largest in the history of the Acorn, a race that was first run in 1931. Her final time of 1:32.55 was a stakes record and just .31 of a second off the 17-year-old track record owned by Najran. Putting Gamine’s 1:32.55 clocking into further context, it was faster than Mitole’s final time of 1:32.75 when he won the 2019 Met Mile on that same track. The stakes record for the Acorn once was held by Ruffian. She won the 1975 renewal of the Acorn by 8 1/2 lengths in 1:34.40. I consider Ruffian to be the greatest female Thoroughbred of all time. Her only loss in 11 career starts came when she was unable to finish in her 1975 match race against Foolish Pleasure. In Ruffian’s 10 victories, she tied or broke a stakes or track record in all but one of them. Gamine recorded a 110 Beyer Speed Figure for her Acorn win. The only two higher Beyers in 2020 were Volatile’s 112 and Authentic’s 111. Andrew Beyer, father of the Beyer Speed Figures, went so far as to call Gamine’s Acorn a “great” performance. I agree. 1. SWISS SKYDIVER in Pimlico’s Grade I Preakness Stakes at 1 3 1/16 miles on dirt Oct. 3. (A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred Daredevil filly; owned by Peter Callahan; trained by Ken McPeek; ridden by Robby Albarado.) I wrote the following for Xpressbet.com after the 2020 Preakness: “The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked considerable havoc throughout the world this year. But in a year in which it seems there have been so many more lowlights than highlights, a ferocious equine tussle all the way down the stretch in the 145th Preakness Stakes became a welcome diversion for Thoroughbred racing fans during these troubled times. “The resolute and durable filly Swiss Skydiver and Kentucky Derby winner Authentic put on a terrific show last Saturday that no doubt will be long remembered. “It was a race that for many conjured up memories of the goosebumps-producing stretch battle between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer in the 1989 Preakness. Sunday Silence eked out a nose victory on that occasion in what is widely considered one of the greatest races in the long history of the Triple Crown. “In terms of memorable Triple Crown battles, last Saturday’s battle royale between Swiss Skydiver and Authentic also brought to mind for some the furious stretch duel between the filly Rags to Riches and the outstanding colt Curlin in the 2007 Belmont Stakes. Despite stumbling at the start, Rags to Riches won by a desperate head. (When in the heck are Hall of Fame voters going to get it right and elect Rags to Riches to the Hall of Fame?) “Another aspect to this year’s Preakness, which wrapped up a coronavirus-related revamped Triple Crown series, was the marvelous ride by Robby Albarado on Swiss Skydiver. “Swiss Skydiver exited the starting gate alertly. In fact, she broke first, then settled nicely two to three lengths off the lead through the early furlongs. “For whatever reason, Thousand Words and Authentic dueled for the early lead. This came as something of a surprise to many. That’s because Hall of Famer Bob Baffert trains them both. Authentic did open about a 1 1/2-length lead for a brief time on the backstretch when Thousand Words began dropping back. “Approaching the far turn, Swiss Skydiver made an early move. She came through between Thousand Words and Art Collector, then continued on willingly along the inside rail to take on Authentic. It was rather nervy of Albarado to allow the filly to make such an early run rather than remain in a stalking position. No doubt Albarado would have left himself open for being bashed (particularly in the Twitter-verse) for moving too soon if the filly had lost. “Albarado once was deemed good enough to be the regular rider of Curlin, a two-time Horse of the Year. They collaborated to win the 2007 Preakness. But Albarado had fallen out of favor in recent years. That made his Preakness ride on Swiss Skydiver all the more laudable in that he rode the race as if he had ice water in his veins. “How much had Albarado fallen out of favor? Mainly through lack of opportunities, he had not won a Grade I race since 2017 until this year’s Preakness. He also had not won a single graded stakes race this year until the Preakness. “When Swiss Skydiver poked her head in front with about four furlongs to go, Authentic by no means threw in the towel. These two raced side-by-side for the remaining half-mile. But during that entire time, Swiss Skydiver was able to maintain a slight lead in an exhibition of supreme bulldog tenacity. Authentic kept trying and trying for every step of the final four furlongs, but he just could never quite get his nose back in front. “Swiss Skydiver won by a neck. As for Authentic, for him to run as well as he did, only to come away with a loss, was a huge disappointment for his connections. Baffert had hoped to see Authentic in charge early rather than vying for the lead with, of all horses, Thousand Words.” Baffert did have praise for Swiss Skydiver. “That’s a good filly,” Baffert said. Authentic “had every chance to get by her. He got beat. He just couldn’t get by her. She dug in. She’s tough.” It was a big gap from the embattled pair of Swiss Skydiver and Authentic all the way back to Jesus’ Team, who finished third at odds of 40-1 in the field of 11. Jesus’ Team ended up 10 lengths behind Swiss Skydiver. Authentic was sent away as the 3-2 Preakness favorite. Swiss Skydiver did not get much respect from the bettors, going off at 11-1. The fractions were :24.48, :47.65, 1:11.24 and 1:34.74. The quarters were run in :24.48, :23.17, :23.59 and :23.50, with a final three-sixteenths in :18.54. Swiss Skydiver completed her 1 3/16-mile journey in 1:53.28, or 1:53 1/5 in fifths. The 1:53 1/5 clocking ranks as the second-fastest clocking ever registered by a Preakness winner. Mighty Secretariat holds the record for the fastest final time by a Preakness winner. After making an electrifying move from last to first on the clubhouse turn, he won the 1973 renewal in 1:53 flat. These are the 13 fastest final times in the history of the Preakness: 1:53 flat Secretariat (1973)1:53 1/5 Swiss Skydiver (2020)1:53 2/5 Curlin (2007)1:53 2/5 Louis Quatorze (1996)1:53 2/5 Tank’s Prospect (1985)1:53 3/5 Summer Squall (1990)1:53 3/5 Gate Dancer (1984)1:53 4/5 Sunday Silence (1989)1:54 flat Hansel (1991)1:54 flat Canonero II (1971)1:54 1/5 War of Will (2019)1:54 1/5 Codex (1980)1:54 1/5 Spectacular Bid (1979) Prior to the Preakness, Swiss Skydiver’s top Beyer Speed Figure had been the 102 she recorded when she won Saratoga’s Grade I Alabama Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths on Aug. 15. She was credited with a 105 Beyer Speed Figure for her Preakness performance. While Swiss Skydiver ran the second-fastest Preakness ever at 1 3/16 miles, the fact that her 105 Beyer Speed Figure is lower than so many other winners of the race obviously stemmed from the Beyer Speed Figure team’s determination that Pimlico’s main track was much faster than normal. Below are the Beyer Speed Figures for Preakness winners going back to 1991 (the figures prior to 2020 are listed in the American Racing Manual, which is now digital only): 2020 Swiss Skydiver (105)2019 War of Will (99)2018 Justify (97)2017 Cloud Computing (102)2016 Exaggerator (101)2015 American Pharoah (102)2014 California Chrome (105)2013 Oxbow (106)2012 I’ll Have Another (109)2011 Shackleford (104)2010 Lookin At Lucky (102)2009 Rachel Alexandra (108)2008 Big Brown (100)2007 Curlin (111)2006 Bernardini (113)2005 Afleet Alex (112)2004 Smarty Jones (118)2003 Funny Cide (114)2002 War Emblem (109)2001 Point Given (111)2000 Red Bullet (109)1999 Charismatic (107)1998 Real Quiet (111)1997 Silver Charm (118)1996 Louis Quatorze (112)1995 Timber Country (106)1994 Tabasco Cat (112)1993 Prairie Bayou (98)1992 Pine Bluff (104)1991 Hansel (117) Swiss Skydiver became the first filly to win a Triple Crown race since Rachel Alexandra captured the 2009 Preakness. Six fillies now have won the Preakness: Flocarline (1903), Whimsical (1906), Rhine Maiden (1915), Nellie Morse (1924), Rachel Alexandra (2009) and Swiss Skydiver (2020). Swiss Skydiver not only beat the boys in the Preakness, she defeated the likely 2020 Horse of the Year in Authentic. This win by Swiss Skydiver occupies the top spot on my list of the best performances by a Thoroughbred in this country during 2020. Below are my top performances of the year going back to 2004: 2020 Swiss Skydiver in the Grade I Preakness Stakes2019 City of Light in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup2018 Justify in the Grade I Kentucky Derby2017 Gun Runner in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic2016 Arrogate in the Grade I Travers Stakes2015 American Pharoah in the Grade I Belmont Stakes2014 Wise Dan in the Grade II Bernard Baruch Handicap2013 Dreaming of Julia in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Oaks2012 I’ll Have Another in the Grade I Preakness2011 Animal Kingdom in the Grade I Kentucky Derby2010 Blame in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic2009 Zenyatta in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic2008 Big Brown in the Grade I Kentucky Derby2007 Rags to Riches in the Grade I Belmont Stakes2006 Barbaro in the Grade I Kentucky Derby2005 Afleet Alex in the Grade I Preakness Stakes2004 Ghostzapper in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic

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1.7.2021:

Saturday, January 9: Gulfstream Park Rainbow 6 Mandatory Payout Picks

Playing Gulfstream Park’s Rainbow Six is gambling. So is writing an analysis of the wager on a Thursday morning. By Saturday, when the time comes for a mandatory payout of the Rainbow Six pool, the cupboard could be bare. Some fortunate (read: selfish) soul could already have emptied the till with a single winning ticket Thursday or Friday--before we get a chance to divvy it up among ourselves. That misstep aside, below you will find Rainbow Six analysis and a suggested ticket. Now, what are the chances that yours truly can deliver a cut and dried $32 winning Rainbow Six ticket to your doorstep? Not great. You see, picking six consecutive winners is a bit like climbing Everest. It happens, more often than you think, but the journey’s wet, cold and it’s difficult to breath. Which sounds a lot like my experience when I recently built a snowman for my granddaughter.  The probability that this writer will ‘cold cock’ a winning Rainbow Six ticket for you below is small. That’s why we include analysis of other horses in the races besides those listed on the ticket. Perhaps, as you construct a personal Rainbow Six, you will mix and match contenders from among those included in the analysis and ones appearing as ticket selections. Plus, along the way Saturday, there are lots of other GP wagers and Week 2 of Xpressbet’s Beat the Host competition you might be interested in, so the analysis is meant to aid in those ventures. There’s always the possibility that the winning Rainbow combination might include a runner or (heaven forbid) two that aren’t addressed in either space. That possibility exists because the game is gambling and in gambling crazy things happen all the time. That’s why cavemen invented odds. How else were they going to get fellow cavemen to bet against the T. Rex? As long as the odds match the gamble, we’re good. In the case of mandatory pool payouts, we’re good. In other words, it’s the right time to play. The shoe is fat with aces, tens and face cards. Double up your wagers because, for one of the rare times in your life, the odds are in your favor (sort of). We still have to solve the puzzle, of course. But, Saturday, there doesn’t need to be just one winner to trigger bells, whistles, sirens and clanging coins in a complete jackpot payout. If we go six-for-six, we’ll all share in the bounty. However, make sure to wear your snowshoes. It’s a tough climb. RACE 6 (2:44PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF) Proceedings begin with a five-furlong turf sprint for $20k claimers, non-winners of 2. These races always are a challenging lot to handicap partly because players must decide what to do with class droppers. Are connections looking to steal a purse, or are they having a personal fire sale, hoping the discount will attract buyers? #4 Henni Penny is an example of a complicated class dropper with a trainer, jockey and circuit change to boot. #1 Mo Me Mo My is one of 4 in here that exit the same race—a Dec. 23 heat at the same level, distance and surface. 3 of the 4 finished within 2 lengths that afternoon. Overall, it appears to have been a below-par heat for the level. This 5-year-old mare is just 1-15 and comes from off the pace. She was fourth, beaten 2 lengths in the common race. Her lone tally came Sept. 2, 2019 going 5 furlongs on turf at Del Mar. She also faced better company at Saratoga and Belmont and didn’t perform poorly. She races from off the pace.    #2 Sweetsweetsweet set the pace in the Dec. 23 common race and blew a clear lead late to be third. She’s a lightly raced 5-year-old, so she deserves a bit more attention than others with many more losing tries. Also, her speed makes her dangerous. There’s not much other speed in here and she could get a breather early. Although mostly known for his work while closing late on turf Jockey Julian Leparoux is an excellent speed rider. #4 Henni Penny is a new face, arriving from the NYRA circuit. She was beaten 2 ½ lengths last out in October at Belmont over yielding turf against $40k non-winners of 2. This is a considerable drop in class. The 4-year-old changes hands from trainer David Donk to Kathleen O’Connell—and she is 8% with new arrivals. A significant jockey switch finds Irad Ortiz aboard. Can’t live with her and can’t live without her. She comes from off the pace. #6 La Cara Bonita is just 1 for 11, is a 4-year-old filly and has familiar partner Luis Saez up. This filly’s been close in 7 of 11 starts and has been a popular claim at this level and below. A year ago she had some early speed. #7 Chikaka was second in the Dec. 23 common race and finished well from next to last early. That was the 5-year-old mare’s first try at this lower level. Her lone win in 9 starts came at GPW going 7 ½ furlongs in Nov. ’19. She comes from far back. #9 Just Smok’n is a 4-year-old filly taking a significant class drop and will be offered first time for a tag. She hasn’t raced since April when 6th in an optional Claiming $50k/non-winners other than. She hasn’t been fast enough before to win this and her trainer is just 0-2 off long layoffs.   RACE 7 (3:15PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 1 MILE (DIRT) A one-mile maiden race for 3-year-olds is the next hill to climb and the field of 12 offers several attractive options. Top trainer Todd Pletcher (30%) has 2 in here, as does Chad Brown (19%), joined by a runner from Hall-of-Fame conditioner Bill Mott’s (19%) barn. Conventional wisdom suggests the winner will come from that grouping. If you have access to any workout information, here’s a great place to make use of it. # 1 Jungle Cry is a new face from Laurel. The colt closed big ground as 5/2 favorite after a poor start last out in only try. New trainer Jose Corrales is 25% with runners first time in his barn. #2 First Task is a first-time starter from the Todd Pletcher barn. Brought $725k at Keeneland. Luis Saez rides (23% combo). Son of Uncle Mo has a get-to-the-point work tab with just one 5-furlong breeze in 1:01. Must respect trainer/jock combo and barn that’s 19% with first-time starters. #3 Simovitch was a well-beaten 2nd last out Dec. 12, this track, level and distance, so has a fitness edge. Was colt’s third start. Trainer Mott’s been hot this meet (19%). #4 Emperor’s Cause goes 2 fair sprint efforts to a one-turn route for low-profile trainer William Mathews and switches from an apprentice to journeyman L. Reyes (9%). Last raced Dec. 26, so is fit. #5 Bracken is the other Todd Pletcher starter making his second lifetime out. Was a troubled and well beaten 2nd behind return winner Prime Factor. Trainer is 22% second time out. Jockey John Velasquez replaces Jose Ortiz (who re-rides #3 Simovitch). Two decent works since raced. #6 Sound Money makes third start for trainer Chad Brown and has Tyler Gaffalione up again (29% combo). He had a defective gate issue first out and closed big ground late, then was favored and didn’t fire in Churchill slop. Has to turn it around. #9 Seminole Beach closed big ground to miss by a head going 7 furlongs in slop at Keeneland in October. #10 Eye of Horus is a second Wilkes runner that adds blinkers after hesitating at the start of his first race in November in Churchill slop. He has a nice 1:00 4/5 breeze 12/31. #11 Rosenquist makes debut for Chad Brown and jockey Irad Ortiz (23% combo) off a steady series of works at Payson. Son of Uncle Mo brought $750k at Keeneland sale.      RACE 8 (3:46PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF) This is the race for you, if you love a challenge and what horseplayer in his right mind doesn’t? BTW, let me know if you ever locate a horseplayer in his right mind. Five furlongs on the turf for optional claiming $25k/non-winner other than. There’s a solid single in here…or not. Check it out below. Good luck. #1 Silvery Enough is a solid late runner with acceptable dirt form. Can he handle turf and close to be up in time. Saez rides for Hess (22% combo). #3 Henry’s Word has Lopez/O’Connell combo (22%) on his side following wire-to-wire win at lower level. Needs more in here. #4 Long Blade goes for Maker/Gaffalione combo (24%). Was claimed for $25k before new owners took a shot in the CC Express. Has speed and 3 wins in 10 GP turf starts, as well as 6 wins in 11 tries at the distance. Has enough speed to be in contention. #6 Big Drink of Water starts for trainer Larry Rivelli and jockey Victor Lebron. They are an amazing 33% in 40 mounts together. This 5-year-old went wire-to-wire in a $35k beaten race Dec. 17 and drops in claiming price off that sparkling effort. He’s either a single or a toss. No wonder Rivelli is hitting at 28% overall and is 2 for 4 at GP this meet. He’s playing hardball here. #8 Bourbon Currency is notable because he as 5 seconds in 7 GP turf starts; he’s also been second 4 times out of 7 tries at the distance. He’s never raced at this lower-class level, so he could be a threat. He doesn’t have any early speed, so he’ll have to come from behind under Jose Ortiz--28% combo with trainer John Kimmel. #12 Freewheeler is a 4-year-old New York bred making his first GP start. Winner first out in a Saratoga NY state bred maiden race at five and one-half furlongs on turf, this colt tried the Gr. 3 Futurity next out and was second to the capable Four Wheel Drive. Those efforts suggest this colt has some ability and he has been competitive with fellow NY breds at the first allowance condition. He could fit here.    RACE 9 (4:17PM ET) // STARTER ALLOWANCE // 7 FURLONGS (DIRT) Interesting 7-furlong sprint has attracted 8 runners for a $16k starter allowance. #1 Secret Touch has been a popular claim (3 out of last 4 starts) in California and makes first start her for bi-coastal Bob Hess barn. The 7-year-old has a solid record and appears to fit in this spot. He’s mostly routed lately. #2 South Sea was claimed last out for $12,500—the lowest level of his career. New barn is 20% with 1st claim runners. Only 1 for 8 at Gulfstream and 0-6 at the distance are concerns. #3 Joe Di Baggio has a great name (dam Baggio) and has a solid record at this track and distance. Paco Lopez, who has won on his before, is back aboard for 17% trainer David Carlos. #4 Uptown Classic has been runner-up in his last four starts, including in the Claiming Crown Rapid Transit—a common race to four others in this field! Off any of his recent efforts he looks tough in here. He has 2 seconds in 3 starts at GP and just 2 wins, 6 places and one third in 11 tries at the distance. #6 I’m a G Six hails from the Todd Pletcher stable and will be ridden by Irad Ortiz (35% combo). He ran poorly (wide) in the CC Rapid Transit—his first start for Pletcher off a claim for $62,500—but the trainer wheels him back in just over a month and top jock Ortiz rides him back. He also has a 48 work Jan. 1 at Palm Beach Downs. Good signs for a rebound.   #8 All Around also looks for redemption after a poor effort in the CC Rapid Transit. He’s got a sterling record at GP with 3 wins in 5 starts. Top jock Luis Saez takes over for trainer Luis Ramirez (0-10 this meet) and will need to perfectly time this guy’s late kick.   RACE 10 (4:49PM ET) // G3 TROPICAL TURF S. // 1 MILE (TURF) Always nice to spice up a Rainbow Six mandatory payout card with a grassy graded stakes race. The Grade 3 Tropical Turf at one mile has attracted 9 runners, including the defending champ among a trio of 8-year-old performers. #1 Admissions Office is a 6-year-old that’s 0-4 over the GP turf course. He comes from far back and needs everything to go his way. He’s a big horse that can’t get stopped. He’s also been away since June, so he might need a race. #2 Casa Creed has won just 3 of 16, but he’s faced Gr. 1 foes in his last 3 starts. This race should provide some class relief for the Gr. 2 winner at 3. Now 5, he hasn’t won since August of ’19 and was 0-5 in 2020. #3 Ride a Comet has won 7 of 12 starts and was 2-for-2 in 2020. The multiple Gr. 2 winner did not race in 2019, so you know the 6-year-old is talented but tender. He’s posted 2 turf bullets at Palm Meadows for this race: a 59 (best of 20) and a 59 1/5 (best of 22), so it would seem he’s healthy. He’s unbeaten at the mile turf distance and has never raced at Gulfstream Park for ice cold trainer Mark CAsse (3-34). #5 Frostmourne ran away and hid from foes in an optional claimer at Churchill in November. He’ll try the same tactics in here but should get some heat from defending champ #7 Tusk. Frostmourne had success at age 3 and is a Gr. 2 and Gr. 3 winner. That was long ago for the 7-year-old but he’s 1 for 2 over GP turf and 4 for 6 at the distance. #6 Analyze It hails from the Chad Brown barn and, if the race is on turf, that barn is deadly. This 6-year-old has won 4 of 10 starts and is 3 for 6 at the distance. He’s never raced over GP turf but he’s been enough places so that shouldn’t matter. He’s a very steady performer that’s just missed in several Gr. 1 events, including the BC Mile in ’18. He did not race in ’19. He’s the one to beat. #7 Tusk is the defending champ and he’s only had one race since winning the previous edition of this race in Jan. ’20. Is he the same horse that he was then? Jockey Gaffalione, who rode Tusk to that Tropical Turf victory is on #3 Ride a Comet. He will be suitably replaced by Luis Saez here. Trainer Saffie Joseph (18%) will need to have this guy at his previous best for him to have a say in here at age 8.   RACE 11 (5:21PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF) Let’s wind this whole thing up with a one-mile turf maiden $25k claimer for 3-year-old fillies. Normally, these can be grab bag events but this one doesn’t seem as challenging (famous last words). #1 Time Sensitive, claimed in Oct. for $40k and tried once at the maiden allowance level, drops for a money run. Jockey C. A. Torres is replaced by Saez. This 3-year-old filly moved inside from post 11 out of 11 two back and post 9 of 12 when overmatched last out. She’s got some speed, the rail, Saez, and a capable trainer. She’s the one to beat. #3 Grey Charlotte dropped to this level from maiden $50k last out and overcame a wide trip to show some interest late. That’s noteworthy from a filly who finished second sprinting first out as favorite. Could be more in the tank for Barboza/Zayas combo (29%). Trainer having a rough season with 5 seconds, 5 thirds and just 1 win from 22 starts. #6 Faith’s a Bluebird had trouble first out and drops as trainer switches to 24% winning jock combo. Would be a longshot stab. #7 Our Ten Angles showed some life early in last race and then faded. Switch to turf in attempt to wake the filly up. Would surprise. #9 Smarty Queen was lukewarm favorite last out for $35k going 7 ½ furlongs on grass. She ran poorly. Barn looks to jockey Irad Ortiz (60% combo with 5 tries) to wake this filly up. She did finish second at one mile on turf at GPW for $40k in Oct. #11 Not Tonight Baby ran better last out when dropped to this level for trainer Jane Cibelli. Jockey Saez presumably vacates to ride #1 Time Sensitive. Corey Lanerie in the saddle for this filly who needs to improve quite a bit to threaten.   20-CENT RAINBOW 6 TICKET Race 6: 2, 4Race 7: 2, 3, 5, 11Race 8: 6Race 9: 1, 3, 4, 6, 8Race 10: 2, 3, 5, 6Race 11: 1Ticket Cost: $32.00 for 20-cents Race On!

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1.6.2021:

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. Headlines Local star and 2020 Pimlico Special winner Harpers First Ride was among the invitees announced Sunday for Gulfstream Park’s Pegasus World Cup on January 23 … Jockey Carol Cedeno, 6-time leading rider at Delaware Park, notched career win No. 1000 on Saturday at Laurel Park ... Jockey Sheldon Russell wrapped up the 2020 Fall Meet riding title after a pair of winners New Year’s Eve. It marks the eighth career leading jockey crown in Maryland for Russell, and his first since 2015 … The Rainbow 6 was hit Sunday and starts anew when live racing resumes this week Friday through Sunday. Stronach 5 Last week’s $1 Stronach 5 paid $196.30 on a popular return. Stronach 5 races this Friday, January 8, will be: Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:55Leg B – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:25Leg C – Santa Anita Race 3 with an approximate post time of 4:32Leg D – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:42Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 10 with an approximate post time of 5:13 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 27% winners. For the first time in 5 weeks, the speed factors were not dominant at Laurel. Average EarningsJockey 1 Year Win %In The Money (ITM) % Trends Last Week -- Apprentice jockey Alexander Crispin had one of his best week’s in Maryland, boasting a 26: 10-1-6 record. That’s 39% wins and a $2.18 ROI for every $1 bet. He was a trustworthy 8: 4-1-2 aboard favorites. Crispin’s 10 wins were for 8 different trainers, doubling with Mary Eppler and Mike Trombetta. -- Jockey Johan Rosado went 11: 5-1-3 in a big week. His $2.95 ROI for every $1 bet was a result of all 5 winners paying between $9-$23. He also bottomed the trifecta with a 44-1 shot. -- Trainer Hugh McMahon had a solid 6: 2-1-1 week, featuring a juicy pair of $12 winners and 9-1 and 11-1 shots in the superfecta. -- Trainer Mary Eppler went 2-for-3 with limited chances, including a $44 winner. She was 2-for-2 when employing apprentice Alexander Crispin in the saddle. -- Favorites were just 4-for-19 (21%) in claiming races last week.

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1.6.2021:

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 comes into the week with an $846,954 carryover (and guaranteed pool of $1.4 million on Wednesday) … The feature race this weekend is Saturday’s Grade 3 Tropical Park Turf … Invitations were extended Sunday for the January 23 Pegasus World Cup and World Cup Turf. Among the headliners on the list are defending champion Mucho Gusto and Malibu winner Charlatan, as well as Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile blazer Knicks Go … The Xpressbet Beat the Host contest hits Week 2 of 9 this Saturday and features 5 races from Gulfstream and Santa Anita. The host to beat will be XBTV’s Millie Ball. Play online at Xpressbet.com for your share of $60,000 in seasonal prizes.Stronach 5Last week’s $1 Stronach 5 paid $196.30 on a popular return. Stronach 5 races this Friday, January 8, will be:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:55Leg B – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:25Leg C – Santa Anita Race 3 with an approximate post time of 4:32Leg D – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:42Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 10 with an approximate post time of 5:131/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 21% or greater win rate. The factor Win % was a top-3 performer for the second straight week and produced a $69.20 profit if you bet each top choice for $2 win.Jockey 1 Year Win %Last PurseWin %Trends Last Week-- Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. was dominant, going 26: 9-3-3 and posting 35% wins and a $1.32 ROI for every $1 bet. Seven of those wins were 2-1 or less, but he sprinkled in $13 and $21 victories. He won 3 of 7 in stakes on the week.-- Jockey Edgard Zayas had a second straight week hitting above 20% and posting a positive ROI. His mounts returned $1.13 for every $1 bet last week, following $1.19 two weeks back.-- Trainer Mike Maker had a strong 4-for-10 week, all 4 victories in the claiming ranks (2 maiden claiming). He was 3-for-6 with favorites and also 3-for-6 with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.-- Trainer Bill Mott’s runners were 7: 3-1-1 and produced a $2.29 ROI for every $1 bet. Mott had $12 and $13 maiden special weight graduates, and each of his winners was piloted by Junior Alvarado.--Trainer Jack Sisterson made the most of limited bids at 3: 2-0-1 on the week. His winners included a $24 doozy, along with impressive 3-year-old turf stakes winner Kentucky Pharoah ($8).-- Maiden claiming favorites continue to dominate, 5-for-12 last week (42%) and now 27-for-61 at the meet (44% wins, 62% in exacta).

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1.6.2021:

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. Headlines The Rainbow 6 comes into the week with a $144,099 carryover for Friday as well as $8,634 in the Super High Five pool … Feature races this weekend are the Saturday’s Grade 3 La Canada and Grade 3 Las Cienegas, the latter expected to attract the talented Jolie Olimpica. Sunday’s feature will be the listed Kalookan Queen Stakes … Last Saturday’s Sham Stakes winner Life Is Good, favorite in the Pool 1 Kentucky Derby Future Wager, is under consideration for March’s San Felipe, though trainer Bob Baffert did not rule out other possibilities … The Xpressbet Beat the Host contest hits Week 2 of 9 this Saturday and features 5 races from Gulfstream and Santa Anita. The host to beat will be XBTV’s Millie Ball. Play online at Xpressbet.com for your share of $60,000 in seasonal prizes. Stronach 5 Last week’s $1 Stronach 5 paid $196.30 on a popular return. Stronach 5 races this Friday, January 8, will be: Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:55Leg B – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:25Leg C – Santa Anita Race 3 with an approximate post time of 4:32Leg D – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:42Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 10 with an approximate post time of 5:13 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 29% or greater win rate and all the speed category. Average SpeedAverage 2 of 3 SpeedBest Lifetime Speed Trends Last Week -- Favorites under-performed at 9-for-36 (25%), similar results on dirt and turf. They went 1-for-8 in allowance races, a condition now just 2-for-12 with favorites at the young meet. -- Trainer Peter Miller turned it up with a 15: 5-1-2 week that included a $1.78 ROI for every $1 bet. All 5 winners were 2-1 or more, and he won graded stakes with Hembree and Anothertwistafate. -- Trainer Shelbe Ruis did good things with limited chances, a precision 3: 2-0-1 record that included a 5-1 win and an 11-1 third with turf milers. -- Trainer Simon Callaghan also was on point with a 3: 2-0-0 mark that featured $17 winner Roman Centurian’s Jan. 3 maiden breaker that could propel him onto the Santa Anita Derby trail. -- Jockeys Juan Hernandez, Joel Rosario and Umberto Rispoli lit it up, each winning 29-30% and showing significant flat-bet profits. That trio alone accounted for 19 of the 36 winners last week at SA.

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1.5.2021:

Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Already it has been some week at Pompano Park and tonight there is a $28,183 Pick 5 carryover. That means another $150,000 guaranteed pool for the 0.50 Pick 5 that starts in Race 1. The 0.50 Pick 4 begins in Race 6 and that sequence will carry a $20,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 63-Even Louder (7/5)-Made every call a winning one on 12/22 against this kind and handled them easily. There is a concern about the sick scratch on 12/29. A major player if ready for a big try, but the price will be short.4-Sunrise Hanover (12-1)-Looking for a price and this mare has come off the bench with 2 nice races. Looking for a step-up effort in 3rd race since 10/27 and Simons owns, drives, and trains.5-BNB (7/2)-Looking for Chindano to leave and get a cozy trip behind the #3 or land on top. Has been in the hunt, finishing on the board in 5 of 6 at the Pomp. Looking for a picture but will need a good steer.Race 72-Wild Nite Tina (3-1)-Comes off a sharp effort from post 8 in 2nd local start. Wallis did pick this camera shy 7-year-old, but the entire field is not used to posing except for #8. Should be forwardly placed and looks like a player.4-Marvalous Jet (7/5)-Cashed a 4th place check in last after taking the long way around. But tonight, gets a ++ driver change with Hennessey taking the lines. Beaten 4/5 chalk should be there at the wire and will be bet hard.8-American Arrow (7-1)-Makes 2nd start for new barn and will look for a more determined effort in 2nd race since 10/24. Shows a 152.1 mark on the 5/8's at Plainridge and should offer a solid payout tonight.Race 81-Northern Dali (25-1)-Can land a close-up seat and will use at a big price leaving both the morning line chalks off my ticket.2-Image Of A Dream (9-1)-Has been in the hunt versus this kind and the program favorites could leave and that will make for a lively pace. Plano can work a stalking trip and roll by late in the mile.5-Cult Icon (5-1)-Comes off an even effort after 2 straight pictures and now Shetler steers. Fits with this crew and has the gate speed to be forwardly placed at a square price.Race 93-Happy Heart (6/5)-Winner of 2 in a row steps-up but still looks like a threat. Not much gate speed in this group and Hennessey can land on the top of the stack and control the pace.4-Maddelle (10-1)-Paquet's choice over the other Lareau entry #7. He can find a live cover flow and will offer a nice price. Could surprise if pace is lively.6-Sue's Night Out (3-1)-Claimed on 12/22 and was pushed up in class in 1st start for new barn and cashed a 2nd place check. Looking for an even better effort and has enough gate speed to get the pocket behind #3.0.50 Pick 43,4,5/2,4,8/1,2,5/3,4,6Total Bet=$40.50Check me out on Twitter!

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1.4.2021:

Monday, January 04: Pompano Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Pompano Park comes out swinging in 2021 with a $30,000 guaranteed pool in both the Early and Late 0.50 Pick 4. My focus will be on the Late Pick 4 sequence which starts in Race 10 and has a very low 12% takeout.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 102-Loud Splash (3-1)-Drops to the softest spot this meet and with this post can be put in play early. MacDonald should be aggressive here and a 2-hole trip could be in the cards. This 5-year-old can bring a nice brush down the lane.5-Feelin Lika Winner (5-1)-Wasn't Hennessey's choice and that's usually a red flag. But will use instead of the #6 who was 1-17 last year. Has been fading down the lane, but might be overlooked at the windows and could seal the deal this time.7-Captain Velocity (7-1)-Shetler could be blasting out as the Captain went a 26.1 opening quarter last week. Might get the top without using quite as much gas, which helps chances at a nice price.8-Dash Of Danger (7/2)-Steps-up after capturing an overdue win by exploding late in the mile. Will need a trip at this level but this race could set-up nicely for a repeat. Looks like a major player if pace is brisk and that seems probable.Race 116-Muscles For Life (8/5)-The reason to not single #7 is because Hennessey is the pilot. Most likely, the best chance for a win is to get the top and look to slow things down. It's a 2-horse race but Muscles needs to get a favorable trip to beat Caviar.7-Dg's Caviar (5/2)-Winner of 4 straight at this class went off as big overlay in last. There is no chance of getting almost4-1 this time. But anything close to the last effort will probably mean another trip to the winner's circle unless #6 can lock it down for about 3/8's of a mile.Race 121-Rub Ofthe Green N (9/2)-Makes 4th start since arriving from Ohio and didn't do much so far. But this looks like the softest field it has seen in south Florida. MacDonald steers and it could be time for an aggressive drive.2-Brandon Hanover (5/2)-Beaten odds on chalk was used a couple of times in last and faded badly down the lane. Probably will be bet hard again but best to not dismiss. There isn't much gate speed except for the outside pair. So, if Hennessey can easily get the top, he might be able to put this field to sleep.4-B Like Cruiser (2-1)-Drops to a spot to shine but is trip dependent and will need an honest pace. Ingraham needs to be aware and not start rolling too late.Race 131-Ev's Girl (8-1)-Bumps up after leaving from the 7-hole and getting a very efficient trip. This won't be as easy but still should be able to get a close-up seat. Looks to be worth a swing. Using instead of the program chalk who steps-up and has post 8.4-Cantab Lindy (5-1)-Just missed in 1st race since 9/25 and stayed inside versus Open III company. Trainer owns, now bumps up a notch and will take that as a positive. MacDonald sticks and should be tighter. Has hit the board in 15 of 18 Pomp starts with 8 wins.5-Sooo Handsome (5-1)-Did pass foes down the lane last week but started from post 7 and raced from the back of the pack. One of these days Plano may leave and not look back. Maybe that's the script tonight and should be a fair price.6-My Uncle Cuz (9/2)-Blasted out an got on the engine in 1st Pompano start and came up a half-length short. Barn has won 2 of 8 in past 30 days and best to respect off of the last sharp effort.My TicketRace 10) 2,5,7,8 Race 11) 6,7 Race 12) 1,2,4 Race 13) 1,4,5,6Total Ticket Cost) $48 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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1.4.2021:

Monday Myths? The Career Maiden

Introducing a new 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: Horses who take an excessive amount of races to finally break their maiden are bad bets when they return against winners next time out. They're often dubbed "Career Maidens." Background: We could look at an excessive amount of maiden-breaking attempts as a subjective number. To some, it may be more than 5. Others 10. Even others somewhere in-between or above that total. No matter what your consideration of excessive may be, our ability to look at the numbers in various ranges should be able to give you personal confidence in your assumption, either for or against. Data Points: I looked at the Betmix database for runners who made 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12 and 15 starts to break their maidens. Our sample size was over the last 5 full years of racing, 2016-2020, at all tracks. Overall Findings: 1 start to break maiden: 17.84% wins next out ($0.78 ROI) 2 starts to break maiden: 13.66% wins next out ($0.74 ROI) 3 starts to break maiden: 12.75% wins next out ($0.75 ROI) 4 starts to break maiden: 11.84% wins next out ($0.75 ROI) 5 starts to break maiden: 12.28% wins next out ($0.74 ROI) 8 starts to break maiden: 11.93% wins next out ($0.76 ROI) 10 starts to break maiden: 12.44% wins next out ($0.72 ROI) 12 starts to break maiden: 11.74% wins next out ($0.73 ROI) 15 starts to break maiden: 10.73% wins next out ($0.59 ROI) 16 or more starts to break maiden: 8.61% wins next out ($0.53 ROI) Overall Findings Verdict: While horses who break their maiden quicker do tend to outperform their later graduates when facing winners, the discrepancy in numbers happens in two particular cut-offs. First-time starters who win are much more likely to win next out than those who were defeated any number of times before graduation. And, it’s around the 15-start mark that you see the big drop off between horses who took more time to break their maiden have success against winners. A maiden breaker from 2-12 prior starts isn’t wildly different in win rate or ROI. 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, tracks with the highest win percentage of first-time starters to win and repeat against winners next time include Los Al (TB) 29%, Thistledown 26%, Hawthorne 25%, Pimlico 25%, Belmont 24%, Turfway 24%.

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1.3.2021:

Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

Cal Expo has a 12-race card set to go on their first Sunday night of racing of the meet. The 0.20 Pick 4 begins in Race 9. The sequence has a $25,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 94-Bobs Time (5-1)-Cutting's choice over #2 has been in form and should benefit from a dry track and. Best to respect, has beaten this kind recently.5-Danzig To Dharma (5-1)-Has had its own way for the most part versus mares and can beat this group if there is an honest pace. Can start slowly, so needs to get off the gate alertly and then find live cover to take a picture tonight.6-Cut A Rug (6-1)-Even effort in last 2 and previously notched 2 wins with Plano steering and he is back tonight. Looking for a better try at a square price.7-Bizys Beatle (5-1)-Drew off against NW1 with a 55.4 back half on a "good" track and now steps up. Has won 3 out of 7 on an off track and was bet down to 1/5. Using, but hoping isn't over bet.Race 102-Cantholdmebackmack (3-1)-Bet down to 6/5 in last, was driven aggressively and the trip took its toll. Roland is back and should be in the mix with a smooth journey.5-Lincoln (6-1)-Ten-year-old does not win much anymore but he has hit the basement and can be a player here at a solid price. Did roll late versus $4k claimers in last but needs to avoid a sluggish start.7-Hi Ho's Little Rev (9/5)-Last win came on 9/18 at Haw versus NW1000L4. Drops and has been in too tough. Can beat this bunch and is hard to leave off this ticket but offers no value at 9/5.Race 111-Gravelsinmytravel (7/2)-Drops into a good spot in 2nd start off the bench. Svendsen can get a good early seat and could get sucked around for 2nd win in the last 18 starts.3-Frwil Dakota Sven (6-1)-Hasn't had much success since coming off the bench. Makes 4th start and takes a good drop-in class after breaking in last. Price should be right if can rebound with a top try as Cutting takes the lines.5-Buzz Light (9/5)-Buzz broke stride on 12/12 and hasn't looked good since. Should enjoy the company and there is some risk to leave out, but at 9/5 doesn't offer any value.Race 126-West Central Beach (6-1)-Comes off a tough trip but does try hard. Should offer a square price and even though is trip dependent Cutting can find live cover. Using and thinking the fractions could be lively and that should help.7-Trump Train (4-1)-Loses Plano as he drives his pupil #2. That might help the price and the start will be key. If J Chappell can put in play early chances for success go up.8-Joltin Joe (6-1)-Had a troubled trip in last but this will be the 2nd tour of duty for Roland and the trip should be better. Only 1-14 in 2020 but last race was the best effort in a while and that was coming off a judge's scratch.0.20 Pick 44,5,6,7/2,5,7/1,3,5/6,7,8Total Bet=$21.60Check me out on Twitter!

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1.3.2021:

SUNDAY, JANUARY 3: JERRY SHOTTENKIRK'S GULFSTREAM PARK LATE PICK 4

The end of the first weekend of 2021 is a prime time to jump in at Gulfstream Park, which presents a strong Late Pick 4 challenge.  The Late Pick 4 on Sunday is stakes free but includes some quality claiming races that require leaving on the handicapping thinking cap for an extra minute or two. I’m firing a $60 suggested ticket on the first weekend of the new year in Hallandale Beach. Here’s a look at how I see it: GULFSTREAM PARK // RACE 8 (3:42PM ET) // CLAIMING JANUARY WON was claimed last time by Sweezey, and that’s usually a good thing. Won the last time he was at two turns and can bring the heat late in the game. STARSHIP ARAMIS tried going 1.5 miles on turf last time and is back to a much, MUCH better set of circumstances. Loves to be on the front end and could take them to the wire. ICONIC was claimed last out by Johnson stable and while he lacks consistency, he has some starts that would make him difficult to beat if he has a flashback. SURF SHACK takes a class drop and the Winebaugh barn is capable of scoring over this strip. GULFSTREAM PARK // RACE 9 (4:13PM ET) // CLAIMING MYAMANOI represents the Gargan barn, which is close to having a 50-percent success rate. Was a fast closing fourth in the Dania Beach Stakes here last year. SHINING THROUGH ran on for third last time and has been on the board in both of his local starts. Can make up ground. MAX’S CAUSEWAY was second last time when claimed by Maker and gets Irad Ortiz up for the first attempt for the new connections. Capable of showing late interest. GULFSTREAM PARK // RACE 10 (4:45PM ET) // CLAIMING) WELL DEFINED cruised to an easy win in a race that came off the dirt and now stays with main track. Troublesome out front. BLESSED JOURNEY crushed N3L rivals last out and two back found it out for a win. Was claimed last out by Perez and fits here. LIKE YOU has been with much better and this drop in class could be enough to get him home in fine fashion.  GLORY OF FLORIDA has done a lot of good over the track was claimed last time by Cazares when he ran fourth. Does his best in these one-turn mile races. LUSITANO ran two strong races just prior to an off-the-board finish on turf. Stretches out and can be a forward factor from the first stride. GULFSTREAM PARK // RACE 11 (5:17PM ET) MAIDEN CLAIMING ON A TOUR wasn’t a factor in her only start, which was in a MSW at Woodbine and his chances will improve with the start to his credit as well as additional distance. Has had several works since then and is likely to do much better here. MISSION POSSIBLE lost a photo at this level last out in her first around two turns. Was outnodded last time and might be able to finish the job. SUGGESTED 50-CENT LATE PICK 4 TICKET: RACE 8: #3 January Won, #9 Starship Aramis, #10 Iconic, #11 Surf Shack. RACE 9: #1 Myamanoi, #9 Shining Through, #11 Max’s Causeway. RACE 10: #1 Well Defined, #2 Blessed Journey, #4 Like You, #5 Glory of Florida, #6 Lusitano. RACE11: #3 On a Tour, #7 Mission Possible TOTAL COST // 50-cent Pick Four: 3-9-10-11 with 1-9-11 with 1-2-4-5-6 with 3-7 ($60).

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1.2.2021:

Saturday, January 2: Meadowlands Pick 5 Analysis - $150,000 Guaranteed Pool

The Meadowlands kicks-off 2021 with a $150,000 guaranteed pool for the 0.20 Pick 5 that begins in Race 1. The large guarantee was brought about because of a $46,731 carryover from last Saturday night. It would not be a surprise if the Pick 5 pool grows to twice as much as the guarantee. The wager has a 15% takeout, and the sequence will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 11-Machiatto A (7/2) -Just missed at 19-1 on 12/12 at this class before facing Preferred foes at Fhld and took the long way around that night. Back now at the same class as previous start. Drawing the rail should help, likes to get on the engine. Andrew McCarthy steers and could be sitting on a big try.3-Independent One (15-1)-Taking a swing for a price after a needed start last week. Will need the right trip in 2nd race since 9/21 but could surprise if tight enough. Owns a 151 mark here and has the gate speed to be put in play early in the mile.7-Albergo Hanover (3-1)-Qualified on 12/26 after being off since 11/15. Has 3 wins in 9 starts at the Big M and cashed 2nd place checks in the other 3 races. Best to respect, qualifier was good, owns sub-150 speed and makes 2nd start on Lasix.Race 21-Bronze Yankee (8-1)-Blake Macintosh trainee finds his way to the Big M with the shutdown at Mohawk. Has banked more money in 2020 than anyone in the field except #2 and could get the pocket ride behind the program chalk. Looks like a solid price that could take a picture.2-King Alphonos (3-1)-Comes off a very sharp qualifier with Dunn steering from the 9-hole on 12/19. Faced tough foes last year and should be bet hard. Looks like a major player but this will be the 1st start since 10/24.4-Beyond Ordinary (9/2)-Even effort in last with trainer driving. Now, Dave Miller is between the pipes and draws well. Has hit the board in 6 of 8 races at the Big M with a picture.Race 34-Haymitch (9/2)-Comes off a flat effort at Fhld and then was a sick scratch. Beat the $12,500 claimers here on 12/12. Andrew McCarthy steers and the Stallworth barn has had 29% winners in the last 30 days. Could beat this bunch at a square price if brings a big effort.6-Rock On Line (10-1)-Needed last and now makes the 2nd start for the Hernandez barn and they have been rolling along. Dunn could find cover and work a trip from this spot. Should fit with this group and makes sense to include at the morning line price.10-Fox Valley Nemitz (3-1)-Comes off a sharp win making every call a winning one versus this kind in last. Post could be an issue, and the inside pair could leave. Either way Joe B probably has the best horse, but he needs to provide a good steer.Race 41-Juxta Cowgirl (10-1)-Drops to a spot to shine, has some gate speed and should be a solid price. This is the 4th start off the bench, Todd McCarthy steers and the Watson barn has 6 wins in 30 starts over the past 30 days. Looking for an aggressive drive and to be in the hunt at the wire.3-Rockin The Boys A (7/2)-This will be the 2nd start since 9/24, AMac drives and comes off a sharp tune-up at Philly. The pace could be lively and that could help this mare roll by late.Race 51-Whittaker N (15-1)-Using from the rail and the risk reward should be there. Could offer a bigger price than the morning line. Has enough gate speed so George Nap could get the pocket trip behind the program chalk who most likely leaves hard for the lead.2-Blood Line (3-1)-Tuned-up here with an even effort on 12/26 versus better. This is the horse to beat and should win if dialed on high in 2nd start since 10/24. Seven-year-old still has sub-150 speed and has hit the board 8 times in 18 starts in East Rutherford with 3 wins.My Ticket Race 1) 1,3,7 Race 2) 1,2,4 Race 3) 4,6,10 Race 4) 1,3 Race 5) 1,2Total Ticket Cost) $21.60 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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1.2.2021:

Saturday, January 2: Jeff Siegel's Full-Card Santa Anita 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 here to Access Today’s Santa Anita Workout Report RACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: CUse: 1-On Easy Street; 6-Uncle Ray; 7-Mulholland Highway; 8-Frasard Forecast: The Saturday opener is a difficult turf router for older maidens. Spread as deeply as you can afford to. On Easy Street draws the rail and could be on or near the pace in a field without any known speed. In the frame in his last three starts and with speed figures that fit, the son of Street Boss may be as good as any. Frasard is a 15-race maiden and therefore not one to trust, but on pure form he’s a major contender after finishing second in a similar affair at Del Mar in late November when winding up a little more than a length in front of our top pick. Mulholland Highway is a one-paced grinder but he’s only had four starts and therefore may have a bit more upside then some of the other more exposed runners. The N. Drysdale-trained gelding picks up F. Prat and should have enough tactical speed to be within range throughout. Uncle Ray trains like he’s a bit better than his form suggests so at 6-1 on the morning line he probably should be tossed in somewhere as well. RACE 2: Post: 1:03 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Coalinga Road; 4-Tizhotndusty Forecast: Let’s concentrate on the two main players stretching out for the first time. Coalinga Road has rising speed figures, a good inside draw, and is by the right sire (Quality Road) so we’re expecting this C. Gaines-trained gelding to continue to move forward. Third in a pretty quick sprint at Del Mar in late November, the newly-turned 4-year-old could find himself in the role as the controlling speed if that’s the strategy they choose to employ. Tizhotndusty has sprint figures that make him fairly competitive and based on pedigree the son of Unusual Heat seems likely to handle the stretch-out in trip. With a break in the weights, he should have every chance to secure a good stalking position. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Coalinga Road. RACE 3: Post: 1:34 PT Grade: B+Use: 5-Freedom Flyer; 8-Stressed Forecast: Stressed is a first-timer vanning up from San Luis Rey Downs with what looks to be just an okay series of drills on her resume, but we have a hunch she’s a lot faster than those final times might indicate. The daughter of Goldencents brought $110,000 at the Timonium 2-year-old in training sale last year after smoking a furlong during the preview session in 10 seconds flat, so In a field in which the known element doesn’t inspire, let’s go with this debut runner on top and hope to get close to her morning line of 5-1. Freedom Flyer isn’t particularly fast on speed figures but she’s shown enough to warrant some consideration. The daughter of Constitution adds Lasix for the first time and projects to be properly situated on or near the pace. Stressed gets the main punch but we’ll include this S. Callaghan-trained filly on a ticket or two as a saver. RACE 4: Post: 2:05 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Flat Out Joy; 2-Raneem; 6-Little Miss Ellie Forecast: We’ll go three-deep in this optional claiming sprint for fillies and mares while preferring Little Miss Ellie on top. The V. Cerin-trained daughter of Richard’s Kid graduated in her third career start during the fall meeting, doing so in clever style after overcoming a bit of early trouble. She lands the cozy outside post, retains F. Prat, and should settle in just behind the leaders before launching her bid. Flat Out Joy broke her maiden over this main track three runs back, and despite being off the board in a pair of subsequent outings she has speed figures that put her in the picture. Raneem has trained well for her return, is protected off the layoff in what can be taken as a sign of confidence and could be a bit better type this time around for Baffert. RACE 5: Post: 2:35 PT Grade: C+Use: 5-K P Kan Do; 10-Katerini Forecast: This maiden 3-year-old filly grass sprint looks inscrutable. Anything goes. K P Kan Do is bred to win early and like turf (Kantharos), and with F. Prat aboard she has the look of a live newcomer, her moderate work tab notwithstanding. At 6-1 on the morning line, she may be as good as any. Katerini had an outing during the fall meeting which wasn’t too bad, a fourth place finish in a productive race. She gets Lasix and blinkers today, so improvement certainly is possible. We’ll try to get by using just these two in a race that might be best avoided. RACE 6: Post: 3:05 PT Grade: BUse: 3-Tizamagician; 7-Kandarel; 8-Paladar Forecast: Tizamagician has preferred to run second more than win so far in his career but the newly-turned 4-year-old colt continues to impress in the a.m., and as a son of Tiznow should make a better older horses than he was as a 3-year-old. Back at a middle distance after finishing a distant second in a mini-marathon during the fall meeting, the R. Mandella-trained colt projects to draft into a comfortable pace-stalking position and be tough to contain from the quarter pole home. Mandella’s other starter, Kandarel, adds blinkers and tries dirt for the first time in his career. He’s looked especially sharp in the morning on the main track to indicate he’s ready for a career top effort, and while he’s tackling older foes for the first time and needs a boost in the speed figure department, we’re pretty sure he’s better than his 20-1 morning line indicates. Paladar can be brilliant when he gets to control the pace but is something less than that whenever he can’t. After demolishing an out-classed starter’s allowance field at Del Mar in gate-to-wire fashion with a huge speed figure, the son of Street Cry tries tougher second-level allowance foes while likely to face considerably more pace pressure. On the chance that he can clear the field – not a slam dunk but certainly a possibility – we’ll include him in our rolling exotics. RACE 7: Post: 3:35 PT Grade: A-Single: 5-Count Again Forecast: Count Again, a six-year-old with just eight career starts (and four wins), was spectacular in his first outing since joining the P. D’Amato barn in late November when unleashing an exceptional turn of foot to win the Seabiscuit H.-G3. Based on that initial impression, we expect he’ll become the premier turf performer on the West Coast in 2021. Probably most effective at a middle distance, he can lay back and then blast home again, though he’s likely to have to rally into the teeth of slow splits. We doubt an unfavorable pace scenario will deter him, so at 2-1 on the morning line he’s a strong win play and rolling exotic single. RACE 8: Post: 4:05 PT Grade: XSingle: 5-Life Is Good Forecast: Life Is Good is 2/5 on the morning line, so obviously there’s no sensible wager available, but it’ll be fun to see how this son of Into Mischief progresses as he takes another step towards potential greatness. Following his runaway romp in his debut at Del Mar in late November, we suspected the B. Baffert-trained colt would quickly develop into the best colt in his crop, and everything he has done in the morning since that race has done nothing but reinforce that opinion. He could be the next American Pharoah or Justify for B. Baffert, big words to be sure. We’ll see. RACE 9: Post: 4:35 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Ultimate Bango; 4-Mesut; 7-Sparky Ville Forecast: Where’s the speed in this six furlong turf sprint for second-level allowance older horses? There doesn’t seem to be any, so if you can pinpoint the controlling speed in this race you may have solved it’s riddle. Ultimate Bango used to have some early zip and maybe in this spot he’ll show it. Back on grass for the first time since being beaten a head in a Cal-bred sprint stakes during the fall season, the veteran gelding seems as a good as any so we’ll put him on top at 5-1 on the morning line. Mesut was scratched out of the Joe Hernandez S.-G3 yesterday for this considerably easier spot and the C. Gaines-trained gelding has form that makes him a strong contender, though at age seven he shows just two career victories from 16 lifetime outings, making him a hard one to trust. Sparky Ville is winless in five prior outings over the local lawn but he did earn a triple-digit Beyer speed figures when nosed out in the Dayton S.-G3 over this course last spring. He’s back with “win rider” M. Smith and projects to be forwardly placed throughout. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics but you may be tempted to include a few more if your budget allows.

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12.31.2020:

Saturday, January 2: Johnny D's Santa Anita Late Pick 4 Analysis

Welcome to 2021! The New Year and the horses are off and running at Santa Anita. Below is one man's humble handicapping opinion regarding the last four races at Santa Anita Saturday. It's an interesting collection of puzzles anchored by the second start for what appears to be an absolute superstar from the Bob Baffert barn…(Where have we heard that phrase before?) Also kicking off Saturday is the 2021 version of Beat the Host. Posted below Pick 4 analysis and a suggested ticket is an introduction to the 2021 version of the popular handicapping tournament. Xpressbet's Jeremy Plonk is the host to beat this week. Santa Anita Saturday Late Pick 4 Race 6 This $62,500 Optional Claiming race is such a mixed bag of runners that there doesn't seem to be an obvious solution to this puzzle, so we'll provide snapshots for the entire field without really ‘loving' anyone. #1 Fortune Ticket makes his first start for trainer Jonathan Wong, who is 37% with runners making their first starts for him. That lofty number was accomplished mainly in Northern California. This 4-year-old colt has been running at Remington Park for trainer Steve Asmussen. These would seem to be tougher foes than he's previously faced. #2 Bold Endeavor was claimed for $50k last out after finishing second behind #6 Kershaw. Seven-pound apprentice Jess Pyfer takes over from journeymanTyler Baze. This 5-year-old gelding's last win was accomplished for a $32,000 tag at Santa Anita. These are tougher. #3 Tizmagician is a 4-year-old colt from the Richard Mandella barn. He's always been well-regarded and, after breaking maiden in his sixth start, he was pitched in the Gr. 3 Bob Lewis. He hurdled the first level allowance in September at Del Mar and then was a well-beaten second in the Gr. 3 Tokyo City at Santa Anita going one mile and one-half. He likes to be close to the early pace and has trained ok for this. #4 Ekklesia is a 4-year-old colt with 2 wins in 9 starts—but both wins came in just 3 dry dirt races. He hurdled the first level allowance condition in October at Santa Anita and was third by a neck in an $80k Optional Claimer last out. Top jock Flavien Prat rides for Pete Eurton (5-1-3-0 this meet). He's another that appreciates being close to the early pace. A bullet :47 1/5 half-mile workout--best of 43--is a positive sign. #5 Potanico was second at this level last out in November. He has acted with some of these foes in the past and fits in here, as do they. The 5-year-old is competitive but not dominating at this level and is a great example of a horse than could win this race but is one that's difficult to completely embrace. #6 Kershaw won nicely and was claimed for $50k last out in November at Del Mar. He's one of a few that have acted with #5 Potanico and each other on several occasions. They seem to be close in ability, as Kershaw has been close at this level several times for the $62,500 tag after winning the condition in Feb. of 2020. New trainer Victor Garcia is 0-2 with first out claims. #7 Kanderel is another Mandella-trained starter in here. Last year, as a 3-year-old, he faced mostly stakes competition on turf with mild success. He makes his first dirt start here. How will he handle it? Good question. Perhaps this is a case of Mandella just trying dirt before offering the gelding for a tag? #8 Paladar is a 6-year-old gelding with 1 start since August of '19. He's won 2 of 6 fast dirt starts (and is 1-1 over an off track). All 3 of his wins have come in wire-to-wire fashion, so expect jockey Joel Rosario to look for the lead in here. He has trained well since his last race with works at San Luis Rey and Santa Anita. Trainer Baltas and jockey Rosario bat 19%. Consider this fellow a threat in here. #9 Shooters Shoot has 2 wins and they both came while going wire-to-wire. Jockey Abel Cedillo will need to hustle this guy from the 9-hole to get to the front in here and likely will need to go too fast early or be forced wide. This newly turned 4-year-old was last seen setting the pace in the Santa Anita Derby before fading to fifth. He has a strong series of works for his return. #10 King Abner is a 7-year-old earner of over $400k in 26 starts. He hasn't raced since June and hasn't won since November of '19 but has faced some graded stakes and state-bred stakes competition since. If this wasn't such a wide-open race, there's no way we'd use a 7-year-old off a layoff from the 10-hole going two turns at Santa Anita. But…we have next to no clue in this race and this guy is making his first start for a tag for an outfit that's 23% off layoffs. Race 7 The Grade 2 San Gabriel is at one mile and one-eighth on turf and has attracted a group of usual suspects. There are a few fresh faces and interesting possibilities. One of those may make the lead in a paceless field and pull off a surprise. #1 Cleopatra's Strike was claimed last out for $62,500. That's not strange because he was being dropped out of decent efforts in graded stakes races. What is unusual is that he is an 8-year-old gelding. Now, we're all for AARP, but how much punch can this guy have left in his tank? Against mostly Grade 1 and Grade 2 foes, #2 Next Shares is just 1 for 10 on Santa Anita turf but 7 for 10 in the money. Once in a while this 8-year-old gelding finds his way into the trifecta, like last out when he was third at 20-1 in the Grade 2 Seabiscuit at Del Mar. In March and May, he was third and second, respectively, in the Gr. 1 Kilroe and Gr. 1 Shoemaker. #3 Bob and Jackie is an interesting play in here. Like #2 Next Shares, he's trained by Richard Baltas. This lightly raced 5-year-old horse ran into tiger Mo Forza in his last 2 starts, both Gr. 2 events. Blinkers were added last out and produced a respectable third-place finish after he forced a blisteringly hot pace. This race appears lacking in early speed, so look for this guy to flee the gate for the lead under jockey Omar Figueroa, the only rider he's ever known and a 20% winner with Baltas. With 4 wins in 8 starts, Bob and Jackie ought to be very dangerous setting the pace in here. #5 Count Again absolutely exploded last out to win the Gr. 2 Seabiscuit at Del Mar. That was his first start in Southern California after racing mostly at Woodbine. A repeat of that effort will make him tough in here. However, there doesn't seem to be much speed in here to set up his closing kick. He's sharp and must be respected but a repeat of his last seems like asking too much. #6 Anothertwistafate has been a disappointment to this horseplayer. Last out he tried turf for the first time to finish fourth behind Count Again in the Gr. 2 Seabiscuit after changing barns to Pete Miller from Blaine Wright. He won the Gr. 3 Longacres Mile in Sept. #7 Bowies Hero is an honest 7-year-old that hasn't had much success at this distance—1 for 8. He does well at Santa Anita 3 for 11 and 7 in the money tries. He may be a bit past his best stuff but gets top jock Flavien Prat for a turf journey and that's very positive. Prat and trainer D'Amato click at 29%. Race 8 It's often a sharp move to take a stand against an overhyped, impressive maiden winner starting at short odds while trying something for the first time. Maybe not so much in here, though. #5 Life is Good was awesome in his first race and has returned to work like a beast. He seems a FREE Bingo Spot on PickN wagers. #5 Life is Good will attempt to parlay a six and one-half furlong nine and one-half length romp in a maiden race at Del Mar into a Gr. 3 Sham Stakes tally going a mile and one-sixteenth around two turns. He ought to be able to do it. He has worked extremely well since his last race—topped by a six furlong move in 1:10 3/5 two days after Christmas at Santa Anita. Race 9 Saturday festivities conclude with a spin around Santa Anita's new turf layout at six furlongs. They certainly haven't raced enough of these for anyone to establish a bias or an angle on how to play these heats. For example, coming down the hill at six furlongs on turf, the race used to favor milers more than six-furlong sprinters. #1 El Tigre Terrible hails from the Peter Miller barn and has top jock Favien Prat aboard. In an open race that might be enough for a player to use this one right off the bat. The duo hits at 28%. El Tigre Terrible has won 4 of 10 starts, including 1 for 3 at Santa Anita. It's worth noting that 3 of those 4 wins came on the dirt and this gelding is just 1 for 4 on turf and races from off the pace. #2 Ghoul returns to Santa Anita after spending the summer and fall in Kentucky and New York. He's still with the Peter Miller barn and Joel Rosario rides—a 21% combo. Ghoul has a win at Santa Anita and is 6 for 17 on turf. The 6-year-old is in for the $62,500 tag. He comes from off the pace. #3 Ultimate Bango has 3 wins, 3 seconds and a third in 11 starts over Santa Anita turf. He is 0-6 this year and last won going one mile on the Santa Anita turf June 8, '19. #4 Mesut is a 7-year-old that seems more likely to run second than first. He does have a victory over the downhill six and one-half furlong Santa Anita course. That suggests he may prefer more than the five and one-half furlongs he's been trying lately. Still, he's 7 and has just two wins in 13 tries over Santa Anita green. #5 Brandothebartender hasn't won in his last 14 starts but he's been close. He has been in the money on 12 of those occasions. May be best for exacta and trifecta players. #6 Prodigal Son spend much of 2020 in the UAE without much success. He has a sparkling 1:12 2/5 gate work going into this. Still, he's just 1 for 7 on turf. #7 Sparky Ville is a 5-year-old starting for the $62,500 tag. He's got some fast Beyer Speed Figures established in stakes races, but he's 0 for 5 over Santa Anita turf and just 1 for 7 on grass overall. This drop in class and longer distance could help his cause. His last out at Los Alamitos against allowance foes wasn't too bad. That was his second start in blinkers. Jockey Mike Smith is familiar with this gelding and is the last to have won on him. #8 Lincoln City is a 5-year-old horse that closed some ground in a Los Alamitos sprint last out. He's not special in here but he has a touch of speed that might prove helpful in this paceless bunch. He's a reach but the trainer is unbeaten in 2 starts at the meet. #9 Oiseau de Guerre is a 7-year-old that has been off since May. We'd like to see one before using him. #10 Encoder is the youngster in the group and will be making his first start at 4. He's won 3 of 7 overall and 3 of 6 on turf. He's 1 for 3 at Santa Anita. Most of his races have been stakes against his age group. He was good enough to win the Eddie Logan at one mile on turf in Dec. ‘19. Hot riding Ricky Gonzalez (2 for 10) pilots this colt for the first time for trainer John Sadler. Only drawback with this one is that he's been off since Feb. He's been working every 7-8 days so he could be ready. Trainer Sadler is 10% off 180 or more days off. $.50 Suggested Late Pick 4 Play Race 6: (All) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Race 7: 3 Race 8: 5 Race 9: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10 TICKET COST: $30 FOR 50-CENTS

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12.31.2020:

Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies - 12/31/20

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. 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 the Santa Anita Workout Report Click to Watch today’s Day Makers RACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: C+ Use:5-Sofi’s Gold 7-Sweet Rafaela Forecast: The opener is a turf sprint for state-bred entry-level fillies and mares, and with the rails out 30 feet those able to save ground should have a considerable advantage. Sofi’s Gold has a prior win over the local lawn and enough early speed to be the fray throughout. She’s lightly-raced and therefore may have a bit more room to improve than some of the others. Sweet Rafaela is a veteran mare with six career victories and showed a liking for this turf course in two prior outings, hitting the board both times. She has a good stalking style, retains regular rider E. Maldonado, and has races that put her right there. RACE 2: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B- Use: 1-Midnight Jamboree; 5-True Mischief Forecast: Midnight Jamboree seems to be progressing with experience and produced her best effort in four career starts when graduating at Del Mar from a maiden $20,000 field in game style, and in doing so earned a speed figure that makes her tough right back in this restricted (nw-2) $16,000 event for older fillies and mares. She’s guaranteed a good ground-saving, stalking trip and should be capable of taking full advantage of it. True Mischief also won a maiden $20,000 affair - her victory was accomplished at Los Alamitos – and if she can run back to that race today she’ll be the one to fear most. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Midnight Jamboree. RACE 3: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: C Use: 1-I’m Leaving You; 2-C Falls; 4-Antithetical Forecast: The uncertain pace scenario makes this starter optional claimer over a mile on turf a difficult handicapping challenge. I’m Leaving You has been facing much tougher foes of late while earning speed figures that are good enough to win at this level, and with the favorable inside draw coupled with the switch to J. Rosario the V. Belvoir gelding should have every chance to regain his winning form. His maiden claiming win over this course and distance last May was accomplished in gate-to-wire fashion and we suspect similar strategy will be employed today. However, C Falls should be part of the pace throughout and there’s a chance these two will cancel each other out if they hook up early. ‘Falls, in fact, may be a tad quicker, so if he’s sent from the bell he could get over and obtain the same type of trip that produced his maiden $50,000 claiming win at Los Alamitos 19 days ago. Antithetical is the best of the closers, and if a speed duel materializes he’ll be the beneficiary. His runner-up effort over this course during the fall meeting produced a career top speed figure, the best in the field. We’ll pass the race other than to use all three in our rolling exotics. RACE 4: Post: 2:00 PT Grade: B Use: 2-Varoma; 5-You’re All Talk Forecast: Varoma earned a decent speed figure – one that’s probably good enough to beat this field – when a willing runner-up in a slightly stronger maiden claiming sprint at Del Mar last month, and with any kind of forward move today the daughter of Vancouver should be capable of leading this field gate-to-wire. In that race she was two length clear of the third filly, who came back to win, and bug girl J. Pyfer has proven quite capable when riding front-running types. The only concern is a recent workout in which the M. Ortiz-trained filly displayed a tendency to lug out; hopefully she’ll run straight and true today. You’re All Talk is considerably slower on numbers than our top pick but is adding blinkers for the first time and certainly has a right to improve. She should be able to settle into a second flight position and then have dead aim from there. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with clear preference on top to Varoma. RACE 5: Post: 2:30 PT Grade: C+ Use: 1-Smoothlikebuttah; 2-Warren’s Candy Girl; 4-Miss Ever Ready; 9-Agata Forecast: Straight maiden state-bred juvenile fillies meet over a mile on turf in what looks to be a wide open affair with several possibilities. We’ll go four deep, and if you find the need to include even a few more, go right ahead. Smoothlikebutta stretches out for the first time and tries grass, and as a daughter of Mr. Big she’s certainly bred to improve with the added distance and the switch in surface. Her sprint form isn’t bad, and her good inside draw – especially with the rails set at 30 feet – dictates a pace setting or pressing strategy. Warren’s Candy Girl and Miss Ever Ready, two-three finishers under similar conditions at Del Mar last month, both figure in the fray and neither would have to improve much to win. Agata is drawn a bit farther outside than we’d prefer but if she can get over a secure a decent trip the daughter of Gervinho should have a chance to make a legitimate run for it. Her sprint debut at Del Mar was okay and with Redatorre on the bottom side of her pedigree she should be able to act around two-turns. RACE 6: Post: 3:00 PT Grade: B+ Use: 1-Kneedeepinsnow; 4-Shashashakemeup Forecast: Shashashakemeup is a dangerous Churchill Downs shipper from the P. Miller barn and is fresh from a strong runner-up effort that produced a career top speed figure, one good enough to beat this field. A winner at this extended sprint distance two races back, the son of Shackleford has an ideal stalking style that ensures a comfortable trip, picks up F. Prat, and in a race without much early speed won’t have to be used early to get where he wants to be. He’s 9/5 on the morning line and on paper looks it. Kneedeepinsnow is worth including as well. Not as fast on pure numbers as our top pick but with excellent form over the Santa Anita main track, the S. Ruis-trained colt sports a bullet half mile workout (47 1/5 seconds, fastest of 47) last week to have him fit and ready in his first start since October and, assuming he breaks cleanly, projects to have a strong pace presence from the rail. RACE 7: Post: 3:30 PT Grade: B+ Use: 1-Javanica; 4-Quattroelle Forecast: The main players in this year’s edition of the Blue Norther S. just finished two-three in the Jimmy Durante S. at Del Mar last month. Both ran winning races behind New York shipper Fluffy Socks, and both should step forward again under similar conditions in this one mile grass affair for juvenile fillies. Javanica was bottled up in traffic into the lane, secured room inside the furlong pole and produced an exceptional turf of foot to wind up second beaten just a half-length while taking the worst of the race flow. Quattroelle ran equally well, as she failed to secure cover at any stage while wide every step of the way and was fanned out badly entering the lane. We’ll be only mildly surprised if they don’t finish together again, with the winner likely to be the one that enjoys the best trip. That said, we’ll give Javanica a very slight edge on top, as she has a bit more tactical speed and a good inside draw that guarantees a ground-saving trip. RACE 8: Post: 4:00 PT Grade: B- Use: 2-Old Indian Trick; 4-Alcools Forecast: Alcools once had some promise; today he’s running for $20,000 after clipping heels and pulling up when competing for a $50,000 tag at Los Alamitos less than two weeks ago. The son of Gemologist came back to work six days after that race so we assume he’s doing well, and since he won sprinting in his debut during the summer of 2019 this turn back in trip won’t be an issue. Old Indian Trick, away for almost two years, returns as a first-time gelding at a logical level, and in field that doesn’t have a whole lot of early speed signed on the M. Puype-trained gelding projects to be prominent throughout and have every chance. The work tab is healthy and steady, so we’re expecting the son of Ministers Wild Cat to fire a big shot off the bench. RACE 9: Post: 4:30 PT Grade: B+ Use: 5-Disco Ball; 7-Hollywoodhellraisr Forecast: In the brief but frustrating career of Disco Ball, it’s simply been a case of getting out of the gate cleanly, or, specifically, his inability to do so. After finishing a close third to the stakes winner Collision Illusion in his only start as a 2-year-old, the B. Koriner-trained colt was compromised in his next two outings when losing his best chance at the start due to self-caused trouble. Freshened since August and continuing to impress in the a.m., the son of Orb tries grass for the first time, and if he leaves cleanly and is able to display the kind of early speed that we suspect he has, the B. Koriner-trained colt should be more than capable of earning his diploma in this fairly contentious turf sprint for older maidens. Three recent bullet workouts point him out, so at 7/2 on the morning line he offers good value. For protection, we’ll also include on a ticket or two Hollywoodhellrasr, a talented gelding sporting the route-to-sprint angle that we like. The son of Race Day ran well when third over this course last summer and has trained quite well for his return. He’ll be rolling late.

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12.31.2020:

Jon White's 2020 Eclipse Award Selections

I first had the honor of voting for Eclipse Awards in 1976. My choice for Horse to the Year was Forego. One of the greatest geldings of all time, Forego was elected Horse of the Year in 1974, 1975 and again in 1976. Forego’s victory in the 1976 Marlboro Cup at Belmont Park was nothing less than sensational. Without question, it’s one of the greatest performances by a Thoroughbred in American racing history. I highly recommend that you watch the race. Forego was burdened with 137 pounds. He had to spot 18 pounds to a quality foe in Honest Pleasure. The track was sloppy. Entering the stretch, Honest Pleasure was in front and running strongly. Forego, racing very wide into the stretch, was about seven lengths behind Honest Pleasure at the top of the lane. It looked like there was no way that Forego could catch Honest Pleasure. But rallying inexorably under Bill Shoemaker, Forego got up to win by head. BloodHorse writer William H. Rudy, in his Marlboro Cup recap, called Forego’s victory “awesome.”“It was the essence of Thoroughbred racing -- a great horse, more heavily burdened than at any time in his career, straining to catch a younger horse who also was running the race of his life,” Rudy wrote.Forego won 34 of 57 lifetime starts and earned $1,938,957. He was inducted into the national Hall of Fame in 1979. All told, Forego was voted eight Eclipse Awards. In addition to his three Horse of the Year titles, he was voted champion older horse four times (1974, 1975, 1976 and 1977) and champion sprinter once (1974). Eclipse Awards are voted on by members of the Daily Racing Form, National Thoroughbred Racing Association and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. Eclipse Awards also are bestowed to members of the media for outstanding coverage of the sport. Additionally, an Eclipse Award is presented to the winner of the National Horseplayers Championship. The Eclipse Awards were established 50 years ago. The 2020 Eclipse Award recipients will be announced Jan. 28 on TVG, Racetrack Television Network and various streaming outlets. Ballots for the 2020 Eclipse Awards were disseminated to voters earlier this month. Below is how I filled out my official ballot: TWO-YEAR-OLD MALE: 1. Essential Quality, 2. Jackie’s Warrior, 3. Fire At Will TWO-YEAR-OLD FEMALE: 1. Vequist, 2. Malathaat, 3. Aunt Pearl THREE-YEAR-OLD MALE: 1. Authentic, 2. Tiz the Law, 3. Happy Saver THREE-YEAR-OLD FEMALE: 1. Swiss Skydiver, 2. Gamine, 3. Shedaresthedevil OLDER DIRT MALE: 1. Improbable, 2. Vekoma, 3. Knicks Go OLDER DIRT FEMALE: 1. Monomoy Girl, 2. Midnight Bisou, 3. Serengeti Empress MALE SPRINTER: 1. Whitmore, 2. Volatile, 3. Charlatan FEMALE SPRINTER: 1. Gamine, 2. Guarana, 3. Serengeti Empress MALE TURF: 1. Channel Maker, 2. Domestic Spending, 3. Order of Australia FEMALE TURF: 1. Rushing Fall, 2. Tarnawa, 3. Audarya STEEPLECHASE: 1. Moscato, 2. Rashaan, 3. Snap Decision TRAINER: 1. Bob Baffert, 2. Steve Asmussen, Brad Cox JOCKEY: 1. Irad Ortiz Jr., 2. Joel Rosario, 3. Flavien Prat APPRENTICE JOCKEY: Abstained. OWNER: 1. Klaravich Stables, 2. Spendthrift Farm, MyRacehorse.com Stables, Madaket Stables and Starlight Racing, 3. Godolphin. BREEDER: 1. Calumet Farm, 2. WinStar, 3. Godolphin. HORSE OF THE YEAR: 1. Authentic, 2. Improbable, 3. Monomoy Girl. My 1-2-3 Horse of the Year votes exactly mirror the 1-2-3 ranking in the final NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll following the Nov. 6-7 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland. Authentic finished first or second in each of his seven 2020 starts (five wins, two seconds). His campaign was highlighted by Grade I wins in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs and Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland. The Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt also won the Grade II San Felipe Stakes and Grade III Sham Stakes, both at Santa Anita Park. Even though Authentic did not win the Grade I Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, he ran an admirable race in defeat. He finished second, losing by a scant nose to the filly Swiss Skydiver. Improbable, a 4-year-old, finished second behind 3-year-old Authentic in the BC Classic. If Improbable had won that race, he probably would be the favorite to be voted 2020 Horse of the Year instead of Authentic. Authentic and Improbable were two components in a stellar 2020 for trainer Bob Baffert. I expect Brad Cox to be voted the 2020 Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer. He had a terrific year, no doubt about it. He did an outstanding job to engineer a four-for-four 2020 campaign by Monomoy Girl, who did not race at all in 2019. Monomoy Girl won this year’s Grade I BC Distaff. It was one of four 2020 Breeders’ Cup victories for Cox, a remarkable feat to be sure. Cox also won the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf (Aunt Pearl), BC Juvenile (Essential Quality) and BC Dirt Mile (Knicks Go). Cox tied Richard Mandella’s record for a trainer of four wins at a Breeders’ Cup. Mandella, though, registered all four of his Breeders’ Cup wins in one day at Santa Anita in 2003. There were 14 Breeders’ Cup races this year, compared to eight in 2003. Yes, Mandella won half of the Breeders’ Cup events contested in 2003 -- Juvenile Fillies with Halfbrided, Juvenile with Action This Day, Turf with Johar (who dead-heated with High Chaparral) and Classic with Pleasantly Perfect. While Cox deserves credit for his four Breeders’ Cup wins this year, it’s not as if Baffert blanked. Baffert won the big one, the BC Classic, with Authentic, as well as the BC Filly & Mare Sprint with Gamine. Baffert topped all trainers in 2020 with 16 Grade I wins (a total that would be 17 if Charlatan had not been disqualified from the purse in the Arkansas Derby for a medication violation, a decision that is being challenged). Not only am I voting for Baffert because of his number of Grade I victories, he won the most coveted race in North America (if not the world) in the Kentucky Derby, plus the richest race in the North America, the $6 million BC Classic. Baffert was strong throughout 2020. He won the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park in January with Mucho Gusto. Because of the coronavirus, the Kentucky Derby was shifted from May 2 to September 5. On May 2, Baffert sent out Charlatan and Nadal to finish first in both divisions of the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. Each division had a purse of $500,000. Improbable won three Grade I races for Baffert in 2020. Improbable’s Grade I victories came in the Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita, Whitney Stakes at Saratoga and Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita. Gamine, like Authentic and Improbable, won three Grade I races for Baffert this year. The talented 3-year-old filly registered an eye-popping 18 3/4-length triuimph in the Grade I Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park. Gamine later took the Grade I Test at Saratoga by seven lengths. And then, in her final 2020 start, Gamine won the Grade I BC Filly & Mare Sprint by 6 1/4 lengths. Based on all that Baffert accomplished in 2020, he received my Eclipse Award vote as outstanding trainer. I did not even put Cox second on my ballot. I went with Steve Asmussen second, mainly for a rare accomplishment in that he is going to top all trainers in terms of earnings and wins this year. MY ECLIPSE AWARD CHOICES IN 1976 As mentioned earlier, I first voted in the Eclipse Awards in 1976. These were my selections: TWO-YEAR-OLD MALE: 1. Seattle Slew, 2. Run Dusty Run, 3. Royal Ski TWO-YEAR-OLD FEMALE: 1. Sensational, 2. Mrs. Warren, 3. Any Time Girl THREE-YEAR-OLD MALE: 1. Bold Forbes, 2. Elocutionist, 3. Honest Pleasure THREE-YEAR-OLD FEMALE: 1. Revidere, 2. Optimistic Gal, 3. T.V. Vixen OLDER MALE: 1. Forego, 2. King Pellinore, 3. Youth OLDER FEMALE: 1. Proud Delta, 2. Miss Toshiba, 3. Sugar Plum Time SPRINTER: 1. My Juliet, 2. Bold Forbes, 3. Cherry River TURF HORSE: 1. Youth, 2. King Pellinore, 3. Intrepid Hero STEEPLECHASE: 1. Straight and True, 2. Life’s Illusion, 3. Arctic Joe TRAINER: 1. Lazaro Barrera, 2. Jack Van Berg, 3. Charles Whittingham JOCKEY: 1. Sandy Hawley, 2. Laffit Pincay Jr., 3. Angel Cordero Jr APPRENTICE JOCKEY: 1. George Martens, 2. Bobby Gonzalez, 3. R.L. Velez OWNER: 1. Dan Lasater, 2. Elmendorf, 3. Sigmund Sommer HORSE OF THE YEAR: 1. Forego, 2. Bold Forbes, 3. Youth Note: I still have the past performances that accompanied the 1976 Eclipse Awards ballot that was mailed to me. I noticed that Dancing Gun’s past performances were included in the older female category in 1976. Oops. Dancing Gun was a 4-year-old gelding trained by Laz Barrera. Winner of the 1976 Whitney Handicap on a sloppy track at Saratoga, Dancing Gun obviously belonged in the older male category. All these years later, a similar mistake was made. Mucho Unusual’s past performances were included in the older male dirt category in the packet sent to Eclipse Award voters. Mucho Unusual is a 4-year-old filly who raced exclusively on turf in 2020. Oops. Her past performances also were appropriately included in the 2020 female turf category. CHARLATAN’S MALIBU HAS SIMILARITIES TO THE BID’S On the backstretch in last Saturday’s seven-furlong Malibu Stakes, comebacker Charlatan, sent away at 8-5, found himself one length off the early leader. That early leader was Nashville, the 13-10 favorite. Charlatan had never been that far off the lead at any point during a race. When some horses find themselves off the pace for the first time, they will not run as well. Take Authentic, for instance. Check out his lifetime past performances. In the six races in which he led at the first call, he won them all. In the two races in which he did not have the lead at the first call, he lost them both. But in the Malibu, Charlatan proved that he can win even when he is not in front early. Nashville went into the Malibu undefeated in three career starts. He had not been fully extended in those three victories, winning by 11 1/2, 9 3/4 and 3 1/2 lengths. But when the real test came in the Malibu, Nashville was no match for Charlatan. The way Charlatan spurted away from Nashville in upper stretch last Saturday was somewhat similar to the way Spectacular Bid burst away from Flying Paster in upper stretch during the 1980 Malibu. I was at Santa Anita that day. It’s the only time I saw Spectacular Bid race in person. Baffert told me before the Malibu that he did not have Charlatan fully cranked for the race. He said the same thing when interviewed in the winner’s circle after the race. Bud Delp likewise had said before the 1980 Malibu that Spectacular Bid was not fully cranked for the race. Delp went so far as to say that the Malibu was going to be the best chance Flying Paster would ever have to beat Spectacular Bid. “I promise you, if Flying Paster does not beat The Bid in the Malibu, he’s never going to beat him,” Delp said. Despite being said to not be fully cranked and despite just cruising home late when geared down by jockey Mike Smith, Charlatan won the Malibu by 4 1/2 lengths. He posted an excellent final time of 1:21.50. The main track last Saturday was slower than when Spectacular Bid won the Malibu. In the case of Spectacular Bid, despite being said to not be fully cranked and despite just cruising home late when geared down by jockey Bill Shoemaker, he won the Malibu by five lengths. Back before races were timed in hundredths, Spectacular Bid’s final time of 1:20 shattered the track record of 1:20 3/5 set by Imbros in 1954 and subsequently tied by Jacinto in 1965, Lightning Mandate in 1975 and Beat Inflation in 1977.

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12.31.2020:

Friday, January 1: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Picks

Former Maryland Jockey Club oddsmaker Frank Carulli lends his insights into the Stronach 5 each week, a national $1 pick five wager matching races across the 1/ST family of racetracks. LEG A // LAUREL PARK, RACE 8 (3:55PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT) JOVIS won at 6F off a seven-week layoff, prompting and out-dueling the 5-2 pace setter. He holds a tactical edge over his main rivals and trainer Gary Capuano's runners hold their good form. BELLE TAPISSERIE, favored in his last three starts, settled far off the pace and didn't threaten Jovis, but he could change tactics off the claim and reverse the outcome. LEG B // GULFSTREAM PARK, RACE 9 (4:11PM ET) // JANUS STAKES // 5 FURLONGS (TURF) IMPRIMIS, a lightlty-raced but highly productive 7-year-old, posted 101 Beyers in a pair of stakes victories off longer layoffs than today. EXTRAVAGANT KID, a multiple G2-placed turf sprinter in the fall, also benefits from a projected lively pace flow. LEG C // LAUREL PARK, RACE 9 (4:25PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 1/16 MILES (DIRT) RYE STREET made a middle move to the lead before flattening out and enters a high-percentage claim barn with little to beat. LADY FOX took late money on the stretchout from a sprint but ran into traffic as the beaten favorite. LEG D // SANTA ANITA PARK, RACE 3 (4:32PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 FURLONGS (TURF) NAANSENSE makes good sense as a live longshot to use. Her dam was 3-7 and a $99k earner on the grass and her half brother, Streakin' Mohican ($380k), blazed 1:07.24 to a Hollywood Park course record when Bill Spawr trained him, then shaved 1:09 when current trainer Doug O'Neill handled him. TRANSLATE, part of the string brought west by New York-based Robert Falcone, proved talented and versatile when finishing second in all three starts on the turf. SWEET DEVIL, whose dam was 4-10 on turf, could appreciate the cutback in distance after she lacked stretch kick in several well-backed starts. LEG E // GULFSTREAM PARK, RACE 10 (4:42PM ET) // CASH RUN STAKES // 1 MILE (DIRT) ADIOS TRIPPI repelled a next-out MSW winner en route to a 32-1 upset in her first route attempt. She returns three months later with a solid work tab for a 24-percent, new acquisition barn. SHEA D SUMMER blazed to a 6-1/2F stakes victory against Florida breds in the slop and is strictly the one to beat. HONORIFIQUE broke his maiden from post 12 in a similar one-turn mile at Churchill Downs and has enough speed to get in good stalking postion from the outside. SUGGESTED $1 TICKET LEG A: 2, 3LEG B: 4, 7LEG C: 5, 8LEG D: 4, 5, 6LEG E: 1, 3, 9 TICKET COST: $72

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12.31.2020:

Friday, January 1: Eddie Olczyk's New Year's Day Spot Plays

Wishing you the happiest New Year for 2021. Let's start off with a few nice-price tickets to cash! AQUEDUCT // RACE 3 (12:50PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT) #9 HOORAY FOR HARVEY (15/1 ML) Longshot caught a dead rail last time when trying to go wire-to-wire and lost steam. Shortens up in distance and I'm hoping for a fast track Friday to help the rebound. FAIR GROUNDS // RACE 4 (3:27PM ET) // CLAIMING // 7 1/2 FURLONGS (TURF) #11 LONGLEGGEDLAVERNE (8/1 ML) Though she's had 4 starts on grass and not hit the board yet, she's had a few bad posts sprinkled in. While not a great post today, I'm looking for her to trip out. We need the jock to get a good spot out of the gate and save some ground. There seems to be enough speed in this race for her to close into. SANTA ANITA // RACE 7 (6:32PM ET) // G2 JOE HERNANDEZ STAKES // 6-1/2 FURLONGS (TURF) #8 CHAOS THEORY (4/1 ML) So far on this extended, 1-turn grass turf course, you've got to be close to the lead. Chaos Theory is a classy horse and a great claim by John Sadler. If he's close enough early, he's the one.

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12.29.2020:

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. Headlines Racing resumes Thursday through Sunday this week with first post time 12:25 pm ET daily … The Rainbow 6 has a $17,539 carryover heading into Thursday … Jockey Sheldon Russell enters Thursday’s final day of the meeting with a 42-39 lead over Jevian Toledo for the meet title. Claudio Gonzalez has clinched the trainer’s race, his 12th title in the last 13 meets in Maryland … Nominations close Saturday for Laurel’s Jan. 16 six-pack of stakes worth $550,000 in purses. Among those will be the newly minted $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes for 3-year-olds at 7 furlongs. Stronach 5 After a week holiday break for Christmas, the Stronach 5 races this Friday, January 1, will be: Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:55Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:11Leg C – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:25Leg D – Santa Anita Race 3 with an approximate post time of 4:32Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 10 with an approximate post time of 4:42 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 43% winners and a flat-bet profit. For the fourth straight week, Speed factors swept the top 3. Speed Last RaceBest Speed TrackBest Speed Last 3 Trends Last Week -- Trainer Claudio Gonzalez went 7: 4-0-1 for the short, 2-day week, with all 4 victories at 5-2 or less odds. He won a pair of Saturday stakes with Harper’s First Ride and Miss Leslie. -- Trainer Brittany Russell was 4: 2-0-1 on the weekend, including stakes winner Whereshetoldmetogo. Russell has a 20: 9-4-2 mark at Laurel in December (45% wins, 65% exacta, 7-for-15 with jockey Sheldon Russell). -- Trainer Jerry Robb posted a 4: 1-1-0 record with limited strikes, making him 13: 6-3-0 over the past 2 weeks. Jockey Xavier Perez has ridden 5 of the barn’s 6 recent winners. -- Favorites were 18: 10-3-1 last week (56% wins, 72% exacta) and have now won 23-for-46 over the past 2 weeks (50%). -- Five different riders won 2 races in the limited week, notably apprentice Alexander Crispin from just 5 mounts and was the only of those to show a slight, flat-bet profit. Others include Trevor McCarthy, Sheldon Russell, Angel Cruz and Jevian Toledo.

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12.29.2020:

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. Headlines The Rainbow 6 rings in the new week with a $339,222 carryover – creating a $600,000-guaranteed pool when racing resumes Wednesday. The Super High 5 has a $23,107 carryover … Post times this week are 12:35 pm ET on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday as well as 12:05 pm ET on Friday and Saturday … Gulfstream features 8 stakes this weekend, including 3 on New Year’s Day Friday and a 5-pack on Saturday, including the Mucho Macho Man Stakes to kick off the road to the Florida Derby for 3-year-olds … Xpressbet.com’s Beat the Host contest begins this Saturday and each week features 5 races each from Gulfstream and Santa Anita ($5 win bets). Take on this week’s host Jeremy Plonk for your share of $60,000 in prizes. Stronach 5 After a week holiday break for Christmas, the Stronach 5 races this Friday, January 1, will be: Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:55Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:11Leg C – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:25Leg D – Santa Anita Race 3 with an approximate post time of 4:32Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 10 with an approximate post time of 4:42 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 28% or greater win rate.Avg. Best 2 of 3 SpeedWin %Speed Last Race Trends Last Week -- Jockey Edgard Zayas paced the riders with 29% wins, 45% in the exacta and a $1.19 ROI for every $1 bet on his 31 mounts. He won twice each with trainers Juan Carlos Avila and Gustavo Delgado from only 5 combined mounts. -- Trainer Todd Pletcher remained white-hot with a 13: 6-1-3 week. He’s now 12-for-31 over the past 2 weeks (17-for-47 total 3-week run). He saddled 3 maiden breakers for the second straight week. The barn went 4-for-7 with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons. -- Trainer Danny Gargan won with his only starter on the week and now has a 5-for-7 record over the past 3 weeks. All of his meet victories have been at a mile or longer. -- Trainer Shug McGaughey’s limited runners were on point last week at 3: 2-0-1, including promising Florida Derby trail hopeful Greatest Honour in a dirt route maiden special weight graduation. -- In a week where favorites slightly underperformed overall, maiden claiming chalk continued its meet-long strength. The 10: 4-3-1 weekly mark makes MCL favorites 22-for-49 at the meet (45% wins, 63% in exacta).

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12.29.2020:

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. Headlines Dec. 26 opening day produced $23 million in mutuel handle, the largest total bet to open a Santa Anita meet in track history … Racing this week will be Thursday through Sunday with the Rainbow 6 carryover $167,262 kicking things off … Stakes on tap this week include Friday’s Grade 2 Joe Hernandez for turf sprinters, Saturday’s Grade 2 San Gabriel and Grade 3 Sham (kickoff of the Santa Anita Derby prep season), and Sunday’s Grade 2 Santa Ynez … Xpressbet.com’s Beat the Host contest begins this Saturday and each week features 5 races each from Santa Anita and Gulfstream ($5 win bets). Take on this week’s host Jeremy Plonk for your share of $60,000 in prizes. Stronach 5 After a week holiday break for Christmas, the Stronach 5 races this Friday, January 1, will be: Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:55Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:11Leg C – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:25Leg D – Santa Anita Race 3 with an approximate post time of 4:32Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 10 with an approximate post time of 4:42 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 29% or greater win rate and a flat-bet profit. Best Speed Distance% Horses BeatenAvg. E2 Pace Trends Last Week -- 12 of 21 opening weekend winners last raced at Del Mar, 2 each came via Los Al, Keeneland and the Santa Anita autumn meet. -- Favorites were 5: 3-2-0 in maiden races and 4: 3-0-0 in claiming races, but only 2-for-12 in allowance and stakes. -- Trainer Eric Kruljac opened the meet 2-for-2 in limited strikes, popping $6 and $33 winners going short and long on the dirt. -- Trainer Richard Baltas was only 1-for-11 opening weekend, but his 5 runner-up finishes had him knocking on the door. Among the 5 second-place finishers were prices at 9-1, 10-1 and 14-1. Look for him to heat up. -- Trainer Peter Eurton’s barn was 4-for-5 in the exacta, including Storm the Court’s 10-1 runner-up in Grade 2 stakes company. -- Jockey Juan Hernandez matched Flavien Prat atop the rider standings with 4 wins, and Hernandez had a $1.42 ROI for every $1 bet on his 18 mounts. He went 2-for-3 in dirt routes.

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12.29.2020:

Rich $60k Beat the Host Tournament Begins Saturday

One of the most popular events of each New Year returns Saturday, Jan. 2, when the rich $60k Beat the Host tournament begins with Xpressbet’s Jeremy Plonk as the host to whip in a usual leadoff spot. Previously, players have had their way with Plonk, but the experienced pro promises this year will be different. (BTW…We’ve heard that before.) Don’t blow your shot at Plonk and a chance to qualify for the BTH Championship right out of the gate. Each Saturday, Beat the Host delivers a fun, challenging and affordable shot at a potential payday. The versatile tournament serves double duty—as an affordable entry-level experience and a spot where veteran tourney players can hunt big-game prizes and lucrative seats. Beat the Host basics remain: Register for the tournament once--FREE at Xpressbet.com (one entry per account holder)--and play each Saturday in January and February (9 dates) by making a ‘live’ $5 win wager on one horse in each of 10 competition races ($50 total). Beat the Host’s total once to qualify for the BTH Championship (March 13, maximum one seat per qualifier). There are weekly prizes--$1k to first, $750 to second and $250 to third—and players may win multiple weekly prizes throughout the season. This year, qualifiers to the Beat the Host Championship will vie for 7 attractive prizes that include 1 seat in the 2022 Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship ($6k value) and 6 seats to either Florida Derby (March 27, 2021) or Santa Anita Derby (April 3, 2021) tournaments. Beat the Host seasonal cumulative earnings leaders now can earn 2 valuable seats to the 2022 Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship ($6k value each) or 3 spots to the Ultimate Betting Challenge (Saturday, March 6, 2021 and $3k value each). A new wrinkle in Beat the Host 2021 will increasingly challenge players in quests to outscore hosts. While weekly competition races will continue to be posted Fridays by 5 pm ET, host selections for each race will not be exposed until post time for each race. This new procedure will discourage players from gaining an early lead on the host and then merely matching host selections the rest of the way for an easy ‘W.’ The alteration also figures to make the chase for a $6K Sweep the Host bonus much more interesting. If no one claims that top prize, there is a $2k Sweep the Host consolation prize for the last player to lose to the host. One of the most refreshing aspects of Beat the Host is that the tournament features ‘live’ wagers. That means players keep what they win! A nice payoff or two along the way can turn a profit for the day—whether a player’s total earns a weekly prize or not! This season’s host roster includes a formidable collection of handicappers/media personalities from the 1/ST family. Jan. 2: Jeremy Plonk (Xpressbet.com)Jan. 9: Millie Ball (Santa Anita & XBTV.com)Jan. 16: Jon White (Santa Anita & Xpressbet.com)Jan. 23: Jeff Siegel (Xpressbet & XBTV.com)Jan. 30: Jason Blewitt (Gulfstream Park)Feb. 6: Ron Nicoletti (Gulfstream Park)Feb. 13: Tom Quigley (Santa Anita)Feb. 20: Acacia Courtney (Gulfstream Park)Feb 27: Eddie Olczyk (Xpressbet.com & NBC Sports) Pick your poison! Which host can you beat to qualify for the Beat the Host Challenge? Better yet, compete in all nine weeks to, hopefully, pocket some coin and possibly parlay a tournament seat prize into a major score. Remember, you gotta be in it to win it and playing Beat the Host this Saturday is the right way to start this much-anticipated New Year. Race On! REGISTER NOW .btn-outline-reg { background-color: #ffc005; border-color: black; color: black; text-transform: uppercase; width: 100%; }

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12.29.2020:

Tuesday, December 29: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, Pompano Park makes history by guaranteeing a $100,000 Pick 5 pool for the first time. There is a $19,215 carryover in the Pick 5 and that sequence starts in Race 1. The 0.50 Pick 4 begins in Race 6, it has a $15,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 64-Lyra (3-1)-This mare has faced Open company at Batavia Downs and tuned up against the $10K claimers here on 12/22. Has the gate speed to get the pocket behind #8 and take her chances down the lane.8-Happy Heart (7/5)-Has been in fine form in all 3 PPk starts and comes off a gate to wire win in last. Draws poorly but Hennessey should light this mare up when the wings fold and try to make every call a winning one.Race 75-Aberdeen Seelster (7-1)-Makes 2nd start off a 12/15 claim for the Lareau barn. Has been consistently cashing checks but hasn't taken a picture in a long time. Will swing for a price, looking for a stalking trip and a rally down the lane.6-Sue's Night Out (7/2)-Claimed in last and came 2nd to tonight's 3/2 program favorite. Hennessey could look to get on the engine with the big chalk and Sue may benefit from the pocket trip.8-Glenferrie Blade A (3/2)-Just got up versus this kind in last as the even money favorite. Should be right there at the wire with a decent trip.Race 82-Come Get The Cash (6-1)-Just missed in last 2 starts and now bumps up a notch but should benefit from this post. Looks like a player in 4th start of the meet.6-Ask Me Ifi Care (6-1)-Winner in 2 of last 3 at this class, now could offer a better price and should benefit from a lively pace. If Micallef can find some live cover, chances for success go up.7-Prairie Westerngal (5/2)-Beat half this field in last start and may have to work harder to get a good early seat. Has won 4 of 6 at the Pomp this year and finished 2nd in the other 2 starts. Looks like a major player again at a short price.Race 91-Lady Driver (5/2)-Will toss last from the 8-hole and now Hennessey returns. Should be on the engine or in the pocket. The Huff barn is batting 27% winners in the last 30 days. This mare is a threat and should be bet hard.6-New Number Who Dis (12-1)-This gal has won 9 of 36 in 2020 and has 5 wins in 17 starts at the Pomp. Needs the right trip and there could be a few leavers. Has a shot to surprise if pace is hot and if put into striking range by the 3/4 pole.8-Rockin Serena (3-1)-Has come 1st or 2nd in 22 of 37 Pompano starts and has the gate speed to be put in play early. The Wrenn barn is going well and her pilot knows how to work a trip for this 6-year-old.My Ticket Race 6) 4,8 Race 7) 5,6,8 Race 8) 2,6,7 Race 9) 1,6,8Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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12.28.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (December 21 - 27): Charlatan

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP. December 21-27, 2020 MVP: Charlatan Owner: SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Frederick Hertrich III, John Fielding and Golconda Stables Trainer: Bob Baffert Jockey: Mike Smith Performance: Away since being disqualified in May’s Arkansas Derby, Charlatan made a triumphant return in the Dec. 26 Grade 1 $300,000 Malibu with perhaps the most impressive performance of his career. He pressed lightning-fast and previously unbeaten Nashville through the opening five furlongs before taking over the last quarter-mile of the Malibu. Charlatan dispatched his rival with ease, and drew away by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:21.50 for 7 furlongs. Nashville wound up more than 8 lengths behind in fourth. On Tap: A big-money date is on tap for Charlatan stretching back out in distance next. Expect to see him in either the Jan. 23 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park or the Feb. 22 Saudi Cup in the Middle East. The barn also has defending Pegasus World Cup winner Mucho Gusto. In the event Charlatan can’t make one of those previously mentioned races, the home game in March’s Santa Anita Handicap remains a possibility. Honorable Mentions: Santa Anita’s Dec. 26 opening day card also boasted a sharp effort from Duopoly in her wire-to-wire Grade 1 American Oaks score on turf for Chad Brown. At Laurel, Whereshetoldmetogo continued his red-hot form Dec. 26 with a 1:08.55 performance over 6 furlongs in the Dave’s Friend Stakes. And finally, Colonel Liam wrapped up his sophomore season in style Dec. 26 in Gulfstream Park’s Tropical Park Derby. His handy win by 3-1/4 lengths points to a fruitful 4-year-old campaign to come.

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12.28.2020:

Monday, December 28: Northfield Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Northfield Park has a 15-race card scheduled to start at 4:20 EST. The $1.00 Pick 5 goes in Race 2 and due to a carryover there will be a $60,000 guaranteed pool. The $1.00 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 11. The sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. RACE 11 // 8:00PM ET 2-McKinley (9-1) - Will take a swing for a price to start the sequence. This is the 3rd start off a judge's scratch and left aggressively from post 8 in last. Comes right back, will look for a good placement off the gate and a well-timed move down the lane. 3-Bobcat Bound (2-1) - This is the 2nd start after a sick scratch and comes off a nice 2nd place finish in the slop from the 8-hole. Off-track record is 2-14 and should be bet hard tonight. Merriman will probably try to wire this field for 1st win in 25 starts.   RACE 12 // 8:22PM ET 1-Hezabluechipboy N (7/5) - In the last 6 races this 9-year-old has been stuck with post 9 in 5 starts and the other was from post 8. Comes off a big score from post 9 and should be the odds-on choice again. Record in 2020 is only 1-11, so will include one more on the ticket. 2-Tango Star (5/2) - Took the long way around to cash a 3rd place check in 1st start for the Clegg barn. Tango knows how to win and could benefit from a pocket trip. Best to not overlook.   RACE 13 // 8:44PM ET 2-Tick's A Yankin (5/2) - Steps-up after a dominating win from the 7-hole on a sloppy track. Merriman takes the lines and figures to be in the mix. But could be over bet as off-track record is a perfect 3-3. 5-Lyons Freinds (3-1) - Comes off a good try in last after shipping in from the Meadows. Just missed after being off 2 weeks so will look for a stronger try tonight. 7-Major Escape (7-1) - Faded last time to finish a close 4th but that was in the slop. Off-track record is only 1-15. This will be the 4th straight Nfld start, has the gate speed to be put in play early and should offer a solid price.   RACE 14 // 9:06PM ET 2-Gary G Force (3-1) - Drops in for a tag and gets a positive driver change. Looks like a player and post draw doesn't hurt chances. 5-Its A Good Thing (5/2) - Two-race win streak was snapped due to a tough trip in last. Gets a new pilot tonight and should be a threat if Kash can work a smooth journey. This 14-year-old could be dialed on high as it will be his last career start. 7-Southwind Terror (9/2) - Usually leaves and gets a good seat but fades down the lane, but now makes a significant drop in class. Was claimed on 11/24 for $7,000 and is now for a $5,000 tag. There isn't much gate speed in here so could blast out and look to wire the field.   $1.00 LATE PICK 4 TICKET RACE 11: 2, 3RACE 12: 1, 2RACE 13: 2, 5, 7RACE 14: 2, 5, 7 TICKET COST: $36.00    Check me out on Twitter!

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12.27.2020:

Sunday, December 27: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

The Sunday night feature at Pompano Park rolls in Race 7, an Open Handicap with an $11,500 purse. The 0.50 Pick 4 starts in Race 6. That sequence has a $15,000 guaranteed pool with a very low 12% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Brandon Hanover (8/5)-Steps-up after a 26.3 opening quarter to get on the engine and drew off by more than 3 lengths. Fits with this crew and Hennessey will look to follow a similar script.3-Unlikeanyother (3-1)-Beckworth trainee makes 3rd Pomp start and appears to have the best chance of knocking off the chalk. Had been facing better and has the gate speed to take a pocket ride and trip out for a picture.Race 74-Southwind Amazon (9/2)-Got the top in last, then blistered a 53.2 half and faded. Draws well and could get a good seat without emptying the tank. Micallef steers for the 1st time and could surprise with a sharp steer.6-Prairie Panther (7/2)-Hoosier invader makes 2nd start at the Pomp this meet. Needs the right trip and should be there at the wire. Has won an impressive 23 of 31 PPk starts.8-Bell I No (6-1)-Makes 5th start of the meet and won his debut and every other start since. If that sequence continues it's picture time again. MacDonald has options, has gate speed but can stalk and rally late. Best to not overlook.9-Lyons Night Hawk (5-1)-Post makes the price and will respect connections. Wallis may look to duck and come off cover. There is gate speed inside so the steer is key and could be overlooked at the windows.Race 84-Rural Art (1-1)-Nine-year-old is shooting for 5th straight win, the last 2 coming at the Pomp. Hennessey will look to get the top and wire this field. That strategy can trigger another win as an odd-on choice.7-Xpert Bayama (7/2)-Knocked out of last after an interference break while facing #4. MacDonald left and did get the pocket before breaking stride. That script could be followed again and best to respect chances. Getting the 2-hole behind the chalk could result in the perfect trip and the 2nd win this year.Race 93-Live Lucky (4-1)-Has been using good gate speed to get a cozy trip and is in sharp form. Winner of 2 of last 3 could be in line for another trip out win.6-Oreo Dream Xtreme (2-1)-Finished 3rd in 1st start at the meet and then had a tough trip from the 10-hole. Looks like a player and will probably be bet down.7-Peter Dalt (7/2)-Peter is only 2 for 49 covering 2019-2020, that's a concern. But makes 3rd start since arriving from HoP and last was an improvement. Macomber may blast out and try to set the pace. Could be one soft quarter away from 1st PPk picture.My Ticket Race 6) 1,3 Race 7) 4,6,8,9 Race 8) 4,7 Race 9) 3,6,7Total Ticket Cost) $24 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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12.27.2020:

Sunday, December 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 to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportClick to Watch Today’s Day Makers VideoRACE 1: Post: 11:30 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-New Heat; 2-Kleen Karma; 8-ReiwaForecast: The Sunday opener is a challenging first-level allowance event on grass for California-bred fillies and mares. We’ll go three deep and hope to survive and advance, but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead. Golden Gate Fields shipper Reiwa earned a pretty good career-top number winning an allowance turf miler in October but hasn’t been out since due to the ongoing suspension of racing up north due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She’s trained steadily right along and should be fit enough to produce a similar effort against this group, so we’ll put her slightly on top while hoping that she receives the patient ride she requires from M. Smith. New Heat and Kleen Karma, two-three finishers at this level last month at Del Mar, appear the most dangerous of the local contingent, with the former, a perfect one-for-one over the local lawn and with speed figures that continue to rise with every outing seemingly the one to beat. As for ‘Karma, she is what she is, but with the switch back to “win rider” F. Prat the daughter of Clubhouse Rise must be given a reasonable look.RACE 2: Post: 12:04 PT Grade: XUse: 3-Mastering; 4-ExaultedForecast: The two favorites in this five-runner straight maiden main track miler for older horses both are returning off long layoffs, but both have training exceptionally well and should return at least as well if not better than they left. Exaulted, runner-up to unbeaten Nadal in his debut almost a year ago but then a disappointing third when odds-on stretching out in his next appearance in February before being turned out, has looked nothing short of spectacular in the a.m. for P. Eurton (powerful stats with layoff runners) and still has a chance to develop into a very nice colt as he approaches his 4-year-old season. He’s 6/5 on the morning line and looks it. Mastering also has been quite impressive gearing up for his first outing since February and acts like a much better colt now than he did when last seen 10 months ago. He’ll probably be on the lead for as long as he can hold it. Of the two, we’ll prefer Exaulted on top and in fact most of our action will go in his direction, but if you’re playing rolling exotics the B. Baffert-trained Mastering probably is worth including on a ticket as a saver.RACE 3: Post: 12:36 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Barrister Tom: 5-Cathkin PeakForecast: Five of the seven entrants in this year’s renewal of the Eddie Logan S. exit the same race, the Cecil B. DeMille S.-G3 won by Beer Can Man, who shipped in from Indiana Downs to register at 19-1 upset. Let’s look elsewhere. Cathkin Peak flew in from Ireland to capture his U.S. debut in just his second career start, scoring cleverly from off the pace at Del Mar in late November with a speed figure that puts him in the hunt despite the raise in class. With F. Prat staying aboard, the P. D’Amato-trained gelding should get the trip/ride he requires and with any kind of forward move may be capable of scoring right back. Barrister Tom, a stakes winner at Kentucky Downs in September but subsequently unplaced in the Bourbon S.-G2 at Keeneland, is another with figures that fit. He’s a versatile sort who has won on the lead or from off the pace, so we’ll include him as well in rolling exotic play. Both offer value at 5-1 on the morning line.RACE 4: Post: 12:36 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Cashlings; 2-Love My Jimmy; 5-Sky NavigatorForecast: P. Miller has two major players in this maiden $40,000 claiming sprint for juveniles, including the logical top pick Love My Jimmy, who makes his first start since being haltered for $32,000 at Del Mar a month ago. Failing as the 6/5 favorite when weakening late to wind up second (beaten more than three lengths), the son of Tapiture still managed to earn a pretty good speed figure in defeat, one that is better than par for this slightly higher level. The barn is borderline remarkable with the first-off-the-claim angle (30% with a strong ROI), so it’s not unreasonable to expect that he’ll produce a forward move today. Stable mate Cashlings is a first-time starter by Ghostzapper which went through the ring at $250,000 at year ago September at Keeneland but is being tossed away right off the bat. The works at San Luis Rey Downs look okay – at least for a maiden claimer – so we’ll include him in on a few tickets as well. Sky Navigator also is worth some consideration. The son of Sky Mesa produced a mild late rally to wind up third in his debut at Del Mar, and with that effort behind him and today’s extra half furlong to work with the D. Pederson-trained 2-year-old may make some noise in the final stages.RACE 5: Post: 1:37 PT Grade: XUse: 2-Honos Man; 4-Armour PlateForecast: Honos Man looks pretty solid in this restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claimer over nine furlongs on turf, though as a beaten choice in his last pair the P. Miller-trained gelding may be a tad hard to trust. Nicely drawn inside, retaining F. Prat, and with four strong workouts at San Luis Rey Downs since raced, the son of Afleet Alex shouldn’t have an excuse in the world, but at 8/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower he won’t be offering much value. Armour Plate, the “other” P. Miller entrant in the field, is re-equipped with blinkers and may find himself on the front end. Just 1-for-19 in his career (but at least the win came over the local lawn), the Into Mischief gelding switches to J. Rosario and actually is a bit faster on raw numbers than ‘Man. Both should be included in rolling exotic play in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.RACE 6: Post: 2:09 PT Grade: C+Use: 2-Octopus; 5-Natural HistoryForecast: Octopus has been somewhat disappointing of late, failing twice in his last four starts as the favorite and missing a third time when well-backed at 5/2. But this restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-olds only is his easiest spot yet, and with the switch to J. Rosario the son of Shackleford should be able to capitalize on this opportunity. He’s 2-1 on the morning line and may go lowerNatural History has been chasing tougher, has numbers that make him dangerous in this league and is the one to fear most, though his lack of early speed always makes his task more difficult that it should be. With some help up front, he should be heard from late.RACE 7: Post: 2:43 PT Grade: BUse: 2-First Prez; 6-Mr. Brownstone; 8-JetovatorForecast: Mr. Brownstone is lightly-raced, improving, has numbers that fit and removes blinkers (love that angle) so in his second start off a long layoff and with decent recent workouts the son of Vronsky should be set for a career top effort. We’re expecting the M. Puype-trained gelding to be properly spotted in a stalking position and then have every chance to seal the deal in the final stages. First Prez was a visually pleasing winner sprinting on turf in his debut over this course during the fall meeting but then was sent long on the main track at Del Mar and flopped badly. He’s back around one turn and back on grass while adding blinkers, so the D. O’Neill-trained colt certainly should be dangerous under these more agreeable conditions, Jetovator fits well with these, but at 1-for-19 with nine seconds and thirds he’s never been the type to bank on in the final furlong. However, with F. Prat staying aboard and with his only career win having been accomplished over the local lawn, he’s probably worth including on your ticket, at least as a back-up.RACE 8: Post: 3:17 PT Grade: B+Use: 5-The Chosen Vron; 6-Hockey Dad; 9-Hail FreedomForecast: The Chosen Vron has done some excellent work in the a.m. leading up to his racing debut, and the son of Vronsky appears extremely live and well-meant under J. Velasquez in this extended sprint for state-bred juveniles. A sharp gate work (47 seconds, second fastest of 57) Dec. 10 was followed up by a bullet five furlong drill on the flat (59 3/5 seconds, fastest of 50) eight days later so we’re expecting this E. Kruljac-trained gelding to be hard to handle. Another debut entrant, Hockey Dad, had a useful drill from the barrier nine days ago. The D. O’Neill-trained son of Nyquist did reasonably well when second best with Wipe the Slate and was flattered when that one graduated impressively yesterday. It’s not likely he’ll face anything as good as ‘Slate in this spot, so he’s another first-timer that needs to be strongly considered. Hail Freedom is worth including on your ticket as a back-up or a saver. The D. O’Neill-trained colt has turned in some good clockings at San Luis Rey Downs and attracts J. Rosario, so we suspect that this modestly-bred son of Box Top will get some play on the tote.RACE 9: Post: 3:51 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Rideforthecause; 2-She’s Our Charm; 10-Mucho UnusualForecast: Let’s go for a price in the Robert J. Frankel S.-G3 for fillies and mares over nine furlongs on turf. She’s Our Charm, listed at 12-1 on the morning line, ran below her best when seventh in the Matriarch S.-G1 last time out but this is an easier assignment and promises a pace flow that should allow the daughter of Candy Ride to inherit her preferred role as the controlling speed. A two-time winner over the Santa Anita course, the R. McAnally-trained filly has never being this far but if left alone early should have an excellent chance to see out the trip. Mucho Unusual exits the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare turf, and while she may have been out of her element against that group she’s favorably spotted today, though her extreme outside draw does her no favors. A Grade-1 winner over this course during the fall meeting, the daughter of Mucho Macho Man will be tough to beat with anything close to her best effort. Woodbine shipper Rideforthecause is assured of a comfortable ground-saving trip from the rail, and her clever score in the Canadian S.-G2 two races back charts quite well in this affair. She can really turn it on late and should get the patient ride she needs from top grass jockey U. Rispoli.**RACE 10: Post: 4:25 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Fabozzi; 8-ImpressionForecast: The finale is a $12,500 main track claimer over a mile that doesn’t really have much in it. Fabozzi plummeted to the $8,000 level at Los Alamitos 10 days ago and won as expected; he’s wheeled back off short rest for new trainer K. Mulhall and should be tough right back over a Santa Anita main track that he’s been known to like. Impression looked pretty good in victory at Los Al at this level 17 days ago while on the front end and similar tactics most likely will be employed again. The B. Spawr-trained gelding is the likely favorite and one to beat. In a race that we’re not planning to get too involved in, both should be included in rolling exotic play.

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12.26.2020:

Saturday, December 26: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, the Meadowlands has a 15-race post-holiday card 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-My Pal Joe (8-1)-Qualifier on 12/12 appears okay and hasn't raced since 11/3 but does have 1 win in 3 Big M starts against similar. Joe has a 150.4 mark here and likes to race near the top of the stack. Should offer a price, if fires hot off the bench.6-Put To Right (3-1)-Alagna trainee had an impressive win from the 10-hole on 12/5 and is back in at the same class. Probably beats this crew if races back to last effort but is only 4-27 lifetime and 1-5 at the Big M, so will include others.7-Always And Again (7/2)-Drops in 3rd local start after facing tougher in last 2 quick miles. This colt was facing stakes company at HoP and fits well with crew. Likes to come off cover and pace should be solid, so could fly by late.Race 71-Fizzing N (9/2)-Has been off since 11/7 and finished 2nd in a qualifier on 12/11 at Fhld in a sluggish 155.4 mile. Dunn steers and drops to a spot to shine. Has hit the board twice in 2 Big M starts with 1 picture. Should be a player if tight enough.5-Blood Line (3-1)-This is my top choice, hasn't raced since 10/24 but had a nice qualifier here on 12/12. The Johnson barn is batting 25% in the last 30 days and 6-year-old has hit the board in 8 of 17 here with 3 wins. Should relish the company.Race 81-Milady Denver A (10-1)-Ten-year-old is somewhat camera shy and this post may not help. But regular pilot, Leon Bailey does hit the board at a high percentage. Trusting the trip will be good, could be put in play and surprise at a solid price.5-Stellenbosch (7/2)-Steps up after getting a close-up seat in last and could follow the same script tonight. Loses Zeron and Buter takes a spin. Has won 2 of 7 at the Big M and might make it 3 of 8 if new pilot provides a good steer.6-Callmequeenbee A (3-1)-This is another HoP invader from the Cullipher barn. The results haven't been great so far for this type. But this mare held her own versus Open company and will look for a better try in 2nd East Rutherford start.9-Pammy Jo (5-1)-Yonkers invader was cashing checks versus better, should offer a fair price and now Dunn will take a spin. Has enough gate speed to get a good seat and should be in the mix for 1st Big M victory in 5 attempts.Race 92-Joey (3-1)-Comes off a sharp win against a softer group on 12/11 and then was scratched last week. David Miller does stick, post draw should help, and guessing will go off at higher price than the program odds.4-Deltasun A (7/2)-Will toss last after a tough trip against a better crew. Previous start was a win after coming home in 56.1 off cover. This is 1st time Bartlett and could be posing if he provides a smooth journey in 4th start at the Big M.7-Hill Of A Horse (8-1)-Did beat the NW14KL5 here on 9/11 with Allard in the bike. The same pilot will be back steering this Yonkers invader who was facing Open company. Looking for a quick pace and 5-year-old could stalk and roll by down the lane. My TicketRace 6) 2,6,7 Race 7) 1,5 Race 8) 1,5,6,9 Race 9) 2,4,7Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50 Check me out on Twitter!

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12.26.2020:

Saturday, December 26: Jeff Siegel's Full-Card Santa Anita 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. Full-Card Santa Anita Workout Analysis National Day Makers   RACE 1: Post: 11:00 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Sassyserb; 8-Rocking Redhead; 10-Hermaphrodite; 11-Shanghai Truffles Forecast: A true grass grab bag ushers in the new season with several possibilities to consider in this nine furlong first-level allowance affair for fillies and mares over nine furlongs on grass. The R. Baltas-trained Rocking Redhead graduated in good style last month at Del Mar while stretching out for the first time and surely will try similar front-running tactics in an attempt to extend her range another furlong. The daughter of Hard Spun set legit fractions and kept on going to earn a strong number, so with another forward move she may be capable of winning right back at 6-1 on the morning line. Sassyserb is guaranteed a good ground-saving trip from her two-hole post position, has a prior win over the course and may make her presence felt from the top of the lane to the wire. She’s the “other” Baltas in the field but at 8-1 on the morning line deserves good consideration. Hermaphrodite, listed stakes-placed in several outings in France in 2019, made her U. S. debut off a long layoff last month at Del Mar and was a bit underwhelming when winding up a non-threatening fifth despite having a very hot pace that should have complemented her deep-closing style. Assuming she needed the race, the J. Sadler-trained mare can improve today, and with the switch to J. Rosario she should be included in rolling exotic play. Shanghai Truffles can be tossed in somewhere as well, though her extreme outside draw does her no favors. Twice successful over the Santa Anita lawn, she’s a grinding type that will appreciate this stretch out to a mile and one-eighth and has numbers that are solid for this level. RACE 2: Post: 11:32 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Affable; 6-Wipe the Slate Forecast: Affable displayed considerable promise in his debut last month at Del Mar when finishing an excellent second to Savile Row while earning a speed figure nine points better than par for this level, so the son of Flatter – purchased for $600,000 at the Timonium 2-year-old in training sale last spring – has a chance to graduate today and then go on to bigger and better things. Two nice workouts over the Santa Anita main track should have him primed and ready, and with F. Prat staying aboard the M. Glatt-trained juvenile is the logical morning line favorite at 8/5. Also worth consideration in rolling exotic play is the D. O’Neill-trained Wipe the Slate, a second-timer who had the misfortune of hooking B. Baffert’s latest monster Life Is Good last month at Del Mar and wound up a distant second, though still earning a nice number despite being beaten 10 lengths. The son of Nyquist adds blinkers today and shows a good recent gate work that indicates a forward move is likely. RACE 3: Post: 12:04 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Defense Wins; 2-Hapi Hapi; 4-Alvaaro Forecast: We’ll go three-deep in this restricted (nw-2) $16,000 main track miler while giving Defense Wins a slight edge on top. The 3-year-old was simply pitched too high when unplaced without mishap in a difficult entry-level allowance turf miler at Del Mar last month but he’s realistically spotted today and should snap back to good form with the class drop and the return to dirt. The son of Flatter sports a steady, healthy series of workouts in recent weeks over the local main track, and from his inside post the D. O’Neill-trained gelding should enjoy a good trip and have every chance. Hapi Hapi has produced rising speed figures and consistent form since being claimed by P. Eurton last summer at Del Mar, and with a prior win over the Santa Anita dirt track the son of Clubhouse Ride must be considered a major player. He’s always been a one-paced grinding type and needs to be as close to the early leaders throughout to be most effective. Alvaaro, a $16,000 R. Hanson claim, was a compromised by a slow start yet still rallied to finish a willing third in the same race Hapi Hapi exits. With a better break today, the son of Old Fashioned should be prominent throughout, and if he can manage to shake loose early to be the controlling speed, all the better. RACE 4: Post: 12:36 PT Grade: A-Use: 1-Whisper Not; 5-Some Like Strait Forecast: Whisper Not showed plenty of promise in his U.S. debut when second to the tough, older veteran Shadow Sphinx in a fast, highly-rated first level allowance race at Del Mar last month, one that charts extremely well in this Grade-3 turf miler restricted to 3-year-olds. Drawn perfectly inside, training sharply at San Luis Rey Downs in the interim, and retaining J. Rosario, the English-bred colt is very likely to produce a significant forward move with that race behind him. Though the son of Poet’s Voice probably has enough early speed to be on the lead if that’s the chosen strategy, he also has the option of settling behind the leaders while saving ground and then kicking home when asked. At 5-1 on the morning line, the R. Baltas-trained colt offers exceptional value both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play. The likely favorite and one to beat is Smooth Like Strait, the Twilight Derby-G2 winner over the local lawn two races back and a narrow runner-up in the Hollywood Derby-G1 in his most recent outing. Fast on numbers and thoroughly genuine and consistent, the Midnight Lute colt must be used on the ticket as well, though our main punch based on price will go to Whisper Not. RACE 5: Post: 1:06 PT Grade: CUse: 5-Half Hoping; 8-Watchful Eye; 10-Great Curves; 11-Warren’s Memorable Forecast: This fifth race is an inscrutable maiden $50,000 claiming sprint for state-bred 2-year-old fillies. Nothing would surprise, so use as many as you can afford to. Warren’s Memorable is comparatively slow on speed figures but at least she managed to finish second here during the fall meeting despite stumbling at the start and did so in such a manner to suggest she’ll enjoy today’s extra half furlong. Great Curves sports the always-dangerous maiden-to-maiden claiming angle and earned a number in her debut two runs back when rallying to be a distant fourth that charts quite well with this modest group. After being used on the pace and fading last time out, patient tactics likely will be employed today. Half Hoping, a first-timer from the M. Puype barn, has displayed a bit of ability in the morning and is a contender by default, while Watchful Eye finished third beaten less than a length at Golden Gate Fields last month while on or near the pace and could improve enough today to be competitive at 8-1 on the morning line. RACE 6: Post: 1:37 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Tripoli; 8-Preaching Trainer; 12-Anaconda Forecast: We like the route-to-sprint angle that Tripoli brings to this extended turf sprint for first-level allowance older horses and the fact that he’s already won going short over the local lawn makes him the one to beat. His inside draw guarantees a ground-saving trip, so from a stalking position and with room to rally into the lane the J. Sadler-trained son of Kitten’s Joy can justify a strong play at 6-1 on the morning line. However, in a highly contentious affair, a spread strategy in the rolling exotics, at least for big ticket players, must be considered. Although Anaconda will have to overcome an extreme outside draw, the R. Mandella-trained colt seems sure to return to top form after setting the pace and weakening under pressure when fourth in a very fast, highly-rated middle distance race at Del Mar last month. A visually pleasing winner in his debut over the local lawn in early November, the son of Pioneerof the Nile has trained sharply in recent weeks and projects to draft into a second flight stalking position outside and then have his chance from the quarter pole home. Preaching Trainer deserve some consideration as well, at least as saver. The C. Gaines-trained gelding had his momentum stymied when running into a roadblock in a similar event at Del Mar last month and wound up fifth, beaten two lengths, but with some pace to chase and good racing luck today he should be something of a late threat. RACE 7: Post: 2:09 PT Grade: BUse: 4-Sharp Samurai; 8-Mucho Gusto Forecast: Mucho Gusto is making his first start since finishing fourth in Saudi Arabia last spring and this race obviously isn’t the end all as the big money ($20 million) once again in the Saudi Cup down the road. The work tab looks good, especially his most recent bullet drill (6f, 1:12.4h) just six days ago, and the B. Baffert-trained colt has a history of winning off an extended layoff so if even if he’s not 100% cranked up the son of Mucho Macho Man certainly can still win. Sharp Samurai, always considered a turf specialist, looks to have found a home on dirt, having finished second in the Pacific Classic-G1 at Del Mar (behind Maximum Security) and then most recently winding up a highly-respectable third in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile-G1. The veteran gelding has appeared especially sharp in recent works and looks clearly the best of the others with a legitimate chance to win should ‘Gusto come up a tad short. We’ll have tickets including both in rolling exotic play. RACE 8: Post: 2:43 PT Grade: BUse: 4-Secret Keeper; 5-Finite; 8-Motivated Seller Forecast: This year’s edition of the La Brea S.-G1 came up deep and strong with a number of legitimate contenders to consider. We’ve got it down to three main players, with Motivated Seller offering good value at 8-1 on the morning line. The lightly-raced daughter of Into Mischief won her first two career outings by herself and then lost little when dropping a photo to Merneith in the listed Fort Springs S. at Keeneland on Breeders’ Cup day. Today’s extended sprint distance should be perfect for her stalking style, and with another forward move from a comfortable outside draw the C. Brown-trained filly has a legit chance to pull off an upset. Finite is the logical top pick and one to beat. First or second in nine of 11 career starts, including an authoritative score in the Chilukki S.-G3 at Churchill Downs, the S. Asmussen-trained filly likes to settle, stalk and pounce, and as such owns the perfect style for this seven furlong affair. She’s fast on numbers and knows where the wire is. Secret Keeper can be included as well. She easily handled Merneith when they met at Del Mar last summer and then finished an excellent runner-up to subsequent Zenyatta S.-G2 winner Harvest Moon (five clear of the rest) in the Torrey Pine S.-G3. The daughter of Into Mischief was eliminated at the start and unplaced in the Raven Run S.-G2 at Keeneland in her most recent outing in a race that can be ignored. RACE 9: Post: 3:17 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Red Lark; 8-Duopoly; 9-Sharing Forecast: With just a cursory glance of the pp’s in this year’s edition of American Oaks-G1 it’s readily apparent that the field consists of several stalkers and deep closers but just one committed front-runner, Duopoly. And given her expected trip as the controlling speed, the daughter of Animal Kingdom will have every chance to wire the field under the assumption that her rapidly improving pattern will continue following her recent gate-to-wire score in the Winter Memories S. at Aqueduct last month. On pure numbers she’s a strong contender and recent works at Palm Meadows in Florida by the C. Brown-trained filly indicates she’s ready to take on this more difficult assignment. F. Prat picks up the mount and knows what needs to be done. Sharing is the likely choice and one to beat. Winner over the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year over the Santa Anita grass course, the daughter of Speightstown seems likely to settle into a stalking position outside and have every chance from the quarter pole home. Whether or not the G. Motion-trained filly truly wants 10 furlongs remains to be seen but given her consistently outstanding resume she’s a “must use” and the one to fear most. Red Lark looks like the most dangerous of the closers, and a faster-than-normal early pace (possible if Going to Vegas is sent from the bell to engage Duopoly) surely would enhance her chances. The winner of the Del Mar Oaks-G2 two runs back and a better-than-looked fourth (beaten less than two lengths) in the QEII-G1 at Keeneland in October, the Irish-bred filly will enjoy a ground-saving trip from the rail and then hopefully will find room to accelerate when the pressure is turned on. RACE 10: Post: 3:51 PT Grade: XUse: 3-Nashville; 4-Charlatan; 6-Independence Hall Forecast: We’ll pass this race for wagering purposes using the three main contenders in our rolling exotics and instead simply enjoy good sport. This year’s edition of the Malibu S.-G1 could produce an Eclipse Award winner in the Sprint category, especially if the 6/5 morning line favorite, unbeaten Nashville, wires the field, just as he’s done in each of his three previous outings. Most recently the son of Speightstown won the listed Perryville S. on Breeders’ Cup Day, running considerably faster at every pole than the BC Sprint-G1 later in the day, and there are those who believe that if he’d been given the chance to run in that race the S. Asmussen-trained colt would have taken control and never looked back. Today he’ll have to negotiate an extra furlong while fighting off stalkers Charlatan and Independence Hall, two colts who also are unbeaten around one turn and extremely fast on speed figures. Charlatan winner of the nine furlong Arkansas Derby-G1 in dominating fashion when last seen in early May, was stopped on due to an ankle injury, but we know he can fire fresh and we know he loves the Santa Anita main track. His works are good, not breathtaking, but trainer B. Baffert has noted that his colt ran better than he worked last winter and spring and expects he’ll do the same in his first race back. As for Independence Hall, he fell short of his Derby dreams when it became apparent that the son of Constitution didn’t want to run long, and his comeback win against a salty group of tough stakes-quality older sprinters last month at Del Mar produced a blueprint on how he can upset the two favorites by capitalizing on a second flight trip from a cozy outside post. Clearly, Independence Hall will be the best price of the three so we’ll put him on top but include all three in our rolling exotics and enjoy one of the most intriguing editions of the traditional opening day feature in many years. RACE 11: Post: 4:25 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Miss Extra; 9-Warren’s Showtime; 10-Annangel Forecast: The nightcap is the Lady of Shamrock S., a listed affair over a mile on grass for 3-year-old fillies, a consolation event for those who were not quite accomplished enough to be invited to the American Oaks-G1 earlier on the program. It’s an excellent race in its own right and offers a bit of a price chance in Annangel, a very impressive winner in her U.S. debut at Del Mar in late October when leaving her moderate English form behind. In that first-level allowance event the R. Baltas-trained filly broke slowly from the rail, rushed up to establish the pace in hand and then held way gamely while proving uncatchable after coming home in 23 seconds flat. if she’s able to secure a similar trip today from her extreme outside post the daughter of Morpheus may take this field a very long way, so at 8-1 on the morning line she’s worth a gamble. Warren’s Showtime, a winner of four races from five career starts over the Santa Anita turf course, was below her best form when second in sprinting on dirt in the Betty Grable S. at Del Mar but today’s conditions – a mile on grass – is what she prefers so we’re expecting the daughter of Clubhouse Ride to step forward in a big way. She’ll likely settle in mid-pack and then turn it on when it matters. Miss Extra didn’t fire in her U.S. debut, the Del Mar Oaks-G1 in which she finished a non-threatening ninth of 10. but today adds Lasix and tackles easier, so the French-bred filly, a Group stakes winner overseas earlier this year, certainly should be given a second chance. Top grass rider U. Rispoli got to know her last time, stays aboard, and will have covered up and ready to quicken when the time is right.

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12.24.2020:

Jon White's Stakes Selections for Opening Day at Santa Anita

Santa Anita Park presents an outstanding 11-race card this Saturday to kick off its long winter-spring meeting. Six stakes races will be contested Saturday. There are three Grade I events, two Grade II races, one Grade III affair, one ungraded stakes race and a partridge in a pear tree. Dec. 26 is the traditional date for Santa Anita to open. But last year’s opening day was delayed until Dec. 28 due to anticipated inclement weather. The three Grade I races highlighting this Saturday’s card are the Runhappy Malibu Stakes, La Brea Stakes and American Oaks. These same three Grade I races also were run on last year’s opening-day program. Omaha Beach won the Malibu. Hard Not to Love got the job done in the La Brea. Lady Prancealot was victorious in the American Oaks. This year’s seven-furlong Malibu has drawn an especially strong group of six 3-year-olds. It is headed by a pair of talented runners in Nashville and Charlatan. These two thus far have crossed the finish line in front each time they have raced. Nashville, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, is three for three. He’s won by 11 1/2, 9 3/4 and 3 1/2 lengths. His Beyer Speed Figures have been 91, 103 and 102. When Nashville was last seen under silks, he sported a five-length lead at the eighth pole and went on to win Keeneland’s Perryville Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths on the Breeders’ Cup undercard. Even though the Kentucky-bred Speightstown colt was geared down late, he completed six furlongs on a lightning-fast main track in 1:07.89 to break the track record. The Malibu will be Nashville’s first start in a graded stakes event. This also will be the farthest he has ever raced. Charlatan, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, has finished first by 5 3/4, 10 1/4 and six lengths in his three career starts. The six-length margin came when he made his stakes debut in a division of the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park last May 2, but his share of that purse eventually was taken away from him due to a medication violation. His Beyer Speed Figures have been 105, 106 and 96. The Malibu will be Charlatan’s first start since the Arkansas Derby. The Malibu field, in post-position order from the rail out, is comprised of Collusion Illusion (8-1 on the morning line), Thousand Words (8-1), Nashville (6-5), Charlatan (9-5), Express Train (15-1) and Independence Hall (4-1). Independence Hall attracted attention when he won Aqueduct’s Grade III Nashua Stakes by 12 1/4 lengths at Aqueduct in his final start as a 2-year-old. He won the Jerome Stakes at the Big A in his first start at 3 on New Year’s Day, then lost his next two races. Collusion Illusion, trained by Mark Glatt, is back in a race restricted to 3-year-olds after finishing 12th in the Grade I BC Sprint at Keeneland on Nov. 7. The Florida-bred Twirling Candy colt defeated his elders when he won Del Mar’s Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes on Aug. 1. The last time Collusion Illusion ran in a race for 3-year-olds only, he won the Grade III Lazaro Barrera Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita on June 20. Thousand Words, like Charlatan, resides in the powerful Baffert barn. He won the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity last year at 2. This will be Thousand Words’ first start since he ran eighth in the Grade I Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Oct. 3. The Florida-bred Pioneerof the Nile colt, a $1 million yearling, won the Shared Belief Stakes on Aug. 1 at Del Mar when the runner-up was Grade I Santa Anita Derby winner Honor A.P. Express Train switches back to dirt after finishing eighth in the Grade II Twilight Derby on the turf Oct. 18 at Santa Anita. Trained by John Shirreffs, the Kentucky-bred Union Rags colt has recorded a number of sharp workouts on the dirt since the Twilight Derby. After finishing fifth in this year’s Grade I Florida Derby on March 28, Independence Hall underwent a trainer change from Michael Trombetta to Michael McCarthy. In Independence Hall’s first start for McCarthy, the Kentucky-bred Constitution colt came from off the pace to win an allowance/optional claiming sprint by 1 1/2 lengths on Nov. 8 at Del Mar. Below are my selections for all six stakes races on Santa Anita’s opening-day card: Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile (Race 4): 1. Smooth Like Strait, 2. Field Pass, 3. Scarto, 4. Whisper Not. Grade II San Antonio Stakes (Race 7): 1. Mucho Gusto, 2. Sharp Samurai, 3. Idol, 4. Extra Hope. Grade I La Brea Stakes (Race 8): 1. Finite, 2. Merneith, 3. Stellar Sound, 4. Motivated Seller. Grade I American Oaks (Race 9): 1. Sharing, 2. Capital Structure, 3. Luck Money, 4. Duopoly. Grade I Runhappy Malibu Stakes (Race 10): 1. Nashville, 2. Charlatan, 3. Independence Hall, 4. Collusion Illusion. Lady of Shamrock Stakes (Race 11): 1. Warren’s Showtime, 2. Counterparty Risk, 3. Miss Extra, 4. On Mars. BAFFERT WINS YET ANOTHER LOS ALAMITOS FUTURITY Spielberg resolutely kept to his task coming down the long stretch and just barely got up in the nick of time to eke out a nose victory in last Saturday’s Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity at odds of 9-5. This was Spielberg’s first stakes win. He had finished second in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity and third in Santa Anita’s Grade I American Phaorah Stakes. Spielberg completed his 1 1/16-mile journey last Saturday in 1:42.56. The Great One, a maiden, finished second in the field of six. Petruchio came in third. This was what you all a tough beat for The Great One. Dismissed by bettors at 33-1, he led for every step of the 1 1/16-mile contest until getting nailed right on the finish line. Spielberg and The Great One each were credited with an 81 Beyer Speed Figure. This was by far The Great One’s best performance yet. His top Beyer Speed Figure prior to the Los Alamitos Futurity had been a 68. The Great One had run only a 62 Beyer when he finished fourth, 13 lengths behind Spielberg, in a one-mile maiden race at Del Mar on Nov. 1. Spielberg’s pilot last Saturday was Flavien Prat. A $1 million yearling, the Kentucky-bred Union Rags colt had been ridden in his previous five races by Drayden Van Dyke, Amir Cedillo (three times) and Luis Saez. The Great One “was tough to get by,” Baffert said of Spielberg after his first stakes win last Saturday. “We needed every bit of that stretch and we were fortunate to get there.” Red Flag, sent away as the 4-5 favorite, was a big disappointment while racing around two turns for the first time. He ended up fourth, 8 1/2 lengths behind Spielberg and The Great One. Red Flag went into the Los Al Futurity off a 7 1/4-length victory in Del Mar’s Grade II Bob Hope Stakes in a 10-1 upset on Nov. 15. Spielberg finished fourth as the 3-5 favorite in the seven-furlong Bob Hope, 9 1/2 lengths behind Red Flag. Baffert has attributed Spielberg’s lackluster Bob Hope effort to coming back too quickly, just two weeks after a hard-fought nose win in a one-mile maiden race at Del Mar. According to Baffert, Spielberg also “didn’t ship well” to Del Mar for the Bob Hope. Looking ahead, Santa Anita’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 30 will likely be next for Spielberg, whose sire won the Grade I Belmont Stakes in 2012. Meanwhile, Baffert told me Sunday that Santa Anita’s Grade III Sham Stakes at one mile Jan. 2 is “probable” for Life Is Good, a scintillating 9 1/2-length winner at first asking Nov. 22 in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race at Del Mar. Thoroughbred Daily News’ Bill Finley wrote that Baffert said Life Is Good has raw talent like American Pharoah, Justify and Authentic. American Pharoah and Justify were Triple Crown winners for Baffert. Authentic is expected to be voted 2020 Horse of the Year after winning this year’s Grade I Kentucky Derby and Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic. After Hollywood Park ceased racing late in 2013, the Hollywood Futurity switched tracks to Los Alamitos and was renamed the Los Alamitos Futurity. Baffert has swept all seven editions of the Los Alamitos Futurity. Baffert’s Los Alamitos Futurity winners are listed below: 2020 Spielberg (81 Beyer Speed Figure) 2019 Thousand Words (91) 2018 Improbable (96) 2017 McKinzie (92) 2016 Mastery (91) 2015 Mor Spirit (88) 2014 Dortmund (91) Baffert’s Hollywood Futurity winners are listed below: 2011 Liaison (91)* 2009 Lookin At Lucky (83)* 2008 Pioneerof the Nile (86)* 2000 Point Given (101) 1999 Captain Steve (101) 1997 Real Quiet (102) *Run on a synthetic surface While it is remarkable that Baffert has won the Los Alamitos Futurity/Hollywood Futurity 13 times, there is another Grade I race he’s won even more times. Baffert has won the Grade I Del Mar Futurity a total of 14 times, including a run of seven straight years like the Los Alamitos Futurity. Baffert’s Del Mar Futurity winners are listed below: 2018 Game Winner (93) 2016 Klimt (94) 2014 American Pharoah (101)* 2012 Rolling Fog (78)* 2011 Drill (90)* 2009 Lookin At Lucky (82)* 2008 Midshipman (85)* 2002 Icecoldbeeratreds (96) 2001 Officer (99) 2000 Flame Thrower (103) 1999 Forest Camp (106) 1998 Worldly Manner (95) 1997 Souvenir Copy (91) 1996 Silver Charm (97) *Run on a synthetic surface Baffert this year also registered his ninth win in Monmouth Park’s Grade I Haskell Inviational. His nine Haskell winners are listed below: 2020 Authentic 2015 American Pharoah 2014 Bayern 2012 Paynter 2011 Coil 2010 Lookin At Lucky 2005 Roman Ruler 2002 War Emblem 2001 Point Given Baffert and Hall of Famers Charlie Whittingham and D. Wayne Lukas are the only trainers to have won any of the current Grade I races nine times or more. Whittingham’s nine Grade I Santa Anita Handicap wins are listed below: 1993 Sir Beaufort 1990 Ruhlmann 1986 Greinton 1985 Lord at War 1975 Stardust Mel 1973 Cougar II 1971 Ack Ack 1967 Pretense 1957 Corn Husker Lukas’ nine Grade I Del Mar Debutante wins are listed below: 1996 Sharp Cat 1989 Rue de Palm 1988 Lea Lucinda+ 1987 Lost Kitty 1995 Arewehavingfunyet 1994 Fiesta Lady 1993 Althea 1982 Landaluce 1978 Terlingua +Placed first through the disqualification of Approved to Fly Lukas’ nine wins in Santa Anita’s Grade I Chandelier Stakes (formerly the Grade I Oak Leaf Stakes) are listed below: 1996 City Band 1995 Tipically Irish 1994 Serena’s Song 1988 One of a Klein 1987 Dream Team 1986 Sacahuista 1985 Arewehavingfunyet 1983 Althea 1982 Landaluce

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12.24.2020:

Thursday, December 24: Jeff Siegel’s National Day Makers

Gulfstream Park First Race – Post time: 11:30 ET 2-Call Curt (7/2) Away since May but returns sporting a healthy and steady worktab that should have him fit and ready for this maiden $35,000 claiming turf miler for older horses. The barn is quite capable with layoff runners and this son of Sky Mesa, in the frame in each of his three prior outings, has prior form over this course and distance that is good enough to beat this field. Drawn comfortably inside and likely to enjoy an ideal pace-stalking, ground-saving trip, he’s a win play and rolling exotic single at or near his morning line of 7/2. Gulfstream Park Fourth Race – Post time: 1:00 ET 1-Movie Moxy (3-1) Arrives from Churchill Downs fresh from a facile first-level allowance romp at this one-turn mile main track trip and should be quite capable of scoring right back despite the raise in class. The daughter of Street Sense has a perfect pace-stalking style guarantees a clean journey, and with two easy breezes to tick her over following a five week respite she appears to produce another significant forward move. The E. Kenneally-trained 3-year-old is listed at 3-1 on the morning line and at that price she offers plenty of value in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.

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12.23.2020:

Saturday, December 26: Laurel Park Christmastide Stakes Day Picks

Laurel Park's Winter Carnival of racing is officially scheduled for mid-February, but the track will offer a merry-go-round of stakes action this Saturday, Dec. 26. The nine-race card scheduled to begin at 12:25 EST features seven, $100,000 races -- spanning 6F to 1-1/8 miles -- and the $150,000 Grade III Allaire DuPont. Bettors can play daily doubles, 50-cent rolling Pick 3s and $1 Super Hi-5s throughout the day. Here's a few suggested plays: BEST BET (RACE 5 @ 2:23PM ET, #1 DONTLETSWEETFOOLYA) Something has to give in the 6F Willa On The Move Stakes as speedballs Dontletsweetfoolya and Malibu Mischief have combined for 10 consecutive wire-to-wire victories by a combined 52 lengths. DONTLETSWEETFOOLYA gets the nod, having turned the winning corner since adding blinkers. Keith Feustle, one of the track's astute chart-callers, noticed the 3-year-old filly wore different blinkers after her June 19 start when the winning streak began. If the speed falls apart, CLUB CAR is the likely beneficiary. She projects a perfect stalking trip from the outside -- a preferred path for many sprinters at the track last week -- for a barn that has a $5.90 ROI the last three years with the synthetic-to-dirt angle. SPOT PLAY (RACE 6 @ 2:53PM ET, #3 TACO SUPREAM) Trainer Damon Dilodovico sends out hard-hitting LAKI (10-29, $703k) in the $100,000 Dave's Friend Stakes, but don't sleep on his other entrant, TACO SUPREAM, who rallied against a strong rail bias to finish second two starts back, won his latest try and picks up top jockey Trevor McCarthy. Both runners will have SHARE THE RIDE to beat after he carried 133 pounds to victory in the Grade III Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct last out and posted three triple-digit Beyers in four starts prior. FEATURE RACE PICK - G3 ALLAIRE DUPONT STAKES (RACE 8 @ 3:53PM ET, #4 ERES TU) ERES TU relaxed well in her second start off a 1-1/2-year layoff, took command with ease and won her first stakes race in a manner that suggests she can repeat in the $150,000, Grade 3 Allaire DuPont at 1-1/8 miles. Trainer Arnaud Delacour that excels with runners coming off their top speed figure on dirt. Also of note: she defeated Lucky Stride, who finished ahead of ANOTHER BROAD (7-2 in today's race) in the G-III Shuvee Stakes back in the fall at Saratoga. LONGSHOT STABS (RACES 3 & 7) GUNS BLAZIN - 15/1 - (#1, race 3) draws the rail, appears to want longer and is out of the graded-stakes caliber dam House of Fortune ($989k). AIR TOKEN - 10/1 - (#3, race 7) doesn't figure to win, but he is a must use on gimmick wager tickets as trainer Jose Corrales is 8-27 the last 30 days with a 2.89 ROI. Both runners are double-digit odds on the morning line. $100 BANKROLL BETS RACE 2 (PICK 3): 3, 5 // 1, 2, 8 // ALL COST: $24.00 for $0.50 base RACE 5: $40 WIN #1 DONTLETSWEETFOOLYA // $15 EXACTA 1-9 // $5 EXACTA 1 - 3COST: $60.00  RACE 7: $16 EXACTA 4-3 COST: $16.00 

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12.23.2020:

Jeff Siegel's National Day Makers for December 23, 2020

Jeff Siegel’s National Day Makers for Wednesday, December 23, 2020Gulfstream Park First Race – Post time: 12:35 ET10-Hardly Social (8-1)Ran better than the line shows in her debut in September at Delaware Park ,where she was wide and rank early, moved up midway to be within range while continuing to lose ground, and then stayed on with interest to finish sixth, beaten less than five lengths while competing for this same maiden $25,000 tag. She returns three months later for new trainer S. Joseph. Jr. while removing blinkers (love that angle), so we’re expecting the daughter of Social Inclusion to produce a significant forward move despite the disadvantageous outside draw. Her recent work tab looks steady and healthy, and with the barn’s “go-to” rider L. Saez taking the call the Florida-bred juvenile has a reasonable chance to pull off an upset at 8-1 on the morning line.*Gulfstream Park Eighth Race – Post time: 4:08 ET6-Abilene Trail (7/2)Backs up to a one-turn mile after racing far below her true form when fractious at the gate and then fading readily in a similar spot at Gulfstream Park West last month. Assuming she minds her manners today, the daughter of Curlin certainly can bounce back, and with the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. in a race without much pace, she’ll have every chance to regain her winning form. Two nice breezes should have her sharp and ready, so let’s try the T. Pletcher-trained sophomore in the win pool and in rolling exotic play and hope to get close to her morning line of 7/2.

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12.23.2020:

‘Challenges’ & Santa Anita Saturday Late Pick 4 Analysis

This year we’ve all faced challenges. ‘Challenges’ Don’t you just love that word? It’s what the suits use to describe a negative. The downside. What went wrong, sideways, or off the rails. ‘Challenges’ Yep, 2020 has had them. Like Dunkin has doughnuts. Recalling an entertaining 2020 Pegasus event at Gulfstream Park, it’s difficult to imagine that the pleasant experience was a mere 12 months ago. So much has transpired since that 2020 seems to have lasted more like a decade than 365 days. If you recall, back on Monday, March 9, just two days before the World Health Organization declared COVID 19 a pandemic, racing took a thunderous punch to the gut when, from New York to Florida, Federal Authorities arrested and indicted 27 individuals on charges related to manufacturing, procuring, distributing and administering illegal substances to racehorses. High profile Thoroughbred trainers Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro were among those arrested. Almost forgot that ‘challenge,’ didn’t you? While the raids satisfied those who considered the sport in need of a ‘housecleaning,’ the incident simultaneously troubled others because, needed or not, the hubbub branded the sport with another ‘black-eye.’ As PETA and reactionary politicians pounded on racing’s front door and attendance and handle sagged, additional negative national press arrived as welcome as an anchor to a drowning man. Like all sports, due to the pandemic, racing ceased operation. Unlike others, however, racing soon returned, minus fans in the stands. Horses, you see, humanely, had to be exercised and under the right conditions could be raced in the afternoon, cared for by a close-knit group of people and ridden by tested, masked and gloved jockeys. Thanks to television, online streaming and ADWs like Xpressbet, the game resumed and was consumed as not merely the ‘only game in town’ but, strangely, the ‘only game worldwide.’ Before racing recommenced, Santa Anita emerged as a pioneer in the presentation of sport in a pandemic world. Catch the outstanding Hennegan brothers 22-minute YouTube video about the process. It’s appropriately called Riders Up: The World’s First Sports Bubble. Stars of the show are Santa Anita’s management team, jockeys and the racetrack itself which appears in crisp, clear, HD glory, San Gabriel mountains included. It chronicles the process of meeting ‘challenges’ head-on and cleverly adapting to overcome them. Nationally, 2020 racing resumed with everyone on pins and needles. Fear of a stable area or jock’s room COVID outbreak hung in the air like the smell of burning rubber. There were isolated positives that included several of the nation’s top riders, trainers and fans--New Orleans Saints coach Sean Peyton, the first person in the NFL to publicly test positive for COVID, presented the trophy for the Gr. 2 Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park March 14 and received positive test results 5 days later. Caught up in the rapid spread of the virus throughout California, Golden Gate Fields experienced serious ‘challenges.’ In late November, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, approximately 300 people who live or work at the track tested positive for COVID. Naturally, afternoon activities were halted, and racing has yet to resume. Overall, tracks nationwide did a fantastic job of racing in the time of COVID. Schedules were altered. Some Kentucky Derby preps were cancelled, others shuffled, as were Triple Crown races—Belmont was contested in June at one mile and one-eighth; Kentucky Derby was moved to the first Saturday in September, and Preakness was run in October. Thankfully, no single horse won the revised Triple Crown, so the dispute about whether or not the achievement required an asterisk never materialized. Breeders’ Cup, the sport’s traditional late-season championship event, was presented as scheduled in front of a nearly empty Keeneland grandstand. Personally, the sport (and the gamble) provided critical diversion from news of COVID ravages, political strife and months indoors. It’s always easy to criticize racing’s mistakes. Mostly because the sport manages to make so many of them. But it’s also fair to then shine a light on accomplishments—like not only surviving…but thriving during a worldwide pandemic. Hats off and gratitude to everyone in the game. Thank you for a job well done. There’s also another bit of positive 2020 racing news worth attention. According to John Cherwa, in a recent Los Angeles Times racing newsletter, “The daytime Southern California racing circuit has not had a racing fatality since Sept. 5. It didn’t have a training death during that time until a horse was injured and euthanized at Santa Anita last week.” That’s fantastic news for…well, everyone. Credit Santa Anita, Del Mar and Los Alamitos management and horsemen for pitching afternoon perfect games. Truthfully, beforehand, this racing veteran would have considered that accomplishment impossible. After all, Thoroughbreds are fragile creatures zipping at speeds nearing 40 miles per hour and bearing over 1,000 pounds of weight on one leg at a time. Seems like something’s bound to give once in a while. Apparently not. Measures instituted to protect horses and riders appear to have worked. Thankfully. Of course, the obvious question is: What took us so long? Before discussing at length, let’s just be momentarily grateful for the accomplishment and hope like hell the shutout continues throughout Santa Anita’s upcoming winter meet. Speaking of which…the day after Christmas, traditional opening of Santa Anita, is one of our favorite days of the year. This writer has enjoyed a 50-year love affair with that racetrack. To put it bluntly, the joint is as remarkable to horseplayers as Disney’s nearby Magic Kingdom is to children. There, before your eyes and seemingly within reach, behold majestic San Gabriel Mountains pressed against a crystal-clear blue sky, towering above swaying palm trees, surrounded by green and brown manicured circumferences dotted with jockeys in colorful silks astride silky chestnut, brown, black and grey speeding Thoroughbreds. Saturday, yours truly won’t be the only acolyte not in attendance. Another pandemic ‘challenge.’ That’s OK. We’ve experienced opening day often and hope to do so again before we’re ushered to that great box seat in the sky. In the meantime, we’ll catch proceedings on Xpressbet and take a few mutuel swings at collecting a kewpie doll. Hopefully, you’ll join me. Below is one man’s humble opinion regarding Saturday’s Santa Anita’s Late Pick 4.   SANTA ANITA OPENING DAY LATE PICK 4   RACE 8 (5:39PM ET) // G1 LA BREA STAKES // 7 FURLONGS (DIRT)  The La Brea Stakes is for 3-year-old fillies and this one is a real puzzle because it’s loaded with early pace and talent. Trainer Bob Baffert has 4 starters in and that alone is an interesting note. Might the quartet suggest the white-haired conditioner isn’t totally confident with any one of them? Then again, it’s a bold statement to ignore any Baffert in a Santa Anita stakes race. # 2 Merneith is one of Baffert’s crew and she sports a spotty record with 3 wins in 8 starts. She’s had 3 seconds and 1 third, so she’s got talent and has done well at Santa Anita with 1 win, 2 seconds and 1 third. She usually shows speed but came from off the pace to win her last a six-furlong stakes race at Keeneland. She has worked well for this. She’s one of many with a chance. #3 Himiko is another notable Baffert starter. She usually is forcing the pace and probably will do the same in here. She won a first-level allowance race by more than 6 lengths last out over a ‘good’ track at Del Mar. She has a win and a second at Santa Anita in two tries and has a runner-up finish at the distance. Jockey Flavien Prat rides and he’s 32% with Baffert. It did take her 4 starts to get her maiden win and that’s not Baffert-like at all. His good ones usually win first or second time out. #4 Secret Keeper has had just 4 starts--2 wins and 1 second. She stumbled at the start in the Gr. 2 Raven Run at Keeneland last out and was third in the Gr. 3 Torrey Pines at Del Mar going a mile before that. She defeated #2 Merneith at Del Mar this summer. Expect her to be close up in the early going. #5 Finite is the most accomplished soph filly in the race with multiple Gr. 2 stakes wins. She defeated older fillies and mares last out at a one-turn mile in the Chilukki at Churchill Downs. Before that she just missed in the Gr. 2 Raven Run going 7 furlongs at Keeneland. A repeat of either of those efforts would make her tough in here. She should get a hot pace to chase and she’s got a strong resume of two-turn stakes successes from 2019 and 2020. Look for her to be charging in the lane in this 7-furlong dash. #6 Biddy Duke ought to add to a torrid early pace. She was claimed for $40k and has a Gr. 3 Senator Ken Maddy win on turf against older in her last. #8 Motivated Seller invades from the East for trainer Chad Brown. She’s won 2 of 3 with a close second last out behind Merneith. If you like Merneith, you’ve got to love this one and her upside.   RACE 9 (6:17 PM ET) // G1 AMERICAN OAKS // 1 1/4 MILES (TURF)  The Grade 1 American Oaks is a final chance for 3-year-old fillies to meet their classmates and earn coveted Grade 1 Black Type. All horses turn a year older on Jan. 1, so this Dec. 26 confrontation has attracted a solid field of 10 hopefuls from across the country. #1 Red Lark looked solid in winning the Gr. 1 Del Mar Oaks at 19-1 over #7 California Kook. She returned over a ‘good’ course at Keeneland to be defeated by less than 2 lengths in the Gr. 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup. She races from off the pace and should handle the mile and one-quarter distance by saving ground under regular rider Drayden Van Dyke. She’s a must use. #3 Capital Structure has won 2 of 3 starts—a maiden and an allowance race at Monmouth and Belmont, respectively. Trainer Chad Brown will attract money and there is upside to this filly, but this is a big step. She’s sharp, talented, and age 3. Why not ship west with barnmates to take a shot at a Grade 1 prize? #4 Going to Vegas is a real trier. She’s been second in 3 of her last 4 and third in a race before that—all finishes within one length of the winners. She likes Santa Anita—3 wins, 2 seconds in 6 tries --and was second at a mile and three-eighths last out. She’s hardly ever bet—around 15-1 the last two times—so she’s a good one to consider in exotics. She was claimed for $50k and maybe won’t win, but she’ll be in a good position close or on the pace and she doesn’t quit. Probably want her on your side. #7 California Kook had a troubled trip last out in the Gr. 3 Red Carpet against older. Toss that one. Before that she was fifth, beaten 3 lengths in the Gr. 1 QE II at Keeneland, just behind #1 Red Luck. In the Gr. 1 Del Mar Oaks, #1 Red Lark finished one length in front of a flying California Kook. If you like #1 Red Lark, and we do, then we also have to appreciate the chances of this filly. #8 Duopoly has 3 wins in 5 starts and they all were accomplished in wire-to-wire fashion. She could have the lead again, but she’ll need to go faster than :24 3/5 and :50 last time in winning the Winter Memories over a ‘good’ course at Aqueduct. Top local jock Prat rides for Chad Brown. #9 Sharing won last year’s Gr. 1 BC Juvenile Filly here at Santa Anita to cap a strong 2-year-old season. She’s won 2 of 4 this year and enters this off a three-quarter length fourth in the Gr. 1 Matriarch against older. That’s the best last out of any runner in here. Sharing must be used but we don’t think she’s a single.   RACE 10 (6:51PM ET) // G1 RUNHAPPY MALIBU STAKES // 7 FURLONGS (DIRT)  The Gr. 1 Runhappy Malibu matches some very talented 3-year-old performers at seven furlongs. Always a major event on the national racing scene, this year is no exception. #1 Collusion Illusion is a Gr. 1 winner with 5 wins in 8 starts. He’s 2 for 4 at Santa Anita. Jockey Prat returns aboard this one for trainer Mark Glatt. The only blemish on this one’s resume is a poor finish in the Gr. 1 BC Sprint last out. He makes his best run from off the pace. #2 Thousand Words won the first 3 races of his career for trainer Bob Baffert, including the Gr. 3 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita. He’s also 2 for 3 at Santa Anita and 4 for 8 overall. He has been working well for this, too. #3 Nashville is unbeaten, untied and unscored upon in 3 starts, winning by more than 3 lengths each time and never has been behind another horse at any call. He’s the one to beat. #4 Charlatan, trained by Bob Baffert, hasn’t been seen in the afternoon since winning a division of the Gr. 1 Arkansas Derby in May. He later was disqualified from purse money for that victory because of questionable test results. Like #3 Nashville, he’s unbeaten on the racetrack and never been behind another horse at any call during a race. Saturday, between these rockets, something’s got to give.   RACE 11 (7:25PM ET) // LADY OF SHAMROCK STAKES // 1 MILE (TURF)  No easy pickings in this Lady of Shamrock Stakes--final leg of the Saturday Pick 4 at one mile on the turf for 3-year-old fillies. A few of these have graded-stakes experience and are looking for a softer spot in here. #1 Applecross has tried graded stakes a few times with no success. She comes off a close finish in an optional $80k allowance race last out. She has no early speed. #2 Miss Extra makes a second US stakes start for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, so improvement is possible. She was 5-1 in the Gr. 1 Del Mar Oaks but didn’t fire. She’ll get Lasix for this start, has turf tiger jockey Umberto Rispoli, is a Group 2 winner in France and has been working well. Things to like. #3 Beguiled won an optional claiming race last out and keeps the services of top jock Flavien Prat for trainer Phil D’Amato. She was stuck at the first allowance level for a while, though. #4 On Mars is an honest, sharp filly that’s been on the board in 8 out of 9 starts with 3 wins and 3 seconds. This Cal-bred filly doesn’t have the credentials of some of these but she’s a trier and an exotics consideration. #7 Nasty finished lapped on #9 Warren’s Showtime two back in the Gr. 3 Autumn Miss. A repeat of that effort, her first for trainer Richard Baltas, fits here. She disappointed as favorite last out in a $62,500 optional claiming try. #8 Counterparty Risk broke maiden in her second start last out at Aqueduct and makes the cross-country trek with the rest of the Brown contingent. It’s difficult to judge how good this filly might be, and she has a sparkling :59 3/5 work at Palm Meadows to tout her readiness. #9 Warren’s Showtime has been an incredibly consistent performer over the last 2 years for trainer Craig Lewis. She’s won 6 of 14 starts and over $500k. She’s also won 4 of 5 races over the Santa Anita turf course and 5 of 8 at this distance on turf. She’s a grade 3 winner with placings in grade 1 and grade 2 races. Beat her to win it. #10 Annangel went to the front and never looked back to win her first US start for trainer Richard Baltas. Jockey Abel Cedillo replaces JJ Hernandez in the saddle.   SUGGESTED 50-CENT SANTA ANITA LATE PICK 4 TICKET ($60) Race 8: 3, 5, 8Race 9: 1, 4, 7, 8, 9Race 10: 3, 4Race 11: 2, 4, 8, 9 Race On!

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12.23.2020:

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. Headlines Racing this week will be Saturday-Sunday only with no racing Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (Thursday-Friday) … Saturday’s spectacular 9-race card is one of the richest in Maryland history with $850,000 in stakes purses, including the rescheduled Grade 3 Allaire du Pont from Preakness Week. The marquee entrants among the 8 stakes include Pimlico Special winner Harpers First Ride, 3-time 2020 juvenile filly stakes winner Street Lute and Aqueduct’s Fall Highweight winner Share the Ride … A $9,551 Rainbow 6 carryover awaits horseplayers this week. Stronach 5 No Stronach 5 this week with Christmas Day falling on a Friday. The wager returns next Friday, January 1. 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 39% winners and a flat-best profit. For the third straight week, Speed factors swept the top 3. Best Speed Distance Best Speed Last 3 Avg Best 2 of last 3 Speed Trends Last Week -- Trainer Jerry Robb sizzled at 9: 5-2-0. He was 4: 3-1-0 with favorites and 7: 5-2-0 with runners at 7-2 or less. Robb won 3 races Dec. 19. Xavier Perez rode 4 of the Robb winners, Carol Cedeno the other. -- Trainer Anthony Farrior continued his hot ways with an 8: 3-1-3 week that saw a $2.05 ROI for every $1 bet. Winners paid a solid $8, $10 and $14. Farrior was 4: 2-1-1 with Jevian Toledo aboard his charges. -- The Samuel Davis barn made the most with limited chances, going 2: 1-0-1. Significant here was the $36 win price and the 30-1 odds on the third-place finisher. Davis had been 0-28 at Laurel since mid-March prior to the sudden success. -- Jockey Jevian Toledo was on point at 11: 5-1-2, posting a $1.89 ROI for every $1 bet. His 5 wins came for 4 different barns, doubling down with Anthony Farrior. 4 of the 5 wins came in sprints. -- Jockey Xavier Perez, right-hand man of trainer Jerry Robb, went 10: 4-2-0 with 8 of those mounts for his top barn. All 4 wins were aboard Robb trainees, topping out at a $9 return. -- Favorites were 13-for-27 in a chalky week at Laurel with 46% wins and 79% in the exacta. They went 8: 5-2-0 in maiden claimers.

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12.23.2020:

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. Headlines Racing this holiday week will be Wednesday through Sunday with the exception of Christmas Day Friday. Note Thursday’s earlier first post time of 11:30 am ET for Christmas Eve … Saturday’s trio of stakes features include the 2-mile Allen Jerkens, as well as the Tropical Park Oaks and Derby … The Dec. 19 mandatory Rainbow 6 payout saw a $7364 return on the 20-cent wager after more than $5.3 million of fresh money was bet into the pool … The Rainbow 6 returns Wednesday with a $150,000-guaranteed pool … Tickets remain on sale for Jan. 23 Pegasus World Cup Day; for more visit Pegasusworldcup.com. Stronach 5 No Stronach 5 this week with Christmas Day falling on a Friday. The wager returns next Friday, January 1. 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 23% or greater win rate. Jockey Current Year Avg. Turn Time Avg Best 2 of last 3 Speed Trends Last Week -- Trainer Todd Pletcher continued his red-hot ways with a 19: 6-3-0 week, including $11 and $15 winners. Pletcher posted 3 maiden breakers on the week. He’s now 11-for-34 over the past 2 weeks. -- Trainer Danny Gargan put up a second straight 2-for-3 week with limited strikes, winning both attempts in dirt miles. Gargan runners are 6-for-11 at the meet (all 6 wins at a mile or longer). -- Trainer Jack Sisterson also was 2-for-3 with precision, winning a pair of turf miles with Julien Leparoux (including a 20-1 morning line bet to 5-1). -- Trainer Steve Klesaris turned a profit with a 6: 2-0-1 mark. He boasted a $16 winner as well as a 31-1 exotics bomber in the show slot. With jockey Edgard Zayas in the saddle, Klesaris was 4: 2-0-1. -- Jockey Luis Saez led the colony with 10 wins and a 26% winning rate, adding a $1.22 ROI for every $1 bet. He was 4-for-7 aboard favorites. Saez and trainer Todd Pletcher teamed for a 3-for-6 mark. Saez won 31% in dirt sprints at 7F or less. -- Jockey Tyler Gaffalione delivered with favorites, going 13: 6-0-2 – but was 3-for-22 on non-favorites. He did post a $25 winner along the way.

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12.22.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (Dec. 14-20): Senor Buscador

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP. MVP: Senor Buscador Owner: Joe Peacock Trainer: Todd Fincher Jockey: Luis Quinonez Performance: Rocketing last-to-first winner of the Dec. 18 $200,000 Springboard Mile at Remington Park, Senor Buscador looks to be a southern contender on the 2021 Derby trail. The son of Mineshaft and half-brother to Sunland Derby winner Runaway Ghost made up more than a dozen lengths before drawing clear by 5-3/4 lengths. Among those in his wake were Kentucky shippers from the Steve Asmussen, Wesley Ward and Brad Cox barns. Senor Buscador is now 2-for-2 after a Nov. 6 debut maiden sprint win in Oklahoma City. On Tap: Trainer Fincher’s runners will winter this year at Sam Houston as the racing schedule at home at Sunland Park is in flux. He indicated that the Fair Grounds 3-year-old schedule, which includes the Lecomte, Risen Star and Louisiana Derby could be the route taken. Oaklawn’s Arkansas Derby trail and a possible Sunland Derby date also could be spring targets. Honorable Mentions: Trainer Bob Baffert’s Los Alamitos Futurity dominance continued for a seventh straight year Dec. 19 when Spielberg scored a nose photo and avenged a couple of disappointing efforts prior. He’ll head next to February’s Lewis at Santa Anita. Sleepy Eyes Todd cut back in trip to win Gulfstream’s Dec. 19 Mr. Prospector with a sharp effort. He’s traveled the country in 2020 from Fonner to Charles Town to the big circuits, sharing success along the way. Maxfield, one of the favorites for this year’s Kentucky Derby, but sidelined by a series of setbacks, returned to action Dec. 19 at Fair Grounds with a promising victory in the Tenacious. While he could be fast-tracked to the Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 23, you have to think Godolphin would love to have him for the Dubai World Cup in late March.

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12.21.2020:

Monday, December 21: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, Pompano Park has a concise 9-race card set to go. The 0.50 Pick 4 begins in Race 6. The sequence has a $15,000 guaranteed pool with a 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 65-Mighty Surf (4-1)-Didn't have success at this level earlier in the meet but is in better form now. Simons did choose over the 3/9 and the Huff barn has been rolling, so using at a square price.7-Keegan Ho (5-1)-Not including the program chalk #2 and will use this Plano trainee who won at this class on 11-30 at 6/5. Since then, has been competing in the Open Handicap with another pilot. Can take a picture tonight with a smooth journey.Race 72-Creekside Pete (4-1)-Ships in from the Meadows and was facing tougher company. Last raced on 12/8 and will use in Pompano debut.3-BJ Anthony (4-1)-Fits with this crew and Hennessey is back in the bike. Will toss the last 2 with amateur drivers and will look for a more aggressive steer.6-Chocouture (9/2)-Form has been dull but has faced better. There was a gap between last 2 starts but now returns in 7 days and should like the company.7-Timon As (3-1)-Another who drops, was facing straight $15K claimers and does come off a break in stride. Has won 3 of 9 starts at PPk and should be a player if minds manners.Race 81-Serenity Cruise (2-1)-Beaten chalk could land in the post time favorite role again. Got on the engine and was in overdrive and then faded down the lane. Makes 5th PPk start and is looking for 1st picture. Should be a player at short odds.2-Celebrity Miracle (7/2)-Beat the Open II kind on 12/7 at a nice price. Main issue is the breaking problem that has occurred in 3 of last 5 races. Winner of 9 in 27 this year and has 6 pictures at the Pomp, can beat this crew if stays on stride.4-Jack Rules (6-1)-Has done good work at this class. Could beat the two above and the rest if is put in play early. Should offer a solid price and 6-year-old has won 19 of 74 in south Florida.Race 95-Jaded Dream (5/2)-Deserves to be on the ticket but is looking for 1st Pomp win in 5 starts this meet. Needs the right trip and did close nicely in last. Comes off the best recent effort and will look for upswing to continue.6-Dads Filly (7-1)-Has been trying hard versus $7500 claimers and now drops. Has the gate speed to be put in play early and is well worth a swing at the morning line price.10-Play To The Crowd (9/5)-Comes off a win as an odds-on favorite at this same class. Hennessey has won many from this post, but he will need to provide a good steer to do it tonight. There isn't much gate speed on the rail so may duck and make an early move.My Ticket Race 6) 5,7 Race 7) 2,3,6,7 Race 8) 1,2,4 Race 9) 5,6,10Total Ticket Cost) $36 $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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12.20.2020:

Sunday, December 20: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Pompano Park has a big 13-race card set to roll tonight with the headliners being 2-year-olds in Florida Breeders Stakes action. The 0.50 Pick 4 begins in Race 6. The sequence has a $15,000 guaranteed pool with a very low 12% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Jagger Rocks (9/5)-Hasn't faced the same level of competition as #3 but did look very sharp in recording a win last week. Should be a main player even with the bump up in what appears to be a 2-horse race.3-War-N-Munn (2-1)-Has been using Lasix for the last 5 starts but hasn't been able to seal the deal. May switch things up and settle into the pocket behind #2 and rally down the lane to take a picture.Race 71-Dash Of Danger (15-1)-Looking for a price and this 7-year-old may finally be acclimated to south Florida. Does have the gate speed to protect the rail and could get sucked around and surprise at long odds.2-Mac Anover (15-1)-Same game plan with Mac as #1, has early speed to be forwardly placed and could get a great trip. Will swing against the one dropper #7, the tepid program chalk, who doesn't have big gate speed.3-Mc Mach (4-1)-Steps-up after winning 3 of last 4, with only loss coming from post 10. The start of this affair should be fun to watch and may signal who takes a picture. Plano will probably want the top, that has worked in recent wins.8-Mach West (7/2)-The post draw could pose a problem and Hennessey will probably leave for a close-up seat. May need to duck and rally late. Using because the pace should be hot, and this could set-up nicely for this 4-year-old if put into striking range.Race 81-Brandon Hanover (2-1)-Form has been dull and post draws haven't helped but now finds a soft spot. Hennessey takes the lines and should be a solid threat with a decent trip.5-Kotare Yael N (7-1)-Stepped down last week and was rimmed the mile but grinded it out to just miss by a neck. Now is pushed up in class and should offer a better price, so will respect chances versus this group.6-ER Room (5-1)-Raced well in first Pompano start but didn't get the best of trips. Now meets a beatable field and Smith could blast out to take control.Race 92-Rocksapatriot (9/2)-Fits at this class and from this post Ingraham can work a favorable journey. Looks like a trip out candidate and should be in striking range if #6 throws a dud.6-Rockin Mercedes (9/5)-Comes off 2 nice qualifiers but hasn't raced since 9/4. Pet Rock 5-year-old lands in a spot to shine and should take a picture if comes off the bench with a decent effort. Makes its Pomp debut and has 152.4 mark at DD on the 5/8's. Was facing better at HoP and has 9 wins in 18 starts this year.My Ticket Race 6) 2,3 Race 7) 1,2,3,8 Race 8) 1,5,6 Race 9) 2,6Total Ticket Cost) $24 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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12.20.2020:

Sunday, December 20: Gulfstream 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. 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.RACE 1: Post: 12:05 ET Grade: C+Use: 1-Pugin; 3-Todaystheday; 4-Nitro TimeForecast: The Sunday opener is a maiden $25,000 five furlong turf sprint for 2-year-olds that requires as much coverage as you can give it. We’ll go three-deep in our rolling exotics and hope that’s enough. Nitro Time ships in from Churchill Downs and makes the all-important drop from maiden to maiden-claiming after displaying good early speed but then fading in an extended dash last month. Against this group we expect he’ll have a strong pace presence from start to finish, Todaystheday, a good runner-up under these conditions 16 days ago, adds blinkers and certainly has a right to continue his improving pattern. Pugin turns back from a miler and will be running on late. Second in his last pair and a fit on speed figures, the Palace Malice gelding will need some luck from the rail but if room develops in the stretch he could tag the speed.RACE 2: Post: 12:35 ET Grade: B-Use: 5-Midnight Whiskey; 6-Nimble BeastForecast: Let’s take a shot with a price play in this restricted (nw-2) $6,250 extended sprint for older horses. Midnight Whiskey shows up cheap in his first start for a tag, adds blinkers, and has back numbers that are good enough to win. His recent form looks bleak but against this group he may regain his confidence, and if he can flash some of his old early speed he should be in the fray throughout. Nimble Beast finally found a soft maiden $10,000 field he could outrun last month and graduated in his 14th career start. The number was better than par for this level, so the K. O’Connell-trained gelding has to be taken seriously right back.RACE 3: Post: 1:05 ET Grade: BUse: 3-Rockstar Ro; 4-Lucky LawForecast: Rockstar Ro probably can’t beat a real good 2-year-old maiden but if there aren’t any world beaters in this five furlong turf sprint he should be tough to handle. The son of Gemologist has run well on grass in the past and most recently finished fourth in a hot dirt sprint at Churchill Downs after leading the way inside the furlong pole. At this shorter trip, he’ll take some catching. First-timer Lucky Law has six consecutive bullet workouts on his resume to indicate plenty of speed and ability for a barn that is quite capable with debut runners. Certainly bred to win early (No Nay Never), the P. Biancone-trained colt would appear to be the most dangerous of the newcomers and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.RACE 4: Post: 1:35 ET Grade: C+Use: 2-Gilded Lady; 6-Good Shabbos; 8-You’re the BestForecast: Good Shabbos drops into a maiden claimer for the first time and against this soft $20,000 field the daughter of Munnings seems properly spotted to earn her diploma. A strong fit on speed figures and in the frame in seven of eight career starts, the K. Breen-trained filly lacks tactical speed but should have every chance to produce the last run. Of some concern, though, is that she was a beaten favorite in her last pair and may not be one to totally trust. Gilded Lady finished first in a similar affair at Monmouth Park in August but was disqualified for drifting out badly and causing interference in the stretch. The number she earned makes her a major player against this group and a healthy recent work tab indicates she is plenty fit. Hopefully, she runs straight today. You’re the Best drops to her lowest level ever, hit the board in her last pair and has numbers that are competitive. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics without any great conviction.RACE 5: Post: 2:01 ET Grade: BUse: 3-Centsless Drama; 4-Spin Your PartnerForecast: Spin Your Partner improved dramatically when beating straight maidens at GPW in October in her first start since joining the J. Cibelli barn and returns today in a starter’s allowance race that she’s eligible for after competing for a modest tag earlier in her career. The daughter of Hard Spun wants to be held up and allowed to run late, so if she employs the proper tactics with the switch to the barn’s “go-to” rider P. Lopez there’s every reason to believe she can win right back at 4-1 on the morning line. Centsless Drama will be the controlling speed as usual, though she’s always suspect under pressure close home. Second in her last four starts after holding the lead inside the furlong pole, the daughter of Big Drama can’t really be trusted but she’s a fit on speed figures so we’ll toss her in on a ticket or two as a back-up or a saver.RACE 6: Post: 2:40 ET Grade: C+Use: 3-Digital Footprint; 8-Shining Through; 12-Bee CatcherForecast: Here’s an “anything” goes turf miler for restricted (nw-2) $20,000 older horses. Bee Catcher is stuck on the far outside and it’s questionable whether he’ll be able to secure the type of trip needed to win but he’s a strong fit while dropping to his lowest level ever and has a prior win over this course and distance. L. Saez will likely drop over, get cover, and then hope to find room to rally from the quarter pole home. Digital Footprint is somewhat intriguing at 6-1 on the morning line in his first start since February and his first for M. Maker. The son of Giant’s Causeway likely will display good early speed from his favorable inside draw, and his recent work tab indicates he should be fit enough for a barn that has solid stats with layoff runners. Shining Through has one win in 19 starts with nine seconds and thirds, so he’s hardly one to trust, but the Malibu Moon gelding shows a recent runner-up effort over the local lawn and seems likely to clunk up and at least get a minor award. We’ll have him on a ticket or two as a back-up.RACE 7: Post: 3:08 ET Grade: BUse: 1-Tayet; 8-Unbridled d’OroForecast: Tayet is listed at 10-1 on the morning line but seems certain to go lower than that. The daughter of Cairo Prince flashed good early speed from the rail over seven furlongs in her debut at Churchill Downs last month and led the way until mid-stretch before weakening. She figures to stick much better today with that effort behind her and very likely will be the controlling speed from her rail draw. The best of the newcomers we suspect is the T. Pletcher-trained Unbridled d’Oro, a filly by Medaglia d’Oro from Ballerina S.-G1 winner Unbridled Forever. There’s nothing fancy on the work tab at Palm Beach Downs but the barn has strong stats with first-timers and she’s been given a strong foundation of drills to have her fit and ready. From what we’ve seen on tape she’s a good mover with plenty of ability.RACE 8: Post: 3:38 ET Grade: B-Use: 3-Stefanie On Fleek; 7-Little Bit Good; 9-Skye SnowForecast: Skye Snow won a restricted (nw-2) $40,000 seller with a career top speed figure at Belmont Park in September and was claimed by high percentage trainer B. Cox. Off for nearly three months and returning in this (nw-3) $20,000 affair, the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid takes the most unhealthiest of class drops, even for a barn that hits at 26% with the first-off-the-claim angle. Her recent :47 1/5 breeze around dogs on grass (second fastest of 49) provides hope that she has at least one good one left, so with I. Ortiz, Jr. taking the call we’ll put her on top at 5/2 on the morning line but certainly won’t put all of our eggs in her basket. Little Bit Good and Stefanie On Fleek, two-three finishers in a similar affair here earlier this month, are in solid form and should fire their best shots. The former is winless in five starts over the local lawn but was nosed out when earning a career top speed figure and should be heard from late, while the latter is a one-paced grinding type but projects to enjoy a ground-saving, second flight journey and have every chance when the pressure is turned on.RACE 9: Post: 4:12 ET Grade: B-Use: 2-Green Mansions; 4-Dardanellos; 7-Nacho PapaForecast: Trainer J. Delgado has two solid contenders in this state-bred allowance optional claiming sprint, with Green Mansions, a first-off-the-claim play turning back from a sloppy track GPW router to a one-turn mile, looking fairly solid even though he’s just 1-for-16 in his career over the local main track. The Kantharos gelding likes to settle and make one run and under I. Ortiz, Jr., he’ll get the proper ride. Stable mate Nacho Papa is nicely drawn outside and is fresh from earning a career top speed figure when second in a restricted $8,000 router at GPW in mid-November. He’ll be forwardly placed today, perhaps even on the lead, in a race that projects to have an extremely soft early pace. Worth tossing in at 8-1 on the morning line is Dardanellos, a three time winner at Gulfstream Park but with recent form that looks unattractive. He’s got back numbers that are good enough to win and should draft into a cozy stalking journey and have his chance from there.RACE 10: Post: 4:40 ET Grade: BUse: 2-The Virginian; 6-Ray’swarriorForecast: Tough old pro Ray’swarrior clearly deserves the edge on top in this Florida-bred five furlong grass sprint for allowance optional claimers. The K. Breen-trained gelding was unplaced in the Claiming Crown Express but tackles easier today and returns to a course that he’s won on in the past. In an abbreviated dash that surprisingly lacks a lot of speed types, he could find himself on or near the lead throughout, and with 11 wins on his resume the son of Majestic Warrior knows how to capitalize when given that type of trip. The Virginian is lightly-raced with room to improve, having finished a solid runner-up sprinting on turf at GPW last month. He’s a bit light in the speed figure department but at least his numbers are headed in the right direction.Race 11: Post Time: 5:11 ET Grade: B-Use: 11-Riggins; 12-Mr. TipForecast: The two main contenders in this mile grass affair for restricted (nw-2) $20,000 claimers must leave from the extreme outside, so this could turn out to be something of a chaotic affair. Riggins returns to grass and drops into a seller, so we suspect the Liam’s Map gelding will be able to repeat the quality of his maiden claiming win over this course and distance last spring, one that earned a speed figure that is par for this level. He’ll likely drop back, try to save some ground, and then kick home when set down. Mr. Tip surfaces for a tag for the first time and should greatly appreciate this softer assignment. He’ll need to overcome the 12-hole and avoid losing too much ground early, but if he can secure a second flight, stalking trip he should have a pretty good look.

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12.19.2020:

Saturday December 19: Woodbine Mohawk Park Jackpot Hi-5 Analysis

Tonight, as is customary at this time of the year, there is a mandatory payout in the Jackpot Hi-5 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The carryover stands at $335,940.32 and the actions starts in Race 11. The pool could grow into seven figures and it appears to be a competitive race.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 11 Jackpot Hi-5 Mandatory Payout-Carryover $335,9401-Dreamy Fella (15-1)-Steps-up and although a picture is doubtful could hang around to get a piece of the Hi-5 at a decent price.2-Mach Code (10-1)-Scott Young is the usual pilot and he is back between the pipes. Appeared to be on the muscle in last but when pulled near the half couldn't clear the eventual winner. My guess is Young leaves and could get the top, best to not overlook chances of being in the hunt at the wire.3-Rootin Tootin (9/2)-Missed almost a month from 10/31-11/27, this will be 3rd time McClure takes the lines and the 4th start in sequence. Broke poorly in last, was caught on the rail and couldn't close quick enough to hit the board. Looking for an aggressive steer and could use a well-timed move to be first to cross the line. Taking a swing for a square price in race without a true standout.4-Heavenly Sound (6-1)-Record this year is 1-21 and this is only the 2nd start since 10/25. Has the speed to hit the ticket if dialed on high but would like to see that type of effort first. Only 2-47 the past 2 years and doesn't interest me much at the morning line price.5-Rockin In Heaven (3-1)-Disappointed in the NW3KL5 as in even money chalk and couldn't seal the deal. The trip was taxing but the fractions were not lively and at 3-1 this tepid program chalk doesn't excite me. Will look to others at the top of the ticket. Eight-year-old has banked over $951,000 and the back-class players will be using and maybe keying.6-Tigers Way (8-1)-Tiger is 0-20 this year and 3-45 since 2019. But should fit with this crew and can close to hit the ticket with an alert start. JMac has steered before and should be able to push the button down the lane.7-Sams A Champ A )7/2)-Shows a win at this level back on 10/31 and has been 0-5 since, while taking on better. Roy is in the bike tonight and he might wake-up this 8-year-old. This is a spot to shine but needs a favorable trip.8-Dreamfair Moxy (4-1)-Drops and has been noticeable at this level in the past but is camera shy and is only 2-25 this year. Cullen may be forced to leave and that might work for hitting the Hi-5. But at the 4-1 morning line this 4-year-old won't be used at the very top of my ticket.9-Osborne Seelster (15-1)-Loses McNair to #11 and at this class has trouble cashing checks, so will toss.10-Casimir Richie P (15-1)-Makes 3rd start off the bench and is stuck with post 10 for two consecutive races. Would need a few breaks to win but Henry can find a way to get into the top 5 and should be a nice price. Has hit the board in 28 of 51 Wbsb starts with 11 wins.11-American Virgin (8-1)-McNair sticks with this Moreau 8-year-old and like #10 would need some pixie dust to win. But could be part of the Pick 5 payout and at a solid price.My Ticket1st) 3 2nd) 6,7 3rd) 2,5,6,7,8,10,11 4th) 1,2,5,6,7,8,10,11 5th) 1,2,5,6,7,8,10,11Total Ticket Cost) $72 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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12.19.2020:

Saturday, December 19: Gulfstream 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. 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.RACE 1: Post: 12:05 ET Grade: C+Use: 3-Rey de Ligas; 5-Call Bros; 9-Big PermForecast: The opener is a grass grab bag for maiden $20,000 older horses competing over seven and one-half furlongs. Anything can happen. Rey de Ligas has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern and earned a good figure when fourth after a slow start in a recent five furlong dash. Wheeled back off short rest (10 days), the Chilean-bred gelding has room for further improvement, switches to the barn’s “go-to” rider E. Zayas and rates a very slight edge on top at 9/2 on the morning line. Call Bros, runner-up in a slightly lesser race at this trip at GPW last month, is unplaced in four starts over the local lawn but should draft into a comfortable pace-stalking position and have every chance in a weak affair. Big Perm earned a career-top number – one that equals par for this level – when third in a race two weeks ago. If he can build on that effort today he’ll be right there. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics but if you find the need to include more, go right ahead.RACE 2: Post: 12:34 ET Grade: CUse: 3-Ms Big Spring; 4-Say AdiosForecast: This restricted (nw-3) $6,250 sprint for fillies and mares came up woefully light. We’ll use two but not with any degree of conviction. Ms Big Spring, the 8/5 morning line favorite, drops sharply in class and may have found her friends. Back to dirt and at her preferred track, the D. Fawkes-trained filly is a two-time winner at Gulfstream Park and projects to enjoy a comfortable pace-prompting trip. That said, she’s hardly one to trust at a short price. Say Adios drops a notch on the class ladder, and though beaten as the favorite in her last pair must be considered a contender by default. She projects as the controlling speed and given that type of trip could take this field a long way.RACE 3: Post: 1:03 ET Grade: C+Use: 2-Cobb; 4-ExxtopForecast: Modest maiden-claiming juveniles sprint six furlongs in the third race, a shallow affair that has two main players. Exxtop, runner-up against similar competition in his last pair, has speed figures that are par for this $16,000 level and looks ready to graduate, though his failure as a short priced favorite in both of those races is a reason for concern. Perhaps the switch to L. Saez will make the winning difference, Cobb is a seven-race maiden but drops to his lowest level ever and makes a favorable barn switch to J. Delgado. He’s a fit on numbers, switches to I. Ortiz, and is the likely choice and one to beat.RACE 4: Post: 1:32 ET Grade: CUse: 6-Happy Champ; 7-Houdini’s Awesome; 8-Mista DonzellaForecast: Here’s another maiden-claiming mess, this one over a mile on grass for 2-year-olds in for $25,000. Best advice is to spread as deeply as you can afford to. Houdini’s Awesome may be as good as any. The T. Pletcher-trained colt received no wagering action and was well-beaten in his debut vs. infinitely-tougher straight maiden foes at Belmont Park in October, but he did make some minor headway late to indicate he may have at least a smidgen of ability. Happy Champ is another making the maiden-to-maiden claiming class drop while stretching out again and switching to grass in his first start for a tag, so the son of Runhappy certainly has a right to improve, especially if he can secure a front-running trip. Mista Donzella, a second-time starter and likely to improve with this class drop from the maiden $40,000 level, is fairly competitive on speed figures and is worth tossing in somewhere at 12-1 on the morning line.RACE 5: Post: 2:01 ET Grade: B-Use: 3-Texas Reward; 4-She’s Classy; 8-Include the BeastForecast: After a promising runner-up effort in the mud in her debut, Texas Reward crushed a maiden $15,000 field by 14 lengths over a sloppy track at Delaware Park in late September and returns in a realistic spot to face $25,000 claimers over six furlongs. It’ll be interesting to see how she performs on dry land for the first time, but if the daughter of Texas Red can repeat her last race under these conditions she should be capable of scoring again. Include the Beast was a debut winner at GPW in October while earning a speed figure that makes her dangerous despite the class hike. Drawn comfortably outside, the D. Fawkes-trained filly should draft into a cozy stalking spot and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. She’s Classy is the quickest in the field, though her stamina is suspect. She’ll take them as far as she can.RACE 6: Post: 2:40 ET Grade: C+Use: 5-Dillon Rocks; 10-ConfortoForecast: Conforto drops sharply in class but remains above his claim level, so the M. Maker-trained gelding should be capable of regaining his winning form in his first start since shipping back to South Florida from New York. A perfect one-for-one over the local lawn and with I. Ortiz, Jr. picking up the mount, he’s the logical top pick, but because he must leave from the 10-hole at this seven and one-half furlong distance there probably won’t be a lot of wagering value to be found unless he drifts a bit from his 2-1 morning line. Dillon Rocks is the barn’s “other” entrant and must be given a decent look as well. Both of his career victories (from 21 starts) were earned over the Gulfstream Park grass course and if gets the patient ride he apparently prefers the son of Paynter could spring a mild surprise at 5-1 on the morning line. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics but, typical of this type of race, you may choose to toss in a few more.RACE 7: Post: 3:08 ET Grade: BUse: 4-Doll Collection; 7-Gerri BForecast: Doll Collection has good form over the local main track (a win and two seconds in three career starts), removes blinkers, and shows a bullet five furlong drill (:59 3/5, fastest of 16) earlier this month to indicate she’s spot on in her first outing since mid-September. The R. Nicks-trained daughter of Tapit probably will settle into a second flight, stalking position and then be asked for her best from the quarter pole home. Churchill Downs invader Gerri B turns back from a mile, has speed figures that fit, and may have a bit of improvement in her, having had just five prior outings. She, too, has been impressive in the a.m. of late, as indicated by a bullet half mile drill (:48 flat, fastest of 21) at Palm Meadows 10 days ago. We’ll give Doll Collection a very slight edge on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 8: Post: 3:38 ET Grade: BUse: 1-Greyes Creek; 7-Grand Journey; 12-SucceedandsurpassForecast: This second-level allowance middle distance turf event for older horses appears to be a stronger-than-par race for the level. There are at least three legitimate contenders, and maybe even a couple more, so we’ll spread the race in rolling exotic play and then press a bit keying top selection Greyes Creek on top. The 4-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile originally brought $850,000 in the 2018 OBS March Sale and makes his first start since July; if he returns as well as he left he should have every chance to extend his winning streak to three. A smart maiden winner two runs back at Churchill Downs and then a winner of a first-level allowance affair with an impressive turn of foot against slow fractions, the C. Brown-trained four-year-old retains “win rider” T. Gaffalione, lands the good rail, and shows a couple of nice, easy breezes at Palm Meadows since shipping in from Kentucky. Grand Journey is a tough-as-nails gelding from the M. Maker barn with an impressive local record (six wins from 11 starts) and, like our top pick, is rested and ready after a three month vacation. The veteran son of Giant’s Causeway will be running on strongly late. Successandsurpass won a nice allowance race at Woodbine last month and lands I. Ortiz, Jr. He’s drawn a bit farther out than we’d prefer but if the G. Motion-trained colt can work out a decent trip the Grade-2 placed colt certainly can act in this league.RACE 9: Post: 4:12 ET Grade: BUse: 2-Traipsing; 3-Court Return; 8-Always ShoppingForecast: Traipsing catches a field with very little pace in it and most likely will be handed the role as the controlling speed if she wants it. Tagged late when second in the mini-marathon Long Island S.-G3 at Aqueduct last month, she shortens to a mile and three-sixteenths today and should be tough on the front end, though she’s won from off the pace as well. Always Shopping went down by a short head in the 12-furlong Dowager S.-G3 at Keeneland two months ago and has proven to be equally effective at a middle distance. She also has winning form over the local lawn, switches to I. Ortiz, J., and is the likely choice and one to beat. Court Return missed by a neck at 41-1 in the E. P. Taylor S.-G1 at Woodbine in October and if she can duplicate that type of performance here she’ll be tough, for sure. However, she’s a one-paced closer and will need some help up front to be effective.RACE 10: Post: 4:40 ET Grade: BUse: 4-Haikal; 7-Diamond Oops; 9-Firenze FireForecast: Diamonds Oops loves the Gulfstream Park main track (five wins in eight starts) and returns to his proper level after finishing a respectable sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint-G1. The defending Mr. Prospector S.-G3 champion, the P. Biancone-trained gelding has the proper style for this seven furlong trip, shows a pair of recent bullet workouts, and is reunited with J. Leparoux, who was aboard in last year’s victory. Firenze Fire always is tough when he brings his best stuff and is a major player after finishing an excellent third in the B.C. Sprint-G1 last month. This will be his first ever start at Gulfstream Park, but the winner of 12 career starts has proven to be tough anywhere he goes. Haikal is intriguing in his first start since February and his first since joining the T. Pletcher barn. A prototype late-running sprinter, the lightly-raced 4-year-old has been impressive in recent works at Palm Beach Downs and this Grade-3 winner rates a legitimate look at 6-1 on the morning line.Race 11: Post Time: 5:11 ET Grade: B-Use: 1-Girl Dad; 5-Ultimate Gift, 11-MunqadForecast: This maiden two-turner on grass for 2-year-olds came up surprisingly light in terms of quality, so let’s look at what we think is the most dangerous newcomer and also include the two best experienced runners. Ultimate Gift debuts for T. Pletcher (a strong 21% with this angle), and while his workout clockings at Palm Beach Down don’t jump off the page this son of Pioneerof the Nile has been given a solid foundation and should be fit enough to be a contender in an open fray. Pletcher’s other starter, Munqad, is hung way outside in the 11-hole but could improve - as many of the offspring of War Front do - in his first start on grass. He was fourth while on the pace in a two-turn maiden affair at Keeneland last time out in October and may be patiently handled today. New York shipper Girl Day is modest on figures but should get plenty of play after flashing enough improvement to wind up second at the Big A on grass last month. The G. Weaver-trained gelding lands the rail and seems likely to try gate-to-wire tactics.*

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12.18.2020:

Saturday, December 19: Johnny D's Rainbow 6 Mandatory Payout Ticket

No matter what you’re doing Saturday you’ve got to submit a ticket in Gulfstream’s Rainbow Six. It’s ‘mandatory.’ You know, as in ‘you have to do it.’ Why? Because it’s ‘mandatory.’ We thought we already made that clear. What’s that, you want a reason? OK, here goes: There’s a giant Rainbow Six pot with enough bread in it to spark more than a few ‘ho, ho, ho’s’ from folks who hit it. Plus, there’s always the pie-in-the-sky ‘single ticket’ theory that suggests you could sweep the pot and then have enough money to rent a top NFL quarterback for a Sunday afternoon’s worth of yard work. Truthfully, though, if the size of your ticket is anything like mine, a single ticket bonanza isn’t likely. The really important fact about Saturday’s Rainbow Six pot at Gulfstream is that they must give it away. Everything. It’s mandatory. And, if you’ve read this far, you already know what that means: They have to do it. The only question is, ‘Are you going to win a share of it?’ Toward that end we’ve taken a close look at the sequence and offered comments on horses we deem notable. We’ve also suggested a Rainbow Six ticket which you’re invited to judiciously amend. Remember, if you play this ticket exactly as is, when the dust clears Saturday evening, you will not have a single winning ticket. Yours truly will have one too. That’s OK, I don’t mind sharing. Analysis and Suggested Gulfstream Saturday Raindow Six Ticket(Analysis compiled before availability of scratches, changes and workout information and is based on a ‘fast’ track and a ‘firm’ turf course.) RACE 6 (2:40PM ET) // CLAIMING // 7 1/2 FURLONGS (TURF) Kick off this rich Rainbow Six mandatory payout with a Gulfstream staple: a seven and one-half furlong turf test. Always a challenging distance and layout, these races combine the talents of sprinters stretching out and routers backing up. Let’s see if we can pluck out a runner or two to get this big, rich ball rolling in the right direction. #4 Hero Up has speed. Forgive his last 2 races—overmatched and hounded early. He should make the lead from the inside and has a runner-up finish at about this level. He’s a reach. #5 Dillon Rocks is one of two from the barn of Mike Maker. He claimed this one two back for $12,500 and now steps him up a few levels. Both of this guy’s wins out of 21 starts came at GP on this turf course. #6 Memorable is a 3-year-old meeting older for just the third time in a 14-race career. This is a class drop- from what he’s been facing…even though only against fellow sophs. He’s something to consider for those looking to blow the early lid off the Rainbow Six. #7 Pretendant is sharp off a win at a lower level. He’s also been reported as a first-time gelding. Jockey Paco Lopez and trainer Kelly Breen are 25% overall with much of their success coming at Monmouth each summer. #9 Souper Highvoltage is interesting. He’s a 3-year-old making his second turf start and first around two turns on grass. He’s shown some ability and this dip in class ought to help him. He’s got speed to be in contention. #10 Conforto is the other Maker and the more highly regarded as the 2-1 morning line favorite. This guy has some things to like if you can hold your nose and swallow a favorite beaten by more than 16 lengths in his last two races. Jockey Irad Ortiz is up and that shows positive intention. The Maker/I. Ortiz combo is a sparkling 24%. While just 2 for 24 overall, this 5-year-old is 1 for 1 over the GP turf. He was overmatched in his last two at Aqueduct and Maker has had him long enough to know the most effective spot and Ortiz up suggests this might be it. RACE 7 (3:10PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT) This $25k allowance/optional claimer for fillies and mares is a bit of a scramble. There’s no real dominant runner in here and it’s likely many will be close in price. Check out daily double probable payoffs before marking a ticket. You may see some notable ‘steam’ on one or two of these runners. It’s that kind of a race. #1 Hallawalla makes her first start for trainer Juan Avila here. She formerly raced with Steve Asmussen. This 4-year-old filly made her best starts her first two starts and hasn’t been the same since. #4 Doll Collection is the 5/2 favorite in here and was a well-beaten second at this level last out to a repeat winner. That race came over a sloppy track and this filly seems to do her best over ‘off’ surfaces. She also took 7 starts to break maiden before that last out effort. She seems vulnerable to us. Blinkers come off today and there is a :59 3/5 work over the track. #5 Sonar is an interesting piece in here. She’s won 2 of 7 GP starts, was tried in a pair of stakes at 2, won a cheaper state-bred optional claimer, has been third at this level twice, finishing a neck behind favored #4 Doll Collection one race back. She’s been gone since Oct. and has been working forwardly at Ari. We don’t know what track or training center is abbreviated ‘Ari’ in the Daily Racing Form—and we’ve tried to find it. Low profile trainer Juan Alvarado saddles this filly who’s earned nearly $100k. Oh, and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. is up. #7 Gerri B is 3-1 second choice and she’s got an even running style. She’ll cut back in distance from one mile last out. She fits in here and gets a bit of a class drop from straight allowance races. Jockey A. S. Arroyo is 25% with trainer Kelsey Danner. #8 Pago Querido has made 3 starts at 3 different tracks, winning at Laurel last out for trainer Michael Stidham. That was a wire-to-wire tally going seven furlongs. A cozy outside box should be fine for top jock Saez aboard in a bit of a pace-less race. RACE 8 (3:41PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 1/16 MILES (TURF) This allowance race probably can be narrowed down to 3 or 4 contenders. An improving Brown runner and a stagnant Motion critter bookend a group that ought to be led on a merry chase early by Saez aboard a sophomore Shug. #1 Greyes Creek is an improving runner from the Chad Brown stable ridden by Tyler Gaffalione. They are 29% as a combo. This 4-year-old colt has posted progressively faster Beyer Speed Figues in each of 6 starts and there’s little reason to expect anything by a solid effort from him in here. He should be running late. #3 Scraps has plenty of stakes experience and was a close third last out in a 60k state-bred stakes last out. He’s 0-4 this year. #4 Kingmeister has speed and should command the rail into the first turn. He returns to turf for trainer Shug McGaughey and jockey Luis Saez. His only previous turf try was at Saratoga going a mile when he was third. He’ll take this filed as far as possible and the trainer is 21% off layoffs between 61-180 days. #7 Grand Journey did best last year when he reeled off a string of 3 consecutive wins at GP. He’s won 6 of 11 here on turf. He’s moved back to the level where he was claimed by trainer Mike Maker three races ago. M. A. Vasquez rides and with Maker is a crisp 23%. #9 Inventing Blame should show a bit of speed outside of #4 Kingmeister and was second last out on turf at Woodbine. The question with this one is the distance where he’s just 1 for 6. #12 Succeedandsurpass is the morning line favorite at 5/2 and had trouble last out in a Woodbine victory. Graham Motion and Irad Ortiz combine to win at 20%. This colt showed promise at 3 but hasn’t really progress much since. He’s had four trainers over his 12-race career. He’s a contender but not overly attractive at 5/2 from this post. RACE 9 (4:12PM ET) // VIA BORGHESE S. // 1 3/16 MILES (TURF) The mile and three-sixteenths $100k Via Borghese Stakes is a cocktail that includes accomplished local talent, a budding up and comer and a few Canadian invaders. Again, some players easily can lean on the top two choices to get through leg 4 of the Rainbow Six. Others might look to go 4 deep in hopes of an upset. #2 Traipsing set the early pace in her last 2 races—a second and win, respectively. She’s fit and should save ground throughout. She has a win over the GP turf course. #3 Court Return is a new face in from Woodbine for trainer Josie Carroll. She was second in the Gr. 1 EP Taylor last out and a repeat of that effort would look strong in here. Saez is aboard. This 4-year-old filly took 9 starts to break maiden by more than 8 first out at 4. She promptly won a restricted stakes, finished third in a Gr. 2 and second in a Gr. 1. She’s on the rise. #4 Cap de Crues combines the talents of trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez (19%). This 4-year-old filly has just 2 wins in 18 starts and 7 seconds. She has an even style. #5 Kelsey’s Cross has 3 wins in 11 starts at GP, all on turf. She unsuccessfully tried graded stakes foes earlier this year. #8 Always Shopping is the 5/2 morning line favorite off a runner-up effort in the Gr. 3 Dowager at Keeneland going a mile and one-half. Before that the 4-year-old filly won a 75k stakes at GP. She’s the top earner in this field with over $340k—most of that coming on dirt. Top jock Irad Ortiz rides for Pletcher (32% combo). She figures to be just off the early pace. She demands respect but doesn’t look unbeatable. #9 Great Island, morning line 3-1 second choice, has made just 3 starts—2 wins in 2 starts this year. She’s obviously talented and has upside, but this outside box against this experienced field will challenge her and a potent Gaffalione/Brown combo that hits at a strong 29%. RACE 10 (4:43PM ET) // G3 MR. PROSPECTOR S. // 7 FURLONGS (DIRT) Bit of a tricky Grade 3 Mr. Prospector edition. Those looking to use just a few have solid contenders. On the other hand, folks with an idea toward creating some separation have valid options. As always, budget is the deciding factor. #1 Lasting Legacy was second in this race last year behind #7 Diamond Oops. ‘Legacy comes off an overmatched effort in the BC Sprint, notably behind #9 Firenze Fire. Those will to really reach deep could include this one while noting that jockey Paco Lopez has 4 wins in the last 5 outings aboard him. #4 Haikal hails from the Todd Pletcher barn and has top jock Luis Saez aboard. They hit at 23%. This 4-year-old colt hasn’t been out since Feb. and changes barns from Kiaran McLaughlin. He’s a Gr. 3 winner and never off the board in 7 starts. He’s been working every 7 days at Palm Beach Downs with 2 bullets for five-furlong efforts. This is the kind of returning runner Pletcher is dangerous with. Anyone looking for a logical upsetter would want this guy. #7 Diamond Oops loves Gulfstream Park—5 wins in 8 tries. He’s won 2 of his last 3 starts—was sixth in BC Sprint behind third-place finisher #9 Firenze Fire. This multiple Gr. 2 winner also is 1 for 1 at the distance. He figures as one of the top two choices and probably will be on most R6 tickets. #8 Sleepy Eyes Todd is an up and comer with 3 wins in his last 5f starts, including the Gr. 2 Charles Town Classic. Last out, in November at Keeneland, he caught a hot pace and stormed home to win nicely. He’s done some of his best work at longer distances but is 1-1 at seven furlongs. A troublesome detail is that he’s had just one reported work since that Nov. 7 Keeneland race—a three-furlong jog around Gulfstream on Dec. 15. #9 Firenze Fire, 5/2 morning line favorite, seems like the type of late running sprinter that would love 7 furlongs. However, he has just 1 win in 6 tries at the distance. A closer look reveals that two tries at the distance were over ‘off’ tracks he can’t handle and a third was a runner-up effort to Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Mitole. Another was a third in the Gr. 1 Allen Jerkens at Saratoga along and a fourth in the Gr. 1 Hopeful. His lone seven-furlong win was a dominating performance in the Gr. 3 General George at Laurel. He’s a 5-year-old earner of over $2.2 million and deserves respect in this Gr. 3 race. #11 Zender was fourth in this race last year behind #7 Diamond Oops and #1 Lasting Legacy. He’s won 4 of 11 starts overall, had trouble in his last start, and should be on the lead in a race that lacks much early pace. His trainer is hot with 3 wins and 2 seconds in 14 local starts this meeting. #12 Mind Control has earned over $1 million and is a Gr. 1 winner. He won the first two starts of 2020 but has been third twice since. On his best day, he fits in here. He really hasn’t gotten back to his best, though. He has a great post and jockey John Velazquez knows him well. He’ll stalk on the outside close up in a pace-less race. RACE 11 (5:14PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 1 MILE (TURF) This is one of those Gulfstream maiden turf routes that gives horseplayers headaches. Lots of first-time starters add intrigue to a mix that includes a couple of ‘Pletchers’ a ‘Brown’ a ‘Maker’ a ‘Weaver’ and a ‘Casse.’ Bit of estimating (guessing) will be at play to close out the mandatory Rainbow Six. #1 Girl Dad has come up a bit short in his last two, second and third in NYRA turf races with blinkers. The rail and a mile distance ought to help. #2 American Tryst has an OK KD turf sprint. Trainer/jock combo Gaffalione/Maker 19%. Forget last out in off turf main track try. #3 Kentucky Pharoah moves to turf after chasing a very hot pace going a mile at Churchill. Trainer is 0-32 with first-time turf runners. #4 He’spuregold ran OK at 70-1 to be third first out in a Keeneland maiden turf try over a ‘good’ surface. 10-1 is a decent number. Low profile Michele Nihei barn keeps price solid. #5 Ultimate Gift is a first-time starter from the powerful Todd Pletcher stable. Luis Saez rides and trainer/jock combo are a sparkling 23%. #7 Advanced Placement has jockey Paco Lopez for trainer Brian Lynch—a 20% combo. Trainer 12% first out. #9 Public Information makes first turf start for trainer Chad Brown (32% 2nd out). Irad Ortiz rides (25% combo). This colt’s first start—sprinting on dirt—wasn’t much but he did get some play at 6-1 odds. #10 Courageously cost $625k as a yearling and goes for trainer Mark Casse—not known for winning first out. Some good turf works at Palm Meadows offer conflicting signals. #11 Munqad has the far outside box for trainer Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez—a 19% combo. He’s got the most experience in the field and the best Beyer Speed Figures established on the dirt. Pletcher just 15% with first turf runners. The colt’s failed as favorite in last two starts. Johnny V. will use the colt’s early speed from the outside and expect the son of War Front to handle the lawn.   SUGGESTED 20-CENT GULFSTREAM RAINBOW 6 TICKET RACE 6: 9, 10RACE 7: 5, 7RACE 8: 1, 4, 7, 12RACE 9: 3, 8, 9RACE 10: 4, 7, 9, 11RACE 11: 4, 5, 11TICKET COST: $115.20 FOR 20-CENTS Race On!

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12.18.2020:

Saturday, December 19: Eddie Olczyk's Spot Plays

Let’s hope this week is better than the last set of spot plays, which were awful by me. But that’s horse racing. Keep swinging! I’ve got another trio of price shots for Saturday spread across the afternoon hours on the east coast.AQUEDUCT // RACE 3 (12:50PM ET) // STARTER ALLOWANCE // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)#5 MISS CHARISMA (10/1 ML) Well-traveled filly showed speed-and-fade in her last start at Laurel. Should look to make one run into a speedy race after showing a late kick in her 3 prior starts.GULFSTREAM PARK // RACE 6 (2:40PM ET) // CLAIMING // 7 1/2 FURLONGS (TURF)#3 AYCAPOTE (10/1ML) While he’s 0-for-1 on turf, he had a bad post in that try. Mother Dance Away Capote was a Grade 3 winner on grass. He has tactical speed, comes in off a win against softer, and is the play in a wide-open race.GULFSTREAM PARK // RACE 10 (4:43PM ET) //G3 MR. PROSPECTOR STAKES // 7 FURLONGS (DIRT) #1 LASTING LEGACY (15/1 ML) Price will be right on a 6-year-old who has had excuses in his last 2 starts at Keeneland. Draw lines through a bad post in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, and the race prior when he did not have a great start and got an awful ride from Gabe Saez.

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12.18.2020:

Friday, December 18: Cal Expo Early Pick 5 Analysis

Tonight, Cal Expo has a Pick 5 carryover of $8,296 which has led to a $30,000 guaranteed pool in the 0.20 Early Pick 5. It is a challenging sequence, and it will be my focus.This will be the first time the Cal Expo TV broadcast will be in high definition and that should make for a much better viewing experience.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 12-Dance Traveler (5-1)-This is the 4th start at CalX and now draws inside. Has been battling but is camera shy. This was Doug Chappell's pick over the #3, he needs to put into striking range and an honest pace would help.4-West Central Beach (5-1)-Will toss last, raced wide in the slop. A brisk pace would also help and if Cutting finds a live cover flow it could be time for the 5th picture in 24 starts this year.Race 21-Casey N Grinegan (6/5)-Program chalk looks the part and has raced well in all 4 starts here with 3 wins. But does take on some who have been facing better. Looks like a must use but at this level will include one more.3-Brooklyn Moonshine (4-1)-Comes off a win and Plano will likely try to follow the same script. Should leave and get a close-up seat and look to sweep by late.Race 32-Mr Steal Your Girl (6-1)-Plano has been sticking with the Cisco barn all night and that's the case here. Drops and will toss last in the slop, off-track record is 0-6. Looking for new pilot to put in play and could trip out for a picture.3-Hi Ho Julio (4-1)-Slow starter needs to avoid being a city block behind at the first call. But will respect connections, the Johnson barn has been doing well and this 4-year-old has faced better.4-Crash Dive (10-1)-Makes 1st start for new barn, Kennedy is between the pipes and that's a ++driver change. Willing to take a swing at this price, is very camera shy but has been facing better.5-Get My Good Side (8/5)-Risky play, breaking issues in 2 of 3 starts at CalX and is 0-17. Three-year-old shows enough speed to beat this crew and is tough to leave out but need to use a few others as well.Race 41-Touchmehowtotory (7/2)-Gets post and class relief plus Roland is back between the pipes. Three-year-old filly has won 8 of 20 and now faces older. Looks like a player with a top effort.2-Mshindi (5/2)-Eight-year-old also drops to a better level for success but recent form has been dull. Plano could be aggressive but might be over bet and is only 1-22 in 2020.6-Jesse's Student (5/1)-Makes only the 3rd start since 8/25 and the 3rd start of the meet. Best to respect at a square price, Svendsen's back and did pace the 2nd half in 56.4 last week.Race 51-Sweet One (8-1)-Looking for a price and is Plano's choice over the 4/5/9. Could get a cozy trip and surprise.2-Along Came Jane (3-1)-Jane has showed little since coming to town but does face a soft group. Kennedy steers and comes back in 6 days, could be ready for an aggressive try.4-Ucia Hanover (10-1)-Has been starting slowly and now gets a positive driver change. Looking for Roland to get a decent early seat in 1st start for the Schneider barn and be in the mix.7-Cardinal Rule (5-1)-This will be the 2nd time for Lasix and came home in 57.2 in last. Form looks sharp enough to beat this bunch, but pilot will need a good performance and to find live cover.My Ticket Race 1) 2,4 Race 2) 1,3 Race 3) 2,3,4,5 Race 4) 1,2,6 Race 5) 1,2,4,7Total Ticket Cost) $38.40 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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12.18.2020:

Friday, December 18: Gulfstream 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. 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.RACE 1: Post: 12:35 ET Grade: C+Use: 3-Lullula; 4-La Dame; 5-Katiesdreamgirl; 10-TequaForecast: Lots of question marks in the Friday opener, a maiden-claiming $35,000 affair over seven and one-half furlongs on grass for juvenile fillies. We’ll go four-deep in our rolling exotics and hope to get a decent price home. Trainer S. Joseph, Jr. has a pair of interesting first-timers, including Lullula, a modest $12,000 purchase at the OBS April Sale but who has displayed some ability in a.m., drills, most notably a bullet workout around dogs at Palm Meadows in late October (4f, :49b, fastest of 36). She’s certainly bred for grass (Flintshire x Shakespeare) and lands the barn’s go-to rider T. Gaffalione. We’ll put her on top hope to get close to her 4-1 morning line. Stable mate La Dame (10-1) is worth including as well. The daughter of Karakontie is another bred strictly for turf and has been given a solid foundation of drills with a steady, healthy pattern that dates back to mid-September. Katiesdreamgirl may be the best of those with experience. The Young Brian filly finished with interest to be distant second in a similar affair over the local lawn when last seen in late August and has a right to produce a forward move for a powerful jockey/trainer team (E. Jaramillo/R. Nicks) in her first outing in nearly four months. Tequa (8-1) might be worth tossing in as well at 8-1 on the morning line. She picks up I. Ortiz, Jr. while showing the always-dangerous maiden-to-maiden-claiming class drop while also having back numbers that fit in this league.RACE 2: Post: 1:04 ET Grade: CUse: 3-Old Main; 7-I Got a SecretForecast: Low-level maiden $12,500 claimers meet over a one-turn mile in an empty affair with not a whole lot to like. Old Main, a reasonable runner-up two-turning at GPW last time out, earned a career top number in the process and would figure to beat this field if he can duplicate that effort today.I Got a Secret was a distant third in his only outing in late October over a sloppy main track in an off-the-turf affair and seems certain to improve against this bunch, though the big class drop off just one start indicates he’s not very well-liked. You have to use him, but at 8/5 on the morning line there’s little value to be found.RACE 3: Post: 1:33 ET Grade: XSingle: 6-Crack ShotForecast: Crack Shot ships down from Belmont Park to join the E. Dobles barn and has form in New York that should be more than good enough to beat this restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming field. We suspect he’ll be quick enough to outrun the speed types, and in a field with suspect closers the son of Freud should be able to hold sway under I. Ortiz, Jr. That said, this will be his first start in nine weeks and he only shows one breeze in the interim, so at 2-1 on the morning line and likely to go lower he can be considered a somewhat shaky rolling exotic single candidate. Tread lightly here.RACE 4: Post: 2:03 ET Grade: XSingle: 5-Twilight GalaxyForecast: Twilight Galaxy is listed at 7/5 on the morning line but almost certainly will go odds-on in this restricted (nw-2) claiming $6,250 sprint for older fillies and mares. Runner-up at this level two-turning at GPW last month while almost five clear of the rest, the daughter of Flatter returns to a one-turn affair while adding blinkers, retains E. Zayas, and shows an easy breeze at Palm Meadows (5f, 1:02h) earlier this month to tick her over. She’s a logical no-value, rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post: 2:36 ET Grade: B-Use: 2-Heavenly Blessing; 4-Carson City Kid; 8-Exchange DayForecast: Let’s go for a big price in this $35,000 claiming sprint for 2-year-olds. Heavenly Blessing is listed at 15-1 on the morning line but we suspect he’s better than that. After cutting out the fraction in a two-turner at GPW, the son of Young Brian turns back in trip and represents inside speed in a race lacking in effective closers. Carson City Kid (2-1) is the likely choice and one to beat based on speed figures and the first-time-for-a-tag angle. This will mark his turf debut, and while he doesn’t have a grass pedigree he should enjoy the abbreviated trip. Exchange Day got loose on lead and outran a slightly softer group at GPW, drawing away late despite not changing leads. The E. Plesa, Jr.,-trained colt stalked and pounced his way to a debut win last spring, and with speed drawn inside similar tactics should be employed today.RACE 6: Post: 3:06 ET Grade: B-Use: 6-Fightress; 8-Tony’s RoseForecast: Tony’s Rose handled a softer field at GPW sprinting on grass last month and may be capable of repeating on the raise in this restricted (nw-3) $25,000 affair for fillies and mares. The daughter of Tonalist likes to settle early and accelerate late, and with some help up front could once again produce the last run. Fightress, a prior winner over this course and distance, returns to the claiming ranks, is a solid fit on speed figures, and warrants a good look despite low profile connections and the short 14-day turnaround. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead.RACE 7: Post: 3:27 ET Grade: B+Use: 1-Well Done West; 5-Or’efficeForecast: Well Done West was a respectable third at Keeneland in his debut vs. maiden $50,000 foes in October and was haltered by D. Gargan, whose stats with the first-off-the-claim angle (48% with a massive ROI) is ungodly. Protected in straight maiden company in a sign of confidence, the son of Awesome Again gets a couple of extra furlongs to work with today and seems sure to produce a significant forward move for his new connections. At 7/2 on the morning line he’s a strong play; let’s just hope he can negotiate a good trip from the rail. Or’effice launches a comeback for a new trainer (Shug) and while he’s probably not cranked up for a barn that has weak stats with layoff runners this son of Medaglia d’Oro still has a chance to be a decent type after flashing considerable promise last winter and spring. This one-turn mile might just be a tad sharp (we suspect he’ll be much effective at longer distances) and the work tab appears light, but we’ll toss him in on a ticket or two as a back-up or a saver ”just in case.”RACE 8: Post: 3:38 ET Grade: B+Use: 2-Chao; 3-HonorableForecast: Chao has plenty going for him in this turf miler for 2-year-olds. The son of Noble Mission ran quite well in both of his starts to date, most recently when graduating at GPW with a solid speed figure from a next-out winner while producing a determined late kick. Claimed out of that race by S. Joseph, Jr., (a sensational 35% with a flat-bet profit with this maneuver), he picks up I. Ortiz, Jr. and should see a fast enough early pace to compliment his late-running style. Honorable graduated with authority last month at GPW on turf at this one mile trip, doing so with a good stalking trip and a career top speed figure though failing to change leads through the lane. Protected today in this starter optional claimer, the son of Constitution retains E. Zayas is the likely choice and one to beat. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 9: Post: 4:39 ET Grade: C+Use: 2-Don’t Blame Judy; 3-Stone Tornado; 4-Bienville StreetForecast: We’ll triple this second-level turf miler for fillies mares but with a low degree of confidence in a race may prove chaotic. Stone Tornado has done nothing but burn money since arriving from Europe – she’s been a beaten choice in all four of her U.S. outings – but the English-bred filly is sure to get plenty of play again based on recent speed figures and top flight connections. A listed stakes winner in France last year, she needs to be held up early and produced late. California shipper Don’t Blame Judy joins the E. Kenneally barn and is another with highly-competitive speed figures, though she’s just 2-for-27 with 11 seconds and thirds and always has had difficulty sealing the deal under pressure. Bienville Street adds blinkers and picks up P. Lopez, so the daughter of Street Boss may perk up a bit after hitting the board in her last three starts, most recently when third in the Claiming Crown Tiara. She’s winless in nine starts this year and is just 3-for-30 during her career, although all three of those wins were accomplished over the Gulfstream Park grass course.RACE 10: Post: 5:10 ET Grade: BUse: 1-Gitana; 2-Bird MapForecast: The two major players in this restricted (nw-2) $12,500 sprint for fillies and mares are drawn side-by-side inside, with the edge on top going to Bird Map despite the highly-suspicious huge class drop off a layoff. The F. Calabrese/S. Joseph, Jr. combo usually is aggressive with claimers, so if this daughter of Liam’s Map has at least one good one left – and the work tab looks steady and healthy – she should be hard to beat. Gitana returns to her preferred surface (dirt) and certainly will try gate-to-wire tactics from her inside draw. She’s improved considerably since joining the G. Baxter barn (most runners do), so if she can shake loose early she’s likely to take the field a long way.

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12.17.2020:

Friday, December 18: Stronach 5 Picks & Analysis

LEG A: (Laurel Park, 8th race): TRUNK OF MONEY blazed to a 1:09.3 victory and held off the deep closers to prevail. She was entered for a claiming price in her last two starts and remains eligible for this 2X allowance in a three-peat bid. CONJECTURE, 36/8-10-5 on the main track and going well since Gonzalez claim, cuts back off wide and willing long sprint try.LEG B: (Gulfstream Park, 8th race): Five runners arrive off wins with Beyer speed figures in the 60s and filly Sweet Pearl has proven herself in two starts against the boys. The result: hit the ALL button.LEG C: (Laurel Park, 9th race): ITGOT GRANDMA raced in-hand until the stretch and got got caught late off the Magee re-claim. He should be in control throughout in his second start after three months away.LEG D: (Gulfstream, 9th race): DON'T BLAME JUDY starts fresh for a new barn and her ability belies her 2-25 record. She finished in the money in turf routes in California against the likes of multiple stakes winners Cordiality (12-34, $632k) and Dogtag, Grade 2-placed Harmless and Opus One (4-10, $213k). STONE TORNADO, a proven miler overseas, just missed in the same spot in her second U.S. start at Belmont. She faced a next-out, stakes-placed rival in that race and eventual graded stakes-placed Traipsing when she ran longer in her follow-up start.LEG E: (Gulfstream, 10th race): CREATE A STORY gave way chasing next-out repeater Could You (3-7, $55k) and drops in claiming price off Hess claim. GITANA broke her maiden at 6F for $25k two back and could take some catching from the rail. BIRD MAP, a $50k claim in April, takes all-or-nothing type plunge for top barn. GALIT JAK romped off a longer layoff than this and worked :47.3 breezing for return.Stronach 5 Selections:LEG A: 8,10LEG B: ALLLEG C: 6LEG D: 2,3LEG E: 1, 2, 4, 9Cost for $1 ticket: $128

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12.17.2020:

Jeff Siegel's Gulfstream Analysis/Wagering Strategies - 12/17/20

Jeff Siegel’s Gulfstream Park Analysis & Wagering StrategiesThursday, December 17, 2020*Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.*The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes. 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.RACE 1: Post: 12:35 ET Grade: B-Use: 1-Pretty Rachel; 4-Peachy QueenForecast: Pretty Rachel gets back on dry land after a couple of sloppy track runs at GPW and should appreciate the better footing based on her two previous fast track outings that produced solid runner-up performances. If she leaves cleanly from the rail, the daughter of Dominus should be capable of earning her diploma in this maiden $25,000 sprint for juvenile fillies. That said, Peachy Queen is the likely choice and one to beat. She shows the always-dangerous maiden-to-maiden-claiming class drop, hails from the red-hot D. Gargan barn, and has on her resume a third place finish last summer at Saratoga that would be good enough to beat this field if repeated.**RACE 2: Post: 1:04 ET Grade: C+Use: 2-Gasparilla Blast; 5-Words of DevineForecast: Word of Devine has hit the board in each of her last four starts and is a prior winner over the local main track. Freshened since early October, she’s run well at this level in the past and projects to enjoy a good pace-stalking trip. Gasparilla Blast crushed a softer (nw-2) $12,500 filed at GPW in mid-October after a nice maiden-claiming win in her previous start over a sloppy surface at Gulfstream Park. With continued improvement against this tougher band, the D. Fawkes-trained filly will be right there. These are the two we'll be using in our rolling exotics.**RACE 3: Post: 1:33 ET Grade: XUse: 5-Shoug; 7-Princess CoroForecast: This maiden claiming $25,000 grass sprint for older fillies and mares appears to boil down to the two morning line favorites, with Princess Coro getting top billing following three successive runner-up efforts vs. similar on dirt. Her two unplaced runs on grass came against straight maiden foes, so we won’t be too critical, and based on pure speed figures the J. Avila-trained filly should have every chance to graduate. Shoug displayed some promise when finishing a good third in straight maiden company last January, but then disappeared. She returns for a tag – not a sign of confidence – but the R. Nicks barn has strong stats with layoff runners so we’ll assume the daughter of Khozan is live and well-meant.**RACE 4: Post: 2:03 ET Grade: XUse: 2-Patty H; 6-ExactForecast: Exact surfaces in a claimer after three starts but this is realistic class drop after she finished a distant third as a short priced favorite in her last pair. The daughter of Competitive Edge has speed figures that are dropping with each outing but against this maiden $50,000 field from a cozy outside draw the T. Pletcher-trained juvenile appears to have found her friends. Patty H. is another class dropper trying to find her proper level. She’s finished in the frame in three of five outings, and while she certainly must be considered a major player she’s not quite as fast on numbers as our top pick. Both should be included in rolling exotic play in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.**RACE 5: Post: 2:36 ET Grade: B-Use: 6-Ghostlyprince; 8-Golovkin; 9-Kathern’s JoyForecast: Kathern’s Joy, haltered out of his debut for $25,000 in an off-the-turf sprint at GWP, moves up a level for new trainer J. Lander, removes blinkers, retains P. Lopez, and gets his chance on the lawn in the maiden $35,000 affair for juveniles. The outside post at this seven and one-half furlong trip is a concern, but if the son of Creative Cause can work out a decent trip he’ll be dangerous at 4-1 on the morning line. Ghostlyprince is improving with racing and earned a speed figure that is par for this level when he missed by a neck in a similar affair at GPW last month. Golovkin is a first-time gelding and on that angle alone must be considered in rolling exotic play. This also will be his first start in a claimer and on pure numbers he’s a strong fit, though at 2-1 on the morning line he won’t be offering much value.**RACE 6: Post: 3:06 ET Grade: BUse: 1-Papa’s Little Girl; 5-Bimini; 6-Princess BettyForecast: Princess Betty remains protected in this Florida-bred starter optional claiming miler for fillies and mares, returns to the main track (her preferred surface) and picks up I. Ortiz, Jr. The daughter of Khozan shows a bullet Palm Meadows half mile breeze (:47 flat, fastest of 30) last week and appears on edge for a career top effort. She’s clearly the top pick, but for rolling exotic purposes you may want to also consider, at least as back-ups, the two P. Walder entrants, Papa’s Little Girl and Bimini. The former can be the controlling speed from the rail if she wants to be under P. Lopez and won over this track and distance three races back in gate-to-wire style, while the latter adds blinkers for the first time, gets back on a fast surface and is a three-time winner over the Gulfstream Park main track.**RACE 7: Post: 3:37 ET Grade: BUse: 2-Arham; 3-EgyptologistForecast: We’re going to try to beat Catch on Emotional in this maiden sprint for older horses, even though the gelding has speed figures that are better than par for this level. Yes, he can win, but the son of Uncaptured, second in his last four starts but a beaten choice in three of those races, simply can’t be trusted. Instead, we’ll double the race using two hot-shot first-timers and hope that at least one runs to his works. Arham, from the T. Pletcher barn, has looked very good in a.m. drills at Palm Beach Downs and is listed as the 2-1 morning line favorite. The son of Union Rags has outworked everything that has been led up to him; however he acts like a colt that may be best suited for more distance. Egyptologist, another bred to run long but training like he has some speed, hails from the P. Biancone barn (very solid with first-timers) and appears cranked up and ready to go.**RACE 8: Post: 4:08 ET Grade: BUse: 3-Pagliacci; 5-Bad Beat BrianForecast: Pagliacci, freshened since late September, returns to the claiming ranks (but still above his claim level) and seems primed for a major effort following a bullet grass drill around dogs (4f, :48.4b, fastest of 32) at Palm Meadows earlier this month. A two-time winner over the local lawn, the veteran gelding likes to settle and blast home, so with a clean trip and fractions to run at the son of Pioneerof the Nile may be able to tag the speed. Bad Beat Brian returns to his claim level for M. Maker, and while he’s been primarily a middle distance performer throughout his career his only prior grass sprint (at Saratoga) produced a career top speed figure. Under these conditions, we view him as a major threat.**RACE 9: Post: 4:39 ET Grade: B-Use: 2-Prince of Arabia; 5-Yamato; 7-Morning StrideForecast: Here’s an interesting 12-furlong grass marathon for starter’s allowance ($12,500) company that has a number of legitimate possibilities. Morning Stride remains eligible for this type of race, having run for this tag last summer, but the son of Morning Line has improved considerably since then and actually won over this course and distance in emphatic fashion during the summer meeting. Overmatched in the Sycamore S.-G3 at Keeneland in his most recent outing, he’s back to reality today while being reunited with “win rider” H. Berrios. The lightly-raced Yamato is quite intriguing in his first start past a middle distance. The son of Artie Schiller may be the controlling speed, though Starship Aramis may have the same game plan, but at worst he’ll draft into a stalking position and then have every chance in a galloper’s race that should suit him well. Prince of Arabia has won at this distance in the past and was a troubled third behind Morning Stride in a stakes race here last August. He’s always preferred to run second or third than win, but you can throw him in somewhere as a back-up or a saver.**RACE 10: Post: 5:10 ET Grade: C+Use: 1-Superhighway; 2-Purecrazidude; 11-Saint LarnedForecast: The finale is a messy bottom-rung main track miler for older horses. At 6-1 on the morning line, Saint Larned may be as good as any. Ensured a trouble-free trio from his cozy outside draw but hailing from a low percentage outfit, the 4-year-old gelding drops to his lowest level ever and returns to dirt, his preferred surface. Both of his career victories were accomplished over the Gulfstream Park main track and he shows better than par speed figures for this level, so at the price we’ll put him on top. Superhighway is ideally suited for this track and distance (first or second in four of five starts under these conditions) and if he can avoid trouble from his rail draw the Quality Road gelding will be the one to beat. Purecrazidude is another with preference to the one-turn mile trip (he’s two-for-three) and should greatly appreciate this drop to the bottom level. At 10-1 on the morning line, he’s worth including on your ticket.

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12.17.2020:

Friday, December 18: Remington Park Late Pick 4 Ticket

Oklahoma City will have the night-time racing spotlight on it Friday as Remington Park presents the $200,000 Remington Springboard Mile and five other stakes races on a 13-race card that begins at 6 p.m. ET – two hours earlier than usual. The attractive program opens a five-day end-of-season run that ends on Tuesday. The track lost its Monday and Tuesday cards this week due to wintry weather and will make up those two (post time 1 p.m. ET) to finish the year. Here’s a look at the Springboard Mile Late Pick 4 Friday at Remington Park: RACE 10 (10:25PM ET) // USEEIT STAKES // 1 MILE (DIRT) SHE’S ALL WOLFE is the likely favorite as she’s 5 of 10 overall but perfect in four Remington Park stakes. Her dam, She’s All In, was dominant in the Oklahoma-bred distaff ranks and her daughter is heading in the same direction. This is not an easy spot by any means but she’s the kind that has a lot of speed and can take it two turns. DIPPING IN makes her first stakes try of the year and was a maiden-claiming winner at Saratoga in August. Has done well here, as she was fourth by a half-length in a turf allowance in her first one here and was dominant in a four-length win in a sprint. She has been mostly on turf this year but she forwarded a sharp effort when switched to the main track. TIZTHEBOSS broke her maiden and followed with an allowance win the next out and most recently was third in a very strong open allowance. Can mix it up on the front end and stick around for the fight late in the game. RACE 11 (10:57PM ET) // TRAPEZE STAKES // 1 MILE (DIRT) OLIVIAOFTHEDESERT was perfectly placed in her latest going a one-turn mile at Churchill Downs. Has raced against some strong fields, including the G1 Alcibiades -- a race in which she was fifth behind Simply Ravishing. Picks up top jockey David Cabrera in her first local visit. CECILE’S CHAPTER is just getting going in her career and has won two of her three races. She broke her maiden at Indiana Grand and most recently was up in time in an allowance that came off the turf at Keeneland. She’s a solid late mover that could get a favorable pace for her rally. TIZ SPLENDID NEWS has exceptional speed and was a gate-to-wire winner at Keeneland two races back. If allowed to set moderate fractions, she’ll be a strong player to the finish.SIMPLY SOVEREIGN is a local hope and she has the speed to stay within range. She’s officially perfect in two races as she scored a maiden win at first asking and then was awarded a win via disqualification last out. RACE 12 (11:28PM ET) // REMINGTON SPRINGBOARD MILE STAKES // 1 MILE (DIRT) SAFFA’S DAY tired in the Nyquist at Keeneland last out and was an easy maiden winner there in his debut. Has never been the distance but his pedigree indicates he has the ability. COWAN was a closing second in the G2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and stretches out. He broke his maiden on dirt and has a good local work for his credit. OUTADORE dropped a bullet work at Keeneland a few days ago and comes in off a third-place finish in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He moves over to the dirt for the first time in a race but has shown ability to those morning drills, included the five-furlong bullet at Keeneland. RACE 13 (12:00AM ET) // JEFFREY A. HAWK MEMORIAL STAKES // 1 MILE, 70 YARDS (DIRT) VANGILDER returned to Remington after a fourth in the Downs at Albuquerque and forwarded a second-place finish behind the strong veteran Chris and Dave. He has a good finishing touch and can benefit from the inside post and probable ground-saving journey. HUNKA BURNING LOVE has had a tremendous year and showed his best in the Governor’s Cup here in August. He beat the talented Sleepy Eyes Todd in the Lone Star Mile and is as good as any two-turn horse in this part of the country. He comes in off an easy win in the Delta Mile and might be a better price than he deserves since Asmussen, Cox and McPeek – a trio of the game’s biggest names – have runners in here. 50-CENT LATE PICK 4 TICKET RACE 10: #7 She’s All Wolfe, #8 Dipping In, #10 TizthebossRACE 11: #2 Oliviaofthedesert, #3 Cecile’s Chapter, #7 Tiz Splendid News, #10 Simply SovereignRACE 12: #7 Saffa’s Day, #8 Cowan, #9 OutadoreRACE 13: #1 Vangilder, #2 Hunka Burning Love TICKET COST: $36.00 for 50-cents

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12.17.2020:

Who Are the Top Horses During the Eclipse Awards Era

The Eclipse Awards were created in 1971 to recognize outstanding achievements in North America by Thoroughbreds and individuals. The three organizations responsible for determining Eclipse Award recipients are the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. To help celebrate 50 years of the Eclipse Awards, the NTRA recently announced that voting is under way at www.NTRA.com in the NTRA Eclipse 50 contest, which asks fans to select their Top 10 Eclipse Award equine champions, along with one top trainer and one top jockey, from the past 50 years. One of the contest participants will be chosen to win a trip for two to Lexington, Ky., and spend the day at the races at Keeneland Race Course, tour the Four Roses Bourbon Distillery and visit historic Spendthrift Farm. Spendthrift is home to Into Mischief, sire of Authentic, winner of this year’s Grade I Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic and widely considered the favorite to be voted 2020 Horse of the Year. The Eclipse 50 ballot consists of 10 horses, one trainer and one jockey from each of the past five decades as selected by a panel of media, racing historians and others. Fans may enter the Eclipse 50 contest one time per valid name, email address and phone number at https://www.ntra.com/fanvote/. Voting will conclude on Monday, Jan. 25. The 2020 Eclipse Award recipients will be announced Jan. 28 on TVG, Racetrack Television Network and various streaming outlets. The winning Eclipse 50 contest entry also will be revealed, plus the Top 10 Eclipse Award champions, top trainer and top jockey from the past 50 years. I had the honor of being one of the 42 Eclipse 50 panelists. As such, I was asked to select 10 Eclipse Award champions for each decade during the last 50 years, plus one jockey and one trainer for each decade. From time to time in recent years for Xpressbet.com, I have listed my continually updated Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America. I relied on the work I already had done in constructing that Top 100 list when deciding which 10 horses to vote for in each of the past five decades for the Eclipse 50 contest. These are the horses, trainers and jockeys listed on the Eclipse 50 contest ballot, decade by decade: 1971-1979 Horses:Ack AckAffirmedForegoRiva RidgeRuffianSeattle SlewSecretariatShuveeSpectacular BidSusan’s Girl Trainer: Laz BarreraJockey: Laffit Pincay Jr. 1980-1989 Horses: All AlongAlyshebaEasy GoerFerdinandGenuine RiskJohn HenryLady’s SecretPersonal EnsignSpectacular BidSunday Silence Trainer: D. Wayne LukasJockey: Angel Cordero Jr. 1990-1999 Horses:A.P. IndyCigarHoly BullInside InformationPaseanaSerena’s SongSilverbulletdaySilver CharmSkip AwayUnbridled Trainer: Bob BaffertJockey: Jerry Bailey 2000-2009 Horses:AzeriCurlinGhostzapperGoldikovaOuiji BoardPoint GivenRachel AlexandraSmarty JonesTiznowZenyatta Trainer: Todd PletcherJockey: John Velazquez 2010-2019 Horses:American PharoahBeholderCalifornia ChromeGoldikovaGun RunnerJustifyRoyal DeltaSongbirdWise DanZenyatta Trainer: Bob BaffertJockey: Javier Castellano MY TOP 10 DURING THE ECLIPSE AWARDS ERA If I were to fill out an Eclipse 50 ballot, my Top 10 would be the same horses in the same order as they are ranked on my current list of Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America: 1. Secretariat2. Spectacular Bid3. Seattle Slew4. Affirmed5. Ruffian6. Forego7. American Pharoah8. John Henry9. Zenyatta10. Sunday Silence My choice for trainer is Bob Baffert. Why? He has trained two Triple Crown winners during the Eclipse Awards era. Not only that, you will note that of the trainers in the Eclipse Award contest, Baffert is the only one who appears on the ballot twice -- for the decades 1990-1999 and 2010-2019 --which in itself is pretty darn remarkable. My choice for jockey is Laffit Pincay Jr. Why? Because in my opinion, he is the greatest jockey of all time, edging Bill Shoemaker in a photo finish. According to Keith Chamblin, the NTRA’s chief operating officer, in terms of the Top 10 equine champions, No. 1 definitely will be named on Jan. 28, while the entire Top 10 probably will be revealed from 10th to 1st. I think Secretariat should be the No. 1 equine champion during the Eclipse Awards era. I will be surprised if he is not. I have Zenyatta at No. 9, but my expectation is that she probably will rank much higher in the Eclipse 50 contest in terms of votes received from the general public due to her tremendous popularity. Beyond my own Top 10 from the Eclipse Awards era, below is a list of my next 40 horses in the same order as they appear on my current list of Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America: 11. Cigar12. Justify13. Alydar14. Easy Goer15. Alysheba16. Curlin17. Arrogate18. Shared Belief19. California Chrome20. Personal Ensign21. All Along22. Wise Dan23. Ack Ack24. Rachel Alexandra25. Dahlia26. Riva Ridge27. Shuvee28. Holy Bull29. Precisonist30. Ghostzapper31. Tiznow32. Skip Away33. Sham34. Point Given35. Inside Information36. Gun Runner37. Lady’s Secret38. Azeri39. Beholder40. Smarty Jones41. Genuine Risk42. Landaluce43. A.P. Indy44. Authentic45. Susan’s Girl46. Silver Charm47. Go for Wand48. Rags to Riches49. Slew o’ Gold50. Exceller Below is a list of the pre-Eclipse Awards era horses in the same order as they appear on my current list of Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America: 1. Man o’ War2. Citation3. Kelso4. Native Dancer5. Dr. Fager6. Count Fleet7. Swaps8. Phar Lap9. Buckpasser10. Damascus11. Round Table12. Seabiscuit13. War Admiral14. Tom Fool15. Colin16. Regret17. Exterminator18. Whirlaway19. Nashua20. Bold Ruler21. Equipoise22. Gallant Fox23. Sysonby24. Gallant Man25. Assault26. Armed27. Sir Barton28. Northern Dancer29. Omaha30. Discovery31. Majestic Prince32. Arts and Letters33. Pan Zareta34. Stymie35. Challedon36. Busher37. Gallorette38. Noor39. Coaltown40. Sword Dancer41. Grey Lag42. Devil Diver43. Zev44. Twilight Tear45. Native Diver46. Ta Wee47. Twenty Grand48. Alsab49. Cicada50. Bald Eagle Below is my complete up-to-date list of Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America (in parentheses, when applicable, is where the horse ranked on The Blood-Horse’s list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century): 1. Man o’ War (1)2. Secretariat* (2)3. Citation* (3)4. Kelso (4)5. Spectacular Bid (10)6. Native Dancer (7)7. Dr. Fager (6)8. Seattle Slew* (9)9. Count Fleet* (5)10. Affirmed* (12)11. Ruffian (35)12. Swaps (20)13. Phar Lap (22)14. Forego (8)15. American Pharoah*16. Buckpasser (14)17. Damascus (16)18. Round Table (17)19. Seabiscuit (25)20. War Admiral* (13)21. Tom Fool (11)22. Colin (15)23. John Henry (23)24. Zenyatta25. Regret (71)26. Exterminator (29)27. Whirlaway* (26)28. Sunday Silence (31)29. Cigar30. Justify*31. Nashua (24)32. Alydar (27)33. Easy Goer (34)34. Alysheba (42)35. Curlin36. Arrogate37. Shared Belief38. California Chrome39. Bold Ruler (19)40. Personal Ensign (48)41. All Along (68)42. Wise Dan43. Equipoise (21)44. Gallant Fox* (28)45. Sysonby (30)46. Gallant Man (36)47. Assault* (33)48. Armed (39)49. Sir Barton* (49)50. Northern Dancer (43)51. Omaha* (61)52. Ack Ack (44)53. Discovery (37)54. Majestic Prince (46)55. Arts and Letters (67)56. Pan Zareta57. Rachel Alexandra58. Stymie (41)59. Challedon (38)60. Busher (40)61. Gallorette (45)62. Noor (69)63. Coaltown (47)64. Sword Dancer (53)65. Grey Lag (54)66. Devil Diver (55)67. Dahlia (50)68. Zev (56)69. Twilight Tear (59)70. Riva Ridge (57)71. Native Diver (60)72. Ta Wee (80)73. Shuvee (70)74. Holy Bull (64)75. Precisionist76. Ghostzapper77. Twenty Grand (52)78. Tiznow79. Skip Away (32)80. Sham81. Alsab (65)82. Point Given83. Inside Information84. Gun Runner85. Lady’s Secret (76)86. Azeri87. Beholder88. Smarty Jones89. Genuine Risk (91)90. Landaluce91. A.P Indy92. Authentic93. Susan’s Girl (51)94. Silver Charm (63)95. Cicada (62)96. Go for Wand (72)97. Rags to Riches98. Slew o’ Gold (58)99. Bald Eagle (74)100. Exceller (96) *Triple Crown winner PANELISTS WHO DETERMINED NTRA CONTEST FINALISTS In addition to yours truly, the panelists who determined the final horses, trainers and jockeys to appear on the Eclipse 50 contest ballot were Edward L. Bowen, Charlsie Cantey, Adam Coglianese, Irwin Cohen, Steven Crist, Dora Delgado, Tom Durkin, Bob Ehalt, Bill Finley, Tracy Gantz, Jim Gluckson, Amy Gregory, Tom Hammond, Evan Hammonds, Gregory Harbut, Steve Haskin, Charles Hayward, Jay Hovdey, Alicia Hughes, Dave Johnson, Jonathon Kinchen, Cate Masterson, Tom Law, Tim Layden, Amy Owens, Ray Paulick, Tom Pedulla, Mike Penna, Jay Privman, William “Billy” Reed, Jennie Rees, Ramiro Restrepo, Tom Robbins, Peter Rotondo, Andy Sterling, Ellis Star, Todd Schrupp, Mary Simon, Lynne Snierson, Denise Steffanus and Sonny Taylor.

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12.16.2020:

Thursday, December 17: Los Al $145K Pick 6 Carryover 1/ST BET Picks

Los Alamitos features a $145,798 carryover in the traditional $2 pick six as its racing week opens Thursday. Whether you’re a regular to the circuit or dropping by for the carryover, the 1/ST BET app can help you bridge the gap with a data-driven process. 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. Xpressbet and 1/ST handicapper Jeremy Plonk provides his human insights to the AI picks for Los Al’s Thursday pick six sequence (official track morning line odds listed for each selection).   RACE 4 (4:58PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 1/2 FURLONGS #2 Well Done Sally (7/2) // 20% Win#12 Pasito (5/2) // 13% Win#5 Glitter Gulch (10/1) // 12% Win#1 Apache Pass (4/1) // 12% Win Jeremy’s Take: Well Done Sally finished second over this track and distance in her only try locally and exits a Golden Gate maiden breaker. Trainer Jonathan Wong’s high-percentage barn has underperformed at the Los Al meet (3-for-23) so far. Favorites are 3-14 (21%) in claiming sprints at the meet, so feel free to shop. Pasito is on the also-eligible list, but clearly the one to beat if he draws in. RACE 5 (5:28PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS #2 Brilliant Bird (7/2) // 32% Win#5 Give Me a Hint (6/1) // 17% Win#9 Purdue (5/2) // 17% Win#8 Luv is All U Need (30/1) // 8% Win Jeremy’s Take: Brilliant Bird’s 32% Win rate is highest in the pick six races today, and the 15-point spread between first and second choice also is the largest of the sequence. According to the 1/ST BET app, this is the race to single Brilliant Bird. This mare had solid dirt form at Emerald Downs before moving to the synthetic at Golden Gate. Favorites are 3-14 (21%) in claiming sprints at the meet, the only hesitation. Speedster Purdue will be the target; few are faster early at this level.   RACE 6 (5:58PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE #11 Aotearoa (6/1) // 25% Win#2 Black Storm (4/1) // 14% Win#5 Fabozzi (7/2) // 13% Win#10 Implicity (6/1) // 11% Win Jeremy’s Take: Aotearoa is on the also-eligible list and compromised from the post position if lucky enough to draw into the race. Fabozzi has absolutely no excuses on the class drop under hot-riding Juan Hernandez, and some of his best races have been the mile trip. Black Storm rallied to win a 2019 claimer at Los Al over 6-1/2 furlongs. Also consider Sizzling Jamie, whose trainer Isidro Tamayo is one of the hottest at the meet (25% Wins, $2.06 ROI for every $1 bet).   RACE 7 (6:28PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE #11 Red Bunting (9/2) // 25% Win#8 Info’s Treasure (4/1) // 14% Win#6 Kayda (12/1) // 13% Win#1 Bella Figura (7/2) // 11% Win Jeremy’s Take: Red Bunting is on the also-eligible list and has yet to try dirt, so even if her trainer Isidro Tamayo is one of the hottest at the meet (25% Wins, $2.06 ROI for every $1 bet), that’s a tall order if she draws in while wide. Lukewarm morning line favorite Bella Figura has never run on dirt and her jockey is ice-cold at the meet. This race may be asking for a nice price. Info’s Treasure is by sire Informed, whose offspring have performed commendably on the Los Al surface, according to the Betmix database. On the pedigree angle, be aware of Heart River, by outstanding local sire Include (23% wins by his offspring, $1.13 ROI for every $1 bet).   RACE 8 (6:58PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS #5 Captain Scotty (5/2) // 25% Win#6 Oil Can Knight (6/1) // 17% Win#2 Mr. Lovejoy (4/1) // 16% Win#7 Sweet River Baines (8/1) // 15% Win Jeremy’s Take: Given the small field of 7, many pick six players will limit combos here and take a stand. The algorithm dismisses Blackout, the 3-1 second morning line choice, at just 10% Win chance. I’m not so bullish on tossing Blackout, even if that runner has been a turf performer. His Peter Miller barnmate Captain Scotty is the morning line chalk and a solid selection from 1/ST BET. He very well could be the single, but I want both Millers on my ticket.   RACE 9 (7:28PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 5 1/2 FURLONGS #2 Squared Shady (8/5) // 19% Win#12 Complete Control (5/2) // 15% Win#3 Always for Money (10/1) // 14% Win#4 Sircat Nelly (8/1) // 8% Win Jeremy’s Take: Favorites are hitting a strong 44% at the meet in maiden races. Couple that with Squared Shady being the shortest-priced morning line chalk in the sequence. Complete Control is on the also-eligible list and looks like the only experienced runner who could warm up Squared Shady. If looking for more coverage, Zu Zu Flynn debuts for a Steve Miyadi barn that’s the hottest at the meet (29% wins, $3.19 ROI for every $1 bet). The 1/ST BET app underscores first-time starters because of their lack of data points to process. Also consider first-timer Amazen Grazen for an Ed Moger Jr. barn with 12-1 and 14-1 upsets at the meet from just 5 starters.

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12.14.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (Dec. 7-13): Tax

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.December 7-13, 2020MVP: TaxOwner: R.A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh LynchTrainer: Danny GarganJockey: Luis SaezPerformance: Under an aggressive ride from the rail, Tax went straight to the front of the 1-1/16 miles Grade 3 $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday on Dec. 12 at Gulfstream Park. He increased his lead at every call, drawing off by 4-1/2 lengths. The 4-year-old son of Arch, winner of last year’s Jim Dandy, stopped the clock in 1:41.15, just .18 off of the track record.On Tap: Expect Tax in a return date to the Jan. 23 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream. The 1-1/8 miles test is likely his best distance, even if brilliant in the Harlan’s Holiday going shorter. Tax finished ninth in the Pegasus World Cup last January, but arguably comes into the race in better form and now with a race over the track.Honorable Mentions: Also at Gulfstream Dec. 12, Largent pulled a 16-1 upset leaving the Virginia-bred ranks when he won the Grade 2 $200,000 Fort Lauderdale. The Todd Pletcher trainee rallied from seventh of 9 to win by 2 lengths. Mexican import Letruska continues to make a home in South Florida since arriving for last year’s Caribbean Classic, outsprinting her rivals Dec. 12 in Gulfstream’s Grade 3 $100,000 Rampart. Ninety One Assault defended his title December 12 in Fair Grounds’ $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Turf. The 7-year-old, based in New York, is now 7-for-10 on the New Orleans lawn. Star of Night won her fourth straight, third in West Virginia-bred stakes company, on Dec. 12 with an odds-on score in Charles Town’s $50,000 My Sister Pearl Stakes.

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12.14.2020:

Monday, December 14: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

Woodbine Mohawk Park has 10-races scheduled for this evening. The feature goes in Race 6, a Preferred Trot with a $26,000 purse. The 0.20 Early Pick 4 starts as usual in Race 4. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 41-Northern Sultan (7/2)-Two race win streak was snapped in last after cashing a couple of nice checks in previous 2 starts. This post draw won't hurt and shouldn't blush at the company. Chris C's choice over #3 and #5.3-Jula Shes Magic (3-1)-Finished 2nd in the Harvest Final for the gals. Filion takes the lines has the talent to threaten the colts if minds manners.4-Magics Wizard (8-1)-Henry can put this horse on the point or in the 2 hole and if so, chances for success go up. Might be overlooked at the windows, has been consistently in the mix and is worth a swing at a solid price.Race 56-Dreamy Fella (7/2)-Auciello trainee is camera shy, the same as many in this field, but usually is in the hunt. Drury returns and did close well into a slow pace. Needs a trip and may finally get rewarded.7-Denali Seelster (3-1)-This is a drop and pop situation and if Filion can't get this colt to wake-up it may signal trouble. This is a spot to shine but my gut says to use others as well.10-Carsons Shadow (10-1)-There isn't much consistency found at this class level. If Jamieson can keep this 4-year old close coming down the lane a picture could happen. Using at a price, held its own versus better and has one nice move.Race 61-Oney Hall (3-1)-Six race win streak was snapped on 11/30. Started from post 9 in the slop and broke stride down the lane. Now draws the rail and should be in position to start a new winning streak.6-Perfetto (9/2)-Has put in a couple of flat lines and has the gate speed to get a good early seat. Raced well in last in the slop and is only 1-7 on an off-track. Using just in case #1 isn't dialed on high.Race 72-Tuapeka Jessie N (6-1)- Raced well in last coming off a sick scratch and missing about 4 weeks. Should be better tonight and Jamieson can work a cozy trip from this post.6-Mary Kat (3-1)-Three-year-old has been sharp as a tack and has won 7 of 27 in 2020. There's no reason to leave off the ticket.7-My Baby Girl (4-1)-Rolled down the lane in 55.2 in 2nd race off the bench. That start came from post 10 and should be in better striking range here.My Ticket Race 4) 1,3,4 Race 5) 6,7,10 Race 6) 1,6 Race 7) 2,6,7Total Ticket Cost) $10.80 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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12.13.2020:

Sunday, December 13: Pompano Park Pick 5 Analysis

Pompano Park has an 11-race card scheduled to start the week. The popular 0.50 Pick 4 begins in Race 6 and has a $15,000 guaranteed pool. The 0.50 Pick 5 sequence kicks-off the night and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 13-Maxdaddy Blue Chip (5/2)-Simply has not been good enough versus Open company. But this is the Open III class and really has no excuse not to be a major threat versus this crew.7-Mac Anover (6-1)-Using instead of the program chalk #5 who was a sick scratch and hasn't raced since 11/22. Comes off an efficient win and now steps up. Has gate speed and should be a threat with a top effort and a solid steer.Race 21-LA Rockin Sampson (6-1)-Drops in for a tag and so gets the rail. Could be a smart play as the 25% allowance drops off at year end and Plano can get the top from this spot. Only win here came on the engine and best to not overlook.3-Rub Ofthe Green N (5/2)-Nfld shipper should fit well with the group and has won 5 of 14 starts at the Pomp. Smith needs to work a trip and a quick pace could help chances.Race 31-Watchyastarinat (9-1)-This is the 4th start of the meet and the 1st time the post draw has been kind. Appears to have enough gate speed to get a close-up seat and may win for the 1st time in 13 starts at the Pomp.3-Rockin Machine (6-1)-Last 2 starts have been dull but this looks like a spot to trip out. Plano should be able to get a cozy trip and could land in the pocket behind the chalk, #6.6-War-N-Munn (9/5)-Hasn't been able to seal the deal and has come up short in all 4 South Florida starts. This is not a very strong group so it's best to include. Short field should help but won't offer much value and is only 2 for 21 at PPk.Race 42-Regil Electron (5/2)-Made 1st start south of the border a winning and was bet down like the race was already over. Meets some new faces tonight but best to respect 3-year-olds chances for a repeat.3-Theflyingrock (2/1)-Freshman gelding has hit the board in all 4 starts with 2 pictures. Should be tested by #2 but may prove to be a bit faster on this oval.Race 53-Agedchedar Hanover (9-1)-Has been inconsistent since arriving in town but draws well here and looks like a play at this price. May need some breaks to win but should be in the hunt and could spice up exotics.4-Unlikeanyother (2-1)-Hennessey's choice as he has been leaning towards the Beckwith barn. Ships in from Stga and makes Pompano debut. Looks like a fit versus this crew but will probably be bet hard.6-Mc Mach (6-1)-This will be a test, but my guess is Plano leaves and will provide a good steer. The 2 program chalks #4 and #1 are making their 1st PPk start. This 6-year-old has won 9 of 36 starts here and will use looking for a nice price.My Ticket Race 1) 3,7 Race 2) 1,3 Race 3) 1,3,6 Race 4) 2,3 Race 5) 3,4,6Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50

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12.13.2020:

Sunday, December 13: Gulfstream 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. 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.RACE 1: Post: 12:05 ET Grade: B-Use: 3-Cool Hand Coop; 7-No Nay Maybe; 13-No Bang No BoomForecast: No Bang No Boom drew in from the also-eligible list, and while his extreme outside draw may present a problem he's the best of this lot based strictly on speed figures and therefore deserves top billing. The W. Ward-trained gelding, freshened since Saratoga, drops to his lowest level ever, picks up P. Lopez, and shows a good series of recent workouts that should have him set for a top effort. No Nay Maybe arrives from Monmouth Park after a runaway sloppy track score in August but the son of No Nay Never can handle turf as well and is properly spotted in this $20,000 grass dash that carries a non-winners of three restriction. A prior winner over the local lawn, the J. Delgado-trained gelding should have a strong pace presence throughout. Cool Hand Coop appears to be the most dangerous of the closing contingent. The Northern Afleet gelding has numbers that fit and picks up I. Ortiz, Jr., however, his record over the Gulfstream Park grass course (six starts with only two third place finishes) doesn’t really inspire confidence.RACE 2: Post: 12:35 ET Grade: B-Use: 4-Samurai Fighter; 7-I’m a Coco PebblesForecast: I’m a Coco Pebbles has numbers that are gradually rising and with another forward move should be able to earn her diploma in this soft maiden $16,000 extended sprint for juvenile fillies. The addition of blinkers is a plus, and in a race lacking zip we’re anticipating that P. Lopez will have this filly on or near the lead from the get-go. Samurai Fighter has been chasing tougher, shows the route-to-sprint angle, and drops in class to where her speed figures say she’s a fit. The M. Casse-trained filly will be doing her best work from the quarter pole home. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with slight preference on top to I’m a Coco Pebbles.RACE 3: Post: 1:05 ET Grade: B-Use: 3-Dropped Anchor; 4-ConverterForecast: Dropped Anchor flashed speed before weakening and winding up third (beaten almost five lengths) when debuting in a maiden $50,000 dash over a sloppy track at GPW last month and today shows up for half that amount while hoping to find dry land. Based on the good quickness he displayed in her first race, the A. Sano-trained son of Anchor Down should be too quick for this field. Converter also is dropping and dangerous. The son of Currency Swap earned a number two races back that puts him right there, and with the major jockey switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. he’s worth including on your ticket at 5-1 on the morning line.RACE 4: Post: 1:35 ET Grade: C+Use: 2-Missing Link; 3-Can’t Buy Me LoveForecast: Missing Link continued her improving pattern with an authoritative maiden $40,000 win over this course and distance in September and returns protected in this starter optional claimer. The daughter of Kantharos apparently has found her niche as a turf sprinter and with a recent healthy work pattern to have her on edge she could spring a surprise at 6-1 on the morning line. Can’t Buy Me Love was non-competitive in a pair of stakes races after graduating at first asking over the local lawn last summer. She’s eligible for this race after being entered for the $25,000 tag and certainly rates a big look on pure numbers at this level. In a deep and contentious affair, rolling exotic play may choose to spread; we’ll try to survive and advance using just the two listed above with preference on top to Missing Link.RACE 5: Post: 2:05 ET Grade: C+Use: 3-R Adios Jersey; 5-Dispense; 6-Fior Di Latte; 7-ElliereesastonForecast: Maiden $35,000 claiming juvenile fillies sprint six furlongs in an anything-can-happen affair that necessitates a spread in rolling exotic play. Fior Di Latte showed a bit of ability when hitting the front but weakening late to wind up second in her debut against slightly lesser foes at GPW last month and the daughter of Exaggerator has every right to produce a forward move with that bit of experience behind her. She switches to L. Saez and may be better than her morning line of 8-1 gives her credit for. R Adios Jersey is a sneaky first-timer from the G. Baxter barn (33% with a strong ROI with debut runners). The work tab indicates ability, so in a soft affair this daughter of Adios Charlie is a “must use.” Elliereeseaston is another debut runner with credentials to run well. A bullet recent gate drill (:47.4bg, fastest of 83 for the distance) certainly catches the eye for good trainer S. Joseph, Jr., so you have to include her. Dispense closed a gap after a slow start to finish a willing second in here only outing in a maiden $25,000 grass sprint at Woodbine last month. She’s another with a right to improve in her second career start and her first on dirt.RACE 6: Post: 2:38 ET Grade: BUse: 5-Borkan; 7-Chess’s DreamForecast: Chess’s Dream seems the logical top pick in this state-bred two-turn maiden grass event for 2-year-olds based on two strong runner-up efforts over the local lawn prior to being well-beaten in an off-the-grass stakes on a sloppy track in late September. Freshened for M. Maker, training well, removing blinkers and returning to the maiden ranks, the son of Jess’s Dream has much in his favor. First-timer Borkan is a bit intriguing and may be worth including on a ticket or two as a back-up. The son of Speightstown doesn’t show anything flashy on his work tab but hails from the C. Clement barn, which boasts superior stats with debut runners (28%, powerful ROI). With T. Gaffalione taking the call, this colt seems likely to take some money on the tote.RACE 7: Post: 3:08 ET Grade: B-Use: 4-Bahamian Beat; 8-Chill Haze; 9-Valiant AppealForecast: Here’s a challenging affair for restricted (nw-2) $10,000 claimers that offers a couple of decent price chances. Valiant Angel is drawn comfortably outside, returns to dirt and one turn, and has sprint numbers that make him far more competitive than his morning line of 20-1 suggests. Low-percentage connections certainly should keep the price up. Chill Haze finally broke his maiden in his 13th career start but did so over a wet fast track, so his highly-rated score probably shouldn’t be taken at face value. However, the son of Justin Phillip projects as the controlling speed, and if he can shake loose again without pressure he’ll most likely outrun his morning line of 8-1. Bahamian Beat should be part of the pace and is another with back speed figures that make him a strong threat in a soft field. He does have a prior win over the local main track, though it was accomplished on a sloppy surface.RACE 8: Post: 3:38 ET Grade: B-Use: 4-Sun Glass; 8-Miss Deplorable; 9-Roman d’OroForecast: Miss Deplorable has been away since February and there are only two workouts listed at a local training center in the mare’s past performance chart, but this low profile barn has good stats with comebackers and if this daughter of Big Drama returns as well as she left she should be able to out class this second-level allowance field of grass sprinting fillies and mares. At 6-1 she may be worth a small gamble in the win pool but she’s just one of three that we’ll be using in rolling exotic play. Sun Glass is a progressive daughter of Hard Spun seeking her third straight win, her most recent success accomplished sprinting on grass at Woodbine in late October. She’s a fit on speed figures with plenty of room for further improvement and projects to enjoy an ideal pace-stalking trip. Roman d’Oro has the route-top-sprint angle and also is dropping out of stakes competition for this softer assignment. She’ll be a late threat and at 10-1 on the morning line is worth including on your ticket.RACE 9: Post: 4:09 ET Grade: BUse: 1-Frosted Grace; 6-With VerveForecast: Frosted Grace isn’t one to trust (2-for-20 with 13 seconds and thirds) and his lack of a true winning punch has been on display in his last three starts, all runner-up efforts. On the positive side are his recent speed figures, which are comparatively strong, and a prior win over the local main track. We’ll use him along with the morning line favorite (2-1). With Verve, arguably the most dangerous of the closing types. The Kantharos gelding was a solid third in the Sunshine Million Sprint Preview over a sloppy track at GPW last month and is a three-time winner over the local main oval, including the Hutcheson S. here last winter. With the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr., the L. Bates-trained sophomore is strictly the one to beat.RACE 10: Post: 4:40 ET Grade: B-Use: 1-Max K. O,; 4-Sniper Kitten; 5-MoroccoForecast: This messy turf event for $50,000 older claimers has several possibilities, so we suggest you spread as deeply as you can afford to. We’ll use three and hope that’s enough. Morocco does his best work from off the pace, so he’ll need fractions to run at and room to rally through the lane. If things break his way, the M. Maker-trained gelding, a two-time winner over the Gulfstream Park turf course, may be able to tag the speed under I. Ortiz, Jr. Max K. O. gets a much better draw today (from the far outside to the rail) and returns to the claiming ranks so it’s conceivable the E. Plesa, Jr.-trained colt will return to top form. Always dangerous as the controlling speed, he’ll no doubt try to secure that type of trip today, though there are other speed types in the field that will make him work for it. Sniper Kitten looked pretty good winning at Indiana Downs last month when facing softer foes and may have another forward move in him. He’s got back numbers that make him dangerous and a stalking style that should ensure a comfortable trip.Race 11: Post Time: 5:11 ET Grade: B-Use: 1-Reinagol; 2-Viva La Red; 3-Phantom VisionForecast: Let’s go with the inside three runners in today’s nightcap, a five furlong turf dash for 2-year-old fillies. Phantom Vision, a reasonable second in her debut last month for M. Maker and is likely to produce a forward move with that effort behind her. Though beaten more than three lengths, the daughter of Declaration of War was five lengths clear of the rest and a recent 47 flat breezing workout (second fastest of 92) tells us she’s headed in the right direction. Viva La Red makes her debut for a barn that has solid stats with first time starters and shows a string of bullet drills at Palm Beach Downs that jumps off the page. The daughter of Texas Red is listed at 5-1 on the morning line for trainer P. Biancone and is a “must use” at that price. Reinagol overcame a sluggish start from the rail to finish with interest when an okay second in a moderate affair in her debut on grass at GPW in early November. The daughter of Shanghai Bobby can improve if she leaves cleanly.

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12.12.2020:

Sunday, December 13: My Late Pick 4 Ticket Sunday at Gulfstream

Gulfstream Park’s Late Pick 4 Sunday features three races full of accomplished runners and a finale that includes some very promising young ones.The sequence runs from races 8-11 and the suggested this week totals $54. Without a standout in these, the ticket uses a 3x3x3x4 strategy. Here’s a look at what to expect in the Late Pick 4 Sunday from Hallandale Beach, FL.: Race 8 (3:38PM ET) //  Optional ClaimingSWEET YARE N DIRA broke poorly and made up considerable ground to finish fifth last time. Has won at this level and can be troublesome from the start. LENZI’S LUCKY LADY was off to a three-for-three start in her career – all at GP – and hasn’t found her way to the winner’s circle since then. Was claimed by Hess, Jr., barn two races back for $75,000 and then faltered in the Charles Town Oaks. Dangerous in her return to GP and has the pedigree to handle the switch to turf. AUNT NADINE has been able to adjust to the pace in her last few and has two wins and two seconds in her last four. Makes third start off the claim for Maker. Race 9 (4:09PM ET) //  Optional Claiming FROSTED GRACE ran on well in his last three and was second in each of them. Solid contender at this level. CAJUN BROTHER had the misfortune of facing Nashville in the Perryville Stakes at Keeneland and faltered. He gets some major class relief here and you can expect him to dig in vs. this level of competition. WITH VERVE has been in the mix in several good races, including in the Hutcheson Stakes, when he came from off the pace and was up in time by a neck. Certainly can be a solid performance at this level. Race 10 (4:40PM ET) //  Claiming SNIPER KITTEN comes off one of his better races as he followed a long pacesetter and readily drew clear. Well travelled and capable. MOROCCO steadily made his way through most of the field before finishing third in his latest. Has won a couple of races over this course. STIRLING DRIVE woke up with a solid third at this level last out and will be fairly close to this pace. A repeat of his last one would give him a solid chance. Race 11 (5:11PM ET) //  Claiming REINAGOL improved position and finished second in her debut. She drew the rail in that one and gets the same post today. Likely will break better in her return. VIVA LA RED has trained very well for her first one and is bred for grass.PHANTOM VISION, like REINAGOL, drew the rail and finished second her debut. Has worked well for her return.THIRD TIME AROUND lost her rider last time after finishing fourth in herdebut. Had a nice workout since herlatest. 50-cent Late Pick 4 Sunday at Gulfstream Park:Race 8) #1 Sweet Yare N Dira, #5 Lenzi’s Lucky Lady, #7 Aunt Nadine. Race 9) #1 Frosted Grace, #4 Cajun Brother, #6 With Verve. Race 10) #4 Sniper Kitten, #5 Morocco, #6 Stirling Drive.

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12.12.2020:

Saturday, December 12: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has a 13-race card ready to go this evening with the 0.50 Early Pick 4 beginning in Race 6. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Mindtrip (4-1)-Comes off a win at this class and raced near the top of the stack. Draws the rail and should be on or near the lead throughout. Can take another picture with the right pace and trip.2-Rockin The Aces (8-1)-Steps-up but gets post relief and closed well in last. Does have a strong record at the Big M hitting the board in 13 of 17 with 7 wins. Should be closer to the lead, pace should be brisk and may set-up for a closer.7-Let It Ride N (2-1)-Takes another step up the class ladder and winner of 2 straight appears to fit well with this group. Dunn might be forced to move a bit sooner, but this guy has a big brush and looks like a player again.Race 71-Go West Go Fast (7/2)-Fits at this class and now draws inside. The issue is whether the rail will help or hurt this slow starter. My guess is Allard will put in play and the post draw will not hurt chances.2-Lachie Maguire N (10-1)-10-year-old is still cashing checks and raced well in 1st Big M start this year. Zeron can put into striking range and look to pass foes down the lane at a nice price.3-In Rock We Trust (9/2)-Has shown better form for new barn in last 2 starts at this level. Best to not overlook.8-Italian Delight N (5-1)-Ships in from Yonkers and was facing better. Has raced here in the past with some success. Has hit the board in 6 of 9 starts with 2 wins. Dunn may look to leave in a race without a standout.Race 83-Doubleagentman (3-1)-Couldn't seal the deal in 1st start in the Burke barn. Gingras left in last and should get the top in very good shape. Draws well, there isn't much gate speed to contend with and should be more difficult to beat than in last.7-Slippin The Clutch (5-1)-Cashed a 3rd place check in Big M debut and the fractions were lively. Should benefit from the start and Mark Mac could leave and get a nice trip behind #3. Using at square price and hoping the journey is smooth.Race 95-Ana Afreet N (9/2)-Ana is in fine form and steps up looking for 2nd straight picture. 5-year-old is versatile and a late bloomer winning 21 of 42 lifetime starts in last 2 years. Just missed beating this kind from the 9-hole on 11/14.9-Highalator (7/2)-Scratched sick on 11/15 and missed the Potomac. Qualified on 11/25 at Dover which was fine, but was short in last start on 12/3. Will lean towards needing the last race and it was from the 8-hole. Knows how to win at the Big M (24 starts-16 wins). Has the speed to get the point and not look back if ready for a big try.My Ticket Race 6) 1,2,7 Race 7) 1,2,3,8 Race 8) 3,7 Race 9) 5,9Total Ticket Cost) $24 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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12.12.2020:

Saturday, December 12: Gulfstream Park Analysis & Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes. 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. RACE 1: Post: 12:05 ET Grade: C+Use: 7-Iconic; 10-January Won; 11-Frank First Forecast: Iconic returns to his claim level, backs up to a one-turn mile and has recent speed figures vs. tougher foes that are better than par for this class. A three-time winner over the local main track, the veteran son of Paddy O’Prado looks capable of returning to winning form in this bottom-rung $6,250 seller. January Won was victorious in a restricted (nw-3) $12,500 affair two-turning at GPW last month and is realistically spotted at this lower price. The son of New Year’s Day should be running on late. Frank First captured a similar event over seven furlongs at GPW three weeks ago, has enjoyed past success over this main track (three wins) and has a good stalking style that should produce a comfortable trip outside. At 8-1 on the morning line he’s certainly worth including somewhere on your ticket. RACE 2: Post: 12:35 ET Grade: A-Single: 2-Semper Fidelis Forecast: Semper Fidelis was completely eliminated soon after the start when badly impeded from the rail in his debut at GPW last month and then rallied miraculously to be a fast-finishing second in a better-than-par maiden special weight sprint for 2-year-olds. The S. Joseph, Jr. barn has stellar stats with second-time starters (25%) so if this very promising son of Fast Anna enjoys a good start and a clean trip he should be very tough to beat. He’s 2-1 on the morning line and will offer value at anywhere near that price, so let’s make him a win play and rolling exotic single. RACE 3: Post: 1:05 ET Grade: BUse: 4-Gambling Cat; 8-Con Lima Forecast: Con Lima and Gambling Cat both exit tougher stakes race and will fit much in this first level allowance turf miler for juvenile fillies. ‘Lima, runner-up in both the P. G. Johnson S. and most recently the-off-turf Our Dear Page S., has been freshened since September and shows recent drills at Palm Beach Downs that should have her fit and ready. Though she has enough early speed to contest the pace, we suspect she’ll be most effective if held up early and allowed to run late. ‘Cat was wide and overmatched in the Jessamine S.-G2 at Keeneland in October but charts well here with a repeat of sharp Belmont Park debut maiden win the previous month. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll press with extra tickets keying Con Lima on top. RACE 4: Post: 1:35 ET Grade: B+Single: 5-Letruska Forecast: Letruska was burned up setting sprinter’s fractions in the nine-furlong Beldame Invitational S.-G2 in early October and understandably caved in, but she’s ideally suited for this one-turn mile against this softer group of fillies and mares and seems likely to return to winning form in this year’s edition of the Rampart S.-G2. A perfect two-for-two over the Gulfstream Park main track, the daughter of Super Saver will race without blinkers for the first time in her career and we suspect the equipment chance will pay immediate dividends. A likely gate-to-wire candidate, she’s listed at 2-1 on the morning line and will offer value in the win pool and in rolling exotic play at or near that price. RACE 5: Post: 2:05 ET Grade: BUse: 2-Fierce Scarlett; 9-Napa Rules Forecast: Fierce Scarlett seems fairly solid in this first-level allowance middle distance turf affair for older fillies and mares. The daughter of Scat Daddy will be making her second start off a layoff after appearing a tad rusty in a similar affair at Aqueduct last month, and with I. Ortiz, Jr. riding her back she should be able to produce a winning late kick. Napa Rules might be worth including as a back-up. She looks pretty cheap on paper but has a prior win over the course and numbers that are fairly competitive. Toss her in somewhere at 10-1 on the morning line. RACE 6: Post: 2:38 ET Grade: B+Use: 2-Lady’s Island; 3-Golden Ami Forecast: Golden Ami gets tested for class after dismantling her opposition in a pair of easy wins to begin her career. The daughter of Goldencents didn’t make it to the races until the winter of her four year old season – she won a maiden race over the Gulfstream Park main track in March – and then most recently went north to Woodbine to take an allowance over the all-weather surface by more than five lengths, earning a stakes-quality speed figure in the process. Drawn outside the main speed today, the J. Carroll-trained filly probably will be asked to stalk and pounce in a slight change of tactics but she easily could be good enough to do just that. Lady’s Island is a rocket ship from the gate and seems certain to be the controlling inside speed. A seven-time winner (from 11 starts) over the local main track, the veteran mare has been freshened since early October and shows only two easy workouts since, but with a history of firing fresh we’re going to assume she’s ready. These are the two we’ll be including in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Golden Ami. RACE 7: Post: 3:08 ET Grade: BSingle: 1-Midlaner Forecast: After drawing the rail in his debut sprinting at Churchill Downs last month, Midlaner is stuck on the fence again today in this one-turn mile maiden affair juvenile, but this time he should be seasoned enough to overcome the disadvantageous draw. The son of Flatter flashed excellent speed before weaking late in a hot race in his debut and today projects to be the controlling speed in an affair that doesn’t on paper appear to be all that strong. The E. Kenneally-trained gelding shows a couple of easy breezes at Palm Meadows to tick him over since shipping down, so at 3-1 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single. RACE 8: Post: 3:38 ET Grade: BUse: 3-Our Bay B Ruth; 5-Lady Lawyer Forecast: Our Lady Lawyer is genuine, consistent, versatile and improving, so the daughter of Blame and looks primed to step forward again this year’s renewal of the listed My Charmer S. over a distance of ground on grass for fillies and mares. In a race that on paper lacks pace, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the C. Brown-trained filly make the running, just as she did in a facile allowance victory at Keeneland in her most recent outing in late October. The lightly-raced 4-year-old shows five wins from nine career starts, retains T. Gaffalione, and seems the logical top pick at 2-1 on the morning line. Our Bay B Ruth deserves some consideration, as well. Freshened since September and a winner of her only prior start (last year’s Tropical Park Oaks) over the Gulfstream Park turf course, the daughter of Candy Ride should be prominent throughout and have every chance from the quarter pole home. RACE 9: Post: 4:09 ET Grade: B-Use: 2-Phat Man; 7-Tatweej Forecast: The 2020 edition of the Harlan’s Holiday S.-G3 is an intriguing event that features a few old pros and one up-and-coming colt that brought $2.5 million as a yearling. The well-bred Tatweej, a son of Tapit from the high class mare Tiz Miz Sue, was beaten in his debut but has since reeled off three consecutive sharp wins in overnight company and gets tested for class while moving into stakes competition and stretching out to two-turns for the first time. He’ll need improvement in the speed figure department to extend his winning streak to four, but the T. Pletcher-trained colt seems likely to be the controlling speed and given that type of trip may prove hard to catch. On pure form Phat Man is the one to fear most. First of second in 15 of 28 career starts and an excellent runner-up in this race last year, the J. K. Sweezey-trained gelding likes to lag early and blast home, and if our top pick can’t see out the trip he’s the most likely to pick up the pieces. RACE 10: Post: 4:40 ET Grade: B-Use: 8-Spooky Channel; 9-Factor This Forecast: The 2020 Ft. Lauderdale S.-G2 for older middle distance turf specialists is loaded with front-running types, so the natural inclination is try find the best closer and hope that that he gets fast fractions up front and good racing luck that can produce an upset score. Spooky Channel fits the bill. The veteran son of English Channel, away since July 4 when he finished a close sixth in the Manhattan S.-G1 at Belmont Park while being victimized by the race flow, returns with a steady series of workouts that should have him fit enough, and with clear sailing through the lane might tag the speed at a big price (he’s 12-1 on the morning line). A winner of eight races from 16 starts, the hard-hitting gelding knows where the wire is, retains regular pilot J. Leparoux, and though perhaps best as a marathon type is capable of winning at this nine furlong trip if things go his way. For protection, you may want to consider including Factor This on your ticket. He may be the most reliable of the need-the-lead types and has several triple-digit Beyer speed figures to go back to, so after setting the pace and weakening late in the BC Mile in his last start the B. Cox-trained 5-year-old should greatly appreciate this lesser assignment Race 11: Post Time: 5:11 ET Grade: CUse: 1-Lease; 6-Millean; 12-Mira Mission Forecast: The finale is a wide-open grass grab bag for maiden $50,000 claiming 2-year-olds. Anything goes, so use as many as your budget allows. Millean was a well-beaten sixth in his only prior outing but that came against much tougher straight maidens at Saratoga and the son of Blame certainly should improve in this considerably easier spot for T. Pletcher. His recent series of workouts at Palm Beach Downs indicates he’s plenty fit. Mira Mission, a fair fourth vs. maiden special weight foes in his debut at Belmont Park in October, is another likely to step forward considerably with a race under his belt and the drop to this much easier spot. The extreme outside draw is no bargain but if he can drop over and save some early ground he should be heard from late. Lease is yet another showing the maiden-to-maiden claiming angle, lands the good rail, adds blinkers, and should find himself in a good stalking position while saving ground. We’ll see what he can do with that type of trip.

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12.11.2020:

Friday, December 11: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, Cal Expo has 11 races scheduled with the 0.20 Pick 4 starting in Race 8. The sequence has a 16% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 86-Allmyx'sliventexas (2-1)-This is a horse for this course as 7-year old has won 31 of 67 starts at CalX. Didn't do much at Haw but starts this meet with 2 straight pictures. Offers no value but can stay good for a while in Cali.8-Ponda's Prospect (6-1)-If the pace is hot Plano should be rolling down the lane. Paced the back half in .56 in last and now makes 3rd start at CalX. Shorter field can improve chances.Race 91-Fox Valley B Gump (5-1)-Gump tries and can take a picture versus this crew if gets a good trip. Doesnt seem to like to cut the mile so Cutting needs to stay close and come off a helmet.4-Lukes Cowboy (6-1)-Can compete at this class, was Kennedy's choice and should stay close with this post draw. Looks like a trip a out candidate and could be sitting on a big try at a square price.7-Stanhope (5-1)-Beat the $6k claimers with a nice brush in 2nd CalX start. HoP invader had never raced here before last 2 starts and best to respect for an encore.10-Bet Together (4-1)-Came 2nd to $7k claimers in 1st start at CalX and finished the same last week versus $6k claimers. Has some gate speed to get a decent seat, Roland takes the lines and will need to provide a smooth trip.Race 101-A And C Artist (5-1)-Hasn't raced since 9/9 but did qualify with a 56.2 back half here on 12/5. Using off that tune-up against a beatable field.2-Native's Best Bet (9/5)-Might be overbet off a conservative start to finish 2nd. Did face better at Haw but since mid-August has been in poor form. This could be a spot to wake-up but need to use others as well.10-Winonefordoug (8-1)-Comes off a decent try and was used a couple of times last week. That was only the 2nd start since 7/19. Post will help the price and has the gate speed for Roland to stay close, worth a swing versus this group.Race 115-West Central Beach (6-1)-Kept coming in last and the trip wasn't great. Pace could be lively and can pass a few down the lane. Looks like a player if makes good use of this post draw.9-Custards Dungeon (8-1)-Probably doesn't have much choice but to leave as the program chalk #10 should be doing the same. Should be there at the wire if lands in a good spot off the gate.10-Villa For Rent (5/2)-Winner of last 5, including 3 at Aces and the last 2 coming at CalX. Hard to leave out after drawing off by over 4 lengths last week at this class. The issue is the start, isn't quick off the gate and should be bet hard.My Ticket Race 8) 6,8 Race 9) 1,4,7,10 Race 10) 1,2,10 Race 11) 5,9,10Total Ticket Cost) $14.40 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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12.11.2020:

Friday, December 11: Gulfstream 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. 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.RACE 1: Post: 12:35 ET Grade: C+Use: 5-Monte Ne; 7-VicmarForecast: Modest older maiden-claiming turf sprinters kick off the Friday program in a race in which the known element doesn’t impress. Fresh face Vicmar debuts for a barn that has very good stats with first-time starters and the son of Revolutionary has the look of a live item with hot-riding P. Lopez taking the call. He’s bred for grass and has displayed a hint of speed in the a.m. so at 9/2 on the morning line he’s worth a play. Monte Ne, a $15,000 M. Maker claim at Churchill Downs last month, should be quick enough to be on or near the lead against this group and is the likely choice and one to beat. His one prior grass outing wasn’t much but he broke slowly, raced wide, and faced much tougher straight maidens so we won’t hold that effort against him.RACE 2: Post: 1:04 ET Grade: B+Use: 2-Reservenotattained; 6-Wicksters DreamForecast: We’ll double the second race, a restricted (nw-2) $35,000 main track seller for older horses. Wicksters Dream, claimed in his last three starts, most recently for this price at Belmont Park in late October, appears properly spotted in his first start for new trainer R. Crichton (solid stats with this angle) and lands the cozy outside post that should project him into a soft, pace-stalking position. Fast enough on pure speed figures to beat this field, the son of New Year’s Day has a prior win over this main track and will offer wagering value at or near his morning line of 5/2. Reservenotattained is another with very good form over the Gulfstream Park main track – never off the board in five starts with two wins – and with the switch to P. Lopez should be a strong pace factor. The edge on top goes to Wicksters Dream but we’ll include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 3: Post: 1:33 ET Grade: C+Use: 2-Makisupa; 4-Witch MoonForecast: Makisupa has a bit of a suspicious pattern but certainly can win this turf miler for maiden claiming older fillies and mares if he she returns as well as she left. After finishing a good second over the local lawn in a straight maiden miler last April, the English-bred filly was stopped on, and today returns for a $50,000 tag in what is just her third career start (you’d think that if she was well-liked, they would be protecting her). The D. Fawkes barn has solid stats with layoff runners and the work tab, though relatively brief, seems healthy, so we’ll put her on top while also including in our rolling exotics Witch Moon, a Woodbine shipper also dropping out of maiden special weight company. The G. Motion-trained daughter of Malibu Moon picks up L. Saez and is listed as the 9/5 morning line favorite.RACE 4: Post: 2:03 ET Grade: C+Use: 7-Think It Thru; 8-SkyflyForecast: Skyfly debuts showing only three workouts n her past performance chart but two of the drills were good, a :59 3/5 drill Nov. 23 (second fastest of 23) and a bullet gate drill Dec. 4 (1:02 flat, best of five). From a high-percentage outfit, from a cozy outside post, and with the stable’s “go-to” rider E. Jaramillo taking the call, the daughter of Jess’s Dream may prove best of a weak lot. Think It Thru is the most preferred from the experienced group, having finished a distant second in her debut at GPW in late October. However, her speed figure was 15 points lower than par for this level, which is the main reason why we’re opting for a newcomer on top. In a race that should be treated with caution, both should be included in your rolling exotics.RACE 5: Post: 2:36 ET Grade: BUse: 2-Pleasecallmeback; 5-BattalionForecast: Battalion returns to the claiming ranks (but above his purchase price) in this $50,000 restricted (nw-2) affair on grass while switching to T. Gaffalione (31% with this barn) so we suspect the son of Tiznow will regain his winning form after a failed attempt in a race in the mud at GPW in late October. A strong, healthy work tab since raced should have this S. Joseph, Jr.-trained gelding primed and ready. Pleasecallmeback is a Woodbine invader for R. Attfield fresh from a good runner-up effort in an allowance race that produced a career top figure, one that may be good enough to beat this field. The Hard Spun gelding projects to enjoy an ideal ground-saving, second flight journey and then have his chance from the quarter pole to the wire.RACE 6: Post: 3:06 ET Grade: BUse: 6-Uncaptured Soldier; 9-Dreaming ThousandForecast: Uncaptured Soldier, a fading sixth after some early trouble in his debut when facing tougher maiden $25,000 foes, drops for the money run while adding blinkers and switching to T. Gaffalione (32% with a massive ROI with this trainer) in this bottom-rung sprint for juveniles. A nice five furlong breeze at GPW since raced is a positive sign, so we’re expecting the J. Delgado-trained colt to step forward and handle this soft task. Dreaming Thousand, freshened since early October, ran well over this main track last summer while earning a speed figure three races back that certainly can win. However, his other five starts weren’t much, so he’s not one to trust. We’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics and then press with Uncaptured Soldier on top.RACE 7: Post: 3:36 ET Grade: C+Use: 2-Jimmyssmokedcarrot; 4-Wicked Mercury; 5-Sunset PromiseForecast: Sunset Promise shows up in a claimer for the first time in her second start off a layoff, and with a prior win over the course and speed figures that are good for the level the M. Maker-trained filly seems reasonably solid. She’ll be doing her best work late. Wicked Mercury graduated in her ninth career start when last seen in mid-September at Monmouth Park while earning a career top speed figure, one that makes her competitive in this affair. The concern is that she’s zero-for-five over the local lawn, so we’re not convinced she’s trustworthy. However, her good stalking style guarantees a clean trip, and if she runs back to her last race she’ll be in the battle. Jimmyssmokedcarrot won her debut over this course in maiden state-bred company rather stylishly (but with a modest number) in February when trained by C. Brown and then disappeared. She returns in a seller for new conditioner J. D’Angelo while wearing blinkers and picking up L. Saez, so at 5-1 on the morning line she’s worth consideration as a saver or a back-up.RACE 8: Post: 4:06 ET Grade: C+Single: 1-Starship BlancaForecast: Starship Blanca just broke her maiden for a $12,500 tag and today surfaces in a conditioned (nw-2) $6,250 sprint for fillies and mares, an aggressive move on paper but not really that surprising considering this high-percentage outfit. The concern is that her win was accomplished over a sloppy track at GPW and that her previous four outings were all routing on grass. How will she sprint on dry land? We’ll find out in a race in which nothing else inspires. We’ll consider the daughter of He’s Had Enough a possible single in rolling exotic play – mostly by default – in a race that actually may better served being left alone.RACE 9: Post: 4:36 ET Grade: B+Use: 3-Risk Manager; 4-Whatmakessammyrun; 5-RarantinoForecast: Risk Manager won his debut on grass at Keeneland at this one mile distance in mid-October and looked like a fairly decent prospect in the process, so we’re expecting this son of Lookin At Lucky to come right back in this competitive first-level allowance affair. The M. Maker-trained colt settled in the second flight before accelerating when asked to win going away, and T. Gaffalione, who was aboard that day, stays aboard. Tarantino invades from Southern California where he also was a debut winner before verifying that favorable impression by just missing by a nose in the Zuma Beach Stakes at Del Mar when trained by B. Baffert. He’s now with R. Brisset and will be the one to beat with a repeat of either one of his first two outings. Whatmakessammyrun, third in listed turf stakes at Aqueduct after breaking his maiden by almost nine lengths sprinting on grass at Belmont Park, is another major player with a decent amount of upside. We’ll include all three in rolling exotic play and then have extra tickets keying Risk Manager on top.RACE 10: Post: 5:06 ET Grade: XSingle: 6-Pay Any PriceForecast: Professional race horse Pay Any Price, 10-years-old and still plying his trade, makes his first start since winning a $75,000 stakes sprint over this course and distance in early July and today shows up carrying a $25,000 tag in this allowance optional claimer. The layoff and the class drop are of concern, of course, but we doubt he’d be in the entries if he wasn’t reasonably okay. At 9/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, the son of Wildcat Heir - a winner of 16 races from 24 starts over the local lawn – is worth cheering for, if not wagering on.

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12.11.2020:

Unlicensed & Saturday Los Alamitos Late Pick 4 Analysis

In Tuesday’s edition of Thoroughbred Daily News, writer Sue Finley told the story of 23-year-old Phillip Miller’s attempt to replace Hall of Fame jockey Julie Krone as agent for Ferrin Peterson in New York. However, this is not a tale about a normal agent ‘coup.’ Miller didn’t ‘submarine’ Krone--racetrack lingo for when one agent undercuts another to ‘steal’ a jock. No, this switch was totally kosher. On the level. Out in the open. After a stellar east coast stint with Peterson, Krone’s headed back to SoCal. Can’t blame her, either. Have you seen a recent Queens weather forecast? Miller met with Peterson and offered him the job. He accepted. If that were the end of things it really wouldn’t be much of a story, even though Finley reports that Miller is a horse owner with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance, an MBA candidate with a real estate license and a seven years of weekly volunteer service at the Special Olympics as an assistant swim coach. Miller also studied Multivariable Calculus and Business Law, made the Dean’s List every semester, and received a merit-based scholarship to attend school. He also designed an app to provide free college tutoring to under-privileged students. No word about Miller curing the sick or restoring sight to the blind but give the kid time. Anyway, according to Finley, Miller “…is the son of a prominent cancer specialist and racehorse owner and has owned horses on his own or in partnership for two years. He grew up going to the racetrack, spends most days handicapping and has won a bit of money on the ponies.” After reading about Miller’s accomplishments, the first question yours truly had is, ‘Why in the world does HE want to be a jock’s agent?” Then we remembered, roughly 40 years ago, when a recent college grad, around the same age as Miller but appreciably less accomplished, abandoned a fledgling career in SoCal racetrack publicity departments for a shot at booking mounts for a struggling young jock named Ron Hansen. Before he made the move, he consulted veteran jockey agent George Hollander (then booking for Hall of Famer Don Pierce) for advice on how to be a good agent. “Are ya makin’ a livin’ where ya at?” George drawled in a whisper, as if the FBI might be listening. “Then stay thaaar.” Undaunted, the young man pressed. Finally, Hollander sighed, adjusted his trademark fedora and leaned in sideways, “Wanna’ be a good agent? Get yourself a f*****g good rider.” Know what? George was correct. After 20 years of booking mounts for talented riders and not so talented ones, the ‘f*****g good’ ones won more races than the others did. The ‘great’ ones won even more often than the ‘good’ ones. Hall of Famers Sandy Hawley, Darrel McHargue, Alex Solis, Chris Antley and Jose Santos all survived in saddles aboard mounts arranged by the former young man. Hawley, bless him, endured the punishment for six years. For a wide variety of reasons, the others didn’t remain partners as long. As Finley reports, Phillip Miller won’t immediately get the chance to begin his jockey agent journey. According to Finley, “…he (Miller) has been deemed by the New York State Gaming Commission as unqualified because he has no hands-on horse experience on the backstretch.” OK. One question, please. Know who else had no hands-on horse experience on the backstretch before becoming an agent? Just about every other successful agent, ever. Finley also points this out. Want to know what kind of experience an agent really needs? How to deal with people. That’s what the top agents do best (besides having the best riders), they handle people extremely well. Agents can find themselves in some sticky situations--owners and trainers upset about a ride, a cancelled call (‘getting spun’ in racetrack lingo), a missed workout appointment, etc. and they must expertly extinguish four alarm fires without leaving behind water damage. In other words, at any racetrack there’s a limited number of owners and trainers that win most of the races, a top agent must always keep himself and his rider in their good graces. Veteran trainer Jerry Fanning once explained emphatically to a jock agent that he was “…nothing more than a pimp for little boys.” He continued, “You get the condition book for free and then you steal a pencil from the racing office and you’re in business.” The abuse was silently tolerated. Fanning, who’s a good guy, may have been half-kidding. Then again, he could have been upset about a bad ride, a cancelled call or a box of stale donuts delivered to the barn. Difficult to tell and it didn’t matter. Agents handle people. Trainers and jockeys handle horses. Sometimes a trainer will guide an inexperienced agent and help him to learn the ropes of the game. The late conditioner Dick Mulhall did so for yours truly once during the Pomona Fair. At the time, we were booking mounts for perennial leading rider Ron Hansen and the jock’s services were in high demand. Mulhall wanted to book Ron in a certain race and the agent attempted to stall the trainer, “I’ve got one in there. Can I get back to you?” Mulhall was a cagey dude and immediately smelled the stall. “Look, you stupid son-of-a-bitch, ride this horse. He’ll win.” A ‘call’ was given. The horse won. Easily, too. No ‘hands-on horse experience’ necessary. Finley’s larger point is that the sport is not welcoming enough to those attempting to breech its inner circle. That may be true, but this case seems more about a misguided rule that needs to be changed than anything else. One doesn’t need hands-on experience under the hood of an automobile to qualify for a driver’s license. A few tests ought to be enough to keep incompetents out. Although, if you’ve been on the road recently, it seems some have escaped detection. Meanwhile, while we await a New York Gaming Commission rule adjustment, below is one man’s opinion of how the Saturday Los Alamitos Late Pick 4 might unfold. LOS ALAMITOS TB // RACE 6 (5:58PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT) As stated, this is a difficult and deep Pick 4 sequence. Would be great to single here and spread appropriately elsewhere. #7 Sadie Bluegrass is all racehorse. She’s won 6 of 9 overall and 4 of 7 at the distance. She’s got enough speed to stalk outside or to take the lead. She gets 7 pounds of weight off with hot apprentice Alexis Centeno. One could question why owners are willing to dismiss this one for a $12,5 tag but that’s how one wins races: by running them where they belong. Why trainer Jonathan Wong has another entered in this race against his probable 1-5 shot is a valid question. Bottom line: by late afternoon Saturday, this filly ought to have visited the Los Alamitos winner’s circle just before bedding down in a new shedrow. LOS ALAMITOS TB // RACE 7 (6:28PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 MILE (DIRT) See this as a 3-horse affair and that’s good because we’ll need to save ammunition for later. Important to be correct here to advance while keeping the ticket price down. #1 Paid Informant has a few races that fit well at this level. She’s been close at the level at Santa Anita and Del Mar. She should be close to the pace and be difficult to beat. #5 Lucky Peridot is a 4-year-old filly that hails from the strong Peter Miller barn. She’s won just 2 of 17 lifetime starts but they both came at Los Alamitos at this distance. She has races that fit in here. She’s raced 12 times on turf with 0 wins but is 2-4 on fast dirt. Reasons to like this one. #8 Miss Megan likely will head to the front directly from this 8 of 10 post position. Apprentice jockey Jess Pyfer takes over on this filly who set the pace in the 7-furlong state-bred Betty Grable last out. Can this duo get a mile at Los Alamitos? That’s really the question you’ll either pay or get paid to answer. She’s never raced for a tag in 9 starts, usually a sign that she’s shown some promise. LOS ALAMITOS TB // RACE 8 (6:58PM ET) // SOVIET PROBLEM S. // 1 MILE (DIRT) Cal-bred 2-year-old fillies gather for this one-mile stakes race. As is usual with 2-year-olds stretching out, many of them for the first time, there should be plenty of speed. Also, some of these are moving turf or synthetic to dirt, so there’s that. We’ll attempt to sort through the field to find the correct combo of early fliers and closers. It won’t be simple. #1 Mucha Woman has speed and figures to use it from the rail. Her issue appears to be hanging on late and that long Los Al stretch run might be her downfall. #3 Dylan’s Wild Cat has improved Beyer Speed Ratings in all 3 starts, including a head runnerup finish in the Golden State Juvenile, a common race to many of these. This daughter of Ministers Wild Cat had some trouble early in the race. She is trained by veteran Neil French and will be ridden by top SoCal pilot Flavien Prat. It should be noted that Prat has not had a successful Los Alamitos meeting thus far. #4 Governor Goteven has speed and was a mere neck back in fourth in the common Golden State Juvenile last out. She is stretching out to a mile and will be turning the heat up early for trainer Walther Solis and jockey T. J. Pereira. #6 Sensible Cat was fractious and off slow in a poor debut before closing like a rocket in a one-mile state-bred maiden turf race. That style will work well in here if she can transfer that grass form to the dirt and act with better. She’s got upside. #8 Westward Breeze, like #6 Sensible Cat goes for trainer Carla Gaines. This one gets Umberto Rispoli (24% with Gaines) to ride. She won her only start, a state-bred maiden race at five and one-half furlongs on turf. She absolutely exploded in the stretch that afternoon. Can she muster that kind of late kick around two turns on dirt? Questions abound. #10 I’m So Anna is a bit the proven commodity in here with a runner-up finish at the distance on a synthetic surface at Golden Gate and a win over the Los Al track. He has 2 wins, 2 seconds and a third in 5 career tries, including a stakes win in the Pikes Place Dancer Stakes at Golden Gate on turf last out. LOS ALAMITOS TB // RACE 9 (7:28PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (DIRT) No base on balls in here with this group of 10 (2 also eligible) going one mile. These are runners that haven’t won a race for over an $8,000 tag since September 25 and a ‘spread’ seems the appropriate response. #1 Six Point Rack won for a $16k tag at Pleasanton in July but hasn’t been close since against mostly better. Flavian Prat rides here and that’s nearly enough to give this guy a second glance, although Prat hasn’t been on fire at Los Alamitos this season. This gelding may fit at this level but his last out at Golden Gate doesn’t inspire confidence. #2 Maxinamillion gets Tyler Base and should show speed from an inside post. He’s been in the money in his last 7 starts at Golden Gate and Pleasanton. In 6 of those he was either first or second and last won for $8k in August at the ‘Gate. He’s 11 for 13 in the money at the distance. Pretty solid performer. #3 Blame It On Kitty is just 2 for 22 lifetime and hasn’t run well in his last 3 starts. Before being dumped for $12,5 two back at Santa Anita, he had some ability. Questions abound. #5 Will Dancer adds intrigue to this race because the 4-year-old hails from the under-the-radar sharp Eddie Truman barn and has had 3 consecutive increasingly rapid three-quarter mile works at Santa Anita. Very unusual for a trainer to work a $10k claimer that often at that distance. Usually, efforts from such runners are saved for the afternoon. Two back was a good one over this track. Pay attention. #6 Little No Way is a 6-year-old with just 3 wins in 25 starts, so it’s tough to justify asking this one to win. However, his recent form is ok, and he won his last race for $8k at Del Mar going one mile. #7 Punaluu is a 4-year-old with just 4 wins in 21 starts. He has 8 runner-up efforts and 2 show placings. He’s never been this distance and never has raced at Los Alamitos. Mostly, he’s been at northern California venues for high-percentage trainer Isidro Tamayo. Here he starts for low-profile sharpie Rosemary Trela (4-10 this year). It should be noted that while this guy is a bit cheap, he is 1 for 14 on synthetic and 3 for 6 on dirt! #8 Better Ring Home gets big class relief on the dropdown in here. He’s just 2-22 and comes off a poor race for a trainer that’s 0-17 this year. He would surprise but not completely shock. SATURDAY LOS ALAMITOS TB LATE PICK 4 TICKET - $1 BASE Race 6: 7Race 7: 1, 5, 8Race 8: 3, 6, 8, 10Race 9: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7Ticket Cost: $60 for $1 Race On!

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12.10.2020:

Saturday, December 12: Hong Kong International Races Full-Card Picks

Bet the 2020 Hong Kong International Races (HKIR) at Sha Tin Racecourse with Xpressbet to receive 10X XB Rewards Points for the entire card. To help you play, here are full-card picks from Hong Kong Jockey Club racing correspondent, Declan Schuster.    SHA TIN SELECTIONS(Saturday, December 12, 2020) Race 1: #11 Winning Brew, #6 Master Montaro, #2 Sunset Watch, #14 Hello Beauty  Race 2: #1 Joyful Heart, #2 Nordic Warrior, #3 Ultimate Glory, #12 Stunning Impact Race 3: #3 Enrichment, #11 Chevalier Prince, #10 Beauty Angel, #2 Charity Go Race 4: #4 Columbus County, #1 Exultant, #7 Mogul, #3 Ho Ho Khan Race 5: #9 Rattan, #2 Hot King Prawn, #1 Classique Legend, #4 Voyage Warrior Race 6: #10 Pure Legend, #12 True Legend, #13 Exceptional Nice, #1 Heza BeautyRace 7: #2 Golden Sixty, #6 Waikuku, #3 Admire Mars, #1 Beauty GenerationRace 8: #4 Furore, #3 Win Bright, #7 Magical, #2 Danon Premium Race 9: #3 Winning Dreamer, #6 Sky Field, #1 Duke Wai, #10 Beauty Applause Race 10: #4 The Summit, #5 Shadow Hero, #6 Super Wealthy, #2 Super Oasis    Race 1 (11:25PM ET): Snow Fairy Handicap #11 Winning Brew won second-up last term and he has the race experience to be very competitive in the opener at Sha Tin. #6 Master Montaro has caught the eye at the trials and does bring with him an solid resume from Australia. #2 Sunset Watch has been in solid form this term and looks ready to go on with it. Belgian ace Christophe Soumillon hops up for the first ride of his short-term contract. #14 Hello Beauty is consistent and slots in light with no weight on his back. Race 2 (11:55PM ET): Able Friend Handicap #1 Joyful Heart makes the step down to Class 4 which suits and the key booking of Zac Purton for this task warrants respect. He’s a three-time winner in this grade who is, more than capable of shouldering the big weight. #2 Nordic Warrior ran a blinder last start. If he produces anywhere near that performance here and he’ll go close once again. #3 Ultimate Glory is consistent and rarely runs a bad race. #12 Stunning Impact is proving hard to catch but he does have a win nearing. He needs all the favours but with the right run – can figure.  Race 3 (12:25AM ET): Flintshire Handicap #3 Enrichment has a big race in him and it just might be this contest. He’s racing well and he turned a corner in his last run to finish a close-up fifth. British ace Ryan Moore will get the best out of him and the inside ally also suits. #11 Chevalier Prince caught the eye with an impressive second-up win last start. He should relish the added furlong here and with even luck, fight out the finish. #10 Beauty Angel is looking for his fifth consecutive win. He’s swept all aside of late and does, draw well for this contest. #2 Charity Go rarely runs a bad race and only needs to offset the wide draw to be competitive here. Race 4 (1:00AM ET): LONGINES Hong Kong Vase #4 Columbus County might be worth taking a chance on here as he steps up to the unknown 2400m for the first time on Sunday. He closed off nicely last start for third at his first try at G2 level and if either of the big two falter, he could be the one to finish best. He’ll be a price to find out, especially off the back of his first-up run which was super impressive, albeit against weaker company. He’s a young horse open to plenty of improvement over a longer trip. #1 Exultant is hard to knock and he’s arguably the one to beat. Still though, he was under pressure early on last start and while he did manage to finish off gamely, he is going to need to step up once again if he is to run his rivals into the ground and recapture his Vase crown. #7 Mogul looked tidy when winning the G1 Grand Prix de Paris over this distance two starts ago, beating off subsequent Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe second, In Swoop. If he can put his best foot forward then he is a leading player. #3 Ho Ho Khan is next best as a course and distance winner.   Race 5 (1:40AM ET): LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint #9 Rattan has become a notoriously slow starter but, if he does get a fast pace in this, he could be the one to finish the strongest. He’s clocked some slick final 400m times his last two runs and with a clean run, he might be worth taking a chance on to spoil the party. #2 Hot King Prawn rarely runs a bad race and comes off a tidy last-start victory in the G2 Jockey Club Sprint. He’s drawn to get the run of the race and admittedly, he probably is the one to beat. #1 Classique Legend steps out for his first Hong Kong start following a classy win in the AU$15 million The Everest at Randwick Racecourse, where he did, defeat seven individual G1 winners. Still, he has to acclimatise to a tough, new environment, which does make his task a difficult one, and his sole trial on the turf wasn’t the most impressive of performances. #4 Voyage Warrior is building into this contest nicely and did run a luckless fourth at his most recent outing. He’s worth including. Race 6 (2:15AM ET): Highland Reel Handicap #10 Pure Legend is actually racing well and his last-start effort bodes well for this. Vincent Ho takes the reins and with one run under his belt already this term, he is the one to beat as long as he can offset the awkward ally. #12 True Legend slots in light but is hampered by the tricky draw. Still, Alexis Badel is riding in great form at present and he deserves respect with a number of solid runs under his belt already this term. #13 Exceptional Nice has performed well across three starts and further improvement is expected here, especially with the switch to the big track from the tight turning city course. #1 Heza Beauty has a weight-bearing task but does draw favourably. Race 7 (2:50AM ET): LONGINES Hong Kong Mile #2 Golden Sixty is rightly Hong Kong’s rising superstar and he can stamp his claims as the jurisdiction’s top-class athlete with a win in the HK$25 million mile contest. He’s classy, brilliant and is capable of landing his 11th consecutive win this Sunday, though it will be, his toughest test to date. #6 Waikuku returns first-up which is always a concern following a lengthy layoff although, in his favour is that he does prefer to run fresh and, his handler John Size did win this race first-up in 2013 with Glorious Days. Keep safe as the runner-up in this contest last year. #3 Admire Mars won this race last year and does bring high class Japanese form with him. The old champ #1 Beauty Generation has had a freshen up and is capable of boxing on. Reports are that his trackwork has been strong.  Race 8 (3:30AM ET): LONGINES Hong Kong Cup #4 Furore has been dominant his last two runs at G2 level and with home ground advantage, he is more than capable of scoring at G1 level in Hong Kong. He’s peaking at the right time for the right trainer, who knows how to win this race. #3 Win Bright is 2/2 over 2000m at Sha Tin at G1 level. The horse just seems to love the track and he can’t be underestimated once again. He’ll be a price and is worth supporting on an each way basis. #7 Magical is Aidan O’Brien’s super mare. Assuming she’s travelled over to Hong Kong well then she is more than likely not going to run a blinder. British ace Ryan Moore takes the reins and she’s right in this. #2 Danon Premium is as solid as they come and is going to be in the finish. Race 9 (4:10AM ET): Lord Kanaloa Handicap #3 Winning Dreamer is looking for a sixth unbeaten win. He owns a slick personal best over this course and distance and he rates as the one to beat, not only with the winning record but the significant improvement he has shown each start. #6 Sky Field is a supreme talent who appears suited to sprinting as opposed to going any further. He’s by Deep Field so his breeding suggests this and from the good draw he is capable of bouncing back into the winner’s arch. #1 Duke Wai has class on his side but does need the right run. #10 Beauty Applause can be rather fragile but is a smart young talent. The draw suits and he’ll look the winner a long way from home. Race 10 (4:50AM ET): Maurice Handicap #4 The Summit is a French import who prior to his arrival in Hong Kong, did place twice at G1 level as a three-year-old. He gets Joao Moreira up for his debut which signals intent and his trials have been sound enough to suggest that he could make his presence felt at his first try. #5 Shadow Hero is a dual Australian G1 winner who was awfully unlucky on debut. He’ll improve stepping out over further and does look a leading contender for the 2021 Four-Year-Old Classic Series. #6 Super Wealthy steps back from Class 1 to Class 2. He’ll need a race run to suit but is worth including if the tempo is quick enough. #2 Super Oasis is next best if he can offset the awkward draw.

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12.10.2020:

Friday, December 11: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Analysis

Former Maryland Jockey Club oddsmaker Frank Carulli lends his insights into the Stronach 5 each week, a national $1 pick five wager matching races across the 1/ST family of racetracks. LEG A // LAUREL PARK, RACE 8 (3:49PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 1 MILE (DIRT)  TOY beat 3yo stablemate and recent Tampa Bay allowance winner Plot the Dots ($120k) off a three-month layoff. He draws an outside post in the one-turn mile but is the one to beat off a six-month layoff this time around. STONE COURAGEOUS is versatile, in top form and usually offers good betting value. He finished third behind the co-favorites at 1-1/16 miles last out. LEG B // GULFSTREAM PARK, RACE 8 (4:06PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)  HARTS N FLOWERS, away last in fast-paced sprint dominated by deep closers, surged mid-track in the final sixteenth to prevail. Trainer Victor Barboza excels with a 32 percent ‘repeat’ win rate. STARSHIP BLANCA bid 3-wide into the turn, forged clear in early stretch and held off the fast-charging favorite to win in the slop at 7F. She has yet to race on a fast track but is perfectly spotted to repeat for a sizzling hot barn. LEG C // LAUREL PARK, RACE 9 (4:18PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)  SARATOGA BEAUTY stalked the pace 5-wide and drew away to an easy win in the final furlong. She gets plenty of pace to rally into today. HALFINTHEWRAPPER is the only three-race winner in the field and enters a top claiming barn after her three-peat bid was foiled by a fast pace and a next-out repeater. ALWAYS SOMETHING chased a torrid pace last out and is a useable longshot, taking a needed class drop and getting blinkers after a fast workout at Pimlico. LEG D // GULFSTREAM PARK, RACE 9 (4:36PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)  SIR ROBERTO made up 13 lengths after a rough start for a 12-1 upset in his debut. He beat a next-out, MSW runaway winner along the way. WHATMAKESSAMMYRUN exploded on the turf racing scene with an 8-3/4-length win at 7F that led to stakes favoritism in his next start. He bid 3-wide into the stretch but ran evenly to the finish. RISK MANAGER saved ground and found his best footing in the final eighth to win first-out at this distance. MISTER LEONARDO ‘blew past’ the field in his second turf start and is usable on the class rise for a good barn that entered him in a turf stakes in September. LEG E // GULFSTREAM PARK, RACE 10 (5:06PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF)  The ‘For Sale’ sign is up on PAY ANY PRICE, who earned most of his $718,443 bankroll with a 16-24 record on the Gulfstream grass, including a stakes win when last seen in July. VINNIE VAN GO tries turf in his third start off the claim. He had no breathers in a game, 6F dirt try two starts back at this level, dueling every step of the way in a narrow defeat. QUARKY was involved in photo finishes in 6 of his last 7 starts, most as the favorite. SUGGESTED $1 TICKET Leg A: 1, 8 Leg B: 8 Leg C: 4, 6, 7 Leg D: 2, 3, 4, 7 Leg E: 1, 5, 11 Cost: $72

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12.10.2020:

Thursday, December 10: Jeff Siegel's Gulfstream Park Analysis & Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Gulfstream Park Analysis & Wagering Strategies Thursday, December 10, 2020 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes. 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. RACE 1: Post: 12:35 ET Grade: B Use: 1-Always Misbehaving; 7-Cuy Forecast: Two recent outings from Cuy has been darkened by a pair of off-the-turf races that resulted in back-to-back well-beaten efforts, but with the return to grass the E. Dobles-trained gelding can snap back to life in this soft maiden claiming miler. His prior form over this course and distance charts strongly in this modest affair, so at 9/2 on the morning line he’s worth a close look in the win pool. The logical favorite (6/5 on the morning line) is Always Misbehaving, a huge class dropper from the high-percentage D. Gargan barn with a favorable inside draw and numbers that are better than par for this level. With the always popular two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern following a layoff, the son of Into Mischief should have no excuses. Cuy will be the better price of the two so we’ll put him slightly on top but both should be included in rolling exotic play. RACE 2: Post: 1:04 ET Grade: B- Use: 1-Markistan; 5-Beast of Wildwood Forecast: We’ll double the second race, a bottom-rung ($6,250) claiming sprint for older fillies and mares. Beast of Wildwood didn’t fire in a pair of similar events at GPW but she returns to her favorite strip and seems capable of improving enough to handle this task. The G. Zerpa-trained filly is a three-time winner at Gulfstream Park, is more than good enough to win on her best day, retains P. Lopez, and projects to enjoy a soft pace-stalking trip. Makistan, the even money morning line favorite, is a first-off-the-claim play for J. K. Sweezey (average stats with this angel) and, like ‘Wildwood, is far more comfortable over this track than she is at GPW. First or second in six of eight lifetime outings over this surface, the daughter of Khozan switches to L. Saez and is the one to beat, though her lack of tactical speed combined with her rail draw makes a trouble-free trip a bit problematic. RACE 3: Post: 1:33 ET Grade: B- Use: 3-Freeze Turkey; 8-Thorover Forecast: Freeze Turkey didn’t show a whole lot in his debut vs. tougher at GPW last month but there are several reasons to believe the Strong Mandate gelding will improve considerably in this modest maiden $16,000 main track miler for 2-year-olds. From a barn that hits at a strong 24% with second-timers, stretching out to what should be a more favorable distance, adding blinkers, and retaining J. Bravo, the K. Breen-trained juvenile seems certain to display more early speed after getting off sluggishly in a fairly quick sprint that already has proven productive. We’ll give him slight preference over the 2-1 morning line favorite Thorover, who shows the two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern but is dropping in class for the third straight race after receiving zero play on the tote in either of his first two outings. The son of Overanalyze does has some early zip and may inherit the role as the controlling speed, so on that basis alone he must be considered dangerous. RACE 4: Post: 2:03 ET Grade: B- Use: 3-The Red Man; 6-Sigiloso; 7-Happy Champ Forecast: Sigiloso brought $110,000 at the Spring OBS 2-year-old-in-training sale after breezing a furlong in a solid 10 2/5 seconds. By the outstanding regional sire Khozan, this athletic, long-striding colt may not be a quick type but appears to have some quality and finds a reasonable spot to win at first asking in this Florida-bred juvenile sprint that came up fairly light. This barn isn’t great with first-timers but the recent work tab at GPW looks healthy and promising. The Red Man appears to be the best of the known element, but that’s not really saying much. A distant runner-up over this track and distance in September, he nevertheless earned a speed figure that makes him a threat. Happy Champ sprints on dirt for the first time in his third career outing and perhaps this is what he really wants to do. We like the route-to-sprint angle for the son of Run Happy, who might just want to be turned loose and let roll. Let’s put Sigiloso on top but have tickets including all three in rolling exotic play. RACE 5: Post: 2:36 ET Grade: B Single: 3-Glorious Gal Forecast: Glorious Gal couldn’t handle the sloppy track at GPW when third beaten almost 16 lengths last month but with this return to grass the daughter of Shanghai Bobby should be able to bounce back. A prior winner over the local lawn, the J. Orseno-trained filly can handle this assignment with a repeat of her race-before-last that produced a career top speed figure over this course and distance when second while more than four lengths clear of the rest. At 4-1 on the morning line let’s make her a win play and rolling exotic single. RACE 6: Post: 3:06 ET Grade: B- Use: 2-Royal Meghan; 4-Miss Peppina; 5-Mandamus Forecast: We’ll go three-deep in this allowance optional/claimer for entry-level allowance sprinting fillies and mares, with a slight edge on top to Royal Meghan. After a couple of sloppy track sprints at GPW that failed to produce her best form, the daughter of Uncaptured returns to dry land today and has never been off the board over the local main track. A recent bullet blowout indicates she’s doing well, and with the switch to T. Gaffalione the F. Abreu-trained sophomore projects to enjoy a comfortable stalking trip. Miss Peppina makes her first start since joining the T. Pletcher barn and should improve, although based on her pure form she’ll have to. Freshened since early August and sporting a healthy work tab at Palm Meadows, the daughter of Bayern picks up L. Saez and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play, though her morning line of 8/5 indicates she’s likely to be an underlay. Mandamus is fairly quick and could get brave if she can shake loose early. Her form over the local main track is good and she’s fresh from earning a career top speed figure when nosed out in a restricted $25,000 claimer at GPW in late October. Protected today in a sign of confidence, the daughter of Constitution looked sharp in a bullet five furlong breeze here (1:00 1/5 seconds) last week. RACE 7: Post: 3:36 ET Grade: B Use: 3-Calentita; 8-War Canoe Forecast: War Canoe, a multiple stakes-placed daughter of Lemon Drop Kid with earnings of $545,228 and most recently second in the $150,000 Ticonderoga S. at Belmont Park in late October, shows up in a $35,000 claimer today and obviously is for sale. The C. Brown-trained mare has made a very good living vs. New York-bred foes throughout her career but clearly her connections believe she’s on the downward slide after haltering her for $62,500 more than a year ago. Is there value here at 7/5 on the morning line? Probably not, but if she has one good one left she’ll beat this field. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Calentita, listed at 12-1 on the morning line but lightly-raced and improving for high percentage connections. The Irish-bred filly was non-competitive in four starts at California but since joining the S. Joseph, Jr. barn the daughter of Rock of Gibraltar and made excellent progress, winning a pair of races over the local lawn and then most recently earning a career top speed figure when a close third in a starter/optional claimer. She’ll be running on late. RACE 8: Post: 4:06 ET Grade: B Use: 1-Moonlite Strike; 2-Kiger Forecast: Kiger was a visually pleasing two-turn maiden winner at GPW in late October in his second career start and seems prepared to produce another forward move in this entry-level allowance main track miler for 2-year-olds. The son of Verrazano has done some good work at Palm Meadows in the interim and appears to be a decent sort of prospect for the S. Joseph. Jr. barn. His uncoupled barn mate Moonlite Strike also looked pretty good breaking his maiden at GPW (albeit over a sloppy track) and seems likely to employ gate-to-wire tactics from his favorable rail draw. The Liam’s Map colt was favored in both of his starts and clearly is well-regarded. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press a bit keying Kiger on top. RACE 9: Post: 4:36 ET Grade: B Single: 11-Osaka Girl Forecast: Osaka Girl should be quick enough to overcome her outside draw in this mile grass allowance/optional claimer for fillies and mares in her first outing since finishing second to next-out Remington Park stakes winner Confessing in a strong race at Kentucky Downs in mid-September. The daughter of First Samurai shows two prior outings over the local lawn, both very good efforts, and should be capable of firing a big shot while either on the lead or from a pace prompting/stalking position. Let’s make her a win play and rolling exotic single. RACE 10: Post: 5:06 ET Grade: B Single: 3-Litle Red Fog Forecast: Little Red Fog seems the logical top pick in the nightcap, a modest restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming turf miler for fillies and mares. The M. Maker-trained filly is winless in 10 starts this year but this is the softest spot she’s ever been in and from where’s she’s drawn the daughter of Munnings projects to enjoy an ideal stalking, ground-saving trip. Comparatively strong in the speed figure department and switching to T. Gaffalione, she’s has little to beat so we’ll make her a win play and rolling exotic single while requiring close to her morning line of 5/2.

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12.10.2020:

The Remsen: A Long Kentucky Derby Drought

Brooklyn Strong splashed his way to a narrow victory on a wet track in Aqueduct’s Remsen Stakes at 1 1/8 miles last Saturday. By virtue of winning the Remsen, Brooklyn Strong earned 10 qualifying points toward the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Daniel Velazquez trains Brooklyn Strong for owner Mark Schwartz. In terms of the Run for the Roses, Velazquez said after that Remsen that “we’re definitely Derby dreaming.” However, the Remsen has not been a harbinger of Kentucky Derby success in a very long time. Thunder Gulch won the Remsen in 1994. He was the last Remsen victor to win the Kentucky Derby. As expected, 6-5 favorite Ten for Ten set the early pace in this year’s Remsen. Meanwhile, 7-1 Brooklyn Strong lurked within close range of the lead when fourth for the first half-mile. Ten for Ten cruised along with a clear advantage all the way to the top of the lane. At that point, it became clear that the sole threat to Ten for Ten was going to be Brooklyn Strong. In upper stretch, Brooklyn Strong closed the gap to take on Ten for Ten approaching the eighth pole. Ten for Ten led Brooklyn Strong by just a half-length with a furlong to go. It was a big gap of nine lengths back to Known Agenda in third. Ten for Ten and Brooklyn Strong battled fiercely all the way to the finish. The photo showed that Brooklyn Strong had prevailed by a neck over the favorite. Brooklyn Strong completed nine sloppy furlongs in 1:50.60. Known Agenda, off at odds of 9-5, finished third, 8 3/4 lengths behind Ten for Ten. Pickin Time, sent away at 5-2, ended up fourth. Erawan, the longest shot in the race at 26-1, came in last. This was the first graded stakes win for Brooklyn Strong. In his first career start, Brooklyn Strong won a one-mile maiden $40,000 claiming race at Delaware Park on Sept. 12. He then competed in a pair of New York-bred stakes races at Belmont Park. Brooklyn Strong finished third in the seven-furlong Bertram F. Bongard Stakes on Oct. 2. That was followed by a 2 1/4-length victory in the one-mile Sleepy Hollow Stakes on Oct. 24. Joel Rosario rode Brooklyn Strong in the Remsen. Interestingly, the Wicked Strong gelding has had a different jockey in each of his four races. Brooklyn Strong does debut on my updated Kentucky Derby Top 10, as listed below: 1. Essential Quality2. Life Is Good3. Highly Motivated4. Hot Rod Charlie5. Keepmeinmind6. Fire At Will7. Jackie’s Warrior8. Caddo River9. Mandaloun10. Brooklyn Strong One reason Brooklyn Strong cracks my Top 10 despite the Remsen’s long Kentucky Derby drought is the fine Beyer Speed Figure he received for his performance last Saturday. His Beyers continue to improve. Brooklyn Strong recorded only a 53 Beyer Speed Figure in his first race, then a 62, then a 77, then a 93 in the Remsen. How does Brooklyn Strong’s 93 Beyer stack up against other Remsen winners? Below are the Beyer Speed Figures for Remsen winners going back to 1991 (the figures prior to 2020 are listed in the American Racing Manual, which is now digital only): 2020 Brooklyn Strong (93)2019 Shotski (86)2018 Maximus Mischief (97)2017 Catholic Boy (91)2016 Mo Town (86)2015 Mohaymen (95)2014 Leave the Light On (90)2013 Honor Code (88)2012 Overanalyze (99)2011 O’Prado Again (80)2010 To Honor and Serve (102)2009 Buddy’s Saint (82)2008 Old Fashioned (100)2007 Court Vision (76)2006 Nobiz Like Shobiz (97)2005 Bluegrass Cat (95)2004 Rockport Harbor (102)2003 Read the Footnotes (105)2002 Toccet (101)2001 Saarland (87)2000 Windsor Castle (92)1999 Greenwood Lake (91)1998 Comeonmom (94)1997 Coronado’s Quest (91)1996 The Silver Move (91)1995 Tropicool (94)1994 Thunder Gulch (89)1993 Go for Gin (95)1992 Silver of Silver (96)1991 Pine Bluff (93) MALATHAAT WINS DEMOISELLE TO REMAIN UNDEFEATED Despite giving her numerous backers concern when seeming to struggle somewhat on the sloppy track as an overwhelming 2-5 favorite, Malathaat won last Saturday’s Grade II Demoiselle Stakes by three-quarters of a length at the Big A. Malathaat made it three wins in as many career starts by running down 3-1 second favorite Millefeuille in the last sixteenth. Malibu Curl finished third in the field of six 2-year-old fillies. The sire Curlin, who was voted Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008, achieved a remarkable 1-2-3 sweep by his offspring in the Demoiselle. Ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez, Malathaat completed her 1 1/8-mile trip in 1:52.36. She recorded a 76 Beyer Speed Figure. Todd Pletcher, who is 1-100 to be voted into the Hall of Fame next year in his first year of eligibility, trains Malathaat. Pletcher also conditioned Malathaat’s dam, Grade I winner Dreaming of Julia. I have compiled a list of the Top 10 performances by a Thoroughbred in this country each year going back to 2004. I ranked Dreaming of Julia’s 21 3/4-length win in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Oaks as the top performance in 2013. Velazquez also was aboard Dreaming of Julia in her scintillating Gulfstream Park Oaks victory. Below are my top performances of the year going back to 2004: 2019 City of Light in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup2018 Justify in the Grade I Kentucky Derby2017 Gun Runner in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic2016 Arrogate in the Grade I Travers Stakes2015 American Pharoah in the Grade I Belmont Stakes2014 Wise Dan in the Grade II Bernard Baruch Handicap2013 Dreaming of Julia in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Oaks2012 I’ll Have Another in the Grade I Preakness2011 Animal Kingdom in the Grade I Kentucky Derby2010 Blame in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic2009 Zenyatta in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic2008 Big Brown in the Grade I Kentucky Derby2007 Rags to Riches in the Grade I Belmont Stakes2006 Barbaro in the Grade I Kentucky Derby2005 Afleet Alex in the Grade I Preakness Stakes2004 Ghostzapper in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic THIRD TIME THE CHARM FOR TRUE TIMBER After losses in the 2018 and 2019 editions of the Grade I Cigar Mile at Aqueduct, True Timber won this year’s renewal on a sloppy track. Never far back last Saturday, True Timber raced in third early. He advanced while wide to take over turning for home, then drew away to win emphatically by 5 1/2 lengths at odds of 7-1. Snapper Sinclair (13-1 in the wagering) finished second, while Performer (the 4-5 favorite) had to settle for third in the field of six. Kendrick Carmouche guided True Timber to his Cigar Mile victory. Carmouche, who has been riding since 2000, has 3,314 career wins. The Cigar Mile was his first Grade I victory. “This means so much to me,” said Carmouche. “This is the biggest win of my career.” Carmouche is a native of Vinton, La., where Delta Downs is located. Born in 1984, the year in which the Breeders’ Cup was launched, Carmouche rode his first official race at Delta Downs at the age of 16. In addition to notching his first Grade I win, Carmouche topped the standings at the Aqueduct fall meeting that ended last Sunday. It was his first title at a New York track. Jack Sisterson trains True Timber, a 6-year-old Kentucky-bred son of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft. Sisterson, a former assistant to SoCal trainer Doug O’Neill, took over as True Timber’s conditioner in the summer after Kiaran McLaughlin changed jobs from trainer to jockey agent. In last year’s Cigar Mile, True Timber finished third behind Maximum Security and Spun to Run. In the 2018 renewal, True Timber ran second to Patternrecognition. True Timber’s final time last Saturday was 1:36.49. He posted a 99 Beyer Speed Figure. Next for True Timber is the Grade I, $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 23. MANOS’ DEATH REKINDLES PLAYFAIR MEMORIES George Manos, who was responsible for transforming Playfair Race Course in Eastern Washington into a gem of a venue and a thriving enterprise, died Nov. 17 in Spokane, Wash. He was 87. Playfair was located in Spokane, a few furlongs off an Interstate 90 exit to the north. The track was not all that far from the city’s downtown. While growing up in Spokane, I saw first-hand what a rundown, shabby horse racing venue Playfair had become by the mid-1960s. One of my earliest Playfair memories was what happened to me on a cold October weekend afternoon in 1967. The temperature was in the high 30s. Because it was so cold, I bought a piping-hot cup of hot chocolate. When I took my first sip, it burned my tongue. That had never happened to me before. From that moment on, I have always been careful whenever taking my first sip of a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. In the Manos obituary written by Jim Price that appeared in Spokane’s Spokesman-Review newspaper, Price noted that Manos became Playfair’s assistant general manager in 1956 at the age of 23. After Manos took control of Playfair as general manager in the late 1960s, “more than a decade of extensive renovation followed,” Price wrote. The day hot chocolate burned my tongue in 1967, the outside of the grandstand was unattractive. The paint was peeling. It looked decrepit. That was before Manos took the helm. He spruced up the outside of the grandstand by having its outside changed to attractive golden-hued aluminum siding. No longer did the outside of the grandstand have the appearance of a neglected barn out on a farm. Thanks to Manos, the inside of the grandstand also was extensively renovated. There also was more attention paid to keeping the place clean. All of the box seats were renovated. An individual heater was added to each box seat, a wonderful perk on chilly autumn days. I spent many afternoons in one of those nice box seats in the early 1970s. That’s because a good friend of my father’s, Don O’Malley, had purchased two seats in one of the boxes. He was delighted to have me hanging out with him because he wanted to know which horses I liked. I was delighted to hang out with him because he made my bets and cashed my winning tickets. I was not yet old enough to do so myself. Another Playfair memory of mine was what occurred on one brutally cold Saturday afternoon in the autumn of 1971. It was one of the coldest racing days I have ever experienced. I can tell you that it was so cold that the only two people in the box seats or in the entire grandstand were O’Malley and yours truly. In anticipation of the expected cold weather, I had brought a big blanket with me that day. We used the blanket to construct a small tent right there in the box seat. As we sat on the floor in our cozy little tent, we huddled by the heater. There were a few mutuel windows in Playfair’s grandstand. When we left our tent to make our bets on the first race that day, we thought the mutuel windows were not open because they were boarded up. O’Malley knocked on one of the windows. The mutuel clerk slid the board over to open the window as if it were a speakeasy. The clerk said, “Please hurry, sir.” O’Malley made our bets as quickly as he could, then we dashed back to our tent. When the race began, we poked our heads up out of the tent to watch it. Then, the moment the race was over, back into the tent we went. This process was repeated throughout the course of the afternoon. Price’s obit pointed out that under Manos’ direction, the racing itself at Playfair also improved. “Playfair became a hot ticket, helped by the emergence of Turbulator, a muscular 4-year-old that began the 1969 season without a win to his name and ended it with seven straight victories and honors as Horse of the Meeting,” Price wrote. Turbulator would go on to break a number of track records and even a world record. As Price put it, before Turbulator retired, he “became recognized as one of the state’s equine immortals.” In 1967, Playfair’s track announcer was the popular Chick O’Neall. He also called the races at the state’s biggest track, Longacres in the Seattle area, and at Yakima Meadows in Central Washington. But O’Neall had to give up calling the races at Playfair when it expanded its dates, which resulted in there being too much of an overlap with Longacres for him to be the announcer at both tracks. When Playfair needed to get its own announcer in 1968, Manos reached out to Jim Price to replace O’Neall. Manos “called me out of the blue while I was working in publicity at Arlington Park, barely three weeks before the Playfair meet opened,” Price recently recalled. Prior to Manos’ phone call, Price did have some experience as a track announcer in that he had called races at Las Vegas Downs, Prescott Downs, Les Bois Park and Fresno. Hiring Price as Playfair’s track announcer and publicity director was one of the best moves Manos ever made. Not only did Price do a terrific job as Playfair’s track announcer, his work as publicity director was nothing short of outstanding. Price replaced Bob Benoit as Playfair’s publicity director. Up until 1968, Benoit had been working in Hollywood Park’s publicity department in addition to being Playfair’s publicity director. Benoit became Hollywood Park’s publicity director in 1969 and eventually became that track’s general manager. Of the many publicity directors I have come across throughout the country in my 47-year career in racing, none has been better at the job than Price. As for Playfair Race Course, to say it meant a lot to me would be an understatement. Playfair is where I first went to work for the Daily Racing Form in 1974 as a writer, handicapper and chart-caller. I was put to work there by Bud Lyon, who was the DRF’s national field supervisor of chart-callers. Before taking on his supervisory role, Lyon had called a large number of Kentucky Derby charts for the DRF. Early in his career, Lyon had called charts at Playfair. He returned to call charts there in the summer of 1974. Lyon was needed to call the charts at Playfair until Dick Cartney would be available to do that job there in the fall after Longacres closed. I will never forget my first day on the job for the DRF. Lyon had instructed me to report to the racing office in the morning to learn the ropes of what the DRF needed from a track on entry days. Lyon’s call-taker was longtime DRF employee Wilbur Brooke. While we were waiting for Lyon’s arrival at Playfair that morning, I stood near Brooke as he was typing away on the teletype machine. From a handwritten list of the workouts at Playfair that morning, Brooke was sending that information to the DRF’s Seattle office via teletype. When I happened to see the name of one of the horses on the handwritten list of workouts, I thought I had better bring it to Brooke’s attention. “If I were you, Wilbur, I would not send in that workout,” I said, pointing to the name of one of horses and the accompanying workout time. Inasmuch as this was my first morning on the job, I did not want to make a big deal of it. I tried to be as low-key as possible. Even so, Brooke did not take kindly to my suggestion. “This is your first day on the job and you’re telling me to not send in one of these workouts,” Brooke barked at me. “Who do you think you are? These are OFFICIAL workouts. Who are you to tell me to not send in one of these workouts?” “Sorry. Sorry,” I said. “I was just trying to help.” Brooke went back to typing away. But after a few minutes, he stopped typing. “Just out of curiosity, why did you tell me to not send in that workout?” Brooke asked. “Well, anything is possible,” I said. “So, I can’t be 100% sure. But I am 99.9% sure that Little Current, winner of this year’s Preakness and Belmont Stakes, did not work four furlongs this morning at Playfair.” “What? That’s the name of the Preakness and Belmont winner? Well, in that case I won’t send it in,” Brooke said. When I showed up in the racing office the next morning, Brooke thanked me and explained what had happened. “When the clocker asked the trainer for the name of the horse that had just worked a half-mile, the trainer said it had been Little Current,” Brooke said. “The trainer just wanted to see that if he did that, would Little Current’s name show up on the work tab in the Racing Form. And it almost did. Thanks again for catching that.” I thought that, all in all, this was a pretty good way for my DRF career to begin. Playfair is where I made my first $1,000 bet. I bet that much to win on Refusal in Playfair’s 1975 Harvest Handicap. Refusal won by six widening lengths and completed one mile and 70 yards in 1:41 2/5 to break the track record. He paid $3.70 for each $2 win ticket. Betting at the track was different in those days. A bettor purchased $2 tickets, $5 tickets, $10 tickets or, at most tracks, $50 tickets. Playfair did not have a $50 window at that time, which meant I had to purchase 100 $10 tickets. I had told Price how much I liked Refusal and that I was going to make a big bet on him. After Refusal won, Price had a question for me. “Do you mind if I ask you how much?” Price asked. “A thousand,” I replied. “Would you mind if I hold the tickets?” Price then asked. “No, not all,” I said, handing him my stack of 100 $10 mutuel tickets. “Wow. I’ve heard of a stack of tickets that would choke a horse, but I’ve never seen it,” Price said before handing the stack of tickets back to me. By the way, my $1,000 bet on Refusal in 1975 would be like betting $4,839 on him today when adjusting for inflation. And here is the kicker. Who owned Refusal? It was none other than George Manos. Playfair also was where I experienced my first win as a racehose owner. Long before there was a West Point Thoroughbreds or a Little Red Feather or a Team Valor, I formed a racehorse partnership in 1977 called Media Madness Stable. Media Madness consisted of eight members of the media, including Jim Price. Media Madness claimed Political Pull for $3,200 at Longacres on July 22, 1977. In his first start for us, Political Pull won a one-mile race for $4,000 claimers at Playfair by 1 3/4 lengths. It was, without question, one of the biggest thrills of my life to go to the winner’s circle after that race. My happiness was not even diminished by the fact that I had not bet any money on Political Pull, who paid $14.90 to win despite being the morning-line favorite. In 1981, Playfair was sold to car dealer Jack Pring. Playfair continued to operate successfully for a number of years before falling on tough times. Toward the end of Playfair’s existence, Pring leased the facility to a series of operators to conduct racing. But the track was not able to survive. In 1933, Governor Clarence Martin signed House Bill 59, legalizing pari-mutuel horse racing in Washington. The sport had been absent in that state following a gambling ban that had been instituted in 1909. Playfair came into being in 1935. Sadly, racing ceased there on Dec. 17, 2000. Where the horses had once raced at Playfair, there now is no five-eighths oval. There is no paddock. There are no barns. There is no grandstand. Playfair Race Course was torn down to make way for the site to be redeveloped as an industrial park. The industrial park is called Playfair Commerce Park. Again, as an indication of how much Playfair once meant to me, to this day I remember every single word of a Playfair radio jingle from the 1960s: Fun and excitement for everyone at Playfair Join the crowds, see the Thoroughbreds run at Playfair The winner’s circle, what a thrill Enjoy life more, you bet you will It’s the king of sports for everyone Come on, join the fun at Playfair! VETERAN TRAINER BOB HESS SR. PASSES AWAY Playfair Race Course was where Bob Hess Sr. began his long and successful training career in the late 1950s after getting out of the Army. The longtime Northern California horseman died last Saturday of complications resulting from the COVID-19 virus. He was 86. Hess was one of more than 200 workers at Golden Gate Fields who tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks, though most of them have been asymptomatic. Racing at Golden Gate has been suspended since Nov. 13 and will not resume any earlier than Dec. 26 due to the pandemic. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Hess family at this time,” said David Duggan, Golden Gate’s general manager. “To lose a longtime trainer and friend is simply heartbreaking to our entire horse racing family.” Initially hospitalized in mid-November with COVID-19, Hess was released, then readmitted when symptoms returned. He was hospitalized at the time of his passing. “We felt he could get the best care there” in the hospital, son Bob Hess Jr., also a trainer, was quoted as saying in Steve Andersen’s Daily Racing Form obituary. “I think it’s a terrible disease that we need to respect and be careful of.” Hess Sr. was born in Lititz, Pa. If you Google it, you will see that Lititz --not lacking in modesty -- calls itself “the coolest small town in America.” According to Tracy Gantz’s BloodHorse obit, Hess Sr. “grew up on a farm and from age 6 worked with all types of horses. He drove trotters and refereed polo matches. He traveled to Southern California at 18 and saw Santa Anita Park for the first time prior to serving in the Army in Washington state. Hess began his racetrack career at Playfair and Longacres in the Pacific Northwest and trained at several West Coast tracks before heading to Caliente racetrack” in Mexico at Tijuana. While living across the border from Tijuana in San Ysidro, Calif., Hess met and married his wife, Maria Elena. They were married for 56 years. After Caliente burned down in 1971, Hess Sr. and his family relocated to Northern California. He remained a popular and respected Northern California trainer until his death. “I think the love of his life was his wife, his family, horses and great food,” Hess Jr. said to Andersen. Hess Sr. and his wife did not attend college, but they saw to it that all four of their four children did (two at Stanford University, one at the University of California at Berkeley and one at the University of Kentucky). According to Equibase, Hess Sr. won 1,592 races from 10,448 starters for purse earnings of $17,258,435. In 2007, Hess Sr. saddled My Creed to win the Grade III Berkeley Stakes. He also conditioned such stakes winners as Annie’s Irish Luck, Caliche’s Secret, Cimply a Lady, Daddy’s Datsun, Make Him Famous and Penny Marie. “Bob was a wonderful horseman who was always there for his fellow racetracker,” said Patrick Mackey, the racing secretary at Golden Gate. “His stories were legendary. He was a wealth of knowledge and imparted that knowledge to many over the years. He was a great man and his presence at Golden Gate Fields will be sorely missed.” As for Hess Sr.’s “legendary storytelling,” I have a very fond memory of that from when I worked as a steward for the California Horse Racing Board at Golden Gate in 2018. The two stewards I worked with during my brief stint there were Darrel McHargue, California’s chief steward, and Dennis Nevin. Hess Sr. popped into the stewards’ office one morning and regaled us with some of his stories. I especially enjoyed the time I spent chatting with him that morning about his time at Playfair and Longacres in the early days of his training career.  

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12.9.2020:

Wednesday, December 9: Jeff Siegel's Gulfstream Park Analysis & Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Gulfstream Park Analysis & Wagering Strategies Wednesday, December 9, 2020 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes. 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. RACE 1: Post: 12:35 ET Grade: B Use: 1-Awesome View; 6-Luisana Princess; 9-Lifechangingevent Forecast: Lifechangingmoment exits a live maiden claiming off-the-turf sprint at this level at GPW and seems certain to improve on a surface she’s bred for while making her second career start for a barn that has very strong stats (21%, powerful ROI) with this angle. The daughter of Soldat is plenty quick, has two nice breezes since raced and offers value at 4-1 on the morning line. Rolling exotic player should also consider – at least as savers – Awesome View and Luisana Princess. The former has form over this course and distance that charts well with this group, while the latter drops to her lowest level ever and should be doing her best work from the quarter pole to the wire. RACE 2: Post: 1:04 ET Grade: C+ Use: 3-Fast Fraction; 5-Too Much War Forecast: Fast Fraction, in the frame in all four of her outings over the local main track, just defeated a slightly lesser field at GPW while competing for this bottom-rung price tag ($6,250) may deserve a very slight edge on top despite the restricted condition raise from nw-2 to nw-3. The daughter of Algorithms has good tactical speed that projects to produce a trouble-free, pace-stalking trip. Too Much War has never raced on dirt – all 12 of her prior outings have come on grass – but on pedigree there’s no reason she won’t handle the main track. The daughter of He’s Had Enough is a fit on figures and should be prominent throughout. We’ll try to get by using just these two in rolling exotic play. RACE 3: Post: 1:33 ET Grade: B- Use: 5-Charliecando; 6-Geoscience Forecast: Geoscience is relatively unexposed and therefore rates top billing in this lethargic maiden-claiming grass sprint for older horses. He’s only had three starts and has been forced to the sidelines after each start, so the son of Gemologist returns off a layoff yet again while showing up for a tag for the first time. He’s quick from the gates, is re-equipped with blinkers, hails from a high-percentage outfit, will be very tough to catch if he shows up with his best stuff. Charliecando already has had 13 chances, so he’s clearly not one to trust, but on his best form he charts as a contender. The Shanghai Bobby gelding has hit the board in five of six career outings on grass and projects to draft into a good second flight position. He can be included on a ticket or two as a back-up or a saver. RACE 4: Post: 2:03 ET Grade: B Use: 1-Orbs Baby Girl; 3-High Speed Stef Forecast: Orbs Baby Girl has a couple of runs under her belt, a fourth place finish behind subsequent Maryland Million Lassie Stakes winner Miss Nondescript and then a distant third behind Malathaat, who came back to win both the Tempted S-G3. and the Demoiselle S.-G2 and currently ranks among the best juvenile fillies in training. ‘Girl returns off a two-month freshening for a capable outfit and seems well-spotted to graduate in what is a considerably easier group that what she’s seen so far. With L. Saez aboard and at 9/2 on the morning line she’s worth a play. You also have to include the fast-working first-timer High Speed Stef somewhere on your ticket. A $140,000 OBS March sale purchase, the daughter of Liam’s Map shows a couple of recent bullet gate drills to indicate she’s fit and ready, though it’s never easy to win first time out at this extended sprint distance of seven furlongs. RACE 5: Post: 2:36 ET Grade: B- Use: 2-All Inclusive; 3-Getthe Muny Bernie Forecast: Getthe Muny Bernie shows up in a seller for the first time after a poor run over a sloppy track at GPW in late October. Against this group the son of Munnings appears to have found his friends. He’ll add blinkers for the first time (the S. Joseph, Jr. barn has superior stats with this angle), and with excellent form in three prior starts over this course and distance the lightly-raced 4-year-old gelding should be hard to beat at 5/2 on the morning line. All Inclusive is a Woodbine invader with figures that fit and like our top pick will be making his first career start on grass. He’s the quicker of the two main contenders, so if he can shake loose early without pressure the Canadian-bred gelding may be hard to catch. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll give Getthe Muny Bernie a slight edge on top. RACE 6: Post: 3:06 ET Grade: C+ Use: 4-Slick Star; 6-Deckology; 10-Money Come Forecast: This restricted (nw-3) $6,250 claiming sprint looks fairly wide open and requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Deckology returns to his winning level and has recent speed figures vs. tougher foes that are good enough to beat this field. Both of his career wins have been earned over the local main track, and with the addition of I. Ortiz, Jr. the son of Point of Entry appears extremely well-meant at 7/2 on the morning line. Slick Star, in the money in his last six and dropping to his lowest level ever, always seems vulnerable under pressure in the final furlong but against this group could easily see out the trip. The Bellamy Road gelding projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Money Come is just 2-for-28 with 12 seconds and thirds and is another one that has found it difficult to seal the deal. Perhaps the switch to L. Saez will make a difference. RACE 7: Post: 3:36 ET Grade: B- Use: 5-National Honor; 12-Rocket Joe Copper Forecast: We’re not crazy about the extreme outside draw that Rocket Joe Copper will have to deal with in this one mile grass affair for older $16,000 claimers but this class drop to his lowest level ever seems realistic, so if the R. Spatz-trained gelding can work out a decent trip under I. Ortiz, Jr. he’ll be the one to beat. The versatile son of Rock the Rocket can be dangerous on the front end or when held up early and allowed to run late and both of his prior races over the local lawn were solid. National Honor, entered this past Sunday but opting for this race, was a winner at Parx in his most recent outing in September and has two prior victories over the local turf course. He’s a deep closer that needs pace up front and good racing luck to have his best chance. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll press with extra tickets keying Rocket Joe Copper on top. RACE 8: Post: 4:06 ET Grade: B Use: 1-Geonosis; 2-Glory of Florida; 5-Answer In Forecast: Geonosis is a genuine and consistent gelding fresh from a nice GPW victory last month over a wet fast track around two turns in a starter event and is properly spotted in this one-turn mile for allowance/optional $25,000 claimers. A three-time winner over the local main track and especially effective at this trip, the son of Dialed In employs a second-flight, stalking style, has speed figures that fit, shows a bullet three furlong breeze (35 3/5) six days ago and is enticingly-priced at 8-1 on the morning line. Glory of Florida is well-placed for a big effort as well and also appears attractive at 5-1 on the morning line. All four of his career victories have been accomplished at Gulfstream Park and the speed figures he earned in each of the three races since joining the high-percentage C. David barn make him a serious contender at this level. Answer In, a dangerous Churchill Downs invader from the B. Cox barn, was a highly-regarded 3-year-old earlier this year (he was third as the favorite in the Southwest S.-G3) and ran better than the line will show when fourth in his recent comeback. This one-turn mile trip appears perfect for his style, so at 5/2 on the morning line he’s certain to get plenty of play and deservedly so. RACE 9: Post: 4:36 ET Grade: B Use: 1-Dundalk; 4-Soglio Forecast: Soglio, first off the claim for S. Klesaris, is waiver protected while launching a comeback following a 10-month vacation and in fact won off an extended layoff when last seen in February of this year. The son of Scat Daddy returns with I. Ortiz, Jr. while showing a bullet half mile grass workout (:47 3/5 around dogs, fastest of 45) at Palm Meadows late last month, so we’ll assume the ex-classer is fit and ready. Dundalk is guaranteed an ideal ground-saving, front-running trip from his favorable inside draw and if not pressured up front could take his foes a very long way. The Laurel invader will be making his third start off a long layoff and is shortening to a flat mile, his preferred trip. RACE 10: Post: 5:06 ET Grade: B Use: 9-A Beautiful Day; 10-Aerodynamic Forecast: The finale is a mid-level claiming miler for fillies and mares. We’ll try to get by using just two. A Beautiful Day has won three of her last four and seems properly spotted for another big effort. The daughter of Prospective is moving up from the restricted (nw-3) $12,500 level to this open $16,000 affair, but her numbers continue to rise and another forward move is possible, if not likely. P. Lopez stays aboard and knows her well. Aerodynamic, freshened since late September, is a three-time winner over the local lawn and is better suited against this group than the allowance optional claimers that were out of her range last time out. She has a good stalking style and catches what projects to be a favorable pace scenario.

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12.8.2020:

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 Park has announced its 24-stakes winter program, highlighted by the Feb. 13 traditional Winter Carnival of elite sprint stakes in the G3 Barbara Fritchie & G3 General George … Unbeaten Nov. 5 Maryland Juvenile Championship winner Jaxon Traveler may return to Laurel for the new 7-furlong Spectacular Bid Stakes on Jan. 16, or try Aqueduct’s Grade 3 Jerome next on Jan. 1 … A $9,136 Rainbow 6 carryover welcomes horseplayers back this week on Thursday, kickoff to a 4-day week beginning daily at 12:25 pm ET.Stronach 5Last week’s carryover Stronach 5 paid $3,607 to 39 winning tickets. The Dec. 11 Stronach 5 will be comprised of the following races:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:49Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:06Leg C – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:18Leg D – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:36Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 10 with an approximate post time of 5:061/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 36% winners. For the second straight week, Speed factors swept the top 3.Speed Last RaceBest Speed Last 3Avg Speed Last 3Trends Last Week-- Apprentice jockey Crispin Alexander had another strong 13: 4-4-1 week that netted 31% wins. The past 2 weeks, he’s 27: 8-6-2 for 30% wins, 52% in the exacta and a $1.37 ROI for every $1 bet. His 8 wins were for 7 different barns, doubling up only with Salamon Rodolfo Sanchez.-- Jockey Victor Carrasco had a big week with a 7: 4-0-0 mark in limited tries. All 4 wins were for different barns, including a $34 winner.-- Trainer Brittany Russell’s high-percentage roll continued with a 6: 3-2-0 week in which the public refuses to let her go at a price. All 3 wins were 6-5 or less odds. Russell is now 13-for-24 dating back to November 1 with 9 winners at 3-2 or less.-- Trainer Anthony Farrior was on point with an 8: 3-3-1 record. Of those, 6 went off 2-1 or less, including winners at 4-5, 8-5 and 2-1. Farrior went 3: 2-1-0 teamed with jockey Sheldon Russell.-- Trainer Hugh McMahon’s barn was 6: 3-2-0 while 5 of those runners were 5-2 or less odds. Jockey Katie Davis was the rider of both winners.-- Trainer Mario Serey won with both starters, popping 2-1 and 10-1 winners sprinting 5-1/2 furlongs in claiming company. Serey is 5-for-18 since Nov. 5 at Laurel with a $1.61 ROI for every $1 bet.

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12.8.2020:

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 has a $226,121 carryover heading into Wednesday’s week kickoff card … The Jan. 23 Pegasus World Cup likely gained a pair of starters this past week after stakes victories by Jesus’ Team in Gulfstream Park’s Claiming Crown Jewel and True Timber in Aqueduct’s Grade 1 Cigar Mile … The Dec. 5 Claiming Crown handled an event-record $14.6 million … Saturday’s stakes-laden card features 5 stakes, 4 of them graded: G2 Fort Lauderdale, G3 Sugar Swirl, G3 Rampart, G3 Harlan’s Holiday and the listed My Charmer.Stronach 5Last week’s carryover Stronach 5 paid $3,607 to 39 winning tickets. The Dec. 11 Stronach 5 will be comprised of the following races:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:49Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:06Leg C – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:18Leg D – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:36Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 10 with an approximate post time of 5:061/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 23% or greater win rate and showing a significant flat-bet profit. The factor Best Lifetime Speed produced a whopping $231.60 profit if you bet every top choice in the category for the week. Among those factor prices was $113 winner High Noon Rider on Saturday’s Claiming Crown card.Best Lifetime SpeedBest Speed DistanceAvg. Speed Last 3Trends Last Week-- Trainer Antonio Sano jumped out to a hot start with 4 wins from 19 starters opening week, including $14, $19 and $84 prices. Sano’s ROI was $3.30 for every $1 bet. All 4 wins were for a claiming (3) or maiden claiming (1) tag.-- Trainer Kelsey Danner went 4: 2-0-1 in limited tries, including a pair of Sunday maiden breakers at 5-1 and 7-1 prices.-- Trainer Elizabeth Dobles posted a 3: 2-0-0 mark that boasted a $26 winner. Both winners were for a claiming tag (1 maiden, 1 claimer) exiting races at Gulfstream Park West.-- Jockey Paco Lopez won 21% opening week from a colony-best 9 wins and was 21-for-44 in the exacta.-- As for the circuits opening week performers last raced, here’s the rundown (Win-Starts, Win %): GP West 28-271, 10%; Kentucky (5-27, 19% -- $2.88 ROI for every $1 bet); NYRA (Bel/Aqu) 4-22, 18%; Maryland (Pim/Lrl) 2-14, 14%; Monmouth 2-19, 11%; Del Mar 1-1, 100%; Tampa 1-3, 33%; Delaware 1-4, 25%; Indy 1-6, 17%; Parx 0-10, 0%.

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12.7.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (Nov. 30-Dec. 6): Fiya

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.October Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2020MVP: FiyaOwner: Robert MasiellaTrainer: Tom AlbertraniJockey: Luis SaezPerformance: Rattling off his fifth consecutive win, Fiya smoked his competition Dec. 5 in the $90,000 Claiming Crown Canterbury Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The Maryland-bred continued his perfect mark since moving to turf sprints, and zipped 5 furlongs in :55.63. He went more than 4 lengths faster than Jakarta in the filly/mare division on Claiming Crown Day. Fiya’s scores include a Belmont allowance as well as the Maryland Million Turf Sprint. The 3-year-old Friesan Fire gelding made the lead soon after the break from the rail and wired them comfortably.On Tap: Albertrani reported after the race that Fiya would be given a break and be pointed toward a campaign later in 2021. Races like the Shakertown at Keeneland in April, May’s Churchill Downs Turf Sprint, Belmont’s Jaipur in June and Saratoga’s Troy in July would be logical goals for a turf sprinter of this repute and geographic home.Honorable Mentions: The Grade 1 Cigar Mile finally came home to True Timber, who had been second and third in Aqueduct’s signature autumn race the past 2 years. A return date to the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream in late January should be next after this 5 1/2-length score. Meanwhile, Keeneland maiden breaker Littlestitious won Delta Downs’ Dec. 1 $100,000 My Trusty Cat Stakes by 10-1/4 lengths and stamped herself one of the mid-south’s 3-year-old fillies to watch at Fair Grounds in 2021 for Tom Amoss. Jesus’ Team found some class relief and punched out his foes in the Claiming Crown Jewel Nov. 5 at Gulfstream, following promising placings in the Preakness and Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. He, too, could be headed to the Pegasus World Cup. On the 2-year-old front, Varda upset her Bob Baffert stablemates in a Nov. 5 Hollywood Starlet surprise at Los Alamitos, while New York-bred Brooklyn Strong added to his Sleepy Hollow score when scoring the Nov. 5 Remsen at Aqueduct.

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12.7.2020:

Monday, December 07: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 5 Analysis

Tonight, Woodbine Mohawk Park has a competitive card with 10 races scheduled. The very popular 0.20 Early Pick 5 starts the action. The sequence has a $100,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 11-Electrapedia (4-1)-Makes 2nd start for new connections. Was off for 5 weeks before last start which was an even effort in the slop. Sports an 0-3 record on an off-track, so looking for better and should be forwardly placed.3-High Gear No Fear (5/2)-Winner of 2 in a row beat this entire field in last start. Draws well, barn has been good and there's no reason to leave out.4-The First Chapter (3-1)-Was good 2 starts back and caught a rough trip in the slop in last. Jamieson should be able to work a better trip and he has options, looks like a threat at a fair price.Race 24-Passion N Pearls (8-1)-Has been trying hard and gets post relief so will use looking for a more friendly trip. Camera shy filly could be over looked at the windows in a race with many question marks.5-Oceanview Echo (4-1)-Drew off by 7 lengths at London and now steps up. McNair will probably send and hope the long stretch can be negotiated. Likes to win, using and will hope big track debut is a success.8-Better Country (3-1)-Has been trying hard despite 0-9 record as post draws haven't been kind. In last 3 starts, 2 were from the 2nd tier. Roy should have in play and has faced better competition than the rest of the field.Race 36-HP Bruxelles (9/2)-Last was in the slop, was off 3-weeks and had a tough trip so there were excuses. Beat this kind the start before from the 9-hole. Looking for a bounce back effort at a square price.7-Life Is A Feast (4-1)-Jamieson takes the lines and there isn't much gate speed inside so he could be leaving. Has a post edge over #8 and chances go up with an alert start.8-Nimbus Deo (7/2)-Has won 8 of 11 at Wbsb and will toss last break on a sloppy track. Regular pilot Filion returns and best to not overlook. Should be a player with a decent trip and this the 2nd start on Lasix.Race 49-Darkest Secret (7/2)-McClure steers the other Moreau trainee, and this one has decent gate speed. The plan could be to leave, get on the engine, steal a quarter and take a picture. Best to respect that happening.10-Sunshines Finest (3-1)-Filion's pick over the 9 just handled $8k claimers and now moves up. Most of this field aren't proven $10k claimers so chances for a repeat rests on a trip from the 2nd tier.Race 57-A Boy Named Suuzz (7/2)-Beat the $17k claimers for 4th straight win. Now in for a $25k tag and still looks like a major player.9-Cinnamack (3-1)-Raced big from post 8 in a determined effort to collar Choreographer last week. In for a $29,000 tag so has to find a way from an outside post gain. Drury is back between the pipes and should be in the hunt at the wire.My TicketRace 1) 1,3,4 Race 2) 4,5,8 Race 3) 6,7,8 Race 4) 9,10 Race 5) 7,9Total Ticket Cost) $21.60 $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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12.6.2020:

Sunday, December 06: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Pompano Park begins the week with a 9-race card. The popular 0.50 Pick 4 starts in Race 6. The sequence has a $15,000 guaranteed pool with an industry low 12% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 64-Bell I No (9/2)-Came up with a huge 149.3 mile in the 1st start for the Wine barn to take a picture last week. Steps-up and will use thinking there is more in the tank.5-Seeying Eye Single (6-1)-Here is another stepping-up after a sharp win in a quick mile. Now makes 2nd start at the Pomp and will consider in the same fashion as #4.6-Loud Splash (6-1)-This is the other Wine entry who also faces better coming off a win. Started from the rail in last but has done good work coming off cover. This race may set-up nicely for this 4-year-old and will use looking to beat the tepid 5/2 program chalk #7.Race 76-Here Comes William (9-1)-Barn is 0-8 to start the meet but 9-year-old drops to a much better level to take a picture. Should be put into play early and with a top effort can notch 2nd win this year.8-I'vegotagirlcrush (7/2)-Did drop to this level last week, was bet down to 6/5 and just missed. Now moves outside but has the gate speed to get a good early seat. Is only 1-20 this year but there aren't any standouts in this field.Race 81-BNB (8-1)-Has been trying hard but is trip dependent. Could land in the picket behind #6 and is well worth a swing at the morning line odds.6-Sand Sniper (5/2)-Tripped out and won last. Hennessey will follow the script and probably land on the point. Not going to offer much of a return but is a player at this class.7-Stellar BB (4-1)-Started from the rail on 12/2, ended up racing wide and fading down the lane as the chalk. This trip probably will be much better but needs to survive a hectic start and should be a better price.Race 91-Feelin Lika Winner (5/2)-Hennessey sticks, now drops and moves inside. Has won 9 of 35 starts at the Pomp and may look to wire this field or take a pocket trip behind #5.5-Mac Anover (9/2)-Drops after two tries versus Open II company and makes its 4th start of the meet. This looks like the best chance for a picture since arriving at the Pomp.6-Agedchedar Hanover (6-1)-Does drop but will need best to beat this class. Should offer a solid price as this race may set-up to come off cover and roll by down the lane.My Ticket Race 6) 4,5,6 Race 7) 6,8 Race 8) 1,6,7 Race 9) 1,5,6Total Ticket Cost) $27.00 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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12.6.2020:

Sunday, December 06: Gulfstream 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. 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.RACE 1: Post: 12:35 ET Grade: C+Use: 1-Under the Couvers; 4-Berhanu; 6-Lord of WarForecast: The known element doesn’t inspire so let’s try a first-timer with intriguing credentials in a wide-open affair that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Lord of War shows a brief work tab for a barn that has excellent stats with debut runners and a bullet gate drill at Palm Meadows in late October. At 5-1 on the morning line, he may be worth a small gamble. Under the Couvers shortens in trip, lands she rail, has a powerful jockey/trainer combo (E. Zayas, S. Joseph, Jr.) and should be part of the pace throughout. Berhanu, the “other” Joseph, Jr.-trained runner in the field, surfaces in a seller for the first time while returning to turf and could easily be better than shown.RACE 2: Post: 1:04 ET Grade: B-Use: 1-Company Store; 8-Captain DukeForecast: Company Store drops to the bottom, removes blinkers, and should have enough gate speed to flee the rail and handle this soft bottom-rung restricted (nw-2) claimer. He’s reunited with “win rider” T. Gaffalione and owns a prior win over this track and distance. Captain Duke is comfortably drawn outside and is another dropping to his lowest level ever. He’s hit the board in eight of nine career starts and figures in the fray once again. We’ll give Company Store the edge on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 3: Post: 1:33 ET Grade: BUse: 1-L’Indiscret; 6-Black Magic Woman; 7-Take Charge RoForecast: Black Magic Woman burned a considerable amount of money in a pair of dirt sprints at Saratoga last summer but we’ll give her one more chance on the stretch out in trip combined with the switch to grass. The daughter of Uncle Mo remains well-regarded by T. Pletcher and should be capable of taking this group gate-to-wire while offering value in the win pool at her morning line of 5/2 if you can get it. For protection, rolling exotic players may wish to use L’Indiscret and Take Charge Ro on a back-up ticket. The former is solid on speed figures and finished in the frame in a pair of Belmont Park maiden special weight affairs before vanning down, while the latter was a good runner-up in a similar affair at Keeneland in mid-October and probably has further improvement in her.RACE 4: Post: 2:03 ET Grade: C+Use: 4-Toastnjam; 7-FloradoForecast: Florado draws a cozy outside post in this seven runner maiden-claiming sprint and though hardly one to trust (she’s a 12-race maiden) the daughter of Commissioner gets what looks like her easiest chance yet. The P. Walder/M. Vasquez trainer-jockey team is powerful so at 5/2 on the morning line she deserves the edge on top over Toastnjam, herself winless in 11 starts but knocking on the door with two recent runner-up efforts and with early speed go put her in the first flight throughout.RACE 5: Post: 2:36 ET Grade: C+Use: 2-Reliability ; 8-Strong Headed; 9-AlastorForecast: We’ll go three-deep on our ticket in this grass grab bag for restricted (nw-2) $20,000 older claimers and hope that’s sufficient. Reliability was a convincing winner at Laurel Park two races back that if repeated makes him the one to beat. The son of Tapit requires patient handling and with some fractions to run at and clear sailing through the lane the B. Russell-trained gelding may get up in time. Strong Headed drops below his claim level after a poor effort in an off-the-turf affair at GPW that is best ignored. His second place effort two races back charts well here and he’s hit the board in five of six career starts over the local lawn, so on pure form he figures in the thick of it. Alastor is drawn farther out than we’d prefer (he’s nine of nine) but if he can get over and make the running – just as he did two races back when breaking his maiden here in August – the S. Joseph, Jr.-trained gelding may get very brave.RACE 6: Post: 3:07 ET Grade: B-Use: 1-Mr. Mazza; 3-Teachable Moment; 12-Seize the HayForecast: This maiden-claiming turf miler is yet another challenging event. Teachable Moment returns off a nearly one year layoff for M. Maker (strong stats with comebackers) and has form last year that makes him quite dangerous. In fact, he shows a speed figure three runs back that would bury this group, so we’ll put him on top at 4-1 on the morning line. Mr. Mazza lands the rail in his first try around two-turns and his first for a tag. The Gemologist gelding certainly is bred to stay a mile, shows a healthy local work tab, and seems likely to try gate-to-wire tactics. He’s 10-1 on the morning line and against this group that’s fairly enticing. Seize the Day, the 2-1 morning line favorite, is hung wide in the 12-hole and will need to negotiate a decent trip, but in his first start in three months at his lowest level ever the T. Pletcher-trained colt has every right to improve. He’ll be doing his best work from off the pace.RACE 7: Post: 3:38 ET Grade: BUse: 2-Royal Habibi; 5-Sassy BeastForecast: Royal Habibi was overmatched in a recent sprint stakes but is realistically spotted today in this starter’s allowance affair for juvenile fillies. She broke her maiden over this main track last summer by more than eight lengths and should enjoy a similar second flight, stalking trip. Sassy Beat didn’t break any stop watches when graduating at first asking at GPW last month did it stylishly and certainly has a right to step forward with that bit of experience behind her. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with the edge on top going to Royal Habibi.RACE 8: Post: 4:09 ET Grade: BUse: 7-All Come True; 8-Centsless Drama; 9-Bean CounterForecast: All Come True won her only start more than a year ago in good maiden company at Chantilly in France while earning a respectable 75 Timeform rating, and if she can duplicate that type of performance in her U.S. debut for G. Motion she can pick up where she left off. The French-bred filly attracts red-hot riding L. Saez, shows a solid foundation of works to have her fit and ready for her U. S debut and offers value at or near her morning line of 9/2. Just in case, we’ll include a couple of others on a backup ticket. Centsless Drama has been no worse than second in four starts over the Gulfstream Park turf course and if she can shake loose early without pressure the front-running daughter of Big Drama will take them a long way. Bean Counter, first or second in six of 11 career starts, likely will settle into a stalking position outside and then have her chance from the quarter pole home.RACE 9: Post: 4:40 ET Grade: C+Use: 1-Soldollie; 3-Northern; 12-Dr HarlanForecast: Soldollie may be the quickest of the quick in this modest sprint and seems certain to be on the engine from the rail. He’s dropping to the bottom for the first time and if he leaves cleanly the Soldat gelding may never glook back. Northern has been popular at the claim box lately and today goes for the K. Mongeon stable while switching to E. Zayas. A winner of 16 races from 39 starts, the veteran Adios Charlie is an admirable sort and is always tough to beat in these bottom-rung sprints. Dr Harlan has burned money in his last three starts and isn’t one to trust, but if there’s a pace meltdown he’ll be the beneficiary. Today he’s listed at 15-1 on the morning line and at that price he’s worth tossing in somewhere.RACE 10: Post: 5:11 ET Grade: C+Use: 2-Rule Yourself; 5-Hero Tiger; 11-Pont Du GardForecast: The finale is an inscrutable turf miler for mid-level claimers. Best advice is to include as many as your budget allows. Rule Yourself moves up a couple of notches after being nosed out at GPW last month. On pure numbers he’s a fit with this group and switches to P. Lopez, so we’ll put him slightly on top at 7/2 on the morning line. Hero Tiger always has preferred to run second or third rather than win but with the return to grass (after five consecutive off-the-turf outings) and being reunited with “win rider” E. Zayas he should have a say in the matter. Pont Du Gard stretches out again, returns to grass, drops a notch and switches to T. Gaffalione. On his best day, he’s right there.

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12.5.2020:

Saturday, December 05: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has a 13-race card on tap with the feature, a Preferred Pace with a $28,000 purse coming in Race 10. The0.50 Early Pick 4 starts in Race 6. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout, and it will be my focus.Last night at the Big M the drivers with the hottest hands were Yannick Gingras and Dexter Dunn with 3 wins. All 13 races were won by different conditioners.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Dealt A Winner (3-1)-Millionaire 8-year-old was just purchased by the Burke contingent for $80,000. Comes off a gate to wire win in Phl at this class and will likely be bet down.3-Decision Day (7/2)-Has been trying hard and now gets both class and post relief. Likes the Big M, hitting the board in 17 of 35 races with 7 wins, should be a major player.9-Heza Real Diamond (9/2)-This barn has had a good year and in the last 30 days is batting 28% for winners. The 148.4 mile was a bit of a surprise, but this guy has had a race time of 149.1 this year. The difference in last week's mile was it's all his doing and did pace the back half in 54.1. This post makes it tougher no doubt, but best to not overlook.Race 71-The Candyman Can (3-1)-Didn't seal the deal in Big M debut but it was a big effort. Could make the most of drawing the rail and Gingras should work an effective trip for this Rockin Image colt.4-No Quarter (7/2)-This will be the 2nd start for new connections since being purchased for $140,000 on 11/7. Willing to toss last after a rough ride from the 10-hole. Three-year-old faces older but has the speed to take a picture if dialed on high.Race 81-B Stoney (8-1)-Although 0-4 this year Cullipher trainee knows how to win and may have finally found the right class. Makes 2nd start since 8/2, should be tighter after last week's mile and can win at a square price with a top effort.2-Solo Story (15-1)-Taking a swing for a price in 3rd start at this class but now draws inside. Did roll a 53.4 last half but couldn't make up ground on a 148.4 winner. Has the gate speed to be in put in play sooner and could pop with a good steer.7-Let It Ride N (3-1)-Aussie invader was good down under and looked even better in 1st local start and 1st try with Lasix at Phl. This is a step-up, there are some tough competitors and it's a long stretch, but best to respect.Race 91-Always And Again (8-1)-Fits with this bunch but will need a trip and starting from the rail may not help. All that said, is too good to leave out at this price with the biggest threat starting from post 8.3-Tru Love (7/2)-Gingras needs to get the top without much strain, then work a soft quarter and has a good chance to do so with this post draw. If that happens, will need to be game to fend off #8 and maybe a few others down the lane.8-Bracken Storm A (3-1)-Probably not the trip Dunn wanted in last. The slow early pace and sharp move to the top by Dave Miller on the winner sealed the deal. But was game to the wire with a 26.4 final panel and usual pilot AMac is back. Looking for a more aggressive start and should be there at the wire.My Ticket Race 6) 2,3,9 Race 7) 1,4 Race 8) 1,2,7 Race 9) 1,3,8Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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12.5.2020:

Saturday, December 5: Jeff Siegel's Gulfstream Analysis & Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Gulfstream Park Analysis & Wagering StrategiesSaturday, December 5, 2020Specifically 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. 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.RACE 1: Post: 12:05 ET Grade: B-Use: 1-Pangea Proxima; 3-Uptown Flirt; 9-Time Sensitive; 12-Queen of the GreenForecast: The opener is a spread affair with several possibilities. Pangaea Proxima shows a series of intriguing drills at Fair Hills plus a nice recent breeze around dogs on grass at Palm Meadows after shipping down for G. Motion. The daughter of Temple City from multiple graded stakes winner and producer Enthused won’t be facing any world beaters in this one mile affair and gets the rail and L. Saez, so let’s make an educated guess and put her on top at 9/2 on the morning line. Uptown Flirt hit the board in two Saratoga outings and then finished fourth as the favorite at Belmont Park in her most recent outing in September. A couple of recent bullet drills at Payson Park may indicate she’ll display improvement. Queen of the Green ran well on turf when second debuting at Keeneland but then was virtually eased in an off-the-grass affair at Churchill Downs last time out. Back on the sod but drawn poorly outside, the Summer Front filly picks up P. Lopez for new trainer J. Arnett and should be dangerous from off the pace. Time Sensitive, a first-off-the-claim for G. Delgado (a superb 35% with this angle), removes blinkers and is protected on the raise in a sign of confidence. At 20-1 on the morning line you might want to toss her in somewhere.RACE 2: Post: 12:35 ET Grade: BUse: 2-Liza Star; 6-Sky ChaserForecast: Liza Star won last year’s edition of the Claiming Crown Glass Slipper and after facing considerably tougher foes in recent listed stakes races she should be capable of regaining her winning form against this softer band. A 10-time winner over the Gulfstream Park main track, the P. Walder-trained mare seems likely to fire a big shot after a two month freshening and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Sky Chaser is worth including, at least as a saver. All five of her career victories have been accomplished over the local main track and while she’s a tad slower on pure numbers than our top pick improvement is possible with the switch to P. Lopez.RACE 3: Post: 1:05 ET Grade: BUse: 1-Conrad the Red; 8-Fighting ForceForecast: Fighting Force displayed excellent promise in his debut at Belmont Park in September when finishing a strong runner-up to subsequent Belmont Futurity winner Second of July. The son of Air Force Blue was a somewhat disappointing distant third in his next start in an off-the-turf affair at Keeneland but returns to the lawn today, is reunited with L. Saez, and should regain his best form for T. Pletcher. Conrad the Red was scheduled to debut on grass at GPW in mid-October but wound up third with a troubled trip in a race that switched to a sloppy main track. The M. Casse-trained colt adds blinkers, lands the rail, deserves another chance, and is worth including on your ticket at 8-1 on the morning line.RACE 4: Post: 1:35 ET Grade: B+Single: 1-Krysto SkyeForecast: Old timer Kysto Skye exits a pair of Grade-3 events so he should find the Claiming Crown Express field well with his capabilities. The son of City Zip, a winner of 13 races during his long career (with 12 runner-up efforts), always has been genuine and consistent, picks up. I. Ortiz, Jr. and projects to enjoy a good ground-saving, stalking trip. On pure numbers he’s strictly the one to beat, so at 5/2 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post: 2:05 ET Grade: B+Single: 10-JakartaForecast: Jakarta has consistently competed against much better company than she’s facing in this 2020 edition of the Claiming Crown Distaff Dash and she’s also a perfect one-for-one sprinting over the local lawn, thus making her a legitimate 8/5 morning line favorite. The M. Maker-trained mare has only one way to go – on the front end, gate to wire – and looks more than quick enough to secure her preferred trip. On pure form she’s a standout, so we’ll make her a short priced rolling exotic single.RACE 6: Post: 2:38 ET Grade: XSingle: 2-Jesus’ TeamForecast: Here’s another strong favorite that appears to own a considerable class edge over his rivals. Jesus’ Team, runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Mile-G1 with a career top speed figure and before that third in the Preakness S.-G1, lays over the Claiming Crown Jewel field on speed figures and current form, though at 6/5 on the morning line there won’t be a whole lot of wagering value to be found. A two-time winner over the Gulfstream Park main track, the son of Tapiture projects to settle somewhere in mid-pack and then go after the leaders when ready. He’s a logical rolling exotic single.RACE 7: Post: 3:08 ET Grade: BUse: 4-Temple; 6-TuskForecast: The 2020 Claiming Crown Emerald looks very similar to last’s years edition, with the first three finishers back for a rematch of sorts. Muggsamatic is the defending champion but was in better form last year, so let’s try the 2019 third place finisher Tusk on top and also include course specialist Temple in our rolling exotic play. Away since winning the Tropical Turf S.-G3 in January, Tusk shows a strong, healthy work tab for his comeback for top trainer S. Joseph, Jr., who has superb stats with layoff runners, so if he can pick up where he left off this veteran Tapit gelding certainly is good enough at 9/2 on the morning line. He likes the front end but can stalk and pounce if needed so the stable’s “go-to” jockey E. Jaramillo can play it by ear. Temple, a four time grass winner at Gulfstream Park, was a New York stakes winner in his younger days and has rising recent speed figures to indicate he’s rounding back to top form. The M. Maker-trained gelding should be heard from in the final stages.RACE 8: Post: 3:38 ET Grade: C+Use: 1-Avant Garde; 4-All Around; 5-Miles Ahead; 10-Yodel E. A. WhoForecast: The Claiming Crown Rapid Transit for older horses over six furlongs on the main track has contenders top to bottom with the morning line favorite Yodel E. A. Who listed as the lukewarm 4-1 top choice. The son of Creative Cause earned a career top speed figure when winning an overnight race over this track and distance in late September and then was given a brief vacation. With three recent drills to have him sharpened up, the S. Joseph, Jr.-trained gelding – a five time winner over the local dirt strip – seems likely to fire his best shot. Miles Ahead is lightly-raced, improving, and fast on numbers. The Competitive Edge gelding has won his last three in sharp style, and while this clearly is a step up in competition the E. Plesa, Jr.-trained 3-year-old has the proper style for this extended sprint distance and could easily be this good. All Around, second in the same race Miles Ahead just won, prefers to lay back and blast home, and with some help up front must be given a reasonable look. Avant Garde, a long shot at 15-1 on the morning line, is slower on speed figures than the other main players but has four wins in five starts over the Gulfstream Park main track and is another that should be doing his best work from the quarter pole home.RACE 9: Post: 4:09 ET Grade: BUse: 5-Queens Embrace; 11-Sugar FixForecast: Queens Embrace, an $80,000 claim by D. Gargan (a spectacular 45% with a massive flat-bet profit with this first-off-the-claim angle), has been pointed for the Claiming Crown Tiara ever since changing barns in late September, and this Grade-2 placed daughter of Real Solution looks capable of producing a powerful late kick. A winner of five races from just 11 career starts, the 3-year-old daughter of Real Solution picks up L. Saez, should have more than sufficient help up front to compliment her late-running style, and with good racing luck can be along in time. Sugar Fix is drawn a bit farther out than we’d prefer but is the one our top pick should worry about the most. ‘Fix likes to stalk and pounce, is reunited with “win rider” T. Gaffalione, and given her projected trip should have dead aim and every chance from the top of the lane to the sire. Preference on top goes to Queens Embrace but both should be used in rolling exotic play.RACE 10: Post: 4:40 ET Grade: B+Use: 1-Fiya; 9-UnmooredForecast: We’ve got the Claiming Crown Canterbury down to two main players, with Fiya, listed at 8/5 on the morning line, the deserving top selection. A winner of four straight and extremely fast on speed figures, the lightly-raced son of Friesen Fire projects to be on the front end from his favorable rail draw and should be very hard to catch at this shortened five furlong trip.Unmoored may be worth using as a back-up or a saver. The veteran son of Midshipman seems likely to draft into a stalk-and-pounce position and have dead aim when it matters. If Fiya doesn’t reproduce his best form for whatever reason, this M. Maker-trained gelding will be in the right spot to pick up the pieces.Race 11: Post Time: 5:11 ET Grade: B+Single: 6-Snap HookForecast: At 5-1 on the morning line in the Claiming Crown Iron HorseSnap Hook may offer a bit of a gamble. Just missing as the 7/5 favorite in a good overnight race at GPW last month while paying the price for pressing a hot early pace, the son of Flower Alley should face a bit less heat today and thus likely will be better suited to see out the trip. First or second in five of six career starts over the Gulfstream Park main track, the J. Delgado-trained gelding in solid in the speed figure department, retains regular pilot E. Jaramillo, and since being claimed for $8,000 last May has been first or second in all eight outings for these connections.

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12.4.2020:

On Track with Johnny D: Left Out & Gulfstream Saturday Pick 4

Last week, in this space, we analyzed Del Mar’s Saturday Late Pick 4 and suggested a $42 ticket that didn’t include first-leg winner #10 Bedrock at $28.80. The rest of the ticket was ‘cherry’ and used #5 Count Again $18.80; single #9 Colt Fiction $5.20 and #8 Domestic Spending $10.40. The winning combo returned $1,475.80 for $.50. First leg winner #10 Bedrock was one of just 4 horses included in our detailed analysis of the race and his ultimate exclusion from the suggested ticket triggered a tweet wondering why he was left out. It’s a fair question. The tweeter correctly noted that to add #10 Bedrock would have merely increased the ticket price from $42 to $56--still a manageable number for many players. We reviewed our handicapping and ticket building processes for the race and came to the conclusion that…we blew it! Messed up. Made a $1,475.80 boo boo. In an effort to make the ticket more affordable #10 Bedrock got left out. Cut. Dismissed. We had considered using him and that’s why we included him in our analysis. However, when it came time to construct the ticket, we had to cut some horses. Break some eggs, as we like to say. Unfortunately, when we broke this one, it left yolk all over our faces. Now, to be fair, the first wasn’t the only ticket leg that required trimming. Horses included in the analysis of other races also were excluded from the ticket. The only difference is none of them won and paid $28.80! One thing (and there are many) that makes hitting Pick 4s, 5s and 6s so difficult is that not only must a player accurately handicap the races, he also must construct an air-tight ticket on a budget. One mistake, one horse ‘left out’ and it’s game over! Saturday’s Pick 4 misfire begs a discussion of a broader topic: Public handicappers. Let’s define a public handicapper as someone who provides racing selections for free. That’s an expansive universe. Free picks are offered during track simulcast broadcasts and racing television shows; on ADW platforms like Xpressbet; social media feeds; track web sites; etc. Everyone has ready answer for that eternal racetrack question: Who do you like? What’s especially interesting about racing information is that it sometimes violates a basic capitalistic tenet that maintains ‘if it’s FREE then it must be worthless!’ We personally know public handicappers who approach picking winners as seriously as Gandhi did fasting. In fact, some of them almost would rather give out a winning wager than have it themselves. (Notice we said ‘almost.’) The best example is late LA Times racing writer and handicapper Bion Abbott--36 years at the Times and 21 of those on the horse racing beat. We spent several years in SoCal racetrack press boxes in close proximity to Abbott and watched as he meticulously produced columns and daily graded selections--cigarette smoldering as he rifled through stacks of yellowed clipped newspaper result charts, pecking away at his typewriter. In the afternoon, if a close photo went against one of his newspaper picks, you could hear him moan and curse as if he’d just lost a serious wager. Only Bion didn’t wager. Not ever. At least not that anyone witnessed. And we would have known. Racetrack press boxes are like that. Despite amazing progress in the electronic delivery of information, many current published handicappers—online and print—are required, as Bion was, to submit selections a day or two in advance of the races. That means a great deal of important handicapping information-- such as scratches, track conditions, workout information, track bias, etc.--is unavailable to them. In a game where noses, heads and necks count, that’s a handicapper’s handicap. Xpressbet has a great team of public handicappers, topped by Jeff Siegel, the ‘dean’ of SoCal prognosticators. Jeff knows more about this game than just about anyone. His opinion is respected worldwide. Hall-of-Fame trainers like Bob Baffert, Neil Drysdale, Bobby Frankel, Gary Jones, etc. valued Siegel’s counsel. And when it comes to analyzing a race and picking winners…well, if you follow his daily Xpressbet blog, you already know how good he is. Our suggestion regarding public handicappers is to follow a few of their picks without wagering and see which one(s) you like best. Then incorporate their selections and analysis into your personal handicapping process. Fill in the blanks. Use their opinions to augment your selections as if they came from a trusted advisor. Know that the experts are going to be wrong way more often than they are correct. That’s the nature of the beast. It’s a tough game. And if anyone suggests a Pick 4, 5, or 6 play, don’t blindly play the ticket. Read or listen to their analysis and pick and choose from there. Finally, when it comes to public handicappers, remember this: If they could make money betting the races, they wouldn’t be working for a living. Now, following an awkward cue, below is one man’s opinion of Gulfstream Park’s Saturday’s Late Pick 4. Analysis and selections made pre-scratches and based on fast dirt and firm turf conditions.     GULFSTREAM PARK // RACE 9 (3:38PM ET) // CLAIMING CROWN RAPID TRANSIT STAKES  The Late Pick 4 includes all Claiming Crown races and kicks off with the $85k Rapid Transit which attracts a variety of capable sprinters from around the nation. That’s going to make the Pick 4 wager difficult right off the bat for horseplayers trying to create an affordable ticket. There are many ways to go in here and below are a few angles to consider. #1 Avant Garde loves Gulfstream Park (4 wins and a second in 5 starts) and is unbeaten at the distance (1 for 1). This 3-year-old gelding has won half of 10 races and is 1 for 1 at the distance. His low-profile trainer Jesus Lander (43% 21 starts) is effective with route to sprint moves (42% with just 7 starters); with horses that have won their previous start (44% 9 starts), in dirt races (36% 22 starts) and in sprints (21% 14 starts). This is a tougher field than he’s ever faced but there are plenty of positive stats attached to this 15-1 morning line shot. #4 All Around is a 4-year-old that adores Gulfstream (3 for 4) and hasn’t been worse than third in 6 starts this year. He comes from off the pace and has won 3 of his last 5 with one sporting a BSF that fits well in here. He’s won 5 of 18 overall. Jockey Marco Meneses has 2 wins and a close second on him in 3 tries. #5 Mile Ahead is 4 for 6 at Gulfstream and has 5 wins in 8 starts. He’s got some contending speed and that should aid his cause toward winning a fourth in a row. #7 T Loves a Fight ships in from the Big Apple and hasn’t won a race this year (0-8) but he’s won 11 of 44 lifetime, including 6 of 13 first or second at this distance. He has faced better competition than most of these. Perhaps he can bounce back to one of his better races in here. He’s 20-1 on the morning line. #8 Fix Me a Sandwich ships in from Parx, has speed, wins races and will be ridden by top jock Luis Saez. All positives. He’s also won 3 of 5 races at the distance. Catch him to win it. He’s a generous 12-1 on the morning line. #10 Yodel E. A. Who was favored in this race last year, had an awkward start and finished last. He comes in here off a win that equaled his best previous Beyer Speed Figure. Ironically, he entered last year’s edition of this race off the same top BSF. Tyler Gaffalione rides the 4-year-old for top trainer Joseph Saffie (22%). He is 0-3 at the distance and 5-15 over the Gulfstream strip. #12 I’m a G Six is a 4-year-old gelding that was claimed by top trainer Todd Pletcher last out. Pletcher doesn’t claim many horses, so that’s noteworthy. What’s also interesting is that Irad Ortiz, Jr., Gulfstream’s leading rider from last year’s championship season, rides. He’s 31% with Pletcher. This gelding has a steady Palm Beach Downs work tab for this race and a great outside post.   GULFSTREAM PARK // RACE 9 (4:09PM ET) // CLAIMING CROWN TIARA STAKES  The $95k Claiming Crown Tiara is up next at a mile and one-sixteenth on turf for fillies and mares. It’s possible to narrow things down in here to a few probable winners and that will help keep tickets within reasonable budgets. #5 Queen’s Embrace starts for 25% trainer Danny Gargan and will be ridden by local star Luis Saez. This 3-year-old filly has won 5 of 11 starts and was claimed last out for $80k, probably with this race in mind. Gargan is 46% first off the claim with 28 starters. This filly did most of her winning at Tampa early in the year but did try the Grade 2 Lake Placid at Saratoga and just missed in third. She doesn’t have much speed, but the connections alone make her worth a second look in here as the 5-2 morning-line second choice. #7 Jabuticaba is a 4-year-old filly with 6 wins in 16 starts—at an assortment of tracks in the Northeast. She’s got speed and that makes her a bit interesting. She’s won 4 of 7 at this distance, so no problem there. She finished last in the Gr. 3 Gallorette last out at Pimlico but that came over a yielding surface. A return to lesser competition on a firm surface probably will help her chances. #11 Sugar Fix starts for the potent Joseph/Gaffalione trainer/jockey combo, has won 7 of 15, including 2 of 4 at the distance. Toss out two dirst starts and this 3-year-old filly is 7 for 13 on turf with 2 seconds. She sandwiched two Gr. 3 stakes tries around a Kentucky Downs Allowance $25k starter victory. She has enough pace to be close to whatever develops up front and can kick home late. She’s a worthy 2-1 morning line choice.   GULFSTREAM PARK // RACE 10 (4:40PM ET) // CLAIMING CROWN CANTERBURY STAKES  This $90k race honors Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minnesota, home to many Claiming Crown renewals since the event began in 1999. Some players will single #1 Fiya in an effort to trim costs. He looks tough but the shift to new surroundings at Gulfstream could be a wrinkle. Below are some others to consider. #1 Fiya has won 4 of 6 starts, all at from five and one-half to six furlongs on turf--3 of those at Laurel and 1 at Belmont. This 3-year-old gelding has speed, the rail and figures tough at the 8/5 morning line favorite. #5 Tiger Blood deserves consideration in here. He’s 7 now, so maybe a bit long in the tooth, but he’s won 19 of 50, including 4 of 9 this year, 8 of 10 at Gulfstream and 9 of 13 at the distance. Those are some strong stats. Trainer Mike Maker and jockey Tyler Gaffalione combine, and they hit at 19% together. The gelding is dropping out of graded stakes company in 2 of his last 4 starts. Before that he was claimed for $62k. #6 Fully Loaded brings a nice resume into this race. He’s a bit on the cheaper side of things but he’s won 3 of his last 5, 3 of 8 at Gulfstream and 4 of 11 at the distance on turf. He’s got enough speed to sit just behind likely pacesetter and favorite #1 Fiya. That’s a great place to be just in case the favorite doesn’t switch fine form to Gulfstream turf. #8 Belgrano is a bit of a reach in here, but Paco Lopez is up for 18% trainer Frank Russo. The 6-year-old invades from Monmouth Park. And has won 2 of the last 3. #9 Unmoored is a 6-year-old that has 9 wins in 32 starts. He’s another runner in here trained by Mike Maker and is to be ridden by Irad Ortiz. That combination hits at a sparkling 23%. This gelding had a 4-race win streak snapped last out at Churchill. He was claimed four back for $25k by Maker, famous for moving turf horses up following claims.   GULFSTREAM PARK // RACE 11 (5:11PM ET) // CLAIMING CROWN IRON HORSE STAKES  This is the $75k Claiming Crown Iron Horse and that’s the perfect name for the kind of runners entered. #1 Frost Or Frippery is a great example of an ‘Iron Horse’ that will be tested by capable foes. #1 Frost Or Frippery is a 7-year-old pro. He’s won 20 of 65 races and has been first or second in 11 of 12 starts this year, including 7 wins. He’s been less than even money in his last 7 starts. I always want horses like this in my corner. Luis Saez improves chances for this Brad Cox veteran. If I have to single anywhere, I’d be willing to single a horse like this. He’s got enough speed to be close, save ground and enough heart to get the job done in the lane. #3 Bobby G is a 6-year-old gelding with 15 wins in 42 starts. He’s currently on a 3-race win streak compiled at Pimlico and Laurel, gets Irad Ortiz and has some pace. This is a step up in competition and all 3 recent wins were accomplished over ‘off’ tracks. Still, he wins races. #6 Snap Hook has a puncher’s chance in here based on a stellar 3 for 6 Gulfstream record. He’s won 4 of his last 6. The 5-year-old gelding starts for the potent Jorge Delgado/Jaramillo combination that hits at a powerful 30%. He’s got speed and may be better around one turn but has scored around two. #7 Bold Paynter has to be considered off his last two scores—for $8k when he claimed by Victor Barboza and for $12,500 last out. He’s won 2 of 3 at Gulfstream and has speed. He may be overmatched at this level, but he’ll add pace to the race.   SUGGESTED 50-CENT LATE PICK 4 TICKET  Race 8: 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12Race 9: 5, 11Race 10: 1, 5, 9Race 11: 1, 3, 6, 7 Ticket Cost: $84.00 for 50-cents   Race On!

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12.4.2020:

Friday, December 4: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, the feature at Cal Expo comes in Race 9, the Alan Horowitz Final with a $20,000 purse. The 0.20 Pick 4 begins in Race 8. The sequence has a 16% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 81-Flash Me Baby (5/2)-Has raced from the back in both starts off the bench. Roland takes the lines on this 4-year-old mare he trains. Gets post relief and looks like a player.2-Roaring Home (6-1)-Takes a drop after a needed start versus $6k claimers from the 10-hole. Gets a ++ driver change in Svendsen and was facing much better at Haw. May finally take a picture in 2020, currently 0-23.6-Future Delight (9/2)-Not Plano's choice but Kennedy is no slouch and due to get hot. Dropped to the bottom level in last and got on the engine from the 7-hole and missed by only a head. This will be the 3rd start off the bench, should be tighter and could be overlooked at the windows.Race 91-E R Vincent (5-1)-Got on the point early on, set a soft pace and didn't look back. Hoosier invader won CalX debut and best to respect chances for another picture.2-Skyway Raider (9/2)-Corbin trainee followed a similar script as #1 but the pace was lively and was strong through the wire. This will be the 2nd start after a claim and looks like a major player.3-Western Devil (15-1)-Plano steers for the Roland barn. Last week, broke slowly and sat at the back of the pack turning for home but then paced hard to the wire. Plano may leave and has enough gate speed to be put in play early.6-Wild Again (3-1)-Roland steers his pupil in 3rd start off the bench. Should be in the mix but will need the right trip from out here and might be over bet.Race 102-Fox Valley B Gump (3-1)-Was able to win last week at 9/5 with a 56.1 back half. Had been facing better and looks like a repeat is a distinct possibility but $3k claimers are often inconsistent so will include others.3-Fly Away (6-1)-11-year-old needed last, was wide down the lane and was no match for #2. Plested trainee is usually in the mix at the wire versus this class and will look for a better try tonight.8-Lincoln (6-1)-No one in this field has much gate speed and Kennedy should be able to get a decent seat. Veteran doesn't win often but this is the 3rd start off the bench, a soft spot and the price should be right to take a swing.Race 115-Brighten Your Life (5/2)-Makes 2nd start since August and drops to a spot to shine. Usually races in the FM Open class and just missed last week versus the same. Should be ready for a picture if minds manners.7-Dancingonthesand (6-1)-Comes off a sharp qualifier on 11/28, went the 2nd half in 56.2 and the last quarter in 27.1. Hasn't won in 2020 (0-10) but was facing Open company. Doesn't need to be fully dialed in to beat this crew.My Ticket Race 8) 1,2,6 Race 9) 1,2,3,6 Race 10) 2,3,8 Race 11) 5,7Total Ticket Cost) $14.40 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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12.4.2020:

Friday, December 4: Jeff Siegel's Gulfstream 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. 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. RACE 1: Post: 12:35 ET Grade: C+ Use: 3-Twirling Fire; 4-Market Development; 8-Todaystheday Forecast: In a maiden claiming turf sprint for juveniles, the known element looks ordinary so let’s go with a fresh face. Market Development, from the W. Ward barn, brought $60,000 as a yearling and shows up in a $25,000 seller to begin his career, not exactly an encouraging sign, but the son of Maclean’s Music has trained okay on grass at Palm Meadows in recent week so he should be fit enough and perhaps good enough to score at first asking for a trainer that hits with a superb 29% with first-time starters. For protection, you may also want to include on your rolling exotic ticket Twirling Fire and Todaystheday. The former is a Monmouth Park shipper by way of Tampa Bay Downs and has enough early speed to be dangerous at this five furlong trip, while the latter tries the lawn and softer company for a high percentage outfit and could easily be better than shown. RACE 2: Post: 1:04 ET Grade: X Use: Pass/No Play Forecast: This maiden claiming $12,500 sprint for older horses is inscrutable and is best left alone. The logical top pick Makingalegacy is winless in 29 career starts, and that tells you all you need to know about the others. In a race in which nothing would surprise us, rolling exotic players can spread as deeply as their budget allows. We’ll pass. RACE 3: Post: 1:33 ET Grade: B- Use: 2-Josefa; 5-Galileos Ballerina; 8-Antigone Forecast: Antigone returns to turf and has form in California last year on grass that makes her the one to beat in this restricted (nw-2) $16,000 two-turner for fillies and mares. With patient handling, the daughter of Carpe Diem should be capable of producing the last run. Galileos Ballerina, in her third start off a layoff, drops to her lowest level and is another that should make her presence felt from off the pace. Josefa switches to P. Lopez, is comfortably drawn inside, has a prior win over the local lawn and projects to be close up (maybe even on the lead) throughout. All three should be included in rolling exotic play. RACE 4: Post: 2:03 ET Grade: B- Use: 2-Dream d’Oro; 3-Strong Ending; 7-Uncaptured King Forecast: Here’s another spread race, this one a restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming sprint for older horses. Dream d’Oro has two career wins, both over the local main track, and shortens up a half-furlong after a respectable pace-setting runner-up effort at GPW in late October. Not much more will be needed today. Strong Ending was overmatched in starter allowance company last time out but isn’t today, and his speed figures over this main track during the summer makes him the one to fear most. Uncaptured King, comfortably drawn outside, is another with a pair of local wins on his resume and should have every chance to outrun his morning line of 10-1 with a good stalking trip. RACE 5: Post: 2:36 ET Grade: B- Use: 6-Truly; 11-Carmellia Gal Forecast: Truly finished in the money in each of her previous six starts prior to being stopped on and the daughter of Will Take Charge, in her first outing since April, seems properly spotted by a barn that has good stats in a limited sample with comebackers. The work tab at the Classic Mile training center in Ocala is brief, but we’re going to assume she’s fit and ready, and she does have back speed figures that are better than par for this maiden $20,000 level. Camellia Gal returns to grass after a couple of off-the-turf outings and though poorly drawn does have form that makes her a contender. We’re expecting her to be on or near the lead throughout despite her outside draw. We’re try to survive and advance using just these two. RACE 6: Post: 3:06 ET Grade: C+ Use: 3-True Identity; 8-Exxtop Forecast: Though beaten as the favorite in a slightly softer maiden claimer at GPW, Exxtop deserves a chance to make amends in this modest extended sprint for juveniles, though at 8/5 on the morning line he’ll not offer a whole lot of wagering value. The son of Exaggerator projects to settle just off the leaders and then have every chance to seal the deal from the quarter pole home. P. Lopez stays aboard. True Identity, in the frame in his last pair though considerably slower on speed figures than our top pick, is gradually improving and should at least hit the board again. RACE 7: Post: 3:36 ET Grade: C+ Use: 1-Shining Through; 3-Sharetheblame; 5-Light Fury; 6-Cark Forecast: This messy $20,000 turf claimer requires a considerable spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll go four-deep and hope that’s sufficient. Light Fury won his only previous turf outing with authority over the local lawn two runs back, and with this return to the sod in his first start since mid-September the Wicked Strong gelding should fire his best shot for a new barn that is capable with layoff runners. The stable’s “go-to” rider M. Vasquez takes the call. Cark, returning off a 10 week vacation, has good tactical speed and should have every chance from a pace-stalking position. His numbers aren’t great but at least they’re going in the right direction. Sharetheblame, quite popular at the claim box of late, goes for the A. Sano barn (22%, flat-bet profit with this angle) and has a prior win over the Gulfstream Park turf course. He’s a horse without at a definitive style but has back numbers that make him dangerous. Shining Through is just 1-for-18 but his speed figures are comparatively strong and with some help up front and good racing luck he looks like the best of the deep closers. RACE 8: Post: 4:06 ET Grade: B- Use: 2-Warrior’s Pride; 5-Tiger Forecast: Warrior’s Pride earned a giant speed figure breaking his maiden at GPW last month and this Poseidon’s Warrior colt looks quick enough score right back in this allowance optional claiming affair for 2-year-olds. The low percentage connections and today’s extra half-furlong will keep the price honest. Tiger has modest speed figures but project to enjoy an ideal pace-prompting trip outside and have his chance when the pressure is turned out. He’ll race without blinkers for the first time in his five race career so we’re expecting rating tactics to be employed. RACE 9: Post: 4:36 ET Grade: B Use: 1-Flowmotion; 5-Rhythmia Forecast: Flowmotion, a five-time winner over the Gulfstream Park turf course, lands the good rail and projects to enjoy an ideal ground-saving, stalking trip in this entry-level middle distance turf event for older horses. The J. Cibelli barn is terrific with layoff runners (28%, powerful ROI), so in his first start since early August the veteran gelding should be hard to beat. When last seen three months ago Rhythmia produced a nice score vs. softer state-bred foes over the local lawn that earned a career top speed figure, and if he returns to that form (and we suspect he will) the S. Joseph, Jr.-trained gelding should be running on strongly late. RACE 10: Post: 5:06 ET Grade: C+ Use: 2-Positive Phil; 5-Small Hope; 12-Lets Play Hardball Forecast: The finale is a chaotic grass grab bag for restricted (nw-3) $20,000 claimers. Nothing would surprise us. Positive Phil projects to enjoy a good stalking, ground-saving trip and though moving up from the $12,500 level has numbers that make him dangerous in this league. The son of Paynter also has a prior win over the course and this jockey-trainer team (E. Jaramillo/J. Avila) always has been formidable. Small Hope always has preferred to run second or third rather than win but the Delaware Park invader attracts hot-riding P. Lopez and is a strong fit on figures. Lets Play Hardball is drawn much farther out than we’d prefer but shows a healthy work/race pattern for M. Maker, picks up L. Saez, and has run well over this course in the past. If he can negotiate any kind of decent trip this Constitution gelding will be the one to fear most.

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12.4.2020:

Eddie Olczyk's Saturday Best Bets

Xpressbet and NBC Sports handicapper Eddie Olczyk has a trio of spot plays from Gulfstream Park and Aqueduct this Saturday for Claiming Crown Day and Cigar Mile Day. Edzo’s backing a couple of major longshots during the noon ET hour, so get an early start to your day.   GULFSTREAM PARK // RACE 1 (12:05PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT  #7 TALK DIRTY (30-1 ML) The trainer/jock combo here is one I like and underrated on both ends. First-time starter is out of a mare who won her initial turf try. This is an outstanding grass pedigree. Her works are little light on numbers from what I see on paper, but you’ve gotta think there’s a lot of bottom here. Great way to kick off the day at Gulf.   AQUEDUCT // RACE 3 (12:30PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING  #5 LIQUOR (20-1 ML) Considering I am a non-drinker, I probably should start after the last 8 months we all have been through. Kidding aside, this longshot showed speed-and-fade in his last start Nov. 7 from an outside post. He moves in a bit, and I’m hoping a 1-run mindset is the plan. The assumption is the track will be off with wet weather expected in the New York area. Okay by me either way. I will propose a toast if Liquor can hit the board at a big number.   GULFSTREAM PARK // RACE 7 (3:08PM ET) // CLAIMING CROWN EMERALD STAKES #4 TEMPLE (4-1 ML)  This gelding loves Gulfstream Park’s turf (4 wins, 2 seconds, 2 thirds from 8 attempts). There’s not a ton of pace expected, so he should follow Tusk and Over the Channel and get a perfect set-up. Trainer Mike Maker has half the field, let’s hope I’ve got the correct one with Temple.

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12.4.2020:

Sunday, December 6: Jerry Shottenkirk's Late Pick 4 Ticket at Gulfstream

Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet on Sunday completes its opening weekend with different and competitive levels of runners in it's Late Pick 4. There are no stakes races on this day, but that shouldn’t be a deterrent for those wanting to end the week on a high note. The suggested Late Pick 4 play this week is on $48 ducat and approaches it with a 3x4x4x2 game plan. Here’s the look at the final four on the docket Sunday at Hallandale Beach: Race 7 (3:38 p.m. ET, claiming) GLITTER BAY caught a field she liked last time and broke her maiden by 12 lengths. The competition gets stronger in this one, but it’s not so difficult that she is not a threat to repeat. ROYAL HABIBI’s only off-the-board run came in a stakes race last out. She clearly fits at this level and is a quality stalker. Has enough late energy to be a serious threat. PINK FIZZ got clear in her last two and stayed in her latest, which was a race that came off the turf. Responded to Lopez last time and the veteran reinsman gets a return engagement. Race 8 (4:09 p.m. ET, optional claiming) PARDON MY HEART was far back early last time and made a huge run. Loves running from the back of the pack and has been consistent with a finishing move as of late. ALL COME TRUE was up in time at Chantilly in her only start, and the French filly is in good hands with Graham Motion for her first U.S. appearance. BEAN COUNTER was a sharp third off the pace at Saratoga two races back and was sharp in sprints in her last two. Will be close to the early action going long is capable of another solid performance. SEA OF BLUE broke her maiden at Gulfstream and tired in her only start at Churchill. She comes in off a 6.5-month layoff and trainer Brendan Walsh is 21 percent with horses that have been off more than 90 days. She has some good works for her return and can be a player from the beginning. Race 9 (4:40 p.m. ET, claiming) NORTHERN won the last three times he raced at this level and was claimed by the Kathy Mongeon stable last out. Changing barns hasn’t really been a problem, especially when he runs against bottom claimers. Will take it to them early and will be tough to beat. YOUNG RAYMOND closed with a rush and won going away against N3L company last time, and those types often do well against the veterans. He’s in good form and can run into contention in the stretch. KAREN’S COVE ran a solid 6.5 furlongs two races back at Guflstream and can benefit from following a rapid pace. Can pounce if the front-runners weaken. STARSHIP APOLLO didn’t do a lot of running last time but often has a late move that bring him into the mix. Was claimed by the sharp Kent Sweezey barn. Race 10 (5:11 p.m. ET, claiming) CASH CALL KITTEN took a while to get clear last time but once he did, he went from eighth to third in the stretch. Has won six of 12 starts over the Gulfstream Park green and likely will bring his ‘A’ game for this. NATIONAL HONOR was up in time at a higher level at Parx last out and has the powerful late move on occasion. Rider Luis Saez will likely have him in range earlier and there’s a good chance he can be along in time. 50-cent Late Pick 4 Sunday at Gulfstream Park: 7) #1 Glitter Bay, #2 Royal Habibi, #4 Pink Fizz. 8) #3 Pardon My Heart, #7 All Come True, #9 Bean Counter, #10 Sea of Blue. 9) #3 Northern, #6 Young Raymond, #9 Karen’s Cove, #10 Starship Apollo 10) #6 Cash Call Kitten, #12 National Honor. 50-cent Pick Four: 1-2-4 with 3-7-9-10 with 3-6-9-10 with 6-12 ($48).

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12.3.2020:

Friday, December 4: Stronach 5 Selections from 1/ST BET

Last week’s Stronach 5 paid $68,683 to 7 winning tickets, and the nation’s best bet returns this Friday, December 4 with another potentially lucrative sequence. Three races from opening week at Gulfstream Park’s Championship Meet join a pair from the Maryland Jockey Club at Laurel Park. The $1 base wager has a low 12% takeout, insuring hefty value for those who take it down. 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. 1/ST and Xpressbet handicapper Jeremy Plonk adds his comments and possible inclusions, formulating recommended tickets based on the app and human input. Laurel Race 8 (3:49PM ET) // optional claiming // 6 furlongs 5 – Phantom Ro (30% W) 8 – Tale of E Dubai (16% W) 3 – Bull Shark (13% W) 4 – Nova Boy (12% W) Notable: The 30% win rate and 14-point spread for Phantom Ro both are most in today’s Stronach 5 sequence. It could be a bold single to start, according to 1/ST BET, as Phantom Ro also has won 3 of 5 starts at Laurel Park. Bull Shark offers an interesting alternative for a jockey-trainer combination successful in Maryland this year. Tale of E Dubai changes trainers to a less successful barn since being claimed. Gulfstream Race 8 (4:06PM ET) // optional claiming // 6 furlongs 5 – Tiger (29% W) 6 – Paladio (27% W) 3 – Carson City Kid (16% W) 2 – Warrior’s Pride (12% W) Notable: The 29% win rate is second-highest in today’s Stronach 5, though the 2-point spread among the top pair of choices is the narrowest in the sequence. This may be a two-deep situation based on 1/ST BET. Tiger should be rolling early and hoping to ration his speed will be leading jockey Luis Saez. Carson City Kid figures to press the early issue for respected connections, but has some distance questions. Paladio actually gets the best set-up to finish, along with price player Famous Gent. Laurel Race 9 (4:18PM ET) // claiming // 1 mile 6 – Cassey’s Girl (27% W) 1 – Embrace a New Day (15% W) 9 – Creative Alibi (15% W) 3 – Lady Macho (11% W) Notable: The 12-point spread from first to second choice is second-highest in today’s Stronach 5, and comes with a juicy 6-1 morning line proposition in Cassey’s Girl. Expected favorite Lady Macho doesn’t get respect from the algorithm off her Finger Lakes form, but those shippers dropping from allowance to Laurel claimers have had solid success in recent years. The Boss of You doesn’t rate highly by the app, but appears to be a solid fit on the drop in class. If 1/ST BET is right, this is a great place to take a stand and separate those with faith from the pack. Gulfstream Race 9 (4:36PM ET) // optional claiming // 1-1/16 miles (turf) 8 – Myamanoi (23%W) 1 – Flowmotion (19% W) 4 – Jolting Joe (14% W) 3 – Starship Aramis (11% W) *main track only* Notable: The 23% win rate for Myamanoi is lowest among all top choices in today’s Stronach 5. This appears a good race by the numbers and on paper to spread your tickets. Myamanoi was a good fourth over this course in the Dania Beach Stakes this spring and lures local leading rider Luis Saez. Flowmotion has strong local form for high-percentage connections. Gulfstream Race 10 (5:06PM ET) // claiming // 1-1/16 miles (turf) 5 – Small Hope (26% W) 13 – Scar (20% W) *main track only* 9 – Captain D (12% W) 12 – Let’s Play Hardball (8% W) Notable: Top choice Small Hope’s trainer Kent Sweezey has been on a roll in South Florida the past few months, and won both races he entered opening day Wednesday. With 1/ST BET’s second choice Scar entered for main-track only, there’s a wide swath between Small Hope and the rest. Morning line favorite Let’s Play Hardball figures to be a major underlay based on the algorithm, and won easily last out on dirt while now going back to turf. Longshot seekers give Captain D (20-1 ML) a longer look for an exotics share. Larger Budget Stronach 5 Ticket 5,8 with 5,6 with 6,3,8 with ALL with 5 = $96 Smaller Budget Stronach 5 Ticket 5 with 5,6 with 6 with ALL with 5 = $16

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12.3.2020:

December 3, 2020: Jeff Siegel's Gulfstream Analysis & Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Gulfstream Park Analysis & Wagering StrategiesThursday, December 3, 2020Specifically 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. 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.RACE 1: Post: 12:35 ET Grade: B-Use: 1-Serenade Kitten; 2-Cheerleader Barb; 9-Sum NationForecast: Sum Nationdidn’t run badly in her debut when a too-little, too-late closing fourth in a maiden $40,000 in October at GPW and today shows up on the class drop for new trainer S. Joseph, Jr., whose record with the first-off-the-claim angle is nothing less than remarkable (36%). With the switch to “go to” rider E. Zayas, we’re expecting this In Summation filly to produce a significant forward move, her poor outside draw notwithstanding. Serenade a Kittenlands the good rail, adds blinkers, and is another that is likely to improve with a race under her belt after finishing fifth as the favorite in a performance that was compromised by self-caused trouble. Yet another second-timer likely to step forward is Cheerleader Barb, who finished with interest after a sluggish start in her only outing. Her inside draw guarantees a ground-saving trip.RACE 2: Post: 1:03 ET Grade: B-Use: 2-Candy Crushem; 3-Benefactor; 4-Mustang CatForecast: Let’s go for a bit of a price in this wide-open mid-level claiming sprint. Benefactorwas graded stakes-placed over this track in his younger days, and while his recent form looks bleak the son of More Than Ready may be ready to perk up in his first-off-the-claim for a capable outfit (20% with this angle). A recent bullet half mile workout (:47 1/5) catches the eye, as does the switch to hot-riding P. Lopez, so at 6-1 on the morning line he may worth a bit of gamble. Candy Crushemhas the route-to-sprint angle we like and is a two-time winner over the Gulfstream Park main track. He remains above his claim level – a good sign - and this easier group is well within his capabilities. Mustang Catcrushed a $6,250 field at GPW at this extended sprint trip while earning a number that makes him dangerous despite the triple jump in class. This barn runs ‘em where they belong, so the class hike can be taken as a sign of confidence.RACE 3: Post: 1:31 ET Grade: CUse: 3-Shang’s Sister; 8-Julie BirdForecast: Shang’s Sisterhas little to beat in this moderate maiden claimer for juveniles and with the addition of blinkers the daughter of Paynter should be prominent throughout, perhaps even on the lead. Julie Birdwas favored in the same race that ‘Sister exits and is another likely to improve against this easier group. We’ll try to survive and advance using just these two, but it’s a chaotic affair so tread lightly, spread deeply, or pass.RACE 4: Post: 2:00 ET Grade: B-Use: 1-Inedatequila; 4-Assume Control; 9-Paynter FestForecast: Inedatequilahas won her last three by daylight when facing restricted foes; today she tackles open company but based on her rising speed figures and her clever score over this track and distance in September she looks to have a reasonable chance to extend her streak. Assume Controlran into a buzzsaw in a fast, highly-rated race at GPW in a recent restricted $8,000 affair, settling for second (beaten 10 lengths) but earning a speed figure that actually charts quite well with this group. A three-time winner over the local main track, the daughter of Take Charge Indy projects to settle into a good stalking spot and then have every chance from there. Paynter Fest, third in the same race ‘Control exits, has finished in the frame in her last eight starts and is probably worth including somewhere on your ticket as well.RACE 5: Post: 2:30 ET Grade: B+Single: 6-La Cara BonitaForecast: La Cara Bonitais a first-off-the-claim automatic play for V. Barboza, Jr., whose stats with this angle is off-the-charts ridiculous (53% with a massive flat-bet profit in a sample size of 53). The Point of Entry filly was third as the choice in an open $12,500 affair when last seen in June and today shows up in a restricted (nw-2) $20,000 seller while being re-equipped with blinkers and picking up L. Saez. At 5/2 on the morning line she’s a single on our ticket.RACE 6: Post: 3:00 ET Grade: B+Single: 1-West Will PowerForecast: West Will Powerearned a monstrous speed figure when improving his perfect record to two-for-two in an entry-level main track miler at Monmouth Park in October and today moves up another notch while backing up to a one-turn mile. The son of Bernardini retains regular rider J. Bravo and projects to enjoy a good second flight, stalking trip from his inside draw. A series of outstanding recent workouts at Palm Beach Downs should have him fit and ready, so at 8/5 on the morning line he’s a logical top pick and rolling exotic single.RACE 7: Post: 3:30 ET Grade: B-Use: 3-Uncle Fun; 8-Turlough; 10-PurginForecast: Uncle Fundrops to the maiden $25,000 level for the first time, adds blinkers, and shows a runner-up effort two races back over this course and distance that is good enough to beat this field. We’re expecting him to be along in time, but we’ll also include a couple of others on our rolling exotic ticket for protection. Turloughis a first-timer from the T. Pletcher barn, and while his appearance in this modest spot doesn’t inspire confidence he certainly won’t have to be any kind of world beater to be competitive. The barn is strong with debut runners (21%) and this homebred son of English Channel certainly is bred to run long on the lawn. Purginshows a couple of dangerous angles – he’s a first-time gelding and is removing blinkers – so there’s every expectation of improvement, though the connections don’t inspire confidence. You can toss him in on a ticket or two as a back-up.RACE 8: Post: 4:00 ET Grade: BUse: 5-Ensign Parker; 7-BeasterForecast: Ensign Parkerlooked quite good graduating at GPW in a maiden $50,000 sprint last month and earned a speed figure that should be good enough for a repeat tally in this starter optional claimer for juveniles. The son of Soldat has improved in each of his three outings and we suspect the trend will continue today. Beasteralso was a big figure maiden claiming winner last time out at GPW and if he can turn in two alike he’ll be a threat right back.. At 8-1 on the morning line you have to use him somewhere.RACE 9: Post: 4:30 ET Grade: BUse: 4-I’m Prayingforthat; 5-Miss MiamiForecast: I’m Prayingforthatreturns to grass after disappointing efforts in a pair of off-the-turf sprints in which she performed below form. If the weather cooperates and this race remains on grass, she could snap back in a big way, especially over a course and distance that she clearly loves (three wins in six starts). Miss Miamiis double jumped in class after a nice turf sprint score at GPW that earned a useful speed figure. She’s a two-time winner over the local lawn and projects to draft into a nice stalking position and then have her chance from the top of the lane to the wire.RACE 10: Post: 5:00 ET Grade: BUse: 2-All Good; 10-El Pillo; 12-Semper FiForecast:First-time gelding All Goodflopped badly at 30 cents on the dollar in an off-the-turf event last month at Churchill Downs and was claimed for $25,000 by M. Maker, who raises the son of Will Take Charge to $35,000 in a sure sign that he likes the new merchandise. This will be this gelding’s first try on grass – there’s no reason he won’t like it – and from a good inside draw combined with the switch to the barn’s “go-to” rider L. Saez there’s quite a bit to like. Semper Fiis another trying grass for the first time and also will be making his first start around two-turns. The outside draw does him no favors but at 12-1 on the morning he’s worth tossing in. El Pillohas a prior win over the course and numbers that fit. He’s most effective on the front end and if he can secure that kind of trip the son of Treasure Beach could take this group a long way.

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12.3.2020:

Jon White's Very Early Kentucky Derby Top 10

Inspired by Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW), which closed last Sunday, I have put together a very early Top 10 for the 2021 Run for the Roses. Here it is: Essential Quality Life Is Good Highly Motivated Hot Rod Charlie Keepmeinmind Fire At Will Jackie’s Warrior Caddo River Mandaloun Dr. Schivel Essential Quality is the 8-1 favorite in the Kentucky Derby future book at William Hill Nevada. Ron Flatter reported that Monday for horseracingnation.com. Life Is Good is next at 10-1. Then there’s a substantial jump to Classier and Red Flag at 35-1 each. They are followed by Caddo River and Jackie’s Warrior at 40-1 each. Listed at 50-1 each are Dr. Schivel, Hot Rod Charlie, Keepmeinmind and Olympiad. Life Is Good ended up being the 5-1 favorite among individual horses in KDFW Pool 1. Essential Quality was next at 8-1. Then there was a pretty big jump to Jackie’s Warrior and Highly Motivated at 18-1 each, followed by Keepmeinmind at 19-1. Essential Quality is undefeated in three career starts. Trained by Brad Cox, the Kentucky-bred Tapit colt overcame a troubled trip to win a six-furlong maiden race by four lengths when unveiled at Churchill Downs on Sept. 4. Stretching out to 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland in his next start, Essential Quality won the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity by 3 1/4 lengths. Affirming his quality, he then rallied from eighth to win the Grade I BC Juvenile by three-quarters of a length at odds of 3-1 on Nov. 6 at Keeneland. Jackie’s Warrior, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, finished fourth in the BC Juvenile as the 9-10 favorite. The Kentucky-bred Maclean’s Music colt was racing around two turns for the first time after winning his first four career starts, including Grade I victories in the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga and Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. Hot Rod Charlie finished second in the BC Juvenile at the gigantic odds of 94-1. He has shown dramatic improvement since having blinkers added to his equipment. He won a one-mile maiden race on Oct. 2 at Santa Anita when racing with blinkers for the first time, then defeated all but Essential Quality in the BC Juvenile. Two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill (I’ll Have Another in 2012, Nyquist in 2016) conditions Hot Rod Charlie, whose sire, Oxbow, won the Grade I Preakness Stakes in 2013. Hot Rod Charlie is a half-brother to Mitole, who was voted a 2019 Eclipse Award as champion male sprinter. Some may have been inclined to knock Essential Quality’s BC Juvenile victory because runner-up Hot Rod Charlie was a mega longshot and third-place finisher Keepmeinmind was a maiden. As a maiden, Keepmeinmind finished second to Essential Quality in the Breeders’ Futurity and third to that same foe in the BC Juvenile. But Keepmeinmind is a maiden no more. In fact, now he’s a graded stakes winner. Ninth early in last Saturday’s Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill, the Kentucky-bred Laoban colt came on in the lane to prevail by three-parts of a length as the 2-1 favorite. He was an overlay from his 6-5 favoritism on veteran oddsmaker Mike Battaglia’s morning line. Keepmeinmind completed his 1 1/16-mile journey in 1:44.52. He recorded a modest 79 Beyer Speed Figure. But keep in mind that he previously had posted a robust 92 Beyer when third in the BC Juvenile. Below are the Beyer Speed Figures for Kentucky Jockey Club winners going back to 1991 (the figures prior to 2020 are listed in the American Racing Manual, which is now digital only): 2020 Keepmeinmind (79)2019 Silver Prospector (82)2018 Signalman (84)2017 Enticed (81)2016 McCraken (86)2015 Airoforce (87)2014 El Kabeir (94)2013 Tapiture (83)2012 Uncaptured (76)2011 Gemologist (85)2010 Santiva (78)2009 Super Saver (93)2008 Beethoven (90)2007 Anak Nakal (88)2006 Tiz Wonderful (101)2005 Private Vow (96)2004 Greater Good (91)2003 The Cliff’s Edge (94)2002 Soto (94)2001 Repent (92)2000 Dollar Bill (96)1999 Captain Steve (105)1998 Exploit (101)1997 Cape Town (96)1996 Concerto (95)1995 Ide (94)1994 Jambalaya Jazz (90)1993 War Deputy (90)1992 Wild Gale (87)1991 Dance Floor (93) “ALL OTHER 3-YEAR-OLD MALES” OPTION FAVORED As expected, the “All Other 3-Year-Old Colts and Geldings” option was a strong 6-5 favorite in KDFW Pool 1. This option closed as the favorite at even money last year, but those who bet it did not cash. Future Kentucky Derby winner Authentic was one of the individual horses in last year’s KDFW Pool 1, going off at 50-1. On the day that Authentic won a Kentucky Derby delayed to Sept. 5 because of the coronavirus, his odds were 8-1. Three of the last four Kentucky Derby winners -- Always Dreaming in 2016, Justify in 2017 and Country House in 2018 -- weren’t one of the individual horses in Pool 1 of the KDFW. If Life Is Good does get the job done on the first Saturday in May next year, Hall of Famer Bob Baffert will become the trainer of the most Kentucky Derby winners. Authentic provided Baffert with his sixth Kentucky Derby victory. Thanks to Authentic, Baffert tied Ben Jones’ record for the most Kentucky Derby wins by a trainer. Jones’ six Kentucky Derby winners were Lawrin (1938), Whirlaway (1941), Pensive (1944), Citation (1948), Ponder (1949) and Hill Gail (1952). Whirlaway and Citation swept the Triple Crown. Baffert’s other five Kentucky Derby winners were Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002), American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018). American Pharoah and Justify swept the Triple Crown. When Baffert unleashed Life Is Good in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden sprint at Del Mar on Nov. 22, the Kentucky-bred colt looked a whole lot better than good. In a dazzling performance, Life Is Good won by 9 1/2 lengths as a 3-10 favorite. Bill Finley of the Thoroughbred Daily News reported that Life Is Good will likely make his next start in Santa Anita’s Grade III Sham Stakes at one mile on Jan. 2. “If all is going well, it looks like the Sham will be his next race,” Baffert said. “It will give me a chance to stretch him out. Then I will decide on what’s next and look at races like the Rebel at Oaklawn.” After Authentic earned his maiden diploma at Del Mar when debuting last year, he won the Sham by 7 3/4 lengths in his next start. According to Finley, Baffert is looking forward to finding out more about Life Is Good, who is by Into Mischief, as is Authentic. Retired from racing after capping his career with a win in the Grade I BC Classic, Authentic is the favorite to be voted 2020 Horse of the Year. “He’s got raw talent like American Pharoah and Justify,” Baffert said of Life Is Good. “I think Authentic had that raw talent, too. But he was just immature [early in his career]. This horse gives us something to get excited about, but they’ve got to go two turns first. I didn’t know how good American Pharoah was until he did it.” In American Pharoah’s first career win, he received a 101 Beyer. In Justify’s first career victory, his Beyer was a 104. Life Is Good was credited with a 91 Beyer Speed Figure for his dominant triumph at first asking. That his Beyer was not higher is one of the reasons I have him ranked a notch below Essential Quality on my Kentucky Derby Top 10. While Life Is Good received a 91 Beyer in a sprint around one turn, Essential Quality recorded a 95 Beyer in the 1 1/16-mile BC Juvenile around two turns, which is more relevant vis-a-vis the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby around two turns. Below are the final odds for Pool 1 of the 2021 KDFW: 6-5 “All Other 3-Year-Old Males”5-1 Life Is Good8-1 Essential Quality18-1 Highly Motivated18-1 Jackie’s Warrior19-1 Keepmeinmind27-1 Caddo River29-1 Speaker’s Corner30-1 Fire At Will34-1 Hot Rod Charlie35-1 Red Flag35-1 Reinvestment Risk36-1 Savile Row49-1 Scarred51-1 Ten for Ten56-1 “Any 3-Year-Old Filly”59-1 Midnight Bourbon60-1 King Fury64-1 Get Her Number68-1 Sittin On Go72-1 Dr. Schivel88-1 Rombauer96-1 Pickin’ Time103-1 Super Stock KENTUCKY DERBY SIRE WAGERING The Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager once again was offered this year at the same time as Pool 1 of the KDFW. In terms of sire wagering, the “All Others” option closed as the 4-1 co-favorite. Into Mischief also was 4-1, lowest odds among the 23 individual sires. Into Mischief is the sire of Life Is Good and Highly Motivated among the 23 individual horses in KDFW Pool 1. Tapit, who closed at 6-1, is the sire of Essential Quality. Below are the final odds for the 2021 Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager: 4-1 “All Others”4-1 Into Mischief6-1 Tapit12-1 Curlin13-1 American Pharoah17-1 Constitution19-1 Uncle Mo21-1 Frosted22-1 Quality Road24-1 Hard Spun25-1 Street Sense27-1 Ghostzapper30-1 Not This Time30-1 Pioneerof the Nile35-1 Medaglia d’Oro35-1 Tiznow36-1 Bernardini43-1 Union Rags44-1 Honor Code47-1 Candy Ride47-1 Munnings49-1 Liam’s Map60-1 Bodemeister80-1 Flatter FANTASY LEAGUE UPDATE As I wrote last week, our horse racing fantasy league held its annual draft on Nov. 23. This league consists of nine members. Each member drafts eight horses. Our league begins each year on Thanksgiving and continues through the final Breeders’ Cup race the following year. With nine members, there were nine horses drafted in the first round. Tiz the Law was the first overall pick. Life Is Good, scintillating debut winner at Del Mar the day before the draft, was the second pick, followed by Monomoy Girl third and Charlatan fourth. With the fifth pick in the first round, I took Essential Quality. Completing the selections in the first round of the draft were Nashville at No. 6, Highly Motivated at No. 7, Astute at No. 8, then Simply Ravishing at No. 9. After the first round, I took Gamine at No. 14, By My Standards at No. 23, Bonny South at No. 32, Mucho Gusto at No. 41, Shedaresthedevil at No. 50, Blowout at No. 59, then Shancelot at No. 68. This is how our scoring system works: --A Grade I race is worth 12, 6 and 4 points for first, second and third. --A Grade II race is worth 8, 4 and 2 for first, second and third. --A Grade III race is worth 6, 3 and 1 for first, second and third. --An ungraded stakes race is worth 4 for first. --All other races are worth 2 for first. --All Canadian races are downgraded one level, except the Woodbine Mile, Northern Dancer Turf, Canadian International and E.P. Taylor. --The most valuable bonus races are the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic (36, 18, 12). The other bonus races (24, 12, 8) are the Apple Blossom, Kentucky Oaks, Met Mile, Sword Dancer Stakes, Diana Stakes and all of the other Breeders’ Cup races. Since the beginning of this league, the Arlington Million and Beverly D. were bonus races. But they were not run this year. With Arlington Park’s situation rather shaky these days, I made the decision to make the Sword Dancer and Diana bonus races in 2021 rather than the Arlington Million and Beverly D. Each league member can make two claims per month along with two “super claims.” When someone makes a claim, they must drop one horse from their stable. One “super claim,” which is simply an additional claim to the two each month, can be made through the traditional day of the Belmont Stakes in June. The other “super claim” can be made after that. BloodHorse’s Byron King won the 2020 FSL title. This was his sixth FSL title and fourth in the last five years. I was so disappointed when By My Standards finished seventh in last Friday’s Grade I Clark Stakes at Churchill Downs that I’ve already cut him loose from my roster. I replaced him by claiming Grade I Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Knicks Go, who had not been drafted. I decided to snap up Knicks Go last Saturday after seeing that he had worked four furlongs in :49.80 that morning at Churchill. The only way to claim a horse in November is to use a “super claim,” but I felt it was worth doing. I figured that if I waited until trying to claim him on Dec. 1, I’d probably have to shake for him. By using my “super claim,” I’d definitely get him. I wrote last week that because I never did get a 2-year-old filly in the draft, I just had to hope that I’d be able to claim a good one on down the road. On Tuesday (Dec. 1), I used one of my two December claims to take a 2-year-old filly, Souper Sensational. Trained by Hall of Famer Mark Casse, Souper Sensational is two for two. The Kentucky-bred Curlin filly, a $725,000 auction purchase by owner Live Oak Plantation, won a seven-furlong maiden race by 2 1/4 lengths on synthetic footing Sept. 26 at Woodbine. Sent off as the 6-5 favorite, she toyed with highly regarded runner-up Speightstown Shirl, who finished 9 3/4 lengths clear of third. In Souper Sensational’s next race, she won Woodbine’s Glorious Song Stakes, also a seven-furlong affair on synthetic footing, by four lengths as a 3-5 favorite. In Souper Sensational’s debut, her final time was 1:23.54. She was credited with a 76 Beyer Speed Figure. Her final time in the Glorious Song was a splendid 1:21.84. She improved in the Beyer department to an 86. Souper Sensational’s 86 Beyer Speed Figure in the Glorious Song exceeds the 84 Beyer that Travel Column recorded when she won last Saturday’s Grade II Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill. It appears to me there is a chance that Souper Sensational could be a special filly. We shall see. The plan, according to Casse, is for Souper Sensational to race at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. The goal, Casse added, is the Grade I Kentucky Oaks. That, folks, is one of the fantasy league’s bonus races. And so it is that after not getting a 2-year-old filly in the draft, I am tickled to add the promising Souper Sensational to my fantasy roster. I dropped Bonny South, who got trounced when she finished second, six lengths behind Envoutante, in the Grade II Falls City Stakes at Churchill last Thursday. I also made a second claim on Dec. 1, which means I have already used up my two December claims. Performer was taken in the draft at No. 11. Firenze Fire was the No. 28 pick. King Guillermo was selected at No. 30. With all of them not available, I decided to take a shot in this Saturday’s Grade I Cigar Mile at Aqueduct by picking up Mr. Buff and dropping Blowout. I was willing to drop Blowout because I don’t expect her to be running again anytime soon, possibly not until sometime in the spring. Mr. Buff goes into the Cigar Mile off a convincing 3 1/4-length win against New York-breds in the Empire Classic Handicap at Belmont on Oct. 24. He recorded a 94 Beyer Speed Figure. I’m hoping that he will run an even better race in the Cigar Mile. That might happen because the Cigar Mile is at the Big A. On the main track at Aqueduct, Mr. Buff has eight wins and three seconds from 13 starts. The last time he raced on that surface, he won the one-mile Haynesfield Stakes by a whopping 20 lengths last Feb. 22. Mr. Buff was credited with a 106 Beyer Speed Figure in the Haynesfield. If he runs anything like that in the Cigar Mile, he can win it. Performer’s top Beyer is a 102. Firenze’s Fire’ Beyers this year have been 102, 86, 97, 99, 74, 101 and 96. King Guillermo has never recorded a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure. His highest Beyer was a 99 when he won the Tampa Bay Derby last May 7. King Guillermo has not raced since finishing second to Nadal in a division of the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on May 2. Come on, Mr. Buff. Flex your muscles and show everyone that you are big man on campus at the Big A by winning this Saturday’s Cigar Mile!  

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12.3.2020:

Xpressbet Race of the Week: Cigar Mile at Aqueduct

GRADE 1 $250,000 CIGAR MILE AT AQUEDUCTSaturday, December 5, 2020The Lead:New York's final Grade 1 stakes of 2020, the Cigar Mile, anchors a fantastic stakes card at Aqueduct that includes the G3 Go For Wand and the G2 juvenile showcases of the Demoiselle and Remsen. The Cigar Mile goes as Race 10 at the Big A. What a super Saturday it should be nationally with Gulfstream Park's opening weekend Claiming Crown series sharing the marquee.​Field Depth:Five millionaire earners are in the cast, including G1 winners MIND CONTROL and FIRENZE FIRE, as well as two-time Cigar Mile-placed TRUE TIMBER. SNAPPER SINCLAIR and MR. BUFF have topped the million-dollar plateau. KING GUILLERMO is G1-placed and a G2 winner this year.Pace:You'd expect a bit more early speed in this lineup than there appears to be. MR. BUFF dedicates himself to the front, regardless of distance, and he's the only pure speedball entered. Rail-drawn PERFORMER likely will be near the pace, as will FIRENZE FIRE and KING GUILLERMO. The midpackers and closers will have their work cut out for them trying to reel in the aforementioned group.Our Eyes:Favorites have won the Cigar Mile 3 of the last 4 years, and we haven't seen a winner in this race above 6-1 since Jersey Town stunned the 2010 cast at 34-1. It's been a race pretty close to the vest, and that's how I see this one as well.FIRENZE FIRE carries top weight at 123 pounds, has won 40% of his career races and half of his 6 attempts at the mile distance. The classy sprinter won the G1 Champagne at Belmont as a 2-year-old back in 2017, notable in its 1-turn mile configuration like this race. Last year he won the Gravesend over the Aqueduct track around this time of year, taking an easier pre-winter path since then-trainer Jason Servis had his stable star Maximum Security pointed to the Cigar Mile, a race he won. FIRENZE FIRE is 2-6 this year with Kelly Breen, winning a softer-than-usual edition of the G2 Vosburgh, and finishing third in a similarly under-par renewal of the Breeders' Cup Classic. His form looks a lot better in the stakes-name column than perhaps is true, and that could make him an underlay with the betting public. Respect him, but giving 2-7 pounds at shorter-than-likely-fair odds is more than enough reason to shop. He's run poorly on wet tracks twice this year, so eye the conditions.PERFORMER has won 5 in a row and gets his class test while making the key second-off-the-layoff start. He returned from an 11-month absence to prep beautifully Oct. 17 at Belmont. Trainer Shug McGaughey won the Cigar Mile back in 1996 with Gold Fever. In his 5-race win streak, he faced short fields 4 times (meeting just 4,6,5 and 5 rivals). Can he negotiate the rail trip vs. 8 rivals? If the answer is yes, Joel Rosario should have a big threat underneath.KING GUILLERMO will try to become the third sophomore to win the Cigar Mile in the last 5 years. Connect pulled the trick in 2016, while Maximum Security followed suit last year. He's been oddly campaigned this year, aimed at the Kentucky Derby off a May layoff by design, only to scratch in Louisville after a reported fever. His workout tab since October in Florida flashes 6 works, mostly on pattern, but with a slight, 11-day break in early November. Any question to this placement seems fair at first blush, but the presence of leading NYRA pilot Jose Ortiz in the saddle underscores the Tampa Bay Derby winner and Arkansas Derby runner-up as live to this eye. He should get a great trip, possibly just behind MR. BUFF. At 117 pounds, the sophomore gets a 6-pound break from FIRENZE FIRE.MIND CONTROL appears off form in 5 defeats since winning Aqueduct's Toboggan and Tom Fool earlier this year. The return to Aqueduct could be the elixir for a horse 5: 4-1-0 here all-time. Regular rider John Velazquez, a 2-time Cigar Mile victor ('01 Left Bank, '15 Tonalist), sticks in the saddle. Demand a fair price given his recent foibles, but a 10-1 proposition on this kind of horse-for-course would strike some interest. The same goes for Big A success MR. BUFF. It's possible he gets loose on the lead over his favorite track. But his lack of prowess at the higher-level races also dictates you get a fair price around 10-1.SNAPPER SINCLAIR has been primarily a 2-turn runner. He'll benefit if this race goes in a slow pace and he can stay in contention early. Steve Asmussen trained '09 Cigar Mile winner Kodiak Kowboy.Most Certain Exotics Contender: There's no lead-pipe type in this spot. On a fast track, FIRENZE FIRE would seem the most comfortable to place on the ticket somewhere.​Best Longshot Exotics Contender: TRUE TIMBER was runner-up in the Cigar Mile in 2018 and third last year at 32-1, which is at odds with his 0-6 career record at the mile distance. But this is a runner 14 times second or third from 28 starts lifetime, more apt for the bottom of the exotics after 13 consecutive losses. He's yet to win a stakes, remarkably, but has bagged a million bucks nonetheless.Sending it in ($100 bankroll): I'm on KING GUILLERMO and PERFORMER, and will try to connect to them in daily doubles from logical Race 9 contender MALATHAAT. $60 double MALATHAAT to KING GUILLERMO. $40 double MALATHAAT to PERFORMER.

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12.2.2020:

Wednesday, December 2: Jeff Siegel's Gulfstream Park Analysis & Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes. 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. RACE 1: Post: 12:35 ET Grade: C+ Use: 4-Alluring Rumba; 7-Coin the Phrase Forecast: Coin the Phrase plummets in class for her first start since June and goes for a new outfit, so there’s clearly a condition question surrounding the daughter of Goldencents. She beats this field with anything close to her best race, but at 9/5 on the morning she’ll offer little value. Alluring Rumba probably is the more dependable of the two, will be a better price, and has numbers over this course and distance that puts her right there.   RACE 2: Post: 1:03 ET Grade: X Single: 7-Excalibur Forecast: Excalibur drops to the bottom (nw-2, $6,250) and should beat this woeful bunch, but at 9/5 on the morning line (and likely to go lower) there’s not much we can do with the Brethren gelding other than to use him as a no-value, rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.   RACE 3: Post: 1:31 ET Grade: B- Use: 3-Gran Saman; 4-Royal Asset; 6-Disrectionary Mark Forecast: Gran Saman has seven prior wins over this course and distance and remains above his claim level after a two month freshening. Discretionary Marq is a strong fit at this level, employs a good second flight, stalking style, and should be heard from late. Royal Asset was a nice winner vs. lesser in an off-the-turf sloppy affair last month and this two-level raise in class shows confidence, but he’s only 1-for-17 on turf in his career.   RACE 4: Post: 2:00 ET Grade: B- Use: 1-Simple Story; 3-Omnia Forecast: Simple Story likes this main track, turns back to a one-turn mile, goes for a powerful jockey/trainer combo, and has been first or second in five of six career starts. Conversely, Omnia can’t really be trusted – she’s been a beaten favorite in three of his last four starts – and is an underlay at 7/5 on the morning line. However, she has numbers that fit and projects to enjoy a good stalking trip   RACE 5: Post: 2:30 ET Grade: C+ Use: 1-Rochambeau; 4-The Angry Man; 5-Break Beat Forecast: Here’s a race that should be treated with caution as none of these really want to punch it in under pressure. We suspect the winner will be one of the three listed above but none are trustworthy. The Angry Man earned some strong numbers at Saratoga and may be able to out stay this group. Break Beat, freshened since September, projects to be prominent throughout and have every chance. Rochambeau is winless in five starts over the local lawn but is the most dangerous of the closing types and is guaranteed an ideal ground-saving trip.   RACE 6: Post: 3:00 ET Grade: C+ Use: 2-Brody’s Honor; 3-Piper; 8-Pine Leaf Forecast: Piper is the quickest on paper and should appreciate this abbreviated sprint trip. Maybe she gets brave today. Pine Leaf drops considerably in class and will be running on late Brody’s Honor is a first-timer from a clever outfit that has good stats with debut runners. How good does she really have to be?   RACE 7: Post: 3:30 ET Grade: C Use: 2-Stefanie On Fleek; 4-Little Bit Good; 6-Dienda; 9-Helena Beat Forecast: Best advice is to tread lightly in this chaotic affair. Any one of the four listed above can win and maybe a few others as well. Stefanie On Feek has decent prior form over the local lawn and back numbers that are better than par for this level. She’ll have every chance from a good inside draw. Helena Beat is a recent winner from Monmouth Park that is properly spotted. Her numbers aren’t great but she knows where the wire is. Little Bit Good is a closer that needs all the help she can get up front. Her speed figures are modest but she’s in solid form. Dienda is a need-the-lead type and can get very brave is she becomes the controlling speed. She may face pressure today from My Masterpiece, though.   RACE 8: Post: 4:00 ET Grade: B Use: 3-Trappezoid; 5-Ashaar; 6-Ournationonparade Forecast: Ashaar was once a fairly well-regarded Into Mischief colt and returns off an 11-month layoff without blinkers and a healthy series of workouts for new trainer T. Pletcher. He won his debut so we know he can fire fresh and could easily be a better type this time around. Ournationonparade was overmatched in the Smile S.-G3 when last seen in September but isn’t today; however, he’s zero-for-seven over the Gulfstream Park main track. Trappezoid backs up to a sprint and always has been most comfortable as a late-running sprinter. Toss him in at 5-1 on the morning line.   RACE 9: Post: 4:30 ET Grade: B Use: 3-Catch a Thrill; 9-Tracy Ann’s Legacy Forecast: Catch a Thrill has a noticeable edge in the speed figure department and has never been worse than second in four prior outings over this course and distance. She’s pretty solid at 8/5 on the morning line; the only concern is that you have go back nearly two years to find her last win. Tracy Ann’s Legacy is fond of the local lawn and drops into a logical spot while remaining above her claim level. She’s a two-time winner over this course and distance but is only effective on the front end and will need to be quick enough to get over from her outside draw to secure her preferred trip.   RACE 10: Post: 5:00 ET Grade: C+ Use: 3-Soul Reflection; 9-French Reef Forecast: French Reef is being culled from the stable while dropping from New York allowance company all the way down to this restricted (nw-2) $16,000 seller. If healthy, he’ll outrun this group but won’t offer much value at 8/5 on the morning line. Soul Reflection is a first-off-the-claim for an outfit that has ridiculously strong numbers with this angle. On pure form he’s not good enough (hence his 10-1 morning line) but D. Rodriquez has a way of moving them up.

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12.1.2020:

Betmix Keys to Handicapping Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park’s 2020-’21 Championship Meet springs from the gate Wednesday, Dec. 2 with its annual promise. From the Claiming Crown to the Pegasus World Cup to the Florida Derby, signature racing days join forces with a daily winter program second to none. We’ve dug into the Betmix database to help unearth some pertinent trends to get your Gulfstream Park Championship Meet off to a flying start.Blazing SaddlesThe Championship Meet’s fastest starters among jockeys the past 3 Decembers have been Luis Saez (91 wins, 22%) and Irad Ortiz Jr. (60 wins, 26%). That’s no big surprise. But year-‘round Florida pilot Emisael Jaramillo has had the most carryover success among the locals with 64 wins and a 20% strike rate. Jaramillo nets a $1.10 ROI for every $1 bet during the first month of the meet since 2017, topping Saez ($1.04) and Ortiz ($0.90). And keep a price eye out for Paco Lopez’s mounts. While he’s a solid 17% winner, he’s a fantastic $1.41 ROI for every $1 bet to start the season.Barns Worth BackingTrainer Todd Pletcher not surprisingly leads active trainers in December winners at Gulfstream the past 3 years, notching 36 scores at a strong 27% strike rate. But even so, he’s just a $0.85 return on every $1 bet. Note 26 of his 36 wins are with favorites, and his win percentage with favorites is a highly reliable 48%. But keep an eye on these less-frequent trainers: Victor Barboza (13 wins, 32%, $1.87 ROI for every $1 bet), Brendan Walsh (6 wins, 18%, $1.47 and 12: 5-5-2 with Tyler Gaffalione aboard), Graham Motion (6 wins, 22%, $2.10) and Juan Arias (5 wins, 24% and the whopping $5.94 ROI).Favorite FavoritesThe public betting choice wins 35% during December over the last 3 Championship Meets, a number slightly below the national average but pretty much on par. Jockeys who’ve performed best on favorites locally are Irad Ortiz Jr. (46%), John Velazquez (40%) and Luis Saez (40%). Trainers outperforming the average best include Mark Casse (50%), Victor Barboza (50%), Todd Pletcher (48%) and Saffie Joseph Jr. (47%). As for race classes, maiden claimers (39%) and allowance (38%) races were the only categories above the overall favorites’ average. Dirt favorites (38%) out-performed turf favorites (34%).Melting Pot MergersWith horses traveling south for the winter, the Championship Meet gathers a diverse cast geographically. Let’s look at the last 3 Decembers to kick off the meet. Gulfstream Park West runners own 247 wins, but only 10% success and an $0.81 ROI. Kentucky invaders (Churchill, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Turfway) won 81 races with a 17% strike rate and $0.92 ROI. NYRA shippers (Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga layoffs) have 74 wins, a 17% win rate and an $0.83 ROI. Delaware Park shippers scored 5 wins at 16% and a solid $0.94 ROI. New Jersey runners (Monmouth, Meadowlands) posted 15 wins with a 17% win rate and solid $0.95 ROI. But 9 of those 15 NJ winners came for since-suspended trainers Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis. Laurel shippers struggled at 8% and $0.51.Be sure to bet the entire Gulfstream Park Championship Meet with 1/ST BET and Xpressbet! 

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12.1.2020:

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.HeadlinesJaxon Traveler, impressive in 2 victories in 2 starts, headlines Saturday’s probables for the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship. Entries will be drawn Wednesday, as well as for the same-day Maryland Juvenile Fillies Championship … 2020 Pimlico Special winner Harper’s First Ride topped the $500,000 mark in career earnings with his Nov. 28 victory in the Richard Small Stakes … Nominations close Dec. 17 for the Dec. 26 Christmastide Stakes card that boasts $850,000 in purses over 8 races … Maryland-breds won 4 of the 6 open-company stakes on the Nov. 28 Fall Festival.Stronach 5Last week’s carryover Stronach 5 paid $68,683 to 7 winning tickets. The Dec. 4 Stronach 5 will be comprised of the following races:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:49Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:00Leg C – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:18Leg D – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:30Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 10 with an approximate post time of 5:001/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 31% winners.Best Lifetime SpeedBest Speed Last 3Best Speed Today’s TrackTrends Last Week-- Trainer Claudio Gonzalez had the only barn with more than 2 wins on the week, posting a solid 20: 5-4-1 mark. But all 5 winners were 6-5 or less odds, going 4-for-7 with favorites. Even at 25% wins, Gonzalez trainees only return $0.48 for every $1 bet.-- Trainer Lacey Gaudet made the most of limited tries with a 3: 2-0-1 record. Her winners returned $10 and $42 for a crazy $8.77 ROI for every $1 bet. Gaudet hit 25% during November with a $2.36 ROI.-- Trainer Gary Capuano won with both of his starters, scoring a $3 chalk and a $44 whopper in the process. His barn hit 24% in November with a $2.21 ROI for every $1 bet on the month.-- Apprentice jockey Crispin Alexander continued his ascension since the end of the Delaware Park season, going 14: 4-2-1 and posting a sharp $2.13 ROI for every $1 bet. His 4 victories were for 4 different trainers.-- Jockey Weston Hamilton had a huge week by his standards, 7: 3-2-2 overall with $22 and $48 winners (the riding hat trick coming Nov. 29). Hamilton pocketed a $5.29 ROI for every $1 bet on the week, and added a 10-1 runner-up – while riding for 7 different trainers.

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11.30.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (Nov. 23-29): Domestic Spending

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.October Nov. 23-29, 2020MVP: Domestic SpendingOwner: Klaravich StableTrainer: Chad BrownJockey: Joel RosarioPerformance: Chad Brown’s superb Del Mar swing included Domestic Spending winning a multiple-horse scrum to the wire in the Nov. 28 Grade 1 $303,000 Hollywood Derby. Rallying from 10th of 11, Domestic Spending made up more than 7 lengths to edge favorite Smooth Like Strait and fellow NYRA shipper Gufo. Domestic Spending posted one of four holiday weekend stakes victories on the west coast for Brown, who also hit paydirt with Viadera in the Grade 1 Matriarch, Fluffy Socks in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante and Orglandes in the Grade 3 Red Carpet.On Tap: Domestic Spending could be set up for a big 4-year-old season. Before that, Santa Anita's Dec. 26 Grade 2 Mathis Brothers Mile for 3-year-olds could be a destination if they choose to cut back the trip. The $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25 would be an awfully ambitious place to try elder horses for the first time. But the 1-3/16 miles and calendar spot would fit perfectly. With races like the Mac Diarmida and Pan American at Gulfstream in February and March at 11 and 12 furlongs, respectively, Domestic Spending might find middle distances at Tampa or Fair Grounds during the first quarter of 2020.Honorable Mentions: At Churchill Downs, Bodexpress, runner-up in the 2019 Grade 1 Florida Derby, got his signature victory Nov. 27 in the Grade 1 $500,000 Clark Handicap, knocking off a field that included ’19 Travers winner Code of Honor and 2020 Oaklawn Handicap victor By My Standards et al. Travel Column overcame a poor start and a strong effort from runner-up Clairiere to win the Nov. 28 Grade 2 $200,000 Golden Rod for 2-year-old fillies. The Brad Cox trainee stopped the clock nearly 3 lengths faster than the same-day Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club for the juvenile colts. Meanwhile, 6-year-old Cox stablemate Arklow scored his second big stakes of the season when winning Del Mar’s Grade 2 $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup on Nov. 27. Arklow shipped west to add to his Kentucky Turf Cup score in September. Hello Beautiful upped her local record to 6-for-6 at Laurel Park on the main track with a convincing, 3-length score Nov. 28 in the $100,000 Safely Kept Stakes. The Brittany Russell trainee easily topped Keeneland shippers Reagan’s Edge and Lady Rocket. Vertical Threat romped by more than 7 lengths in the Nov. 23 $200,000 Steel Valley Sprint at Mahoning Valley for California-based trainer Richard Baltas.

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11.30.2020:

Monday, November 30: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Pompano Park has an 8-race card set to go with the feature kicking off the action, an Open Handicap Trot with an $11,000 purse. The 0.50 Pick 4 begins in Race 5. The sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool with a 12% takeout, and it will be my focus.Last night, the driver with the hottest hands was John MacDonald with three wins. In turn the leading trainer on the card was Tee Wine who also made three trips to the winner's circle.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 52-Stormy Dude (5-1)-This is 3rd start off the bench. Broke stride and then had a big try last week. Camera shy 6-year-old is only 2-22 over the last 2 years but deserves respect in this spot.3-Bjanthony (20-1)-Took the long way around in last but kept coming. Shouldn't be close to 20-1 but could offer a nice price and old-timer can be in the hunt.4-Purpose Blue Chip (6/5)-Lightly raced 5-year-old deserves favoritism but is no bargain at this price. Hard to leave out but needs to be better than last start.5-Katkin And Coke (5/2)-This is one Plano trainee that didn't come off the bench on fire. Does fit with this group and has 4 wins in 17 starts here. Was bet hard in last and might be ready for a better effort.Race 62-Boli (3/2)-Drops after 2 even tries but 8-year-old was off since 9/12. Hennessey owns, trains, and drives, and might be bet down again. Could be ready for a winning effort and has taken 39 pictures in 88 races at the Pomp.6-Miss Flora (12-1)-Eight-year-old mare still likes to compete. Took the long way around in both local starts with the trainer aboard. Macomber takes the lines and will use at a price. Has won 9 of 56 at PPk and did bank over $64,000 in 2019.Race 71-Jack Rules (6-1)-With this post draw it's probably best to not overlook. Does step-up but winning right back could be a reality at a square price.2-Dragin The Wagon (6-1)-Beaten chalk also steps-up but gets some needed post relief. Should get the top or the 2 hole and 10-year-old could win for the 9th time in 24 tries at PPk.5-Keegan Ho (5-1)-Plano trainee is looking for 3rd straight. Does also step-up but so do 5 of the 8 in this field. Made it look easy in last and draws the same post here.Race 83-Stop Resistin (3-1)-Broke in 1st start at the Pomp and then was tightened up nicely at the same class last week and cashed a 3rd place check. Could be sitting on a big try but keep in mind was just claimed for $10k at PcD on 10/18.6-Bucketlist Hanover (5/2)-Steps-up after a gate to wire win from post 7. Makes 3rd start on Lasix and this guy can stay good for a while. Does like the track, winning 12 of 43 starts in south Florida.7-Judge Ken (5-1)-The Tee Wine barn was red-hot last night, and this 4-year-old drops to a more comfortable level.My Ticket Race 5) 2,3,4,5 Race 6) 2,6 Race 7) 1,2,5 Race 8) 3,6,7Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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11.29.2020:

Sunday, November 29: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Pompano Park has a 9-race card scheduled for this evening with the headliners being 2-year-old fillies in the Florida Stallion Stakes. The 0.50 Pick 4 begins in Race 6. The sequence has a $10,000 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-Gibbs (3-1)-This is the 3rd start back for this veteran and now Hennessey takes the lines. Drops to a spot to shine and 12-year-old may take 1st picture since July.4-When You Dance (8/5)-Morning line chalk was holding its own in Kentucky and now makes PPk debut. Has raced in 51 and change on the 5/8's and looks like a threat if doesn't need a start at the track.7-Captain Malicious (7/2)-Steps-up after getting on the engine and not looking back. Has the gate speed to get the top here and it's best to respect chances for a repeat.Race 73-Rockntouch (2-1)-Tried to wire the field last week and that didn't work as an odds-on favorite. Hennessey sticks and maybe tactics will change back and will look to come off cover.5-Grand Galop Semalu (15-1)-Closed nicely in last with a 55.4 back half but the pace was tepid. Looks worth a swing because this time the pace should be lively and Ingraham could come off cover with a better outcome.7-Bell I No (9/5)-Ships in from Phl and has banked >$102k this year but has not raced since 11/8. Does have good gate speed to be forwardly placed but has only raced at the Pomp once and didn't hit the board. Should be a player if ready for a top effort and will probably be bet hard.Race 84-Maxdaddy Blue Chip (4-1)-This will be the 3rd start at the PPk and might be ready to bring a big try. Has been racing from well off the pace and could be ready for a more aggressive drive.7-Mach West (3-1)-Has had trouble beating Ideal Feeling in last 2 starts but that's not an issue tonight. Hennessey should find a way to get a close-up seat and may have found a beatable field.Race 97-Caviart Regan (8/5)-Steps-up after getting to the point by the half from post 10 and then cruised home at 4/5. Hennessey should be able to work a trip and appears to be a player versus this crew.8-Dash Of Danger (5-1)-Had an even effort in an Open Handicap and was off for 3 weeks before that start. Just missed beating the $30k at HoP and should fit with these. Doesn't show a start at the Pomp but have to believe barn knows the smaller oval won't be an issue.My TicketRace 6) 3,4,7 Race 7) 3,5,7 Race 8) 4,7 Race 9) 7,8Total Ticket Cost) $18 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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11.29.2020:

Sunday, November 29: Jeff Siegel's National Best Plays

It took a very good colt (Idol) to deny this colt a debut win at Churchill Downs in late September but with that race under his belt this speedy son of Hard Spun would not be denied in his most recent outing at Belmont Park last month, with both outings producing strong speed figures. Today, the B. Cox-trained sophomore moves into first-level allowance company while stretching out to a one-turn mile, and given the projected pace flow he seems certain to be the controlling speed without any early pressure. Given that type of trip, we’re expecting him to score again, and at 5/2 on the morning line we’ll make him a win play and rolling exotic single.Aqueduct Sixth Race – Post Time: 2:15 ET9 – Third Draft (6-1)Was given an easy run in her debut when rallying from far back to be a fast-finishing third sprinting over the Belmont Park turf course last month and today should get serious with that bit of experience behind her and this stretch out in trip. Maidens from Shug’s barn almost always improve (21% with a strong flat-bet profit), so we’re expecting this daughter of Curlin to step forward in a big way. Listed at 6-1 on the morning line and offering considerable value at the price, she’s a solid win play and rolling exotic single.Del Mar First Race – Post Time: 12:00 PT9 – Superstition (4-1)Progressive daughter of Ghostzapper graduated over this course and distance two weeks ago with a career top performance, one that should allow her to successfully handle this one-level class hike despite the quick turnaround. The R. Mandella-trained filly projects to draft into a comfortable pace stalking trip and then have every chance to seal the deal from the quarter pole home. F. Prat stays aboard and knows her well, so at 4-1 on the morning line let’s make her a win play and rolling exotic key.Del Mar Third Race – Post Time: 12:59 PT10 – Du Jour (6-1)Nice 2-year-old prospect is bred for turf (Temple City) and makes his debut over a mile on grass in this wide-open maiden juvenile miler that seems within his capabilities. Has done every in the morning like a very nice type for B. Baffert, gets M. Smith, and should be plenty fit following a strong, healthy work tab. He’s 6-1 on the morning line and we suspect he’s much better than that, so let’s try him in the win pool and as a rolling exotic single.Del Mar Fifth Race – Post Time: 1:59 PT4 – Anaconda (7/2)Loved his debut maiden win over the local lawn three weeks ago, and while he’s stretching out, moving up to face winners and giving away loads of experience to his seasoned rivals this son of Pioneerof the Nile appears to be a cut above the norm. The R. Mandella-trained colt has trained very well since raced, retains D. Van Dyke, and projects to be on the lead or in a comfortable stalking position throughout. He’s 7/2 on the morning line and at that price he’s quite playable.

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11.28.2020:

Saturday, November 28: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, there is an 11-race card scheduled at Cal Expo. The 0.20 Pick 4 begins in Race 8 and it will be my focus.The driver with the hottest hands on Friday was Lemoyne Svendsen with 3 trips to the winner's circle. The leading conditioner on the night was Robert Corbin with 2 wins.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 87-Its Pointless (9/5)-Qualifier on 11/15 was fine and did win 4 straight at CalX back in February and March. Kennedy is back aboard tonight, and the Graham barn has started out well with 2 wins in 7 starts.8-Bobs Time (5/2)-Drew off by 4 1/2 lengths on a "good" track in CalX debut last weekend. Should be battling the morning line chalk for top honors and having a race at the track is an edge.Race 93-Lincoln (5-1)-Nine-year-old doesn't win on a regular basis but this is a soft spot and does have a race at the track. Doesn't like an off track (1-35) so last week's line doesn't mean much. Kennedy is in the bike and will look for better.4-Stanhope (3-1)-Not in love with the 3-1 morning line but HoP invader should fit with this bunch. Has never raced at CalX and is only 5 for 38 over the past 2 years. Hard to dismiss in a race without a standout, and hopefully won't be over bet.5-Fly Away (6-1)-Comes off a pair of qualifiers and 11-year-old can beat this bunch if comes up with a top effort. Usually is in the hunt at this class and draws well.6-Fox Valley B Gump (4-1)-Tuned-up last week versus the $6k claimers and came 3rd on an-off track. This spot makes more sense and may try to blast out and not look back.8-Sin Machqueen (6-1)-Was racing against $4k claimers at Aces and did well in the fall. Raced last week versus $6k claimers and was hung to the half and folded. Should be better tonight and this post will help the price.Race 102-Casey N Grinegan (6-1)-Took the long way around last week on an off-track with a 56.4 back half to take a picture and now faces better. That was the 1st start since 10/4 and has only recorded 1 win in 14 tries on a wet surface.4-Brooklyn Moonshine (15-1)-This one is worth a swing at this price. Tuned-up against Open III company last week. Drops to a better spot and Plano is between the pipes.5-Lakota Law (3-1)-Here is the morning line chalk, is 1-17 at CalX and has not raced since 10/3. This was Svendsen's choice over the 3 and will use but look to others was well.9-Nightgirl (9/1)-Bertrand trainee has beaten $7k claimers at Aces and raced well in a tune-up here last week. The post is a challenge but has been in the money in 11 of 20 at CalX with 5 wins. Also leads the field in earnings ($24k) with 7 wins in 2020.Race 115-Paloma Ruiz (9/5)-Camera shy 4-year-old has beaten better at Aces and has had a race over the track. Could be driven aggressively and should like the company.6-Street Parade (2-1)-Raced well last week in 1st CalX appearance. Roland takes the lines and makes 2nd start for new barn. May leave and there isn't much gate speed in this race. Could control the pace and not get caught down the lane.My Ticket Race 8) 7,8 Race 9) 3,4,5,6,8 Race 10) 2,4,5,9 Race 11) 5,6Total Ticket Cost) $16 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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11.28.2020:

Jeff Siegel's National Best Plays - 11/28/20

Churchill Downs Second Race – Post Time: 1:28 ET7 – Sylvia Q (4-1)Ran quite well in her debut when finishing second with a better than par speed figure in a middle distance turf miler last month, and if she can transfer that form to the main track the daughter of Violence can earn her diploma in the maiden router for juveniles. With a nice recent breeze over the local dirt track, the P. Bauer-trained filly seems likely to produce a forward move, and in a field without much speed she projects to be on the lead or within striking range throughout. There’s a chance for a decent gamble at or near her morning line of 4-1.*Churchill Downs Fourth Race – Post Time: 2:27 ET2 – Dolder Grand (7/2)Juvenile colt returns to the maiden ranks after finishing a willing third in the Summer S.-G1 at Woodbine in September that produced a significant rise in the speed figure department following a promising maiden run. Certainly bred for dirt (Candy Ride) and training very well over the local surface since being shipped to the States, the M. Casse-trained colt stretches out to two-turns, picks up R. Santana, Jr., and is drawn comfortably inside to ensure a ground-saving trip. There’s good value to found if you can get close to his morning line of 7/2.*Santa Anita Seventh Race – Post Time: 3:30 PT8 – Anothertwistafate (4-1)Returned off a long layoff in winning form when capturing the Longacres Mile-G3 very impressively in mid-September and today makes his first start on grass and his first since being transferred to the P. Miller barn. He’s certainly is bred to enjoy turf, had a very impressive workout over the local lawn just six days ago and picks up J. Rosario, so we’re expecting a career top effort from the son of Scat Daddy. At 4-1 on the morning line he’s worth strong consideration in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.

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11.28.2020:

Jerry Shottenkirk: My Pick 6 Ticket Sunday at Del Mar

Del Mar’s season ends Sunday, which means it empties out it Pick Six pool. Yes, it’s a mandatory payout for the sequence that begins in the fourth race and ends with the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes in the ninth. If fortunate enough to be alive through five on this $72 suggested ticket, Sharing will be the one to get home in the Matriarch. She’s the only single on this ticket and could bring it all together, provided the earlier competitors hold up their end. Sharing won the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last year at Santa Anita and has been sharp in al three starts this year. It’s a strong field, but this Speightstown filly just doesn’t do anything wrong, and her trainer Graham Motion has had great fortune with turf distaffers. Here’s a look at the sequence and horses used on the suggested ticket: Race 5 (5 p.m. ET, optional claiming)MAESTRO DEARTE has mostly finished with interest at a higher level. Can benefit from a solid pace.JASIKAN was third in the G3 Wickerr here last year and drops to his lowest level since arrived from Ireland in 2018.ANACONDA has only one start, but it was a dandy as he pulled clear against maidens. Bred to run a long way and Richard Mandella aims to continue his tremendous season, as he’s won 7 of 15 starts for 47 percent.LIBERAL has the ability to make up ground and gets Hall of Famer Mike Smith aboard.Race 6 (5:30 p.m. ET, claiming)PEPE TONO has been against much tougher than this and ought to show some serious improvement on this class drop.POLAR WIND was on the board in two of three against better and can move up with this step down the class ladder.Race 7 (6 p.m. ET, G3-Cecil B. DeMille Stakes)EBEKO makes his follow-up start to a ninth-place finish in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and should be able to resume good form. He was second in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes in September. He has faced much better than he battles today.WOOTTON ASSET won his first two starts in France and is still looking for his first U.S. win in what will be his third start. He lost the Laurel Futurity (at Pimlico) by a nose and then was fourth in the Awad Stakes at Belmont. He has been involved in slow-developing races can get a much better pace setup here.Race 8 (6:30 p.m. ET, maidens)BIG STRETCH was third two back and she returns to a sprint after a pair of two-turn turf appearances. Likely to be a late threat in her return to a shorter race.OUR MISS MILLIE was mid-pack in her only start and it’s a good sign that Hall of Fame Mike Smith returns for Round Two. Gets a little more ground and has a good chance to make a good charge.ANNIE GRAHAM gets Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard for her first career start and recently had a good five-furlong work.Race 9 (7 p.m. ET, G3-Matriach Stakes)SHARING returns to California, where here only start in the Golden State was a 1 1-4-length win in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Fillies Turf, where she pulled away on the course at Santa Anita. She returned to racing when she won the Tepin at Churchill Downs in May, was second in the G1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and won her return to the states when she cruised in the G2 Edgewood at Churchill. One of the world’s best turf fillies can keep up her winning ways and take her record to six wins from eight starts.Race 10 (7:25 p.m. ET, optional claiming)RUTHIES RACER broke her maiden on her first try and has improved considerably in each. Should enjoy the six furlongs. Takes on the boys.NONE OF THE ABOVE was in stakes races in his last two and takes a step down in class. Serious late threat.SWIFT AS I AM was third at this level in his second stakes and has enough speed to get in good position from his post.My TicketRace 5) #1 Maestro Dearte, #2 Jasikan, #4 Anaconda, #11 Liberal.Race 6) #4 Pepe Tono, #7 Polar Wind.Race 7) #1 Ebeko, #11 Wootton Asset.Race 8) #2 Big Stretch, #11 Our Miss Millie, #12 Annie Graham.Race 9) #3 Sharing.Race 10) #4 Ruthies Racer, #7 None Above the Law, #9 Swift as I Am.Total Ticket Cost) 1,2,4,11/4,7/1,11/2,11,12/3/4,7,9 = ($72) for $0.50

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11.28.2020:

Saturday, November 28: Gulfstream Park Rainbow 6 Mandatory Payout Picks

Saturday is closing day of the Gulfstream Park West, which means a mandatory payout in the Rainbow 6. The carryover heading into closing weekend was more than $300,000. The sequence on Races 5-10 will attract a multi-million dollar pool and create potentially boxcar payoffs for those lucky enough to take down the 20-cent base wager. 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. Race 5 (2:31PM ET) // claiming // 1-1/16 miles (turf) 11 – Keep Quiet (23% W)7 – Twenty Four Seven (15% W)1 – Nacho Papa (13% W)4 – Ice Tea (10% W) Notable: Favorites have won 46% in turf claiming races at the 2020 GPW meet. Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. has the top 2 choices, according to 1/ST BET. The 23% win rate for Keep Quiet matches the highest in the Rainbow 6, and the 8-point spread among the top pair is the co-largest in the sequence. Race 6 (3:00PM ET) // maiden claiming // 7 furlongs 3 – La Gata Negra (23% W)10 – Maricopa (18% W)7 – Queen Letizia (16% W)4 – Captured Light (9% W) Notable: Favorites win an expected 35% in maiden claiming dirt races at the GPW meet. Madame Moon has been beaten favorite in her last 2 at short odds, and the 1/ST BET algorithm dismisses her chances today at only 7%, perhaps providing overlays elsewhere. The 23% rating for La Gata Negra matches the highest in the Rainbow 6 today. Race 7 (3:29PM ET) // claiming // 1-1/8 miles (turf) 4 – Robin Team Show (15% W)1 – Yadi (15% W)15 – Cark (9% W)9 – Bad Boy E.J. (9% W) Notable: Favorites have won 46% in turf claiming races at the 2020 GPW meet. But even identifying the favorite here is not an open-and-shut case. The 1/ST BET app tabs this the most difficult race to decipher. The 16 entrants, including also-eligibles, have 9 totals wins among them in 2020. This will be the logical race to spread your options. Race 8 (3:58PM ET) // claiming // 6 furlongs 6 – Rock With Robin (23% W)4 – Include the Beast (18% W)3 – Hokkaido (14% W)1 – Mak Hero (11% W) Notable: Favorites are an expected 37% in maiden claiming dirt races at the GPW meet. The top 3 choices here by 1/ST BET all hail from barns that are going very well at the moment. Consider the trio strong, and if you can pare down from there, this is a place to minimize the ticket cost some. Race 9 (4:27PM ET) // claiming // 1 mile (turf) 11 – Projected (21% W)3 – Honey Dont (15% W)8 – Create Again (15% W)5 – My Point Exactly (12% W) Notable: Favorites have won 46% in turf claiming races at the 2020 GPW meet. Top 1/ST BET choice Projected as well as My Point Exactly both go for hot trainer Carlos David. Surprising to see Monmouth shipper Macagone lightly regarded by the algorithm at 10%; seems like a player on paper and should be included to this eye. Race 10 (4:56PM ET) // maiden claiming // 7-1/2 furlongs (turf) 1 – On Duty (22% W)3 – Call Bros (14% W)12 – Oxburger (7% W)13 – Big Perm (7% W) Notable: Favorites slightly underperform at 33% in maiden claiming turf races at the GPW meet. The 8-point spread among the top pair is the co-largest in the sequence as On Duty drops in class and comes south for the first time. Several of the top contenders are on the also-eligible list, so the separation from On Duty and Call Bros may be even greater to the remainder when the field finalizes. Consider moving up Karamojo to the consideration.

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11.27.2020:

Friday, November 27: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has a Black Friday 13-race card set to go this evening. The 0.50 Early Pick 4 begins in Race 6. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Spectre (5-1)-Comes off a win and now bumps up but hasn't raced since 11/13. Has won before when skipping a start and Dunn sticks. Using instead of the two program chalks that have post 10 and 8.4-Silvermass Volo (9/2)-McCarthy steers and that won't hurt. In from PcD and hasn't won all year but for the most part has been facing better. It's not easy to read this race, but if the 7 and 10 get out the gate without going off stride there should be a lively pace. That could work well for this 8-year-old because he likes to roll late.Race 74-Questichap (5-1)-Shows a break on 11/20 at Phl and has raced from the back in the last 2 starts here without any issues. Trotted the 2nd half in 55.1 and could be ready for a more aggressive drive. Has been a winner in 3 of 5 at the Big M and will look for a big try tonight.5-Cover Girl (3-1)-Makes 2nd start in the Takter barn and 1st on Lasix. Just missed last week as a 3/2 choice and Gingras should put in play early.6-Beyond Ordinary (7/2)-Merlander trainee is often in the hunt but is only 3 for 26 lifetime and has 1 win in 6 tries here. But has been competitive in Big M races and might be meeting a beatable field.Race 83-Exotic Dancer (7/2)-Dave Miller opts to drive #8 an Alagna pupil and Dunn takes a spin. Not concerned about the driver change and Jen B trainee has grinded out 9 wins in 22 starts this year. Barn can keep them good for a while and this mare won last week at this class.4-Arnie's Angel (6-1)-This is a game mare but is slow off the gate and trip dependent. There is some speed inside and the 8 should be leaving as well. This race may set up for a closer.8-Odds On Naples (3-1)-This will be only the 4th start this year, not sure why but there have been issues. Has qualified 4 times at the Big M since 9/19 including 2 times this month with the last timed in 152.3 with a 28 second last quarter. Looking for an aggressive steer and is a threat if fires hot off the bench.9-Alkippe (9/2)-Had the 1-hole on 11/13 and came 2nd after a tough trip. Usually races off cover so could find a trip from out here and is another who can benefit from fast fractions.Race 91-Justlikehim (6-1)-Not sure leaving from the rail helps but usually finds a way to be in the mix at the wire. The barn has been doing well in the past 30 days. Using in a race without a standout and will play against the morning line chalk #4.5-Henderson Seelster (7/2)-Often works in Philly but has 4 wins in 21 starts in East Rutherford. Andy Miller knows well and will likely try to get on the engine. There isn't much gate speed in this race and could be one soft quarter from picture time.9-Fashion Creditor (9/2)-Zeron gets the drive this evening and will bank on him getting a close-up seat. Did leave last week from post 10 to get the point and faded down the lane. Not the kind of post relief you would hope but this is a better starting spot. Has been facing tougher and Big M record is good. Beware, if can be put in striking range.My TicketRace 6) 1,4 Race 7) 4,5,6 Race 8) 3,4,8,9 Race 9) 1,5,9Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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11.27.2020:

Friday, November 27: Jeff Siegel's National Best Plays

Aqueduct Race 5 – Post Time: 1:46 ET4 – Basquiat (4-1)Though he could only manage to finish second as the even money favorite in a recent allowance race to subsequent stakes winner Ever Dangerous, this son of American Pharoah ran well enough in defeat to indicate he can make amends in this listed stakes race restricted to 3-year-olds. In a race that probably will be slowly run early, the C. Brown-trained colt needs to be allowed to show his natural speed (he wasn’t last time) and if ridden with more aggression today he should be able to show his best stuff. At 4-1 on the morning line he's worth a gamble.Aqueduct Eighth Race – Post Time: 3:15 ET5 – Thankful (4-1)Improving with every start, this daughter of American Pharoah faces her stiffest task to date in this year’s renewal of the Comely S.-G3 over nine furlongs but if she continues to improve she could easily be up to the task. Most recently the T. Pletcher-trained filly captured a first-level allowance race in late September with a career top speed figure and then was scratched as a main-track only entrant in the Winter Memories S. on turf two weeks ago. With proven winning form over this distance and a healthy series of recent works, she offers wagering value at or near her morning line of 4-1.Del Mar Seventh Race – Post Time: 3:30 PT4- Say the Word (5-1)Appears to have found his niche as a turf marathoner after registering a career top victory in the 12-furlong Northern Dancer S.-G1 at Woodbine last month and arrives for his California debut in peak form for new trainer P. D’Amato. The long-winded son of More Than Ready has appeared very sharp in a pair of local breezes, picks up F. Prat, and with a little help up front should be capable of proving superior when the pressure is turned on from the quarter pole to the wire. In a contentious edition of the Hollywood Turf Cup-G1, the veteran gelding looks appealing at 6-1 on the morning line.

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11.26.2020:

Thursday, November 26: Jeff Siegel's Best Plays

Fair Grounds Fourth Race – Post Time: 1:31 CT 6 – Ours Forever (6-1) Short on pedigree but was visually quite impressive breezing a quarter mile in a blistering 21 2/5 seconds over the Timonium bull ring in the preview session of the Fasig-Tipton spring sale and then brought $90,000 through the ring, a rather impressive figure for a Louisiana-bred daughter of Half Ours. The recent local tab hardly jumps off the page but we suspect that this juvenile filly from a highly-capable outfit that boasts strong stats with first-timers is extremely live and well-meant. At 6-1 on the morning line she’s a win play but might actually offer better value in the rolling exotics. Del Mar Fourth Race – Post Time: 12:30 PT 4 – Applecross (Ire) (7/2) After breaking her maiden at first asking early in her 2-year-old campaign, this Irish-bred filly has faced nothing but tough and contentious stakes competition while acquitting herself reasonably well, and today she receives much welcomed class relief while dropping into a first-level allowance event. The R. Baltas-trained import makes a pivotal jockey switch to J. Rosario, gets an extra half-furlong to work with, and looks capable of producing the last run with good racing luck and decent early fractions to complement her late kick. At 7/2 on the morning line she’s a win play and strong key in rolling exotic play. Fair Grounds Sixth Race – Post Time: 2:33 CT 2 – Proxy (4-1) Was best when beaten when a troubled runner-up (beaten a neck while more than four clear of the rest) in a very promising debut race over a mile in an off-the-turf affair at Monmouth Park last month and seems sure to improve for a barn that hits at a strong 21% with second-time starters. The son of Tapit from the top race mare Panty Raid broke slowly, raced in heavy traffic most of the way, then got clear and closed resolutely but ran out of room in a race that earned a good speed figure. He’s assured a ground-saving trip from the rail, so at 4-1 on the morning line the M. Stidham-trained colt should offer plenty of wagering value. Churchill Downs 11th race – Post Time: 4:22 ET 6 – Pirate Rick (8-1) This lightly-raced colt is moving up from a maiden $50,000 sprint to this much tougher first-level allowance affair and must negotiate an extra half-furlong so the task won’t be easy, but we’ll give him a legitimate chance to wire the field and spring an upset. After shipping in from Prairie Meadows the son of Liam’s Map left his previous form far behind with a dominating gate-to-wire score while earning a speed figure that makes him dangerous despite the class hike, and as the projected controlling speed once again the D. Von Hemel-trained sophomore is worth a play at 8-1 on the morning line. Del Mar Sixth Race – Post Time: 1:30 PT 2 – Never Be Enough (GB) Returns to a mini-marathon trip after an impressive score in the Kathryn Crosby S. over at a mile over the local lawn last month and because she was a stayer (and hurdler) overseas we suspect the longer distance won’t be an issue if she receives her preferred patient ride. The Northern California-based mare has worked extremely well in the interim to remain right on edge and can score right back in this year’s edition of the Red Carpet H.-G3 if she switches off early and finds cover. She’s a gamble at or near her morning line of 4-1. Del Mar Seventh Race – Post Time: 2:00 PT 10 – Octopus (3-1) Has much in his favor in this restricted (nw-3) $20,000 claiming seller for older horses and should have every chance to regain his winning form over a main track that has produced both of his career victories. Back at his claim level with a cozy outside draw and a recent bullet workout at Del Mar two weeks ago, the son of Shackleford retains A. Cedillo, who has the option of popping and going or stalking and pouncing. Additionally, the sophomore sprinter has a clear edge in the speed figure department so there’s value at his morning line of 5/2 if you can get it.

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11.25.2020:

Tiz the Law No. 1 Pick in Fantasy Draft

Our horse racing fantasy league held its annual draft this past Monday. It’s called the Fantasy Stable League (FSL). Daily Racing Form handicapper Michael Hammersly started this league all the way back in 1986. I joined it in 1990 when I was working for the DRF. I have been the league’s commissioner since 2000. How long did Monday’s draft take? It began at 6 a.m. PT and concluded about nine hours later. This fantasy league consists of nine members. Each member drafts eight horses. Our league begins each year on Thanksgiving and continues through the final Breeders’ Cup race the following year. With nine members, there were nine horses drafted in the first round. Even though Tiz the Law finished sixth as the 3-1 favorite in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on Nov. 7, he was first pick in the first round. No. 1 pick Tiz the Law is a four-time graded stakes winner in 2020 (Grade III Holy Bull Stakes, Grade I Florida Derby, Grade I Belmont Stakes and Grade I Travers Stakes). In terms of the nine horses drafted in the first round of Monday’s draft, they have won 35 of 43 races combined. Only races in the United States, in Canada, on the Dubai World Cup card and the Saudi Cup count. The Saudi Cup is considered a Grade I race for our point-earning purposes. This is how our scoring system works: --A Grade I race is worth 12, 6 and 4 points for first, second and third. --A Grade II race is worth 8, 4 and 2 for first, second and third. --A Grade III race is worth 6, 3 and 1 for first, second and third. --An ungraded stakes race is worth 4 for first. --All other races are worth 2 for first. --All Canadian races are downgraded one level, except the Woodbine Mile, Northern Dancer Turf, Canadian International and E.P. Taylor. --The most valuable bonus races are the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic (36, 18, 12). The other bonus races (24, 12, 8) are the Apple Blossom, Kentucky Oaks, Met Mile, Sword Dancer Stakes, Diana Stakes and all of the other Breeders’ Cup races. Since the beginning of this league, the Arlington Million and Beverly D. were bonus races. But they were not run this year. With Arlington Park’s situation rather shaky these days, I made the decision to make the Sword Dancer and Diana bonus races in 2021 rather than the Arlington Million and Beverly D. Each league member can make two claims per month along with two “super claims.” When someone makes a claim, they must drop one horse from their stable. One “super claim,” which is simply an additional claim to the two each month, can be made through the traditional day of the Belmont Stakes in June. The other “super claim” can be made after that. BloodHorse’s Byron King won the 2019 FSL title. This was his sixth FSL title and fourth in the last five years. King won the 2020 FSL title without winning any of the bonus races. Sophomore stars Tiz the Law and Swiss Skydiver were major contributors to King’s title. Tiz the Law earned 60 FSL points after he was taken in the draft at No. 2. (Maximum Security was the No. 1 pick.) On May 17 this year, King claimed Swiss Skydiver, who went on to earn 37 FSL points. As for the draft held this past Monday, for the first time the trainer who had the most horses taken was Brad Cox. There were 10 Cox-trained horses drafted, followed by Chad Brown with eight and Bob Baffert and Steve Asmussen with seven apiece. These have been the leading trainers in terms of horses drafted going back to 2016: Year Trainer (Horses Drafted) 2021 Brad Cox (10), Chad Brown (8) 2020 Chad Brown (11), Bob Baffert (7) 2019 Chad Brown (12), Bob Baffert (11) 2018 Bob Baffert (11), Chad Brown (9) 2017 Chad Brown (11), Bob Baffert (8) 2016 Chad Brown (9), Todd Pletcher (7) The leading sire for the 2021 draft was Speightstown. He sired five horses taken (Charlatan, Nashville, Astute, Performer and Sharing). Four of the first 11 horses drafted are by Speightstown. Speightstown also is the paternal grandsire of six horses drafted (Red Flag, Firenze Fire, Finite, Bonny South, Sun Path and Jaxon Traveler). Two sires each had four horses drafted: Into Mischief (Life Is Good, Highly Motivated, Gamine and Dayoutoftheoffice) and Munnings (Finite, Bonny South, Sun Path and Jaxon Traveler). The order for the draft held this past Monday was determined by the reverse order of this year’s final standings. This meant that I had the No. 5 pick in the first round. Here, in order, were the 72 Thoroughbreds drafted Monday (my selections are capitalized): 1. Tiz the Law 2. Life Is Good 3. Monomoy Girl 4. Charlatan 5. ESSENTIAL QUALITY I was thrilled to get Essential Quality at No. 5. I claimed him prior to his win in the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 3. He then remained undefeated in three starts by capturing the Grade I BC Juvenile at that same venue on Nov. 6. I thought that I did not have any chance to get Essential Quality at No. 5. I was thinking I’d take Life Is Good if he happened to be available. If Life Is Good was gone, I’d probably take Nashville. But, by gosh, Essential Quality was still there on the board when the draft got to me at No. 5. I did mull it over whether to take Essential Quality or Gamine. But the mulling last only a few seconds before I snapped up Essential Quality. No doubt what helped me get Essential Quality at No. 5 was the 9 1/2-length victory by the Baffert-trained Life Is Good at Del Mar the day before our draft. Off that dazzling debut, Life Is Good was taken at No. 2. As I said, after having Essential Quality in my FSL stable this year, I did not think I would be able to get him back for 2021. So, welcome home, Essential Quality! Essential Quality is the 8-1 favorite in William Hill’s odds for the 2021 Kentucky Derby. He also is the 10-1 morning-line favorite among individual horses for this week’s Pool 1 of Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW). Life Is Good is the 12-1 second favorite at William Hill. Life Is Good is the 15-1 co-second favorite with Highly Motivated in the KDFW. Wagering for Pool 1 of the KDFW opens Thursday and closes Sunday at 6 p.m. ET. 6. Nashville 7. Highly Motivated 8. Astute 9. Simply Ravishing 10. Princess Noor 11. Performer 12. Red Flag 13. Swiss Skydiver 14. GAMINE I was beyond ecstatic to get Gamine at No. 14. This is the 32nd year that I have been drafting horses in this fantasy league. No matter how it turns out, I would say that getting Gamine at No 14 is the best draft pick I have ever made in the 32 years. I thought Gamine would be taken somewhere from No. 1 to No. 5. If Essential Quality had not been available at No. 5, I definitely would have taken Gamine. When the draft had reached No. 13 and Gamine had not been taken yet, I thought how horrible it was going to be to come within one spot of getting her. When Swiss Skydiver was taken at No. 13 (which, by the way, is what I feel was a darn good selection at that point in the draft), I was overjoyed. Baffert has called Gamine “a superstar.” I think we’ve only scratched the surface as to what this filly can accomplish. It’s been said that she is a possibility for Santa Anita’s Grade I La Brea Stakes on Dec. 26. Needless to say, I would love to see her run in that race. But even if she does not go in the La Brea, to say that I am excited about Gamine’s future would be a gigantic understatement. 15. Code of Honor 16. Tamahere 17. Maxfield 18. Malathaat 19. Laccario 20. Jolie Olimpica 21. Clairiere 22. Jackie’s Warrior 23. BY MY STANDARDS Essential Quality won’t be running anytime soon. Neither will Gamine, unless she does go in the La Brea. Consequently, my strategy here was to draft someone who could possibly get me some points right away. I’ve learned the hard way that one can dig oneself into a great big early hole if too many horses drafted do not run right away. In terms of horses running right away at this spot in the draft, I opted for By My Standards in Friday’s Clark Handicap. This is a Grade I race that’s worth 12-6-4 points. Sure, I would have preferred to have Code of Honor. Yes, I could have taken Code of Honor at No. 14. But there is no way I would take Code of Honor instead of Gamine. Code of Honor then was taken at No. 15. He is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the Clark. By My Standards is the 4-1 second choice. I am hoping that By My Standards can hit the board and possibly even win. Looking beyond the Clark, I think that By My Standards is the sort who could be a pretty good point earner throughout 2021. Though he finished a disappointing eighth in the BC Classic, I like the fact that he was able to reel off four consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures this year (102, 102, 103, 102). 24. Happy Saver 25. Smooth Like Strait 26. Vequest 27. Keepmeinmind 28. Firenze Fire 29. Sharing 30. King Guillermo 31. Finite 32. BONNY SOUTH Here again, my strategy was to draft someone to possibly get some points right away. Our league commences Thursday. Bonny South is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in Thursday’s Grade II Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs. By taking her, two of my first four draft picks are trained by Cox. Long-term, Bonny South looks like someone who could possibly be in our first bonus race of 2021, the Apple Blossom Stakes. Another possibility is Bonny South runs a disappointing race Thursday and soon gets replaced. We shall see. 33. Newspaperofrecord 34. Anothertwistafate 35. Arklow 36. Speaker’s Corner 37. Gufo 38. Flavius 39. Independence Hall 40. Domestic Spending 41. MUCHO GUSTO I debated between Mucho Gusto, Decorated Invader, Dayoutoftheoffice and Girl Daddy. What made me go for Mucho Gusto is I think there’s a good chance that he will use Santa Anita’s Grade II San Antonio Stakes on Dec. 26 as a springboard to Gulfstream Park’s Grade I Pegasus Stakes on Jan. 23. He is a quality horse who is fresh, plus I don’t think there will be much in the San Antonio. Mucho Gusto won this year’s Pegasus by 4 1/2 lengths in the best performance of his career, which shows he likes that track. The downside is his main goal is to again run in the Group I, $20 million Saudi Cup next year. He finished fourth in the inaugural Saudi Cup this year. But the main thing right now is I’m hoping he can get me points in the San Antonio and Pegasus. I thought maybe, just maybe, Decorated Invader and/or Dayoutoftheoffice and/or Girl Daddy would still be available when I made my next pick at No. 50. I really had my eye on Dayoutoftheoffice to get a 2-year-old filly. If not her, I was hoping to get Girl Daddy. Unfortunately, Decorated Invader, Dayoutoftheoffice and Girl Daddy all would be taken before I picked at No. 50. Ouch! 42. Decorated Invader 43. Girl Daddy 44. Classier 45. Hot Rod Charlie 46. Fire At Will 47. Imperador 48. One Bad Boy 49. Dayoutoftheoffice 50. SHEDARESTHEDEVIL Well, that really hurt when Dayoutoftheoffice was taken at No. 49, especially with Decorated Invader and Girl Daddy also off the board. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes when one is drafting. So, now what to do? I took another Cox-trained runner here, Shedaresthedevil. Thus, three of my first six draft picks are trained by Cox. Why did I choose Shedaresthedevil? I picked her mainly because the bonus-race Apple Blossom is on her agenda. Heck, I don’t think it’s too bad at No. 50 to get a filly who was good enough to win the Grade I Kentucky Oaks by defeating both Swiss Skydiver (the No. 13 pick in the draft) and Gamine (the No. 14 pick in the draft). 51. Sun Path 52. Halladay 53. Aunt Pearl 54. Ten for Ten 55. Spirit Animal 56. Orglandes 57. Millefeuille 58. Viadera 59. BLOWOUT I was looking to pick up a horse for either of Del Mar’s Grade I races this weekend, Saturday’s Hollywood Derby or Sunday’s Matriarch. When we were drafting Monday, post positions already had been drawn for the Hollywood Derby, which meant I knew the 14 horses entered in it. But anybody I wanted for that race already was gone by this point. Post positions for the Matriarch would not be drawn until Thursday. I took a chance and drafted Blowout at No. 59, hoping that she will be one of Brown’s Matriarch runners. If I guessed wrong, I can go ahead and use a claim soon to replace her. 60. Caddo River 61. Jaxon Traveler 62. Travel Column 63. Shared Sense 64. Envoutante 65. Idol 66. Say the Word 67. Speech 68. SHANCELOT I never did get a 2-year-old filly. I just have to hope that I will be able to claim a good one on down the road. I was planning to go ahead and take Envoutante here, even though I already have Bonny South. They both are entered in Thursday’s Grade II Falls City Handicap. Envoutante is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. But this plan went out the window when Envoutante was taken at No. 64. I decided to take a shot here in the eighth and final round with Shancelot. He has not raced since finishing second to Mitole in the Grade I BC Sprint at Santa Anita in 2019. Now trained by Asmussen, Mitole has had three recent workouts in New Orleans. Shancelot once posted a 121 Beyer Speed Figure. He recorded a 110 Beyer when runner-up to Mitole in the BC Sprint. In the 32 years of fantasy drafts I’ve been in, I have drafted 256 horses. Of the 32 horses I’ve ever taken in the final round, Shancelot is the first to have recorded a Beyer Speed Figure as high as 121. In other words, regardless of how it turns out, I’ve made a lot worse final round selections than this one! 69. Mind Control 70. Aurelius Maximus 71. Thousand Words 72. Dennis’ Moment  

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11.25.2020:

$91K Stronach 5 Carryover Analysis

The holiday weekend’s best bet is Friday’s Stronach 5, where a $91,481.74 carryover awaits horseplayers. The low 12% takeout, $1 minimum bet matches a trio of races from Maryland’s Laurel Park and Gulfstream Park West in Florida. You can bet the Stronach 5 online and on mobile, including 1/ST BET and Xpressbet.(Leg A) Laurel Park Race 7 – 3:20 pm ETMultiple conditions get you eligible for this race, and it makes for a wide span...non-winners of 2 lifetime to horses with as many as 6 wins. Betmix shows that 7-furlong Laurel sprints favor horses stretching out in trip by the numbers (16% wins vs. 13% returning at 7F and 11% cutting back). Maryland Million Distaff Starter winner #1 Odd Gal should fit well and makes a significant move to top rider Trevor McCarthy. That’s a J/T combo hitting 32% together over their last 50 starts. I’ll focus on Odd Gal and the solid 1-turn form of #1 Queen of Tomorrow, even if on the cut-back. They have 9 wins between them.(Leg B) Laurel Park Race 8 – 3:50 pm ETThose entered for the $25,000 claiming price in this race appear to have the class edge in another tricky, dual-conditioned race. #5 Belle Tapisserie is among those dropping in class and notably Delaware Park shippers have been on point of late at Laurel Park. Hot-riding apprentice Alexander Crispin sticks, and the only question here is if this gelding handles the local surface for the first time. Sire Tapizar gets a strong 20% winners locally on dirt since the start of 2019, according to Betmix, to alleviate some of that concern. Classy #10 Unmatchable stands the next-best chance.(Leg C) Gulfstream Park West Race 8 – 3:58 pm ETFour last-out winners look to double-down as the GPW meet nears its end. Of those, #3 Ima Daredevil and #6 Brookes All Mine stand out for high-percentage claiming barns. The 6-1/2 furlong trip should perfectly suit the late run of #5 Baccarat Fashion, while jockey Paco Lopez likely keeps her closer to the pace than her pervious pilots. Bigger tickets may also want to include #8 Free to Fly in search of a third win at the meet.(Leg D) Laurel Park Race 9 – 4:20 pm ETTrainer Kelly Rubley’s 1-turn milers at Laurel always merit respect, and she won a couple of maiden claimers here last week routing at prices. Rubley’s contender #14 Sing Along Suzy should fit at this bottom class level on the drop in price. #4 Rye Street’s last 2 on the Laurel main stack up with these. Late-running #5 Lady Fox fits the 1-turn mile’s elongated stretch run to the second wire. #10 Sorrelina appears for a claiming tag for the first time with a high-percentage trainer and could fit. Deeper tickets consider #11 Vanna Belle on the drop and #13 Bourbon Style switching to red-hot jockey Sheldon Russell.(Leg E) Gulfstream Park West Race 9 – 4:27 pm ET#7 Kantharos’ Image stands out in this turf sprint, making his all-important second start off the layoff. He changes to top rider Edgard Zayas in a notable move, and he’s been riding the dash distances superior to all at the current meet. Alternate considerations if this proposed single were to scratch include #5 Frenchmen Street on the claim-and-rise for hot barn Carlos David and #1 Hauntedbythemusic, a classy dirt sort who tries turf for the first time. His sire The Big Beast has had success on both GPW surfaces with his offspring.Stronach 5 Suggested PlaysSmaller Ticket2,1 with 5,10 with 3,6,5 with 14,4,5,10 with 7 = $48Larger Ticket2,1 with 5,10 with 3,6,5,8 with 14,4,5,10,11,13 with 7 = $96

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11.25.2020:

Giving Thanks & Del Mar Saturday Pick 4 Analysis

Thanksgiving. ‘Nuff said. The word alone conjures feelings of warmth and images of plates heaping with delicious food: turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, apple pie ala mode (your images may vary); family and friends gathered around the table (pre COVID, of course) and football on the tube (three NFL games, although we’re not completely sure the Dallas Cowboys versus the Washington Football Team contest qualifies). Just thinking about Thanksgiving makes the mouth water. The belt tighten. Eyelids droop. Turkey Day also is when we give thanks for what we have, whatever we have. And this writer has plenty to be thankful for. Too much, in fact. More than anyone should. Sadly, that’s not the case for all. Not even close, especially this year. In this toughest of recent times, worldwide, our family, friends and neighbors have been adversely affected—physically, financially and/or emotionally by the pandemic. Those damaged by losses of loved ones, ravaged incomes, missed educational opportunities and more will find it difficult to enjoy this holiday. During this COVID pandemic, we’ve all experienced some level of discomfort, disappointment, inconvenience, deprivation and more which begs the obvious Thursday question, ‘This year, what’s anyone got to be thankful for?’ The answer? If you haven’t been personally touched by the ravages of COVID; visited a loved hooked to a ventilator in a hospital or been forced to miss the funeral of a close relative, well, that’s a great place to start! Work backwards from there. At a time when stick-shaking at horseracing’s troublesome issues is at an all-time high, the sport/business/industry deserves noteworthy credit for continuing to operate safely at a high level throughout a worldwide pandemic. Effective protocols were established early on, fans excluded, major races shuffled, etc. so it could all work. And it did, while delivering an entertaining season through Breeders’ Cup. This writer gives thanks for that and also for a truncated June 20, Belmont Stakes; a first Saturday in September Kentucky Derby and a Preakness in October composing an unsweepable Triple Crown—although, if events had occupied usual calendar spots, Tiz the Law probably would have won ‘em all. In May, Derby winner Authentic wouldn’t have been ready to run and Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver was nowhere as good then as she was in the fall. Plus, Tiz the Law seemed to regress a bit while attempting to capture a unique Travers/Derby double. Looking back on this difficult year, yours truly is particularly thankful for the Advance Deposit Wagering business. That includes wagering operations like Xpressbet which enabled the sport of racing to continue without fans in the stands contributing handle through on-track wagering windows. As a participant in the birth of the ADWs I felt a bit like a proud parent in the stands watching as my 30-something offspring pitches a perfect game. Of course, nothing would be possible without horseplayers. Their wagering dollars fuel the engine that runs the sport and, in a way, actually pay my salary. And for that, I’m grateful—every two weeks. At Xpressbet, we know you have choices about where to play the races. We’re thankful you choose us and we’ll do whatever we can to make your wagering experience the best it can be. Thanks! And here’s a happy and safe Thanksgiving wish to you and your family. Below is one man’s opinion of the Saturday, Del Mar late Pick 4 (selections made before scratches and before workout information was available). Race 6Here’s hoping you’ve digested that Thanksgiving feast in time to take a swing at a fantastic, deep and challenging Pick 4 sequence. #1 Connection takes a class drop, will be ridden by top jock Joel Rosario (30% with trainer John Sadler) and has been working every seven days for a first start since March. Rosario rode this 3-year-old to his only victory in April at Oaklawn Park. The rail post position isn’t a bonus sprinting at Del Mar, but this one will come from off the pace so it’s not a complete deal breaker. #3 Great Power tumbles in class, has had a recent race Nov. 7, starts for a 30% trainer 2nd off a layoff and won his only sprint. His Beyer Speed Figs tower over this group. #10 Bedrock is drawn outside and doesn’t have much speed. That’s normally a prescription for a wide trip. His last two outs were at this level and one of them sort of fits. The 3-year-old has won just 1 of 10 races. #11 Cal’s Gem actually has won 2 races but was disqualified from victory second time out. He’s also dropping in class off a poor, troubled effort in a first-level Cal-bred race. 7-pound apprentice Jess Pyfer rides and she won on this guy two races back. Nice, cozy outside box is a positive for a stalk and pounce trip. Not without a chance. Race 7#3 Spirit Animal is one of many here for the weekend from the east coast. He hails from the powerful Chad Brown stable and will be ridden by Manny Franco. He’s won half his starts (4-8), is an improving 4-year-old, has a series of half-mile works, and was favored in his last five races. Two question marks are: Irad Ortiz rode him to victory four races back but rides #12 Flavius (also for Brown) in this race. Also, this colt was claimed for $50k in June and the claim was voided. That suggests physical issues, but the colt has a win and a close second-place finish since. #5 Count Again is a lightly raced 5-year-old making a first start for 19% Phil D’Amato. The gelding is an honest type with 3 wins and 6 in-the-money finishes out of 7 starts. He shows a bullet 5/8ths turf work at Del Mar and won the Grade 3 Singspeil at Woodbine two races back. #7 Blitzkrieg is a Grade 3 winner who’s liable to attempt to go wire-to-wire in here. Last out he set very fast fractions and faded late to Mo Forza, a highly regarded SoCal runner. There’s not a lot of speed in here so this 5-year-old that spent the winter in the UAE will be in front for a while. #8 Anothertwistafate is a 4-year-old doing some new things. This is his first start for trainer Peter Miller (from Blaine Wright) and his first turf start. Miller is 21% with new acquisitions and he’s put two mile works into this guy. Joel Rosario is recruited to ride (24% with Miller). This colt was on the 2019 Triple Crown trail and started in the Preakness. He’s got enough speed to stalk #7 Blitzkrieg early. #10 One Bad Boy also has speed and top jock Flavien Prat. He’s 7 of 8 in the money with 3 wins. Trainer Richard Baltas is 24% at the meeting and 28% with Prat. He won the restricted Lure Stakes at Santa Anita last out in wire-to-wire fashion. He needs to improve a bit but will be part of the pace. #12 Flavius has drawn poorly for this race. Good thing he has the talented Irad Ortiz, Jr. to help him around the bends. Chances are this 5-year-old will be overbet based on his strong Beyer Speed Figures, connections trainer Chad Brown/jockey Ortiz (25%) and Juddmonte Farm ownership. They’re all positives and he should get plenty of pace to run at. Still, this post and his late-running style are handicaps. #13 Bowies Hero is a 6-year-old that has an awful post position and is as steady as they come. He’s faced the best competition of anyone in the field and often is part of the final photo. Amazingly, in 26 starts he’s never tried a mile and one-sixteenth. That shouldn’t be an issue if jockey Umbeto Rispoli can work out a trip form the far outside—no small feat. Race 8Here’s where Pick 4 players will attempt to get ‘skinny’…and with Thanksgiving leftovers calling from the fridge that won’t be easy. From this chair, it looks like a 2-horse race. Some players may even take a stand against one or the other to lighten the mutuel ticket load. #7 Curry romped by 12 last out at this distance at Santa Anita against Cal-Bred maidens and takes one step up in class. He’s got speed, a 7-pound weight break with Jess Pyfer, and three bullet workouts in the holster courtesy of trainer Bruce Headley. Catch him and win. #9 Colt Fiction is a lightly raced 5-year-old starting for trainer Bill Spawr. He won an open optional $50k/Starter allowance by nearly 4 lengths last out Nov. 8 at Del Mar. He drew perfectly outside of #7 Cury and should be stalking that one throughout. This gelding never has been off the board in 5 previous starts and has 2 wins, both coming at Del Mar! Trainer Spawr is 19% with runners off a win in their last start. Race 9This is an absolutely outstanding renewal of the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. It’s a deep field with many graded stakes winners, including a solid contingent of runners from the east coast. Sit back and enjoy the show…especially if you’ve got a live ticket heading into this glorious finale. #2 Smooth Like Strait is a multiple graded stakes winner who’s won half of 10 starts, including 2 of 2 at Del Mar and 1 of 1 at the distance. He’s got some early speed and will use it to ride the rail from a favorable 2-hole post position. Jockey Umberto Rispoli is 2 for 2 on the colt. He’s impossible to ignore. #3 Scarto doesn’t have the resume to match others in here but he loves Del Mar. He’s won 2 of 3 starts over this turf course and has 4 wins in 8 starts overall. He also has a pair of bullet works since his last race for trainer Mike Puype. #5 Storm the Court in interesting because he’s the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and 2-year-old Eclipse Award winner. Unfortunately, those are the last times he’s actually won anything. He’s 0-6 since that BC triumph and will try turf for just the second time. He’s working well, but this is about the most difficult spot of the season to attempt to win a turf stakes. #8 Domestic Spending is one of several east coast invaders that make this Hollywood Derby a fascinating handicapping puzzle. This lightly raced gelding has made just 4 starts and won 3 of them while improving Beyer Speed Figures each time. Another forward step puts him in the thick of things on figs. Irad Ortiz is here for trainer Chad Brown and has ridden this gelding to 2 of 3 wins. Expect him to launch a late bid from about 10 lengths back early. #10 Decorated Invader is one of 2 in here for trainer Christophe Clement. The Declaration of War colt is a Grade 1 winner and a model of consistency. He’s won 5 of 9 starts, has been worse than third just twice and never has been beaten by more than one and one-half lengths! Regular rider Joel Rosario is here for the engagement. Difficult to take too much of a stand against a runner with this kind of a resume. #13 Gufo is the other Christophe Clement entry and he drew horribly for this. He’s a star with 5 wins from 7 outings—failing by a mere head to #8 Domestic Spending and missing by less than 2 lengths first out going a mile and one-sixteenth at Aqueduct. He’s a Grade 1 winner that’s 2 for 2 at the distance and seems to still be improving. He comes from off the pace and jockey Flavien Prat will have no choice but to drop back early and attempt to save some ground out of the long chute and into what amounts to two early turns. Some may find the post position offensive enough to leave Gufo off tickets but they are more brave than us. $.50 Del Mar Saturday Late Pick 4 Ticket ($42) Race 61, 3, 11 Race 73, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13 Race 89 Race 92, 8, 10, 12 Race On!          

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11.25.2020:

Xpressbet Race of the Week: Frank Whiteley Stakes from Laurel

$100,000 FRANK WHITELEY STAKES AT LAUREL PARKSaturday, November 28, 2020The Lead:Let's see if we can turn last week's $184 return in this space into a little extra pumpkin pie for the Thanksgiving weekend. The Maryland Jockey Club at Laurel Park unveils a fantastic Fall Festival Program on Saturday that boasts 6 stakes races worth $100,000 each. You'll see many of the stars of the MJC circuit, but from a betting standpoint it doesn't get much better than 14 veteran sprinters in the Frank Whiteley Stakes. The Whiteley is named for the Hall of Fame trainer and Maryland native best known as the conditioner of the legendary filly Ruffian.​Field Depth:A trio of graded stakes winners headline the lineup, including G2 victor STILL HAVING FUN and G3 winners MAJESTIC DUNHILL and LAKI. Depth is provided by graded stakes-placed performers ARCH CAT, EASTERN BAY and ZENDEN. This is a stout lineup for a listed $100,000 stakes, so it will be difficult to win on the class rise.Pace:The scramble for position in a 14-horse field of this caliber almost assures a hot early pace. ARTHUR'S HOPE will be sent from the rail, Charles Town ace PENGUIN POWER customarily finds the front (albeit around 2 turns at CT), ZENDEN has early pop as does CHARGE TO VICTORY and LAKI. This is a very tough race to read in terms of pace because of the field size and how that may impact clean trips from the gate. It won't hurt to be a strong finisher; that much is for certain.Our Eyes:The strongest finishers last out were MAJESTIC DUNHILL and ARCH CAT out of Belmont's Grade 3 Bold Ruler, where they finished first and third, respectively. Both have previously shipped to win at Laurel, so this is a form line that likely translates well in this case. Since the Bold Ruler, runner-up Share the Ride returned to win a Parx allowance and he notably was third in the G2 Vosburgh at Belmont prior. ARCH CAT will appreciate the cut-back to 6 furlongs perhaps more than MAJESTIC DUNHILL and has more propensity for the big prize; ARCH CAT has won 13 of 38 lifetime, while MAJESTIC DUNHILL's last out victory snapped a 10-race losing skid dating back to the 2018 City of Laurel Stakes locally. Given the likely price difference, ARCH CAT appeals more at the bigger number.G3 DeFRANCIS DASH 1-2 nose finishers LAKI and EASTERN BAY also re-match in the Whiteley, moving their game across the Baltimore beltway from Pimlico's Preakness undercard. I bet EASTERN BAY that day and didn't like the ride, waiting too long to launch from the back. LAKI outfinished him by a nostril, but notice the 97 vs. 89 BRIS late pace figure difference in favor of EASTERN BAY. I prefer EASTERN BAY a second time in this matchup, and shed no tears with a jockey change to Alex Cintron.STILL HAVING FUN's remarkable 3-year-old season of 2018 seems a faraway land now. He's winless in 12 tries since a Belmont Stakes Day undercard victory in the G2 Woody Stephens. This will be his second start since February and first since June, while picking up leading local jockey Trevor McCarthy. His workout tab indicates he's trending the right direction.WHERESHETOLDMETOGO exits a restricted stakes win in Delaware Park's New Castle and has fired his shot just about every time he's been asked. The well-traveled, but lightly raced, 5-year-old now competes for red-hot trainer Brittany Russell, who has been on an extended run of success in Maryland. When teaming with husband/jockey Sheldon Russell, the family force has been winning 42% since the start of June at Laurel.ZENDEN's trainer Carlos David has been hot in South Florida of late and this shipper already has a win over the track in allowance company. He's stepping up in class from that effort, but there's absolutely back stakes class that puts him on this level. A second-off-the-layoff form cycle could see him primed for a big effort.Most Certain Exotics Contender: WHERESHETOLDMETOGO has been in the superfecta in 10 of his last 11, runs well on the Laurel surface and his connections have been on point.​Best Longshot Exotics Contender: PENGUIN POWER has been Charles Town's middle-distance kingpin for the past few seasons, racking up huge success in its 7-furlong (2 turn) races. He's won 13 of 17 and will venture to Laurel for the first time. Don't sleep on him; sire Fiber Sonde's daughter Midnight Pow Wow certainly proved herself in Maryland after dominating her home track with a series of listed and graded stakes wins at Laurel.Sending it in ($100 bankroll): $50 win and place ARCH CAT.

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11.25.2020:

Dover Downs Stakes Analysis

Grand Circuit racing for 2020 concludes today at Dover Downs with the $325,000 Progress Pace for 3-year-olds. This will be the final race for the Ron Burke trainee Cattlewash who is the 2-1 morning line favorite, and trainer John Ackley's Catch the Fire. The 15-race card also features fillies and colts in Delaware Breeders Fund action.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 8-Delaware Breeders Final-2-year-old filles pace-Purse $100,0006-Littlebagoftricks (5/2)-Has won its last 2 starts on a fast and sloppy track. Versatile filly can race off cover or set the pace and she rates a slight edge.2-Stealing Bases (7/2)-Talented 2-year-old has won 5 of 7 starts and has never missed hitting the board. Was caught down the lane in last by #6 who rallied off a pocket trip. Had won 5 of 6 previously and not sure if Tetrick wanted to use her down the stretch in a race that didn't matter much.4-Hey Hey Dbay (9/2)-It wouldn't shock me if this filly takes a picture tonight but will probably need to go a couple of seconds faster than she has. Has won 2 straight, paced the 2nd half in 57.2 last week and should offer a square price.5-Cinder's Baby (6-1)-Here's the 2nd leading money winner in the field who placed in a $100,000 stake at Harrington. Could be overlooked at the windows and might add some pop to the gimmicks.Race 10-Delaware Breeders Final-2-year-old colts pace-Purse $100,0008-Henrico (5/2)-This is one of two entries from the Clyde Francis barn and the arrow is pointing up on this colt. Winner of 3 straight drew off to beat stable mate #7, who was the slight favorite last week. Starting outside doesn't help chances but does help the price and Morgan can leave to get a good seat.6-Z's Dream (7/2)-This 2-year-old gelding might be the fastest off the gate and has a post edge on main foes. Best to not overlook because if Stafford gets the top and steals a quarter chances for a picture go up.7-Subban (9/2)-Did win a $100,000 Final in Harrington on 10/7, but since coming off the bench in November hasn't been as sharp. Looked a little rough coming down the lane last week but is a major threat with a top effort.4-Mr Overbite (8-1)-Has had a breaking issue but put in a clean line here on 11/16 to break maiden. Could hit the bottom of the Super at a big price if Callahan can provide a smooth journey.Race 12-Progress Pace Final-Purse $325,0007-No Lou Zing (5/2)-Three great horses who raced for the last time at the Big M over the weekend in stakes all won before heading to retirement. My take is that won't happen tonight. This Takter pupil has been sharp, likes the track and is ranked 5th in money earned among 3-year-old pacers for 2020. Dunn should be able to get the top or the 2 hole behind Cattlewash. Either trip could work for a season ending victory.4-Fortify (9/2)-This is another from the Takter stable and this pupil hasn't been able to beat the top colts this year. But has been racing well and comes off a tough trip from post 10 last week. Tetrick should put in striking range and has a post edge over the top talent. Might be overlooked at the windows and will use in gimmicks.8-Cattlewash (2-1)-This will be the last start before heading to stud. Burke trainee is as game as they come and is often used hard to get the top. Could win his finale but from this post I'm saying no.5-Catch The Fire (7/2)-This is a very nice 3-year-old who is also making his last start. Draws inside the morning line chalks and should be in the mix but has lacked a big finish recently.$10 Exacta 7/4$10 Trifecta 7-4-8 and 7-8-4Total Bet=$30Happy Thanksgiving!Check me out on Twitter!

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11.25.2020:

$91K Stronach 5 Carryover Analysis - November 27

The holiday weekend’s best bet is Friday’s Stronach 5, where a $91,481.74 carryover awaits horseplayers. The low 12% takeout, $1 minimum bet matches a trio of races from Maryland’s Laurel Park and Gulfstream Park West in Florida. You can bet the Stronach 5 online and on mobile, including 1/ST BET and Xpressbet. (Leg A) Laurel Park Race 7 – 3:20 pm ET Multiple conditions get you eligible for this race, and it makes for a wide span...non-winners of 2 lifetime to horses with as many as 6 wins. Betmix shows that 7-furlong Laurel sprints favor horses stretching out in trip by the numbers (16% wins vs. 13% returning at 7F and 11% cutting back). Maryland Million Distaff Starter winner #1 Odd Gal should fit well and makes a significant move to top rider Trevor McCarthy. That’s a J/T combo hitting 32% together over their last 50 starts. I’ll focus on Odd Gal and the solid 1-turn form of #1 Queen of Tomorrow, even if on the cut-back. They have 9 wins between them. (Leg B) Laurel Park Race 8 – 3:50 pm ET Those entered for the $25,000 claiming price in this race appear to have the class edge in another tricky, dual-conditioned race. #5 Belle Tapisserie is among those dropping in class and notably Delaware Park shippers have been on point of late at Laurel Park. Hot-riding apprentice Alexander Crispin sticks, and the only question here is if this gelding handles the local surface for the first time. Sire Tapizar gets a strong 20% winners locally on dirt since the start of 2019, according to Betmix, to alleviate some of that concern. Classy #10 Unmatchable stands the next-best chance. (Leg C) Gulfstream Park West Race 8 – 3:58 pm ET Four last-out winners look to double-down as the GPW meet nears its end. Of those, #3 Ima Daredevil and #6 Brookes All Mine stand out for high-percentage claiming barns. The 6-1/2 furlong trip should perfectly suit the late run of #5 Baccarat Fashion, while jockey Paco Lopez likely keeps her closer to the pace than her pervious pilots. Bigger tickets may also want to include #8 Free to Fly in search of a third win at the meet. (Leg D) Laurel Park Race 9 – 4:20 pm ET Trainer Kelly Rubley’s 1-turn milers at Laurel always merit respect, and she won a couple of maiden claimers here last week routing at prices. Rubley’s contender #14 Sing Along Suzy should fit at this bottom class level on the drop in price. #4 Rye Street’s last 2 on the Laurel main stack up with these. Late-running #5 Lady Fox fits the 1-turn mile’s elongated stretch run to the second wire. #10 Sorrelina appears for a claiming tag for the first time with a high-percentage trainer and could fit. Deeper tickets consider #11 Vanna Belle on the drop and #13 Bourbon Style switching to red-hot jockey Sheldon Russell. (Leg E) Gulfstream Park West Race 9 – 4:27 pm ET #7 Kantharos’ Image stands out in this turf sprint, making his all-important second start off the layoff. He changes to top rider Edgard Zayas in a notable move, and he’s been riding the dash distances superior to all at the current meet. Alternate considerations if this proposed single were to scratch include #5 Frenchmen Street on the claim-and-rise for hot barn Carlos David and #1 Hauntedbythemusic, a classy dirt sort who tries turf for the first time. His sire The Big Beast has had success on both GPW surfaces with his offspring. Stronach 5 Suggested Plays Smaller Ticket 2,1 with 5,10 with 3,6,5 with 14,4,5,10 with 7 = $48 Larger Ticket 2,1 with 5,10 with 3,6,5,8 with 14,4,5,10,11,13 with 7 = $96

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11.25.2020:

Giving Thanks & Del Mar Saturday Pick 4 Analysis

Thanksgiving. ‘Nuff said. The word alone conjures feelings of warmth and images of plates heaping with delicious food: turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, apple pie ala mode (your images may vary); family and friends gathered around the table (pre COVID, of course) and football on the tube (three NFL games, although we’re not completely sure the Dallas Cowboys versus the Washington Football Team contest qualifies). Just thinking about Thanksgiving makes the mouth water. The belt tighten. Eyelids droop. Turkey Day also is when we give thanks for what we have, whatever we have. And this writer has plenty to be thankful for. Too much, in fact. More than anyone should. Sadly, that’s not the case for all. Not even close, especially this year. In this toughest of recent times, worldwide, our family, friends and neighbors have been adversely affected—physically, financially and/or emotionally by the pandemic. Those damaged by losses of loved ones, ravaged incomes, missed educational opportunities and more will find it difficult to enjoy this holiday. During this COVID pandemic, we’ve all experienced some level of discomfort, disappointment, inconvenience, deprivation and more which begs the obvious Thursday question, ‘This year, what’s anyone got to be thankful for?’ The answer? If you haven’t been personally touched by the ravages of COVID; visited a loved one hooked to a ventilator in a hospital or been forced to miss the funeral of a close relative, well, that’s a great place to start! Work backwards from there. At a time when stick-shaking at horseracing’s troublesome issues is at an all-time high, the sport/business/industry deserves noteworthy credit for continuing to operate safely at a high level throughout a pandemic. Effective protocols were established early on, fans excluded, major races shuffled, etc. so it could all work. And it did, while delivering an entertaining season through Breeders’ Cup. This writer gives thanks for that and also for a truncated June 20, Belmont Stakes; a first Saturday in September Kentucky Derby and a Preakness in October composing an unsweepable Triple Crown—although, if events had occupied usual calendar spots, Tiz the Law probably would have won ‘em all. In May, Derby winner Authentic wouldn’t have been ready to run and Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver was nowhere as good then as she was in the fall. Plus, Tiz the Law seemed to regress a bit while attempting to capture a unique Travers/Derby double. Looking back on this difficult year, yours truly is particularly thankful for the Advance Deposit Wagering business. That includes wagering operations like Xpressbet which enabled the sport of racing to continue without fans in the stands contributing handle through on-track wagering windows. As a participant in the birth of the ADWs I felt a bit like a proud parent in the stands watching as my 30-something offspring pitches a perfect game. Of course, nothing would be possible without horseplayers. Their wagering dollars fuel the engine that runs the sport and, in a way, actually pay my salary. And for that, I’m grateful—every two weeks. At Xpressbet, we know you have choices about where to play the races. We’re thankful you choose us and we’ll do whatever we can to make your wagering experience the best it can be. Thanks! And here’s a happy and safe Thanksgiving wish to you and your family. Below is one man’s opinion of the Saturday, Del Mar late Pick 4 (selections made before scratches and before workout information was available). Race 6 Here’s hoping you’ve digested that Thanksgiving feast in time to take a swing at a fantastic, deep and challenging Pick 4 sequence. #1 Connection takes a class drop, will be ridden by top jock Joel Rosario (30% with trainer John Sadler) and has been working every seven days for a first start since March. Rosario rode this 3-year-old to his only victory in April at Oaklawn Park. The rail post position isn’t a bonus sprinting at Del Mar, but this one will come from off the pace so it’s not a complete deal breaker. #3 Great Power tumbles in class, has had a recent race Nov. 7, starts for a 30% trainer 2nd off a layoff and won his only sprint. His Beyer Speed Figs tower over this group. #10 Bedrock is drawn outside and doesn’t have much speed. That’s normally a prescription for a wide trip. His last two outs were at this level and one of them sort of fits. The 3-year-old has won just 1 of 10 races. #11 Cal’s Gem actually has won 2 races but was disqualified from victory second time out. He’s also dropping in class off a poor, troubled effort in a first-level Cal-bred race. 7-pound apprentice Jess Pyfer rides and she won on this guy two races back. Nice, cozy outside box is a positive for a stalk and pounce trip. Not without a chance. Race 7 #3 Spirit Animal is one of many here for the weekend from the east coast. He hails from the powerful Chad Brown stable and will be ridden by Manny Franco. He’s won half his starts (4-8), is an improving 4-year-old, has a series of half-mile works, and was favored in his last five races. Two question marks are: Irad Ortiz rode him to victory four races back but rides #12 Flavius (also for Brown) in this race. Also, this colt was claimed for $50k in June and the claim was voided. That suggests physical issues, but the colt has a win and a close second-place finish since. #5 Count Again is a lightly raced 5-year-old making a first start for 19% Phil D’Amato. The gelding is an honest type with 3 wins and 6 in-the-money finishes out of 7 starts. He shows a bullet 5/8ths turf work at Del Mar and won the Grade 3 Singspeil at Woodbine two races back. #7 Blitzkrieg is a Grade 3 winner who’s liable to attempt to go wire-to-wire in here. Last out he set very fast fractions and faded late to Mo Forza, a highly regarded SoCal runner. There’s not a lot of speed in here so this 5-year-old that spent the winter in the UAE will be in front for a while. #8 Anothertwistafate is a 4-year-old doing some new things. This is his first start for trainer Peter Miller (from Blaine Wright) and his first turf start. Miller is 21% with new acquisitions and he’s put two mile works into this guy. Joel Rosario is recruited to ride (24% with Miller). This colt was on the 2019 Triple Crown trail and started in the Preakness. He’s got enough speed to stalk #7 Blitzkrieg early. #10 One Bad Boy also has speed and top jock Flavien Prat. He’s 7 of 8 in the money with 3 wins. Trainer Richard Baltas is 24% at the meeting and 28% with Prat. He won the restricted Lure Stakes at Santa Anita last out in wire-to-wire fashion. He needs to improve a bit but will be part of the pace. #12 Flavius has drawn poorly for this race. Good thing he has the talented Irad Ortiz, Jr. to help him around the bends. Chances are this 5-year-old will be overbet based on his strong Beyer Speed Figures, connections trainer Chad Brown/jockey Ortiz (25%) and Juddmonte Farm ownership. They’re all positives and he should get plenty of pace to run at. Still, this post and his late-running style are handicaps. #13 Bowies Hero is a 6-year-old that has an awful post position and is as steady as they come. He’s faced the best competition of anyone in the field and often is part of the final photo. Amazingly, in 26 starts he’s never tried a mile and one-sixteenth. That shouldn’t be an issue if jockey Umbeto Rispoli can work out a trip form the far outside—no small feat. Race 8 Here’s where Pick 4 players will attempt to get ‘skinny’…and with Thanksgiving leftovers calling from the fridge that won’t be easy. From this chair, it looks like a 2-horse race. Some players may even take a stand against one or the other to lighten the mutuel ticket load. #7 Curry romped by 12 last out at this distance at Santa Anita against Cal-Bred maidens and takes one step up in class. He’s got speed, a 7-pound weight break with Jess Pyfer, and three bullet workouts in the holster courtesy of trainer Bruce Headley. Catch him and win. #9 Colt Fiction is a lightly raced 5-year-old starting for trainer Bill Spawr. He won an open optional $50k/Starter allowance by nearly 4 lengths last out Nov. 8 at Del Mar. He drew perfectly outside of #7 Cury and should be stalking that one throughout. This gelding never has been off the board in 5 previous starts and has 2 wins, both coming at Del Mar! Trainer Spawr is 19% with runners off a win in their last start. Race 9 This is an absolutely outstanding renewal of the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. It’s a deep field with many graded stakes winners, including a solid contingent of runners from the east coast. Sit back and enjoy the show…especially if you’ve got a live ticket heading into this glorious finale. #2 Smooth Like Strait is a multiple graded stakes winner who’s won half of 10 starts, including 2 of 2 at Del Mar and 1 of 1 at the distance. He’s got some early speed and will use it to ride the rail from a favorable 2-hole post position. Jockey Umberto Rispoli is 2 for 2 on the colt. He’s impossible to ignore. #3 Scarto doesn’t have the resume to match others in here but he loves Del Mar. He’s won 2 of 3 starts over this turf course and has 4 wins in 8 starts overall. He also has a pair of bullet works since his last race for trainer Mike Puype. #5 Storm the Court in interesting because he’s the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and 2-year-old Eclipse Award winner. Unfortunately, those are the last times he’s actually won anything. He’s 0-6 since that BC triumph and will try turf for just the second time. He’s working well, but this is about the most difficult spot of the season to attempt to win a turf stakes. #8 Domestic Spending is one of several east coast invaders that make this Hollywood Derby a fascinating handicapping puzzle. This lightly raced gelding has made just 4 starts and won 3 of them while improving Beyer Speed Figures each time. Another forward step puts him in the thick of things on figs. Irad Ortiz is here for trainer Chad Brown and has ridden this gelding to 2 of 3 wins. Expect him to launch a late bid from about 10 lengths back early. #10 Decorated Invader is one of 2 in here for trainer Christophe Clement. The Declaration of War colt is a Grade 1 winner and a model of consistency. He’s won 5 of 9 starts, has been worse than third just twice and never has been beaten by more than one and one-half lengths! Regular rider Joel Rosario is here for the engagement. Difficult to take too much of a stand against a runner with this kind of a resume. #13 Gufo is the other Christophe Clement entry and he drew horribly for this. He’s a star with 5 wins from 7 outings—failing by a mere head to #8 Domestic Spending and missing by less than 2 lengths first out going a mile and one-sixteenth at Aqueduct. He’s a Grade 1 winner that’s 2 for 2 at the distance and seems to still be improving. He comes from off the pace and jockey Flavien Prat will have no choice but to drop back early and attempt to save some ground out of the long chute and into what amounts to two early turns. Some may find the post position offensive enough to leave Gufo off tickets but they are more brave than us. $.50 Del Mar Saturday Late Pick 4 Ticket ($42) Race 6 1, 3, 11 Race 7 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13 Race 8 9 Race 9 2, 8, 10, 12 Race On!

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11.24.2020:

Betting This Week’s Kentucky Derby Future Wagers

The 2021 Kentucky Derby Future Wager opens Thursday through Sunday this week with a first look into the crystal ball. The traditional 24 wagering interests return for the parimutuel KDFW, including 22 individual runners and options for ‘all other 3-year-old fillies’ and ‘all other 3-year-old colts/geldings.’Given the (minimum) 153-day span between this pool’s closing on Sunday and the scheduled May 1, 2021 Derby date, rest assured that ‘all other colts/geldings’ will be favored. It’s been the Pool 1 parimutuel chalk in this offering each of the past 22 years.Keep in mind that the last 4 Kentucky Derby winners boasted exactly 1 victory between them coming into the start of their 3-year-old seasons. Authentic had a Nov. 9, 2019 Del Mar debut victory on his resume; Country House (Jan. 17 maiden breaker), Justify (Feb. 18) and Always Dreaming (Jan. 25) all were still without a win at this point. That said, the temptation to bet successful 2-year-olds like Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Essential Quality can be a pitfall.Those who backed BC Juvenile winner Nyquist at 9-1 in the 2016 KDFW Pool 1 did much better than his 2-1 return some five months later. So it can work out backing the logical player, but you must demand an overlay price. The historical roll call of BC Juvenile-Kentucky Derby winners includes only Nyquist (2016) and Street Sense (2006) over more than 35 years.Demand at least 40-1 this far out on an individual runner. Last year, there were 11 such options at that price or higher in KDFW Pool 1. One of those, Authentic, provided a 50-1 price that shined when he returned 8-1 on Derby Day. Recommendations in that price range for 2021 Pool 1 include #9 Keepmeinmind (30-1 ML), #14 Red Flag (30-1 ML) and #20 Speaker’s Corner (50-1 ML).KDFW Pool 1 also offers a Sire Future Wager with 24 options, 23 of the individual variety and an ‘all others.’ Keep an eye on both pools as the prices near a close on Sunday; perhaps you’ll find an anomaly where the sire of your preferred horse is offering a similar or better price than your specific play. You’ll potentially get more coverage for the same investment.If dabbling in the KDFW Pool 1 exacta offering, look at the combinations from your choice to ‘all other 3-year-old colts/geldings.’ If it’s more than double the payout than you’d get in the win pool betting your solo choice, it’s worth the gamble.Subsequent 2021 KDFW Dates--Pool 2: Jan. 22-24--Pool 3: Feb. 12-14--Pool 4: Mar. 5-7--Pool 5: Mar. 26-28

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11.24.2020:

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 Pimlico Race Course. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Maryland. And be sure to support Pimlico by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Maryland Jockey Club.HeadlinesSaturday’s Laurel Fall Festival program features 6 stakes races on the main track, each worth $100,000. Among those in action could be Pimlico Special winner Harpers First Ride, Maryland Million Classic winner Monday Morning QB and DeFrancis Dash champ Laki among others. Entries will be taken Wednesday … Live racing returns with a special Thanksgiving Day holiday program Thursday. Post time for the first of eight races is 11:25 a.m. … There will be carryovers of $9,593.05 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 and $5,237.62 in the $1 Super Hi-5 wagers.Stronach 5A $91,481 Stronach 5 carryover awaits horseplayers this Friday, Nov. 27 on what might be a ‘green’ Friday vs. black. The Nov. 27 Stronach 5 will be comprised of the following races:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 7 with an approximate post time of 3:20Leg B – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:50Leg C – Gulfstream Park West Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:58Leg D – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:20Leg E – Gulfstream Park West Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:271/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% winners.Last Turn TimeAvg E1 PaceAvg E2 PaceTrends Last Week--Trainer Hugh McMahon led the way with a 9: 4-1-1 week that included his milestone 1000th career victory on Sunday. His $1.97 ROI for every $1 bet included winners at $5, $7, $8 and $13. McMahon also had a 24-1 shot finish third.--Veteran trainer Ned Allard was 4: 2-1-0 with limited strikes. All 4 runners were well-backed at 5-2 odds or less, and he went 2-for-2 with his claimers.--Trainer Kelly Rubley’s 2-for-8 ledger included longshot bombers Champagne Toast ($29) and Full Dinner Jacket ($45). Both pricy winners came in 2-turn maiden claiming races.--Jockey Sheldon Russell led all riders with a 17: 6-2-2 mark (35%) that included a whopping $2.69 ROI for every $1 bet. Russell mixed in $29 and $35 winners.--Horses last raced at Delaware Park popped 5 winners last week, winning 17% overall, but posting a strong $1.75 ROI for every $1 bet.

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11.24.2020:

1/ST Look: Gulfstream Park West Stats

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Gulfstream Park West. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in South Florida. And be sure to support GPW by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Gulfstream Park West.HeadlinesRacing this week will be Wednesday, Friday and Saturday … Gulfstream Park West will have a mandatory payout in the Rainbow 6 pool on Saturday’s card, closing day of the 2020 meet. South Florida action then moves to Gulfstream Park on Wednesday, Dec. 2 … The Rainbow 6 comes into closing week with a $271,871 carryover … Jockeys Edgard Zayas and Miguel Vasquez come into the final week tied for the leading rider title at 39 wins apiece … Trainer Rohan Crichton leads his title chase with 17 victories, followed by Antonio Sano (15), Saffie Joseph Jr. (14) and Kathleen O’Connell (13).Stronach 5A $91,481 Stronach 5 carryover awaits horseplayers this Friday, Nov. 27 on what might be a ‘green’ Friday vs. black. The Nov. 27 Stronach 5 will be comprised of the following races:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 7 with an approximate post time of 3:20Leg B – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:50Leg C – Gulfstream Park West Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:58Leg D – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:20Leg E – Gulfstream Park West Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:271/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 West last week, each winning at a 21% or greater win rate. The factor Avg Late pace flashed 38% winners and showed a $48.80 profit if you bet $2 win on each top choice in that category for the week.Avg Late PaceAvg SpeedJockey MeetTrends Last Week--Trainer Rohan Crichton continued his winning ways last week with an 8: 3-1-1 mark and $1.43 ROI for every $1 bet. He was 3: 2-1-0 with favorites, but also had a $15 winner along the way.--Trainer Mark Casse’s barn was 6: 3-0-0 on the week and had a whopping $3.00 ROI for every $1 bet. Casse had $5, $13 and $17 winners piloted by 3 different jockeys, including stakes winner Inthewinnerscircle.--Trainer Kathleen O’Connell was 11: 3-0-1 for a strong $1.98 ROI for every $1 bet. Winners returned $11, $13 and $19, including stakes winner Thisismytime.--Trainer Danny Gargan won with both starters as he readies for the championship meet, topped by stakes winner Venezuelan Hug.--Jockey Miguel Vasquez is finishing the meet with a flourish, posting a 26: 8-4-1 on the week. That was good for 31% wins and a $1.49 ROI for every $1 bet. His 8 wins came for 7 different barns (doubling up with Rohan Crichton).--Jockey Luca Panici went 13: 4-2-3 and popped a huge $2.97 ROI for every $1 bet. Winners paid $5, $10, $19 and $41. He finished 8-for-9 in the money with horses at 12-1 odds or less.

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11.24.2020:

Harness Highlights: Retirees Put Exclamation Point On Careers

Imagine four standardbreds with a combined 107-206 record and $8.6 million in earnings bidding farewell to racing on the same card. It happened in the TVG Series finals last Saturday at the Meadowlands and, to no one’s surprise, all four – Bettor’s Wish, Manchego, Kissin In The Sand and Plunge Blue Chip -- went out a winner. Bettor’s Wish won the $340,000 Open Pace by 2-3/4-lengths in 1:48.1 for trainer Chris Ryder and co-owners Bella Racing, Fair Island Farm and Bettor’s Wish Partners. The 2019 Pacer of the Year finished with 24 wins and 41 in-the-money finishes in 44 starts, good for a $2.6 million bankroll. “I barely asked him tonight, to be honest,” said winning driver Dexter Dunn said. “It was all him. It’s been him his whole career. He’s a true racehorse.” Trainer Nancy Takter had Manchego and Kissin In The Sand primed for their final start. Manchego, a three-time Breeders Crown champion, defeated 2018 Hambletonian winner Atlanta by 1-1/4 lengths in the $320,000 Open Trot in 1:51.3, giving the 5-year-old mare 33 wins from 56 starts and $2.72 million in earnings for owner Barry Guariglia’s Black Horse Racing. Kissin In The Sand was most impressive, drawing off to a stakes-record 1:48 victory in the $150,000 Mare Pace. She closed her career with seven wins in a row and an overall 27-58 mark for owners Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables. In the $140,000 Mare Trot, Plunge Blue Chip avenged a recent loss against even-money favorite When Dovescry in the Steele Memorial Stakes with a front-end victory by 1-1/4 lengths, equaling the stakes record in 1:51.4. Ake Svanstedt trains and drives the 5-year-old mare for Blue Chip Bloodstock Inc. Both mares entered the race as millionaires.

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11.23.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (Nov. 16-22): Finite

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.October Nov. 16-22, 2020MVP: FiniteOwner: Winchell Thoroughbreds, Thomas Reiman, William Dickson and Deborah EasterTrainer: Steve AsmussenJockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.Performance: The 6-5 favorite delivered in her first attempt vs. older fillies and mares, besting the Grade 3 $100,000 Chilukki Stakes on Nov. 21 at Churchill Downs. Settling towards the rear early in the 1-turn mile, the Munnings filly made a wide, winning move on the far turn and strode clear late by 2-1/2 lengths. Finite improved her record to 3-for-3 at Churchill Downs, winning last year’s listed Rags to Riches and Grade 2 Golden Rod as a juvenile. Earlier this year, she won the listed Silverbulletday and Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds.On Tap: You’d expect Finite back in New Orleans this winter where she had much success in 2020, but there’s very little on the stakes schedule at FG for older fillies/mares on the dirt. She’ll have more options at Oaklawn, where races like the Jan. 23 Pippin and Jan. 30 American Beauty pop up first (going long and short, respectively). The region’s premier distaff division series is at OP: the Grade 3 Bayakoa is Feb. 15; the Grade 2 Azeri on March 13; and the Grade 1 Apple Blossom on April 17.Honorable Mentions: 2019 Native Diver runner-up Extra Hope did himself one better in the Nov. 21 renewal of Del Mar’s Grade 3 event, exacting revenge on defending champion Midcourt. Ride a Comet improved to 2-for-2 after a 2-year layoff when posting the minor upset Nov. 21 in the Grade 2 Kennedy Road at Woodbine. The Mark Casse trainee knocked off a cast that included Canadian sprint legend Pink Lloyd, who settled for third. Thisismytime took advantage of the off-the-turf conditions of the Nov. 22 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf Preview Stakes, smoking her foes by 11-3/4 lengths. The Carpe Diem filly earned her first stakes win for trainer Kathleen O’Connell. Finally, odds-on favorite Piedi Bianchi blitzed 11 rivals Nov. 18 at Indiana Grand in a 7-1/2 length romp in the France Slocum Stakes. The Indiana-bred had won Aqueduct’s Correction and was third in the Grade 2 Ruffian at Belmont earlier this year.

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11.23.2020:

Monday, November 23: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, the feature at Woodbine Mohawk Park rolls in Race 9, a Preferred Handicap Trot with a $36,000 purse. The 0.20 Early Pick 4 starts in Race 4 and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 47-Charmbo Prince (4-1)-Three-year-old has not won a race since trying Lasix 8 starts ago. Missed a start but did come the back-half in 55.2 on 11/7. Saftic can put in play sooner and should be rolling down the lane.8-Toccoa Falls (7/2)-Makes 3rd start for Team Hensley and did put forth a good effort in last try. Started from post 10 and did get into a live cover flow but couldn't catch the winner due to 30.1 third quarter after a 57.2 opening half. Should be a threat with a good steer.9-The First Chapter (15-1)-Taking a swing for a price as this 5-year-old makes only his 10th start in 2020. Looking for an honest pace and with the right trip this guy could light up the board. Has 2 wins in 9 tries at Wbsb and the 2 picks above are a bit camera shy.Race 54-Lone Wolf Terror (4-1)-The Wolf is an open book. Since the beginning of October every other start has been a win, and in the other he breaks. That sequence won't go on forever but can beat this group if he doesn't take steps.6-Military Secret (3-1)-Drops in for a tag as some 4-year-olds do at this time of year before their 25% allowance goes away. Has only 1 win since the claim but has been cashing checks. Should like the company and best to respect chances for a picture.9-Choreographer (7/2)-This is the probable winner if races back to last start when he cruised home in 152.4. Loses McClure who was out East this weekend, but Henry is more than capable. Five-year-old can leave as fast as the gate car.Race 62-Im The Muscle (3-1)-Drops to the same level as last win on 10/26. Roy could blast out and should land on the point or no worse than in the 2-hole. This is a spot to wake-up and could be bet hard.3-Only For Justice (7/2)-Here is the other dropper and this will be the 3rd start with hopples. Should be there at the wire if minds manners.5-Superlative (4-1)-Bumps up after drawing off by 5 1/2 lengths and did cash checks versus better than this not long ago. Jamieson is back for his 2nd tour in the bike and best to not overlook this time, could get a close-up seat.Race 72-Buzz (4-1)-Kadabra 8-year-old likes to race on the point or close to it. That can happen versus this crew without using a lot of gas. This looks like a good spot for a picture.6-Hockey Hanover (3-1)-Hasn't taken a trip to the winner's circle since 7/7 and that was against better than this. Had an even effort when dropped to this level in last, but like #2 this could be a chance to snag an overdue win.10-Wild And Crazy Guy (7/2)-There should be an honest pace, could get away okay and save ground. If JMac can work a trip and be in striking range down the lane this veteran could pounce late.My Ticket Race 4) 7,8,9 Race 5) 4,6,9 Race 6) 2,3,5 Race 7) 2,6,10Total Ticket Cost) $16.20Check me out on Twitter!

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11.22.2020:

Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Pompano Park starts the week with an 11-race card featuring Sunshine State Sires Stakes action. The 0.50 Pick 4 begins in Race 6. The sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool with a low 12% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Cool Like That (7/5)-Takes a bump up after being an easy winner in Pompano debut. Hennessey sticks over #5 and a repeat is a distinct possibility.5-Autotune Hanover (4-1)-Also was a winner in PPk debut and tonight Wallis steers. There is gate speed inside so may need to find some cover and grind it out. This race could set up for a closer and this 7-year-old can win that way.7-Jimi Wind Ricks (8-1)-Holiday's choice over the 6 stayed inside last week and that was his 1st start in almost 3 weeks. Has the gate speed to get a good seat. That might be the plan and should offer a nice price.Race 71-BNB (12-1)-Got away leisurely in 1st Pomp start. Then followed the 6/5 choice before it stalled which led to a 3-wide trip. That's not a recipe for success. Looking for a more alert start and the trip should be smoother at a good price.2-Live Lucky (20-1)-Started from post 8 last week in Pompano debut. Raced 3-wide but still managed to pace the 2nd half in 55.4. Price shot makes 2nd start in the Blood barn and double-digit Dave is back between the pipes.7-Sand Sniper (4-1)-Hoosier invader was bet down last week and stalled when pulled. Program comment indicates broken equipment. Hennessey sticks and will use in a race without a true standout.10-Stellar BB (5/2)-Got on the engine and didn't look back. Off that effort will include, even from this post. Did win from the 2nd tier at HoP which isn't the same. But it does show a win not starting with a nose on the gate.Race 83-Loud Splash (6-1)-Wasn't used hard from the 8 hole at this class last week. Doesn't have big gate speed but can be put in play from this post. Should bring a better effort after having a race at the track.6-Maxdaddy Blue Chip (9/2)-Did face tougher foes out East and rallied sharply off a brisk pace last week. Should be tighter tonight, previous race was on 10/10.8-Ideal Feeling (5-1)-Five-year-old was cashing checks at the Big M and did win last week at this class from post 9. Has the gate speed to do the same once again.Race 96-Rockntouch (7/5)-Drops after tuning-up last week and now Hennessey takes the lines. Eight-year-old has 29 wins in 121 starts at the Pomp. This is a spot to shine but doesn't have much gate speed so will need a trip.8-Darling's Dragon (7/2)-Like the morning line chalk, has been facing better on the East coast. But has the gate speed to be put in play off the gate. Looks like a player with a smooth trip.0.50 Pick 42,5,7/1,2,7,10/2,6,8/6,8Total Bet=$36Check me out on Twitter!

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11.22.2020:

Jeff Siegel's National Best Plays - 11/22/20

Churchill Downs Third Race – Post time: 2:00 ET7 – Miss Tapirado (3-1)Finally makes her debut late in her 3-year-old season after bringing $1.3 million at the 2019 Keeneland April 2-year-old-in-training sale, where she recorded the fastest breeze in the preview session (:10 flat) over a muddy track. The daughter of Tapit from Alcibiades S.-G1 winner My Conquestadory is a full-sister to the good colt Bourbon War and has trained well enough in recent weeks to be fit and ready in this maiden main track one-turn mile for fillies and mares. Drawn comfortably outside, the W. Mott-trained should have every chance to score at first asking and should offer value at or near her morning line of 3-1.*Churchill Downs Fourth Race – Post time: 2:30 ET5 – Starrininmydreams (5/2)Loved the way this juvenile colt scored at first asking over the local main track in September, pressing the pace in hand to the top of the lane and then taking over when called upon to win with authority. His pedigree suggests he’ll handle today’s extra distance just fine, and with a strong, healthy series of recent workouts the son of Super Saver looks primed to handle this raise in class. J. Talamo stays aboard for D. Stewart, so at 5/2 on the morning line let’s make him a win play and rolling exotic single.

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11.21.2020:

Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

This is the last big card at the Meadowlands in 2020 with purses totaling almost $2.5 million dollars. There are eight stake races scheduled. The 0.50 Early Pick 4 begins in Race 6 and every leg is a feature event. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Sorella (3-1)-This is a 3-year-old facing older and that usually is a tough task. But this filly has had an outstanding season and should get a great trip from the rail. Has won 4 of 6 at the Big M with a 150.2 mark in East Rutherford this season and could get a pocket trip.3-Plunge Blue Chip (9/5)-Has been off for 3 weeks and that should help. Likes the Big M and has been in the money in 10 of 13 starts with 4 wins. Svanstedt will probably leave and look to control the race with the program chalk When Dovescry starting from post position #6.Race 71-Fire Start Hanover (2-1)-Razor sharp Nifty Norman pupil has won 8 of 12 this year. Likes to get on the engine and not look back. That will be script to follow tonight. Many will single and there is a strong case to do so.3-Notorious Pink (5-1)-Edged out #11-JK Alwaysbalady last week and has come up with determined efforts in every start this year except the Crown Final on a sloppy track from post 9. Tetrick can work a good trip from this spot and should be right there at the wire.Race 81-Caviart Ally (5-1)-The program chalk draws the 9 hole and will be using a few in this leg. This mare loves the Big M hitting the board in 18 of 23 with 10 wins. McCarthy will put in striking range and could surprise at a square price.4-Shartin N (3-1)-Has been chasing Kissin In The Sand this year and has a chance to get some revenge with the benefit of this post draw. Does good work at the Big M, shows a 146.4 mark there and did win this race 2 years ago.5-Peaky Sneaky (8-1)-Here is the lesser of the 2 Takter pupils but that is not a slight when the stablemate is Kissin In The Sand. Sneaky won the Crown Final and this 3-year-old is well worth a swing at 8-1.9-Kissin In The Sand (2-1)-This is the finale for an outstanding mare who has won 6 straight. It's off to the breeding shed after tonight and she knows how to win from post 9. I'm shooting against her and more often than not that's a mistake. She could grind out the entire mile and win but it could be a challenge to get the top.Race 92-Abuckabett Hanover (4-1)-Tuned-up nicely with a 54.2 back half and was able to stay on stride. Betting Line 2-year-old could beat this bunch if minds manners. McCarthy should have this colt forwardly placed throughout.3-Summa Cum Laude (9/5)-Hasn't been able to beat Perfect Sting but did dead heat with him in the Crown Final and this is a really nice colt. Winner of 2 straight has been perfect at the Big M (4-4) and is the one to beat.4-Southwind Petyr (5-1)-Came 2nd in the Matron Final and took the long way around. This is a good post for Petyr because he lacks early speed. Does have a win and a 2nd place finish in 2 starts here. Sears returns tonight and he knows well. Looking for a stalking trip and if there is a speed duel chances for success go up at a nice price.0.50 Early Pick 41,3/1,3/1,4,5,9/2,3,4Total Bet=$24Check me out on Twitter!

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11.21.2020:

Saturday, November 21: Jeff Siegel's Best Plays

  GULFSTREAM PARK WEST // RACE 5 (2:33PM ET) // #3 VENEZUELAN HUG (5/1)   Was no threat in the Belmont Derby-G1 last month but is much more realistically spotted today in this Florida-bred middle distance turf affair at Gulfstream Park West that promises a favorable race flow to compliment his closing style.  The son of Constitution prefers patient handling and in a field loaded with pace-types the D. Gargan-trained 3-year-old should have every chance to produce a winning late kick.  At 5-1 on the morning line he’ll offer wagering value in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.     WOODBINE (TB) // RACE 8 (4:58PM ET) // #1 FIELD PASS (2/1)    Exits a series of much tougher races and today faces a group his best can handle in this year’s edition of the Ontario Derby-G3.  A graded stakes winner in his only prior outing over a synthetic surface, the son of Lemon Drop Kid is favorably drawn on the rail and projects to enjoy an ideal ground-saving, pace-stalking trip.  With speed figures good enough to win, he’s the logical top pick and is worth a play at or near his morning line of 2-1.  

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11.20.2020:

Hoosier Park Pick 4 Analysis

Hoosier Park has a 14-race card scheduled for this evening. Tomorrow will be the last night of racing in Anderson until next season. The 0.50 Pick 4 begins in Race 3 and it will be my focus.The driver with the hottest hands on Thursday was Trace Tetrick with 4 wins. Three conditioners, Tyler George, Louis Quevedo and Lewayne Miller made 2 trips to the winner's circle.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 31-Rose Run Vision (3-1)-Will toss last on a sloppy track and was racing well in previous two starts. Likes to win and should be a player versus this crew.6-Off To Win (4-1)-Was off more than 2 weeks before last start and faded down the lane. Putnam should be able to find live cover and be there at the wire.9-Atoritotell (6-1)-This is another who was off more than 2 weeks before last start. Wrenn may look to blast out, could get a close-up seat and roll by down the lane at a square price.Race 42-Just For Us (5-1)-Won 2 and then returned here, started slowly and did trot the 2nd half in 58.1 but wasn't in the hunt. Starts inside of the chalk and could trip out and surprise for 8th win in 22 starts this year.5-Bargain Bob (9/5)-Has faced better company but being 9/5 in the morning line says more about the quality of this field than Bobs recent form. Will respect chances but is 0-5 at HoP.Race 51-Family Recipe (7/2)-On 11/6, took advantage of an efficient trip and captured 7th win in 26 starts at Hoosier. Three-year-old faces older but should be competitive and starting from the rail could help.4-Sawyer's Desire (3-1)-Burke trainee has banked over $244k. Recent form has slipped but this is a spot for a bounce back effort.10-Tulhurstsantanna A (9/2)-The 10 hole makes for a better price and should like the company. Looks like a player with a decent trip and has held its own versus Open company.Race 66-Dave And Dennis (3-1)-Six-year-old gets the services of Widger and has been in the money in 21 of 45 starts at HoP. Hasn't raced since 10/29 but a little time off may help at this time of year.7-Shadyjake (6-1)-Raced with broken equipment in last start, before that was facing tough foes. Could be put in play early and should be a solid price.10-Shark Play (8-1)-Makes 2nd start since late August and this is the last shot at a HoP picture for this year. Camera shy 4-year-old is worth a look and the price should be right.0.50 Pick 41,6,9/2,5/1,4,10/6,7,10Total Bet=$27Check me out on Twitter!

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11.20.2020:

Jeff Siegel’s National Best Plays for Friday, November 20, 2020

Aqueduct Sixth Race – Post Time: 2:15 ET5-Palamos-GB (9/2) Was given an educational run in her debut at Keeneland last month and did well to finish third after breaking slowly and then being allowed to finish on her own courage in a fast, highly-rated race for maiden fillies. The 3-year-old daughter of Blame should be much more serious today with that bit of experience behind her, so at 3-1 on the morning line the G. Motion-trained sophomore offers excellent wagering value in the win pool and in rolling exotic play. Del Mar Eighth Race – Post Time: 4:00 PT5-Theluteismine (2-1) Barn excels with second-time starters (30% with a massive flat-bet profit) so we’re expecting this P. Miller-trained gelding to produce a significant forward move in this five furlong grass sprint for 2-year-olds. Didn’t get the best of runs when finishing a respectable fifth over a mile at Santa Anita in September but has trained well since, switches to F. Prat, and can be along in time with good racing luck.

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11.20.2020:

Jerry Shottenkirk: Late Pick 4 Ticket Sunday at GP West

Half of Gulfstream West’s Late Pick 4 on Sunday includes stakes events for Florida-breds, and those two are $60,000 Juvenile Turf stakes for 2-year-olds and the $60,000 Millions Filly and Mare Turf Preview Stakes for aged distaffers. The Juvenile is a mile and is carded as the seventh race and the Filly and Mare Turf Preview Stakes is at 7.5 furlongs and is the ninth and final race of the day.Here’s a look at the sequence, along with a $54 suggested ticket: Race 6 (3:05 p.m. ET, maidens)COZY CAFE missed by a neck in her last start and was on the board in both career appearances. Clearly good enough for inclusion on any exotic ticket.GOOD SHABBOS has had a lot of practice (seven starts) and most recently was fourth at Monmouth. Has faced quality runners and is long overdue.GOODBYE GABY has the speed to battle from the outset, and like Good Shabbos makes her eighth start. Due to stay. Race 7 (3:38 p.m. ET, Juvenile Turf S.)LIGHT US UP was fifth in two stakes races at Monmouth and Aqueduct and that experience should come in handy here. Can improve stretching out to a mile.FULMINI ran out of gas last in her last one and can benefit from have had the start over the course. Should be able to stretch out in good order here.CHESS’S DREAM ran well in turf races and then was outrun in a distance stakes race in the slop. Legit player despite being a maiden.HOT BLOODED won the Proud Man Stakes last out in a clear showing of his affinity for turf. Classy and capable of a repeat performance. Race 8 (4:08 p.m. ET, claiming)BEAST OF WILDWOOD won two straight in the late summer and gets Lopez up. Likely to stalk closely and engage when called upon.ITSMYLUCKYGIRL scooted home with three straight wins, including twice over this strip in her last two. Seriously enjoys the place and could be one to hold off.SOLID AS A ROCK held on for third after battling just ahead of Itsmyluckygirl last out. Her speed always makes her dangerous. Race 9 (4:42 p.m. ET, Millions Filly and Mare Turf Preview S.)MO OF THE WEST was too late in her bid last time as she followed a slow pace. Likely to get a more favorable setup and can make a run vs. these.LOVELY LUVY closed well for second last time up and is in the mix more times than not. Likes the two turns and it could be her day.BIENVILLE STREET was second by a neck in the Monroe Stakes two races back and has look a lot of good fillies and mares in the eye. Looks close to nabbing a stakes victory. 6) #3 Cozy Cafe, #6 Good Shabbos, #7 Goodbye Gaby.7) #5 Light Us Up, #6 Fulmini, #9 Chess’s Dream, #10 Hot Blooded.8) #3 Beast of Wildwood, #4 Itsmyluckygirl, #6 Solid as a Rock.9) #3 Mo of the West, #5 Lovely Luvy, #9 Bienville Street.50-cent Late Pick 4: 3-6-7 with 5-6-9-10 with 3-4-6 with 3-5-9 ($54).

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11.20.2020:

Gryder the Rider & Del Mar Late Pick 4 Play

Jockey Aaron Gryder recently bid ‘adios’ to travelling around in circles on the backs of horses. He says ‘it’s time.’ His decision. Unlike other professional athletes, jockeys aren’t ‘released’ by a team. Unclaimed on waivers. Victims of expired contracts. No one in particular informs jockeys when it’s time to hang up tack. They’re independent contractors…kind of…hired out afternoons, like limos or bicycles. Ultimately, when fewer and fewer people are willing to enlist you for a ride around the city or the park, that’s when you know it’s time to call it quits. Gryder, thankfully, stops a bit short of that day. The life of a jockey is challenging in so many ways. For example, how’d you’d like to have to stand on a scale every day before work and have your weight then announced to the world? Gryder is 5’ 6” and that’s on the tall side for a jockey. He learned more a lifestyle and less a diet to cope but still knew how to ‘pull’ a few pounds on race days by jogging uphill in a sweat suit or by doing yoga, boxing or Pilates, he told Channel Guide Magazine in 2009. And then there’s the danger. Jockeys can’t think about that and perform well. But the threat’s still there, lingering in the air like the faint smell of burnt rubber. Gryder’s fortunate. 50-years-old and joints moving pretty well, thank you, because…and now that he’s retired it can be said out loud…he’s been lucky to avoid serious injury. No knock on wood required. Why push the envelope? Gryder’s tale is interesting. Born in West Covina, Ca, he first attended the races at Santa Anita with grandparents when he was less than half a decade old and spent time on the monkey bars in the track’s infield playground. He remembers immediately being attracted to the sport. At 13, an age when some coddled kids are met by parents while disembarking school busses on cul de sacs, Gryder moved to live, work and learn at former jockey Rudy Campas’ farm. Campas was a perfect teacher. An affable 26-year riding veteran, retired from the saddle just two years before the fortuitous meeting with the youngster one morning at Santa Anita, Campas had been a Southern California fan favorite. He was short, even for a jockey, and round, built like a bowling ball. One afternoon, toward the end of his journeyman career, Rudy had failed to win on an odds-on choice around the bullring at the Pomona Fair. During the stretch-long walk back to the jockey’s room in front of the grandstand and apron he was heckled mercilessly. Inside, he complained loudly in his signature nasal tone, “Why the hell are they yelling at me? They should boo the filly. She’s the one that didn’t try.” From across the room, the mercurial and often fined perennial Pomona riding champ Paco Mena offered advice, “Hey, Rudy, do what I do. Give them the finger. It costs you money, but you feel better.” Campas and farm life taught Gryder what he needed to know and more. He didn’t just learn to ride; he earned a degree in horsemanship. Up and at ‘em at 4 a.m., taking care of the horses, Gryder learned about equines from the ground up and those lessons were invaluable when finally paid to partner on their backs. Always a polite ‘yes, sir,’ ‘yes, ma’am’ kind of teenager, Gryder found early success riding races as an apprentice at Aqua Caliente in Tijuana, Mexico. It was a development path apprentice Corey Nakatani soon also followed to Hall of Fame consideration success. Naturally, the gringo winning ‘all the races’ south of the border attracted attention and Gryder was recruited to join exclusive riding ranks at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar that included Hall of Fame riders like Bill Shoemaker, Laffit Pincay, Eddie Delahoussaye, Chris McCarron, Sandy Hawley and more. This writer was a member of the 1987 Santa Anita publicity staff when a young Aaron Gryder won, perhaps, the most memorable race of his career—a maiden event aboard a filly named Tom’s Sweetie. Never heard of her? No surprise. She didn’t do much other than to provide a young jockey with a Hallmark moment. The morning before Tom’s Sweetie won at Santa Anita, Gryder’s father, who had been visiting SoCal to watch him ride, was about to drive back home to Sacramento. He noticed Aaron also leaving the house at the same time. He backed up his car, got out and spoke to his boy. “I love you, son. Go win a race for me tomorrow.” That evening the 42-year-old father suffered a heart attack and died in a fatal car accident. Understandably, the teenage jockey was shattered by the loss of his loving dad but went to the track the next afternoon because a winning ride was the last thing his father had requested. At that point this writer pretty much knew the kid would be a success. And he has been on and off the track. Here’s wishing he finds another foothold in this game/sport/business where he can share his experiences and his character. You have to admit, we can use the help. Below is one man's opinion regarding Del Mar's Saturday Late Pick 4 sequence:    RACE 6 (5:57PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)  Late Pick 4 kicks off with an interesting 2-year-old Maiden Special Weight sprint at six and one-half furlongs. #3 A Real Hero is a first-time starter that hails from the hot (3-5 at Del Mar) Michael McCarthy stable and has been working every seven days. He attracts the capable Umberto Rispoli to ride. Check workout reports for more ‘yeahs’ or ‘nays.’ #5 Empire House has a nice series of Golden Gate works for trainer Jonathan Wong. The trainer’s solid with first-time starters up north but hasn’t established a mark in the south, yet. #6 Exotic West is a first timer from the Bob Baffert barn. Need any more info? Ok. He’s got a few Santa Anita works that are interesting, including a 1:00 from the gate and a 1:14 also from the gate. He blew out in 47 from the gate in his last prep for this. He’s the 9/5 morning-line favorite. #7 Peachtree Road makes her second start for Richard Mandella and jockey Mike Smith. The outside post helps this filly that showed some run before folding in a five and one-half furlong debut in August behind the talented Princess Noor. Expect better this time.   RACE 7 (6:26PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF)  Five panels sprinting on the turf always is a challenging affair. This is a turf test in which nearly every starter has a poor turf record. One exception is #8 Caerulean. #2 Hartel attracts Prat for Peter Miller—they bat 30% overall. Can’t sail the Pick 4 ship without this runner. Hartel hasn’t raced in about a year—so there’s that--but he departed competition showing a mid-pack running style and some fast figures. #5 Combat Zone had trouble in his last race and usually can be counted on for an in-the-money performance at a decent price. He’s just 1 for 17 lifetime but has been in the money better than 50% of the time. He’ll be running late. #8 Caerulean has speed and is dropping in for a tag for the first time out of state-bred maiden allowance races. The outside box is a plus as this one figures to show speed in an attempt to wire the field. There’s not a great deal of other speed signed on.   RACE 8 (6:55PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)  Seems like there’s plenty of pace in this six and one-half furlong event, so we’ll look for something from off the pace. #2 Chipper always takes money and will again with jockey Flavien Prat for trainer Mark Glatt. Together they bat about 20% overall. The 3-year-old gelding has a nice even style of running that should work well in here. #3 Brace for Impact is the 5/2 morning-line favorite with 4 seconds out of 6 tries. He’s got speed in a race that seems to have plenty of that commodity. May be worth taking a stand against him. #4 Lil Richards Bello has failed as favorite the last 2 times out—second in both races on the main track. His only turf try wasn’t awful. He’s second choice on the morning line at 3-1. #7 Square Root starts for Doug O’Neill and Reddam Racing with jockey Mario Gutierrez. Blinkers were added last out going one mile on turf for a speed and fade performance. First out also was on turf. Switch to the main track for this and we could see a wake-up performance.   RACE 9 (7:24PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 1/16 MILES (TURF)  Pretty wide-open finale to close out the Saturday Late Pick 4. Here are a few suggested ways to go but you might also want to add something we’ve missed. #1 Justin’s Quest could ride the rail to an exotics finish. He’s got 5 seconds from 12 starts, so he’s comfortable in the exacta. This is his first try on turf. #4 Worthy Turk was second at the level last out, races for the always hot Peter Miller barn, has won 2 of 6 over Del Mar turf, and has not been worse than third in as many tries at the distance. All good stuff. #7 Contagion gets a 7-pound weight break with apprentice Alexis Centeno. Toss his last when he broke from 11 of 12 going a mile on grass. He’s 1-3 on turf at Del Mar. Another with an outside exotic look. #8 French Getaway fits in here, likes Del Mar turf (2-6) and the distance (2-3). He was second at about this level last out and a close third three back. Stuff to want on your side. #11 Mithqaal is on the Also-Eligible list at this writing but would have to be considered if drawing in. The post is no bargain, but the 7-year-old has a win in four tries over Del Mar turf and has been no worse than third in four starts at the distance. Trainer Jonathan Wong hasn’t sparkled at Del Mar yet this fall, but he’s batting 27% overall and must be respected.   $0.50 DEL MAR SATURDAY LATE PICK 4 TICKET ($48.00)  Race 6: 3, 5, 6, 7 Race 7: 2, 8 Race 8: 2, 4, 7 Race 9: 4, 7, 8, 11   Race On!

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11.19.2020:

Jeff Siegel's National Best Plays for Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020

Aqueduct 7th race. Post time: 2:15 ET4-Boomkittybyebye (12-1) This is nothing more than an educated guess but one worth taking at 12-1 on the morning line. The debuting daughter of Kitten’s Joy out of a turf route-winning half-sister to multiple stakes winner West Hills Giant hails from a capable outfit, draws the barn’s “go-to” rider and sports a steady, easy series of workouts that should have her plenty fit. Trainer J. Englehart shows an excellent percentage with first-time starters (20%), so in a field in which the known element appears average at best on paper, a fresh face such as this New York-bred juvenile filly could spring a major surprise. Churchill Downs 8th race. Post time: 4:36 ET2 – Sir Alfred James (3-1) Has the perfect style for this one-turn mile trip along with a previous win over the Churchill Downs main track, so we’re expecting this lightly-raced gelding to continue to produce rising speed figures in a race that projects to have modest early fractions. The son of Munnings earned a career top number when a close fourth vs. similar last month and not much more will be needed to beat this group. At 3-1 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.

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11.19.2020:

1/ST Look: Maryland Jockey Club at Laurel Stats

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Pimlico Race Course. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Maryland. And be sure to support Pimlico by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Maryland Jockey Club. Headlines One lucky bettor solved the 20-cent Rainbow 6 wager for a $21,566.58 jackpot payout on the Nov. 14 stakes program … Jockey Trevor McCarthy won the James F. Lewis Stakes for the third straight year and fourth time overall when piloting No Cents to victory Nov. 14 … Laurel’s next major stakes day will be Nov. 28 with a 6-pack of $100,000 events on the main track ... The Thursday-Sunday racing week to come kicks off daily at 12:25 pm ET. Stronach 5 The Stronach 5 paid $705.80 last week (145 winning tickets) with an “ALL” in the final leg due to Golden Gate Fields’ late cancellation of racing. The Nov. 20 Stronach 5 will be comprised of the following races: Leg A – Laurel Park Race 7 with an approximate post time of 3:24Leg B – Gulfstream Park West Race 7 with an approximate post time of 3:38Leg C – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:54Leg D – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:24Leg E – Gulfstream Park West Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:421/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 34% winners. The ‘Best Speed Last 3’ was a top factor for the second straight week and scored a resounding 47% winners. Best Speed Last 3Lifetime EarningsIn The Money (ITM) % Trends Last Week --Trainer Brittany Russell continued her winning ways with a 5: 3-1-1 mark that makes her 10: 7-1-1 over the past 2 weeks. The public hasn’t been fooled: all 7 winners were 5-2 or less. Husband Sheldon Russell has ridden 6 of the 7 winners during the streak.--Trainer Jose Corrales posted a 5: 3-0-0 record that saw him go 3-for-3 with runners 5-2 or less odds. A pair of those wins came in dirt claiming routes.--Trainer Cal Lynch made the most of limited starts, going 3: 2-0-1 and netting a $2.50 ROI for every $1 bet. His dirt sprinters went 2-for-2, including a stakes victory.--Jockeys Luis Garcia and Roimes Chorinos both went 2-for-3 on the week with few opportunities. Garcia booted home a $33 winner among his pair, while Chorinos had a $10 score and got some live mounts for Kieron Magee.--Apprentice jockey Alexander Crispin is 7-for-30 over the past 2 weeks (23% wins) and has shown a flat-bet profit at $1.06 ROI for every $1 bet.

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11.19.2020:

1/ST Look: Gulfstream Park West Stats

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Gulfstream Park West. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in South Florida. And be sure to support GPW by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Gulfstream Park West.HeadlinesFour Sunshine Millions Preview Day turf races scheduled for last Saturday have been re-slated for this Saturday and Sunday due to wet conditions a week ago. The SM Preview Turf and Juvenile Fillies Turf will be run Saturday; the Filly & Mare Turf and Juvenile Turf are set for Sunday … A $137,552 carryover in the Rainbow 6 welcomes bettors back this week, Wednesday through Sunday … 2020 Florida Derby winner Tiz the Law will be pointed toward the Jan. 23 Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream, his connections announced this past week.Stronach 5The Stronach 5 paid $705.80 last week (145 winning tickets) with an “ALL” in the final leg due to Golden Gate Fields’ late cancellation of racing. The Nov. 20 Stronach 5 will be comprised of the following races:Leg A – Laurel Park Race 7 with an approximate post time of 3:24Leg B – Gulfstream Park West Race 7 with an approximate post time of 3:38Leg C – Laurel Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 3:54Leg D – Laurel Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:24Leg E – Gulfstream Park West Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:421/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 West last week, each winning at a 28% or greater win rate. The factor Last Turn Time netted a $33.20 profit if you bet $2 win on each top choice in that category for the week.Avg E2 PaceBest Speed Last 3Last Turn TimeTrends Last Week--Trainer Carlos David went 4: 3-0-1 on the week, including a pair of stakes winners. That produced a $1.73 ROI for every $1 bet as all 3 winners were 5-2 or less odds. David has won with 5 of his last 8 local starters.--Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. was back on the upswing with a 7: 3-3-0 week that saw victories at 6-5, 6-5 and 3-1 prices. Edgard Zayas piloted all but 1 of his runners.--Jockey Emisael Jaramillo, who had been cold in recent weeks, caught fire with a 21: 6-3-3 mark, but was not profitable as 5 of his wins came aboard favorites.--Jockey Angel Arroyo went 4-for-16 (25% wins) and boasted a huge $2.97 ROI for every $1 bet. Winners paid $26 and $57 in dirt mile routes among his scores.--Jockey Santiago Gonzalez made the most of limited mounts. He was 4: 2-1-0 with $9 and $23 winners spiking a wild $4.13 ROI for every $1 bet.--Jockey Edgard Zayas went 7: 3-4-0 aboard favorites on the week.

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11.19.2020:

Speightstown's Influence is Ominpresent

It seems like Speightstown’s name is popping up all over the place these days. Two outstanding Speightstown 3-year-old colts, Charlatan and Nashville, currently are on a collision course. They are scheduled to clash in the Grade I Malibu Stakes, a seven-furlong race on Dec. 26, opening day of Santa Anita Park’s winter-spring meeting. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert trains Charlatan. Fellow Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen conditions Nashville. Charlatan has finished first in each of his three career starts by margins of 5 3/4, 10 1/4 and six lengths. He has not started since taking a division of the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on May 2. He subsequently was disqualified from purse money in the Arkansas Derby for a medication violation. Nashville has won each of his three career starts by margins of 11 1/2 , 9 3/4 and 3 1/2 lengths. In his most recent appearance under silks, Nashville zipped six furlongs in 1:07.89 when he won Keeneland’s ungraded Perryville Stakes on the Breeders’ Cup undercard. Later in the day, Whitmore won the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint by completing six furlongs in 1:08.61. Nashville’s time of 1:07.89 broke Keeneland’s track record for six furlongs of 1:08.43 set by A.P. Indian in the Grade II Phoenix Stakes in 2016. By the way, Nashville also was the name of a colt foaled in 1954. That Nashville splashed his way to a 1 1/4-length win in a six-furlong allowance race at Belmont Park in 1956. He handed Bold Ruler the first loss of his career after winning his first five races. Bold Ruler would go on to become the 1957 Horse of the Year, then sired the 1972 and 1973 Horse of the Year in Secretariat, who swept the 1973 Triple Crown when running the fastest Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in history. Still another Speightstown colt, 4-year-old Performer, is headed for Aqueduct’s Grade I Cigar Mile on Dec. 5 for trainer Shug McGaughery. Like Baffert and Asmussen, McGaughey is a member of the Hall of Fame. Performer has reeled off five consecutive wins after finishing third at first asking in an Aqueduct maiden race on Nov. 3, 2018. In his 2020 debut, he returned from a long layoff to win a one-mile allowance/optional claiming race on a muddy track in a sparkling 1:33.93 at Belmont Park on Oct. 17. That was his first race since his victory in the Grade III Discovery Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 30, 2019. Speightstown had an impact in both the Desi Arnaz Stakes and Bob Hope Stakes last weekend at Del Mar. Astute, a 2-year-old Speightstown filly, drew away in the stretch and won last Saturday’s Desi Arnaz by 7 1/2 lengths. In Jay Privman’s July 8 Daily Racing Form story on the subject of 2-year-olds to watch at the upcoming Del Mar summer meet, Hall of Fame trainer Mandella called Astute “a real runner.” Astute was pounded down to 7-10 favoritism when unveiled in a 5 1/2-furlong grass race for maidens at Santa Anita on Oct. 12. She dashed to a clear early lead and went on to win by a neck. She switched to the dirt in the 6 1/2-furlong Desi Arnaz. Despite the hype associated with Astute when victorious on Oct. 12, she got away at 5-1 in the Desi Arnaz. One assumes that anyone who remembered what Mandella had said to Privman in July might have been astute enough to put some money on the Desi Arnaz winner, who paid $12.20 for a $2 win wager. The Baffert-trained Private Mission finished fourth in the Desi Arnaz as the overwhelming 1-2 favorite. Private Mission went into that race off a 1 3/4-length debut win Oct. 18 on Santa Anita’s main track. Astute recorded an 87 Beyer Speed Figure for her victory last Saturday, way up from the 70 she posted in her first race. Daily Racing Form’s Brad Free pointed out that the 87 is the highest Beyer by a 2-year-old filly in California this year. In last Sunday’s Bob Hope, Red Flag won impressively in a 10-1 upset. He is by the Speightstown stallion Tamarkuz, who won the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile by an emphatic 3 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita in 2016. Tamarkuz recorded a career-best 107 Beyer Speed Figure in his Breeders’ Cup triumph in which Gun Runner finished second. Gun Runner would go on to be the 2017 Horse of the Year. Red Flag finished fifth when debuting in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race on the dirt Sept. 6 at Del Mar. He won a maiden contest at the same distance on the grass Oct. 10 at Santa Anita. Sixth in the early going on Oct. 10, Red Flag surged late to prevail by a neck. In the seven-furlong Bob Hope, Red Flag vied for the early lead while four wide, kicked clear approaching the quarter pole, then widened in the lane to win by 7 1/4 lengths. The Baffert-trained Spielberg, sent away as the 3-5 favorite, finished fourth. A $1 million auction purchase, Spielberg went into the Bob Hope off a maiden win Nov. 1 at Del Mar. Prior to earning his maiden diploma, Spielberg had finished second in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity and third in the Grade I American Pharoah Stakes. John Shirreffs of Zenyatta fame trains Red Flag, who becomes an interesting horse in terms of the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Shirreffs won the 2005 Run for the Roses with Giacomo. Earlier this year, Shirreffs saddled the now-retired Honor A.P. to finish fourth behind the victorious Authentic in the Kentucky Derby. Red Flag sports an improving Beyer Speed Figure pattern. He recorded a 51 at first asking, then a 63, then improved substantially to an 80 for his win last Sunday. Speightstown stands stud duty at WinStar Farm in Kentucky. A son of Gone West and the Storm Cat mare Silken Cat, Speightstown won 10 of 16 lifetime starts. An earner on the track of $1,258,256, Speightstown won the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint by 1 1/4 lengths at Lone Star Park in 2004 in the final start of his career. He provided trainer Todd Pletcher with his first Breeders’ Cup win. Speightstown received a 112 Beyer Speed Figure for his Breeders’ Cup victory. He was voted a 2004 Eclipse Award as champion male sprinter. His top Beyer was the 117 he was credited with when he won the Grade II Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga in 2004. By the way, Speightstown’s sire ended Hall of Fame trainer Woody Stephens’ extraordinary winning streak in the Belmont Stakes. Stephens won five straight Belmonts, widely recognized as one of the greatest achievements in the history of the sport. After Stephens’ Belmont victories with Conquistador Cielo in 1982, Caveat in 1983, Swale in 1984, Creme Fraiche in in 1985 and Danzig Connection in 1986, Gone West finished sixth in the 1987 renewal won by Bet Twice. MY “EARLY” ECLIPSE AWARD CHOICES Established in 1971, the Eclipse Awards are presented annually to recognize outstanding achievements in North America by Thoroughbreds and individuals. Eclipse Awards are voted on by members of the Daily Racing Form, National Thoroughbred Racing Association and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. Eclipse Awards also are bestowed to members of the media for outstanding coverage of the sport. Additionally, an Eclipse Award is presented to the winner of the National Horseplayers Championship. Ballots for the 2020 Eclipse Awards will be disseminated to voters in December. Recipients will be announced early in 2020. Now that the Breeders’ Cup is in the rear-view mirror, I pondered how I would fill out my Eclipse Award ballot if I did so right now in terms of the Thoroughbred categories (excluding steeplechase). If I voted today: TWO-YEAR-OLD MALE: 1. Essential Quality, 2. Jackie’s Warrior, 3. Golden Pal. TWO-YEAR-OLD FEMALE: 1. Vequist, 2. Aunt Pearl, 3. Dayoutoftheoffice. THREE-YEAR-OLD MALE: 1. Authentic, 2. Tiz the Law, 3. Happy Saver. THREE-YEAR-OLD FEMALE: 1. Swiss Skydiver, 2. Gamine, 3. Shedaresthedevil. OLDER DIRT MALE: 1. Improbable, 2.Maximum Security, 3. Vekoma. OLDER DIRT FEMALE: 1. Monomoy Girl, 2. Valiance, 3. Midnight Bisou. MALE SPRINTER: 1. Whitmore, 2. Volatile, 3. Vekoma. FEMALE SPRINTER: 1. Gamine, 2. Serengeti Empress, 3. Belle’s the One. MALE TURF: 1. Channel Maker, 2. Zulu Alpha, 3. United. FEMALE TURF: 1. Rushing Fall, 2. Tarnawa, 3. Audarya. HORSE OF THE YEAR: 1. Authentic, 2. Improbable, 3. Monomoy Girl. While this is how I would vote at this time, there undoubtedly will be a number of changes when I do ultimately fill out my 2020 Eclipse Award ballot for real. That’s because there are races with Eclipse Award ramifications still to be run in the remaining weeks of 2020. Eclipse Award voting closes on Dec. 31. RACING MOURNS DEATHS OF HORNUNG AND WRIGHT Football Hall of Famer Paul Hornung, an enthusiastic horse racing fan and Thoroughbred owner, died Nov. 13 in his hometown of Louisville, Ky. He was 84. Growing up in Louisville, Hornung was a high school sports star. He also became a lifetime frequent visitor to Churchill Downs. A Heisman Trophy winner in 1956 as a standout football player for Notre Dame, Hornung was the overall No. 1 pick when drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1957. He was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1961. Hornung played on four of the Packers’ five NFL championship teams and the victorious team in Super Bowl I coached by the legendary Vince Lombardi. Hornung missed the entire 1963 NFL season when suspended by commissioner Pete Rozelle after Hornung admitted to betting on NFL games. Following Hornung’s retirement from football in 1967, he became a radio and television broadcaster...and a racehorse owner. Probably the best-known horse that Hornung owned part of was Titletown Five, who was trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas. Titletown Five finished fourth in the Grade III Derby Trial at Churchill a week before Orb won the 2013 Kentucky Derby. Titletown Five then ran ninth in the Grade I Preakness Stakes, which was won by the Lukas-trained Oxbow. Hornung and Lukas became friends. “He loved to bet ’em -- I mean race 1 through 9. He loved the horses,” Lukas was quoted as saying in the Hornung obituary written by BloodHorse’s Byron King. “I think if you said to Paul, ‘Where would you like to spend the afternoon today?’ he would say the racetrack every day.” Meanwhile, I was saddened to learn the news that former jockey and trainer Richard Wright had passed away on Nov. 10 at his home in Renton, Wash. He died just three weeks shy of his 82nd birthday, according to his son, trainer Blaine Wright. I had the pleasure of watching Wright ride in the late 1960s at Playfair Race Course in my hometown of Spokane, Wash. Playfair was a five-eighths oval, known as a “bullring” because it was smaller than one-mile in circumference. Wright was one of the best bullring riders I ever saw. He had a knack to be in the right place at the right time, which is a lot easier said than done. He won the riding title at Playfair in 1967 and 1968, my early years in racing. One reason Wright rode so well on a bullring is he had extensive experience doing so. When I was a writer for the Daily Racing Form in the 1970s, I once interviewed his brother, Dale Wright. I asked Dale where he got started riding. He said he started riding at a track in Jackson Hole, Wyo. That track was a bullring. “I’ll tell you how tough it was riding at Jackson Hole. In my first race, I got dropped by own brother!” Dale said, referring to his brother, Richard. In addition to Richard Wright’s Playfair titles, he had success riding at Longacres, the biggest track in that part of the country (located south of Seattle in Renton), and at Portland Meadows. “Richard Wright began riding match races when he was 12 or 13 and was usually in the Top 10 in the jockey standings for 22 years at Longacres, Playfair and Portland Meadows,” Randy Goulding wrote in his Daily Racing Form obituary. In the 1970 Governor’s Handicap at Longacres, Wright rode Kid Cabin, a 10-1 shot in the field of 10. The 6-5 favorite was Fleet Fair. Off at odds of 4-1 was Turbulator. Fleet Fair had to pack top weight of 127 pounds in the Governor’s as a consequence of his six-race winning streak (three at Golden Gate Fields, followed by three at Longacres). Turbulator carried 120, Kid Cabin 114. Showing his typical early zip, Fleet Fair set a wicked early pace. He led through an opening quarter in :21 3/5 and half in :43 4/5. Kid Cabin raced third in the early going. Turbulator lagged far off the early pace, as usual. Approaching the eighth pole, Fleet Fair began to weaken, eventually finishing fourth. Kid Cabin took the lead with a little more than a furlong to go. Kid Cabin led by a half-length at the eighth pole, then opened up a clear advantage of about 1 1/2 lengths at the sixteenth pole. The six-furlong fraction was 1:07 3/5. To put that clocking into perspective, the track record for six furlongs was 1:08 flat. Years later, I asked Wright what he remembered about that race. “At the sixteenth pole, I really thought I was going to win,” Wright said. “My horse had the lead and was running so strong. But then I heard the announcer say Turbulator’s name. When I heard that, I thought, ‘Oh oh.’ I looked over my right shoulder and could see Turbulator was smoking. Then I thought, ‘Where’s the wire?’ I couldn’t hold off Turbulator, but it took a world record to beat my horse. All these years later, I still can’t believe I didn’t win that race as good as Kid Cabin ran.” Yes, it took a world-record performance on the part of Turbulator to beat Kid Cabin in the 1970 Governor’s Handicap at Longacres. Turbulator came home with a rush to win by a half-length in 1:14 flat, which sliced two-fifths of a second off the world mark for 6 1/2 furlongs. Wright retired from riding in 1974 and became a trainer. He won 962 races as a trainer, with his most important victory coming in the 1982 Longacres Derby with Flying Judgement, who dead-heated with the Ron McAnally-trained one-eyed Southern California shipper Cassaleria. Earlier in 1982, Cassaleria had finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby. Standout Northwest jockey Gary Baze rode Flying Judgement for Wright. Ray Sibille piloted Cassaleria for McAnally. That dead heat between Flying Judgement and Cassaleria was one of the most memorable races ever run at Longacres during its existence from 1933 to 1992. Richard Wright was proud of how well his son, Blaine Wright, has done as a trainer. Blaine has enjoyed success at Emerald Downs near Seattle and at Golden Gate, among other tracks. Blaine sent out Anothertwistafate to win this year’s Grade III Longacres Mile on Sept. 10, the most important race in that region. It was a terrific training job on the part of Blaine in that Anothertwistafate had not started since finishing 10th in the Grade I Preakness Stakes on May 18, 2019. “Richard was a great guy, a super trainer, and he was so proud of Blaine,” Emerald Downs television commentator Joe Withee was quoted as saying in Goulding’s obit. “He was stoic and he would say something with a straight face that would get everyone laughing in the winner’s circle in the post-race interviews, mostly after Blaine won a stakes race. He talked a lot about how much he loved his trip to the Preakness with Blaine and the rest of the family last year with Anothertwistafate.” Richard Wright was a big fan of HRTV. During the many years I was a broadcaster on HRTV, Wright would call me from time to time. Somehow someone had given him my wife’s cell phone number rather than mine. I gave him my cell number, but to no avail. From time to time for years, my wife would hand me her cell phone and say, “It’s that guy from Washington again.” I thoroughly enjoyed my many chats with “that guy from Washington” through the years.  

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11.19.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: November 20 Stronach 5 Play

Back to battle in this week’s Stronach 5, which has routinely handled well over 100k, and has a 100% carryover potential, should it go unhit. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 90 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R7 (3:23 ET) – 3upfm N1X at 1 mile We kick off a very tough sequence with a race I hope I can bookend by using the best of both worlds, as #9 PILOT EPISODE and #3 BREAK CURFEW seem the tops among the pace players—and there are several of them—while #7 SAVEDBYTHEBELLE is the best of the stalker/closers, which is why I like the latter best, though the former pair seem like must uses as well. Pk5 A horses: 7,9,3 (listed in order of preference) I’ll go it alone on top, as not only do I think I have the best three, but as I alluded to, they also allow me to have coverage in the front and back of the race, which is never a bad thing, since the pace scenario can often change in an instant. Pk5 B horses: NONE Potential B add-ins: #6 Speedy Vanessa, #2 Lucky Find Leg 2: Gulfstream Park West R8 (3:38 ET) – 3upfm SAL (16k/12k) at 1 mile (turf) Aside from a bold single in the finale, this could be the most cut and dried race, as #1 PASSION PLUS has clearly the best turf form and drew perfectly, which is key at this trip, while #7 NAPA RULES goes off the Crichton claim (19%) for a white hot back, and gets back to the turf, where he looked good winning two-back. Pk5 A horses: 1,7 If #12 OBLIO’S WISH had a better post she’d be an A, so even though getting Lopez helps, and she has plenty of speed too, I just worry she’ll be hung out too wide on the first, and potentially second one as well, so I’ll use her as a supporting actress. Pk5 B horses: 12 Potential B add-ins: #9 Calentita, #8 Isadorable Aida, #11 Rosa Star Leg 3: Laurel Park R8 (3:53 ET) – 3up AOC (50k/N3X) at 1 mile The next two legs are the ones I have the least amount of confidence in, so they’ll be spreads, and I’ll use four here, with #10 TACO SUPREAM getting a slight nod, as his form is sharp, and he should be in the right spot on the stretchout. I know #2 GOLDEN BROWN is primarily a Mth horse, but his form is too good not to use, while and #4 TAP TO MARK looks live on the cutback to one-turn, and #6 HANALEI’S HOUDINI has won twice in a row over the track/distance. Pk5 A horses: 10,2,4,6 The wildcard is #7 SARATOGA JACK, who hasn’t been out since 9/19, but he’s been working bullets in the morning, had big form before he left, and could shake loose with an aggressive ride. Lastly, I’ll toss in #9 ASPECT, who, aside from the sloppy dud two-back, doesn’t seem out of his element here. Pk5 B horses: 7,9 Potential B add-ins: #8 Fortunate Friends Leg 4: Laurel Park R9 (4:23 ET) – 3upfm 10k MCL at 5 � furlongs The second spread in a row starts with #2 THUNDERINTHEVALLEY, a stalker who cuts back and should get plenty of pace to rally into, and runs two and three-back would make her tough here. You get some upside with #10 BELLY FLOP, who really woke up on turf last time but has two decent dirt runs showing and could improve after just three starts. My price is #6 POPEYE’S OYL, a closer who was 4th at 39-1 last time, and is another who will like all the speed up front, which is why #7 MS. HAITI is last of the quartet, as she not only likes to duel early, but adds blinkers too, which could have her even more keyed up, and makes me a little leery. Pk5 A horses: 2,10,6,7 (Please note, for backup purposes in Leg 5, I’ll only use 2, 10 here) While I don’t have a lot of confidence in picking the winner among the top-4, I do think she’s in there somewhere, so there will be no B’s. Pk5 B horses: NONE Potential B add-ins: #8 All About Audrey, #3 Solea Leg 5: Gulfstream Park West R9 (4:42 ET) – 3up 12.5 N3L at 1 1/16 miles (turf) I mentioned the bold single earlier, and it’s #3 SAINT LARNED, who was a very fast (for this group) 2nd at the level at 45-1 in his only turf start of late, drew perfectly, and has the tactical speed to get first run on a bevvy of closers, many of who are hung out wide. Pk5 A horses: 3 I get it, ‘Larned is very tough to trust, as that turf run came from nowhere, so let’s toss in the class-dropping #4 POSITIVE PHIL, who also drew well and has been facing better, though this is now the fifth start since being claimed from Maker, and that top form looks to be wearing off some. Pk5 B horses: 4 Potential B add-ins: #11 Geography, #12 Dillon Rocks, #9 Notsosubtle The tickets: Main Ticket: 7,9,3 with 1,7 with 10,2,4,6 with 2,10,6,7 with 3 = $96Leg 2 B Backup: 7,9,3 with 12 with 10,2,4,6 with 2,10,6,7 with 3 = $48Leg 3 B Backup: 7,9,3 with 1,7 with 7,9 with 2,10,6,7 with 3 = $48Leg 5 B Backup: 7,9,3 with 1,7 with 10,2,4,6 with 2,10 with 4 = $48

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11.16.2020:

Harness Highlights: Stars Come Out To Shine In Matron Series

Amigo Volo followed up his second consecutive Breeders Crown championship with a world-record performance in the $162,350 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old trotting colts Thursday at Dover Downs. He shaved more than a full second off Pinkman’s 2015 mark set at Pocono Downs, winning by 6-1/2 lengths in 1:50.2, the same margin as his winning romp last year in the Matron. Richard “Nifty” Norman trains the $1.5 million earner for Pinske Stables and David Miller. Dexter Dunn was in the bike as Amigo Volo improved to 15-27, but Dunn was just getting started. He returned later on the card to guide 2-to-5 favorite Party Girl Hill to a track-record victory in the $154,450 Matron for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Party Girl Hill, whose only loss in 16 starts was in the Breeders Crown final, won by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:49 to pad her bankroll to $880,345 for owner Tom Hill. She tracked a blistering :54.2 pace and made her winning move on the final turn. In the $163,050 Matron for sophomore trotting fillies, Hambletonian Oaks winner Sorella (Yannick Gingras) seized the moment when favored Ramona Hill broke stride, winning on the front end in 1:53.1. Gingras and trainer Nancy Takter also visited the winners’ circle when Type A won the $167,200 colt trot when the Matron series began the previous week. Illuminita sprung the series’ biggest upset when she paId $47.20, winning the 2-year-old filly trot for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. The rest of the Matron Stakes belonged to trainer Ron Burke. He won with late-blooming 3-year-old male pacer Cattlewash (David Miller) and swept the freshman pacing division with Southwind Gendry (Yannick Gingras) and Continualou (David Miller), a filly who paced the final half in :54.4 to win in 1:50.2.

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11.16.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (Nov. 9-15): Welder

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.October Nov. 9-15, 2020MVP: WelderOwner: Ra-Max Farms LLC (Clayton Rash)Trainer: Teri LuneackJockey: David CabreraPerformance: The 7-year-old Oklahoma-bred sprint legend romped to the Nov. 13 $70,000 Silver Goblin Stakes title by 5-1/2 lengths. Welder was never in doubt with a first-over press while covering 6-1/2 furlongs in 1:15.49. The victory in the Silver Goblin gave Welder 11 career Remington Park stakes victories, most in the track’s history. He’s now 5: 4-1-0 on the 2020 campaign and has won 25 of 37 lifetime starts for $1,179,018.On Tap: An 8-year-old season is in the plans with stops at Oaklawn and/or Will Rogers Downs. Oaklawn’s King Cotton on February 8 could be his 2021 return. The Will Rogers stakes schedule in April, featuring the Highland Ice and the TRAO Classic Sprint have been customary circles on the calendar. A showdown with fellow, current 7-year-old and Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Whitmore would make for a fun match-up at OP. Whitmore beat Welder by 2 lengths in the March 2019 Hot Springs.Honorable Mentions: Rising star 2-year-old filly Astute blew them away by more than 7 lengths in Del Mar’s Nov. 14 Desi Arnaz Stakes. The Richard Mandella trainee could appear next in the Grade 2 Starlet at Los Al. Shea D Summer also dazzled the juvenile fillies ranks with a similar romp in Gulfstream Park West’s Nov. 14 Sunshine Millions Juvenile Fillies Sprint Preview. Finally, after moving too soon into a fast pace in the Valley View at Keeneland, Princess Grace timed things in sync to win Churchill’s Nov. 14 off-the-turf Grade 2 Mrs. Revere Stakes.

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11.16.2020:

Monday November 16: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Pompano Park has a 10-race card scheduled for this evening and the 0.50 Pick 4 begins in Race 6. That sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool with an industry low 12% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Wesley Hanover (9/2)-Leads the field in money earned in 2020 and Wallis will steer tonight which doesn't hurt. Should be forwardly placed and has hit the board in 22 of 38 starts at PPk with 7 wins.3-Stormy Dude (5/2)-Should like the company and can trip out from this spot. Only 2-21 in the past 2 years but has hit the board in 3 of 5 starts here and has taken 1 picture.4-Baby Maker Hanover (3-1)-This 4-year-old has been facing better at the Big M without much success. Has done good work on smaller ovals and could be the post time chalk tonight. Has hit the board in 10 of 19 at the Pomp with 4 wins.Race 72-Cardiac Fashion (5/2)-In from HoP and shows 153 speed there and last raced on 11/3. Is only 1-20 in 2020 but has gate speed and Hennessey steers.3-Firewater Jake (7-1)-Was battling on the East coast but is no stranger here. Appears to fit with this crew and should offer a square price. Has some gate speed and could get sucked around.5-Imagineuwithoutme (9/5)-Program chalk will probably get bet off the last line which shows a win at HoP in 153.1. That win came on 10/20 and will respect chances tonight. My issue is the 0-12 at the Pomp and won't offer any value.Race 83-Soo Handsome (9-1)-Handsome does his best work in South Florida and will take a swing Plano will have him ready to fire hot off the bench. Hasn't raced since 10/10 but starts inside of the 2 chalks and has the gate speed to get on the engine.7-Muscles For Life (3-1)-Hennessey tuned this 7-year-old up on 11/11 at PPk and the trotter went the 2nd half in 57.1. Oldford trainee hasn't raced since 9/21 but has won 9 of 14 here. Has the gate speed to get a close-up seat.Race 92-Starcasim (8-1)-Has faced better here and if minds manners Sanzeri should keep in play. Th entire 8 horse field has managed only 5 wins in 2020 so will spread out in this leg.3-Mittnage A Trois (8-1)-Simmons drives and he has steered before. Has notched 3 wins on the East coast but is only 2 for 63 at the Pomp. Using versus this suspect group.4-Race Me Rocky (7-1)-Old-timer has done good work at the Pomp over the years. The question is whether he is ready for a big effort tonight. Nine-year-old has a 8-9-8 record in 55 starts here and Wallis can work a trip from this spot.7-Risky N (2-1)-Nine-year-old lands at PPk from Hoosier, has raced only 7 times in 2020 and makes his south Florida debut. All that said, here is your 2-1 program chalk, Hennessey will do the steering and last raced on 10/27.My TicketRace 6) 2,3,4 Race 7) 2,3,5 Race 8) 3,7 Race 9) 2,3,4,7Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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11.15.2020:

Sunday, November 15: Rosecroft Raceway-Potomac Pace Analysis

Tonight, the scene is set for the Potomac Pace Invitational, which is the signature event at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington Maryland. The field this year is comprised of the top three finishers in the Breeders Crown Pace and they will be battling along with six other talented pacers for a share of a $100,000 purse.Morning line favorite Bettor's Wish will be looking to start a new winning streak after finishing second to Century Farroh in the Crown Pace. Farroh took advantage of a great trip and Bettor's Wish was stuck with the 9 hole, but this time the post edge is negligible. Bettor's Wish has only one race left after tonight before retiring to stud at Diamond Creek Farms.My play will be to use the third-place finisher in the Crown Pace #2 Backstreet Shadow with the two chalks. On a smaller oval Tetrick should have Shadow in play and could surprise if the trip works out.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 11-Potomac Pace Invitational-Purse $100,0001-This The Plan (8-1)-This is an interesting 5-year-old. He's made over a $1.6 million and I have to wonder how much better he would be if not so difficult to drive. Often rank behind the gate and can be a handful but when he gets going look out. I liked him in the Hoosier Park Derby and that win happened because of a great drive by Dexter Dunn. Not my choice for the top of the ticket and may have trouble hitting the board on the smaller oval starting from the rail.2-Backstreet Shadow (6-1)-Burke trainee has been a notch below the big boys on a larger oval but did finish third in the Breeders Crown Pace. On the 5/8's from this post, chances for success go up. Tetrick should have him forwardly placed and I'm thinking the turns won't be an issue. No one in this field has raced at Rosecroft before. So, will use this 5-year-old from the inside looking for a top effort and to add some pop to the gimmicks.3-Harambe Deo (10-1)-Allard should be blasting out as this Cullipher trainee can leave as fast as the gate car. Has raced well at the Big M winning 2 straight but this is a very difficult group and has been off since 10/17. Can't see a gate to wire scenario and that is probably the best chance for a picture.4-World Of Secrets (12-1)-Ohio invader has won 12 out of 30 starts and is another who may try to leave. Should be a big price but the water is probably too deep tonight.5-Century Farroh (7/2)-Farroh was my pick in the Breeders Crown Classic and he did not disappoint. May have to grind it out to win this but best to not overlook. Miller is a master at keeping a horse in a position to win and could cash the biggest check with the right trip.6-Bettor's Wish (8-5)-Just missed from post 9 in the BC Classic as #5 took top honors. Dunn is in an interesting spot from this post and with speed inside it's a coin toss if he elects to leave. My guess is Dunn will duck and be on the move early. The pace could be hot and if this 4-year-old lands on the lead by the top of the lane he may be headed to the winner's circle.7-Leonidas A (15-1)-Has performed well at Yonkers and Plainridge but lands in some tall cotton tonight. Doesn't have the gate speed to be put in play early and probably isn't good enough to make up enough ground late.8-Stars Aline A (10-1)-Seven-year-old knows how to win and also knows how to race on the 5/8's. But this post is a crusher for a horse that needs the top to do its best work and is not as talented as most of the others. Might use underneath in gimmicks from the inside but can't endorse in this spot.9-Highalator (12-1)-Post position #5 and #6 are by far the best spots to start at this track and tonight they belong to the two morning line chalks. This 6-year-old is a game battler and has gate speed, but this is an almost impossible task considering the post draw. Might be a use underneath in gimmicks but can't promote that notion from post 9 versus this crew.Selections (6-2-5-1)$5 Exacta 2/5,6-Total Bet=$10$5 Exacta 5,6/2-Total Bet=$10$8 Trifecta 5,6/5,6/2-Total Bet=$16$5 Trifecta 5,6/2/5,6-Total Bet=$10Check me out on Twitter!

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11.15.2020:

Sunday, November 15: National Best Plays

Aqueduct Sixth Race – Post time: 2:15 ET6 – Linear Thinking (Ire)Debuting daughter of Shamardal has done everything right in the morning while being given a solid foundation of easy, breezing workouts and should be plenty fit for a top effort first crack out of the box in this maiden special weight maiden fillies turf router. The C. Brown barn wins at a strong 20% with debut runners, and in a field in which the known element doesn’t particularly impress this promising juvenile should be capable of scoring at first asking. At 5/2 on the morning line she’s a win play and rolling exotic single.Aqueduct Ninth Race – Post time: 3:47 ET3 – Vigilantes Way (7/2)Rapidly progressing daughter of Medaglia d’Oro was a bit unlucky when second in the Hilltop S. at Pimlico on Preakness day, closing stoutly but running out of room while earning a career top speed figure. The lightly-raced filly can be dangerous on the front end or from off the pace, so Johnny V. can assess the race flow and pick his trip. Shug’s filly continues to train well, should have no difficulty with give in the ground, and looks prepared to produce another forward move. There’s value at or near her morning line of 7/2 both in the win pool and in the rolling exotics.Del Mar Fifth Race – Post time: 2:30 PT6 – She’s Devoted (7/2)Overcame a rough start and a wide trip to score impressively at first asking with an eye-catching late turn of foot from next-out winner Bella Vita in January, was entered back the following month but was scratched and stopped on. The R. Baltas-trained Cal-bred returns in a first-level allowance affair for barn that has superb stats with layoff runners while switching to F. Prat. Clearly comfortable as a turf sprinter and with a speed figure that makes her a solid fit despite the class hike, she’s a win play and rolling exotic key at or near her morning line of 7/2.

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11.14.2020:

Saturday, November 14: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, Woodbine Mohawk Park has an 11-race card ready to roll. The headliners are 3-year-old filles competing in the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association Finals. The 0.20 Early Pick 4 begins in Race 4. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 42-Back In The Game (6-1)-Willing to take a swing for a decent price in a race where the morning line chalk is taking a good drop. This will be the 3rd time for Lasix and the last 2 starts came from post 8 and 10. This mare has come up with big efforts in every other race since late September. Finished 9th last week, so best to respect tonight with this post draw.6-Boadicea (5/2)-Often top 3-year-olds have a difficult time in their 4-year-old season competing against older horses. This mare earned over $417K last year and has only $52,228 in the bank in 2020. Drops to a spot to wake-up and hasn't been in this soft all year.Race 52-Sonadora Deo (4-1)-Has been in the money in 8 of 12 starts this year. Came off the bench after being off almost a month and from the 9 hole rolled the 2nd half in 56.1. Looking for an aggressive try and should be forwardly placed.4-Susies Lady (5/2)-Comes off an impressive win last week from the 8 hole in the elim and drew off by 4.5 lengths. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Susie take another picture but she will have to earn it at a short price.5-PL Notsonice (3-1)-Won her elimination but didn't dominant. But a win is a win and that was her 1st victory at Wbsb and that could matter tonight. Using and hoping for some value as she might be overlooked at the windows.Race 62-Parisian Blue Chip (9/2)-Was out and rolling in last and got the top rather easily. The odds-on chalk took the lead in the 2nd quarter and the 2-hole trip didn't work out. Was loaded with pace but was blocked down the lane. McNair returns, looks like a major threat and should be bet hard.5-Gias Surreal (4-1)-Was racing in 7th at the top of the lane and flew by everyone. That was an impressive win, especially so as the rally came off dull fractions.8-So Much More (5/2)-This mare likes to win and can hold her own and then some even against the boys. Winner of 19 of 42 at Wbsb and 10 of 26 this year is a player but will need to be on top of her game from this post. Will respect but also look to others.Race 71-Lauras Love (7/2)-Won't be blasting off the gate but McClure should not be as far from the top leaving from the rail. Betterthancheddar filly likes to roll late and should be in striking range at the top of the stretch.5-Karma Seelster (3-1)-Did get some overdue revenge versus Lauras Love in last and benefitted from a very good trip. McNair should be leaving hard and the same type of trip could work again.My TicketRace 4) 2,6 Race 5) 2,4,5 Race 6) 2,5,8 Race 7) 1,5Total Ticket Cost) $7.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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11.14.2020:

Saturday, November 14: National Best Play

Aqueduct Third Race – Post time: 12:50 ET6 – Crew Dragon (6-1)As this is penned, we’re not sure if this maiden router for juveniles will remain on turf but on any surface (and assuming he runs) this W. Mott-trained colt should be set to earn his diploma. A closing third without being knocked about in a turf miler at Belmont Park in mid-September, the son of Exaggerator is bred to handle any surface (especially one that’s wet), shows a healthy work pattern since raced, retains J. Alvarado and goes for a barn that has solid stats with second-timers. There’s good value here at 6-1 on the morning line both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.Gulfstream Park West Seventh Race – Post time: 3:38 ET4 – Real Talk (2-1)Loved his maiden win and we’re expecting this son of Gemologist to successfully handle the class hike into stakes competition in this extended sprint for Florida-bred juveniles. In his debut the R. Nicks-trained colt raced in a pocket to the head of the lane, finally secured room and then drew off with complete authority while earning a speed figure good enough to beat this field. Bred to handle an off track should the situation dictate, he’s a solid play in the win pool and as a rolling exotic single.Del Mar Third Race – Post time: 1:30 PT3 – England’s Rose (4-1)She’s bred to run long on turf (English Channel x Kris S.) and gets her chance after finishing like a freight train when fifth beaten three lengths in a dirt sprint debuting in August for a barn that has powerful stats with second-time starters. In her debut she fell far back early while resenting the kick back and appearing green but figured things out in the final quarter mile to close the gap before galloping out far in front. The work pattern looks good, so at 4-1 on the morning line in this mile event for fillies and mares there’s considerable value to be found.Del Mar Seventh Race – Post time 3:30 PT2 – One Flew South (4-1)Returned from Dubai following an eight month layoff and performed admirably when rallying from last to finish a willing third in a similar first-level allowance sprint at Santa Anita, shows a bullet work since, and can be expected to produce a significant forward move. Picks up A. Cedillo, adds blinkers, and should have sufficient heat up front to compliment his late-running style. His style suggests he’ll need some luck along the way, but with a clear trip the son of Giant’s Causeway may produce the last run while offering value at or near his morning line of 4-1.

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11.13.2020:

Cup Half Empty

When I reflect on the 2020 Breeders’ Cup, I definitely won’t see a Cup that’s ‘half full.’ This year count me firmly in the ‘half empty’ section. Better yet, if you’ve got a ‘Cup is half empty, cracked and leaking’ division, I’m there. The only saving grace from my 2020 BC experience is the horses. There were some truly outstanding performances and, as a lifelong fan of the game, I appreciate that. Otherwise, go ahead and add me to the ‘Cup slipped out of my hand, fell and shattered into a thousand pieces’ group. Whitmore’s dominating BC Sprint tally at age 7 was heart-warming and provides encouragement to us senior citizens pursuing athletic endeavors. His fourth-time’s-the-charm tally in the event suggests there’s hope for all greybeards and, despite the goose-stepping of Father Time, we can attain our goals. Not sure if Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien knows much baseball. If he does, then he can appreciate the old adage ‘When you snap a slump it’s usually by hitting a home run.’ O’Brien ‘touched ‘em all’ in punctuating an extended BC/US drought when his horses finished first, second and third in the BC Mile. On second thought, that accomplishment probably was less a home run and more a grand slam! The Mile winner was #15 Order of Australia, who paid a whopping $148.40—second highest in BC history. Ever heard of the ‘other Baffert?’ This was the ‘other, other O’Brien.’ Arcangues, winner of the ’93 Classic at Santa Anita, owns the top BC $2 win payoff spot at $269.60. That European won on dirt—which horseplayers assumed he wouldn’t handle. Saturday’s surprise came on grass for one of Europe’s all-time great horsemen. Monomoy Girl belted out a showstopping finale to her 2020 season by winning the BC Distaff and put an exclamation point on trainer Brad Cox’s incredible 4 BC race victories—an accomplishment that tied (or some would suggest surpassed) a similar achievement by Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella--who won 4 BC events in 2003 with one of those a dead-heat. Latest news suggests she’ll be back to race next year. Gamine sparkled in the BC Filly & Mare Sprint, a race many experts predicted would ‘fall apart’ in the lane because of a pending fierce early battle between her and the speedy and unyielding Serengetti Empress. It didn’t. The pair finished one-two with Gamine stopping the timer in 1:20.20—a new track record eclipsing the one set by Taris at 1:21.32 in 2014. Euro filly Tarnawa won the BC Turf over the remarkable and consummate mare Magical. The former has had a fabulous season and we look forward, hopefully, to her return to the races and an appearance in Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar next year. The latter, who will be 6 in January, presumably is finished racing. She’s accomplished more than enough with $6 million in earnings. Overall, Euro invaders fared awfully well this year as 36 horses travelled to BC for 21 different trainers and won 4 races. That’s nice. Breeders’ Cup is best when hosting a solid contingent of Euro runners. Based on this year’s results, they’ll be back for more. A few Keeneland new track records were established. Such numerical achievements on high-profile days don’t inspire. Track surfaces artificially can be souped up or slowed down by any number of methods. Plus, despite years of experience, the sport can’t seem to figure out how to accurately time races. Incredibly, timing for this year’s Classic malfunctioned! ‘Racing as it was meant to be,’ my hindquarters. Experienced race watchers don’t require a stopwatch to tell them a horse just ran really fast. Final times merely fine-tune observations and, thankfully, expert figure makers then massage numbers to account for glibness or dullness of a day’s surface. Breeders’ Cup Friday and Saturday, I lost my shirt betting the races. My pants would have gone, too, but I wasn’t wearing any. Trousers weren’t required on my couch in my basement. Guess I also could have lost my shoes but, by the end of the day, nobody would’ve wanted them. I had been gored so deeply at the betting windows that I had blood all over them. And you know how expensive it is to remove blood from suede slippers. The disaster was painful partly because it wasn’t expected. I was prepared to attack Breeders’ Cup. Thought so, anyway. I put in the effort, beforehand. Did the work. Studied the form of the runners, watched replays, consulted sheets, workouts, listened to podcasts, read expert comments and devoured analysis. I would have consulted an Ouiji board but haven’t seen ours since Halloween. I tried. Really, I tried. Perhaps, I did too much. You know, ‘study long, study wrong.’ But, going in, I felt confident, prepared, informed and ready to cash. However, once the games began, I just wasn’t seeing the ball. And, as we all know, you can’t hit what you can’t see. I got behind early and began to press. You know the drill. It’s the worst thing a horseplayer can do. And I already know that. In fact, there’s an old racetrack saw that suggests: ‘Scared money never wins.’ I’d like to amend that to ‘Terrified money has no shot.’ Once a player begins to chase losses, it’s game over. Money management goes out of the window and so does a player’s handicapping acumen. It’s no longer ‘Who do you like?’ but ‘Who do you need?’ Longshots previously considered hopeless also-rans suddenly became prime plays. Pre-race game plans evaporated; replaced by scattershot Hail Mary exotic air-balls. For example, late Saturday afternoon, with three races to go, I crafted this gem: I figured (correctly, by the way) that this 2020 BC edition was going to be a big one for invaders, so, in the BC Mile, I decided to exacta box all European horses. There were 6 of them and a $2 box would cost $60. Now, this is not a wager I normally make. In fact, in over 40 years of playing the races I don’t think I’ve ever made a 6-horse exacta box. I still haven’t. That’s because I left one horse out of my 5-horse exacta box and that was #15 Order of Australia, the winner who returned $148.40. The $2 exacta with fellow Euro-invader Circus Maximus came back $2,117.80--which would have immediately righted the sinking ship.Why didn’t I include #15 Order of Australia in the wager? I still don’t know. At 70-1 odds he promised to deliver exactly what I desperately needed: a monster payoff. He should have been the first horse on my ticket. Maybe I didn’t use him because I figured there was no way he’d win from the 15-hole going a mile on turf at Keeneland? Maybe it was because his trainer Aidan O’Brien hadn’t won a BC race in forever? (But I used two other horses in the race trained by O’Brien.) Maybe it was because the 3-year-old colt hadn’t ever even won a graded stakes race? Want to know the real reason I didn’t include him? Because I was pressing and that caused me to be careless. My vision was clouded. I was like the coach of a football team down by 30 in the fourth quarter with the clock ticking away. I kept dialing up flea-flickers and triple-reverses—plays my team hadn’t even practiced--hoping for something to connect. Instead, we promptly fumbled the pigskin which was recovered by the enemy and returned for a touchdown to increase an already embarrassing losing margin. After the race, I heard from a friend via text who also had considered the BC Mile a wide-open event. Unlike me, he didn’t leave any runners off the first leg of his ticket and had used ‘All.’ His other horses finished third and fourth, but not second. The correct superfecta returned $15,280.48 for a dime. His near-miss ticket was for $1. I suppose misery really does love company. I didn’t feel nearly as bad. I’ve had some wonderful days wagering on BC races. Friday and Saturday aren’t among them. Opportunity knocked but I didn’t bother to get up from the couch, put on a pair of pants and open the door. Saturday night, I didn’t sleep very well--tossing and turning, upset because I had poured so much time and effort into the event and come away with a Cup shattered into a thousand pieces. The pain was somewhat muted by Sunday morning when I promptly climbed back aboard the horse to hit the Del Mar early Pick 5 for over $2,100! The entire episode illustrates how crazy horseplay can be. Through it all I didn’t learn anything new but got several stiff reminders about why they don’t play this game in short pants…even if they’re at home on the couch. Below is one man’s opinion regarding Saturday’s late Pick 4 at Del Mar. Race 6This appears as a real head-scratcher. A lively pace seems likely in here and that should give #8 Kiss Today Goodbye a chance to use his late run. He departs stakes company for this optional claimer and that should help. However, he is drawn wide, will have to drop back and wait to make a long late run. #6 Canadian Pride exits a quick maiden sprint victory and #7 Mystery Man held on going a mile last out against allowance maidens. #3 Divine Armor also won a maiden allowance mile here last out after 6 previous tries.A pair of Del Mar strip lovers step up out of the claiming ranks: #5 Secret Touch was claimed for $32k by Bob Hess last out and is a sparkling 4-for-7 ‘Where the Turf Meets the Surf’ and is 5-for-11 at the distance. #4 Oil Can Knight is a razor-sharp sprinter stretching out after winning convincingly for $20k. Race 7See an abundance of speed in this heat. That should set things up nicely for #2 One Flew South, adding blinkers for trainer Doug O’Neill. He was highly regarded earlier in his career when facing Gr. 1 competition, travelled to Dubai to chase rich purses and was a closing third last out at this level. Prat departs for the 2-for-21 #7 Factorial and Cedillo rides. #4 Preaching Trainer, from the Carla Gaines outfit, has a win in as many starts over the Del Mar turf and at this distance. This 4-year-old is a stone-cold late closer but there’s plenty of speed to set the table for his charge. Rispoli and Gaines are a strong combo. Race 8#2 Private Mission is the one to beat off a strong maiden performance where she set the pace and pulled clear in the lane. She has a bullet work since.#4 Varda, Baffert stablemate to the top one, finished a well-beaten second to Princess Noor, another Baffert, routing in the Gr. 2 Chandelier. #5 Queengol finished a grinding second while stalking the Anoakia pace. Race 9#11 Warren’s Candy Man has been close twice and figures as the one to beat but he drew the far outside post again, this time 11 of 11 (before scratches). He probably will lose ground and can’t be singled at a short price because of it.#7 Circleofchampions makes a second start for Carla Gaines (solid stats) and Umberto Rispoli (strong combo) and should improve off an initial voyage that had minor inconveniences along the way.#2 Whiskey Vision rode the rail and finished full of run first time out. He should enjoy another ground saving trip as he attempts to extend his ability around two turns. The WagerSaturday $.50 Del Mar Late Pick 4 ($24) Race 6All – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Race 72, 4 Race 82 Race 92, 7, 11 Race On!

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11.13.2020:

Friday, November 13: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has a 13-race card ready to go tonight. The 0.50 Early Pick 4 begins in Race 6. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Dixie Star N (7/2)-Back from YR after facing better there and drops into same class as last win on 9/11. Had issues in previous 2 races and will toss both starts. Should be ready for a big try versus this crew.2-Tango Dancer N (3-1)-Faded down the lane after getting on the engine and cutting the mile. That was a nice effort after being off almost 6 weeks and now Dunn takes the lines. This mare is similar to #5 but price probably won't be as good.6-Twinsburg (9/2)-Back to the Big M after a couple of dull tries at Yonkers. Has been in the money in 4 of 5 starts here with 2 wins which were at this level. Looks like a player, Tetrick takes a spin and might be over bet.Race 73-McMatters (6-1)-Three-year-old has had breaking issues and was also facing tough company in the Midwest. Hoosier invader draws well for 1st start in new barn. Could surprise at a square price if Scotty Z keeps him trotting.6-Moveoutofmyway K (8-1)-Taking a swing this colt fires hot off the bench. Per Engblom has been trying to fix this Muscle Maassive colt for about 2 months and Dunn takes the lines after qualifying him on 11/7. This is 2nd time Lasix and did earn >$115k in 2019.10-Fortune Starlet (3-1)-Returns from Canada in sharp form but is stuck with post 10. Knows how to win here and Gingras can work a trip from the 2nd tier.Race 81-Alkippe (3-1)-Rolled home from post 9 last week versus this kind. Paced the back half in 55.2 but can also race near the top of the stack. No need to overthink this one, best to consider an encore.6-Arnie's Angel (9/2)-Fits with this kind and deserves respect but is trip dependent. Chances for a picture go up with an alert start and a lively pace.7-Pretty Image (8-1)-Here's another who was passing foes down the lane. Makes 3rd Big M start tonight and could be sitting on big try at a juicy price.Race 93-All Champy (7/2)-One of a few who drop and Dave Miller has driven in the past 2 starts. Beat the NW14000L5 from the 8 hole here, in the slop on 10/16. Should like the company and this race could set up nicely for 2nd win in 3 Big M starts.5-HL Revadon (3-1)-Drops after some sharp tries to finish 2nd in last 3. The Landy barn has 3 wins in 12 starts in the last 30 days. This could be a drop and pop situation.6-Chiplosive (8-1)-Willing to forgive the last effort, broke slowly and was facing better. Should be forwardly placed this time and could be overlooked at the windows. Looks like a live price play and this post draw shouldn't hurt.My TicketRace 6) 1,2,6 Race 7) 3,6,10 Race 8) 1,6,7 Race 9) 3,5,6Total Ticket Cost) $40.50 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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11.13.2020:

Friday, November 13: National Best Plays

Laurel Park Third Race – Post time: 1:24 ET10 – Moma Tiger (6-1)Three-year-old Smiling Tiger filly from multiple graded stakes winner Proposed makes her debut in a soft maiden special weight extended sprint for fillies and mares and may be capable of pulling off a mild surprise in a race that looks substandard on paper. A series of fast drills at Penn National for a capable of outfit leads us to believe she is fit and ready, so at 6-1 on the morning line there should be ample value available for a bit of a gamble.Laurel Park Seventh Race – Post time: 3:24 ET7 – Hello Hot Rod (9/5)Those playing the Stronach-5 should strongly consider this 2-year-old as a single in this maiden sprint over seven furlongs. The son of Mosler ran a winning race in defeat when closing stoutly to be second two weeks ago while more than five lengths clear of the rest, and with today’s extra furlong to work with and with that bit of experience behind him, the B. Russell-trained colt looks ready to graduate.Churchill Downs Tenth Race – Post time: 5:36 ET8 – Gagetown (4-1)Debuting Exaggerator colt sports an interesting series of works for top trainer B. Cox and looks like a live item in this maiden special weight six furlong dash for 2-year-olds. There aren’t any flashy times on the tab but a :59 4/5 breezing drill at Ellis Park just five days ago catches the eye, and with one of the stable’s main guys F. Geroux taking the call we suspect this colt has plenty of talent. At 4-1 on the morning line this half-brother to Grade-1 winner Include Betty is worth consideration in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.

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11.12.2020:

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14: GULFSTREAM WEST LATE PICK 4 TICKET

Millions Preview Day at Gulfstream Park West usually brings out some of the best Florida-breds, and the card on Saturday is no different. The focus here is on the late Pick 4, and the first three legs are stakes races, while the last on the day is a solid maiden race. The suggested Pick 4 ticket this week totals $54 with a 3x4x3x3 approach. Here’s a look at the horses in play. RACE 6 (3:05PM ET) // MILLIONS SPRINT PREVIEW STAKES JACKSON weakened in tougher spots in his last two and can get back to quality sprinting. Won the G3 World of Trouble Sprint at Gulfstream and a stakes race at Tampa Bay earlier in the year. WITH VERVE won the Hutcheson Stakes in February and has spent the year running with good company. He was fourth in the G3 Smile Sprint last out and can rally against these. SHIVAREE made his last start in the G1 Travers and should only brief speed. He’s been in some of the best races for 3-year-olds, including a runner-up finish behind Tiz the Law in the G1 Florida Derby. He didn’t fare as well in the G2 Blue Grass. He’ll like this race restricted to Florida-breds and has trained well. RACE 7 (3:39PM ET) // MILLIONS JUVENILE SPRINT STAKES THE DISTRACTOR coasted in his debut and when finished with interest in an open optional claiming race. Makes a step up in class but there is no doubt he fits with these. GATSBY is a veteran at running in stakes races but is yet to win one. Today could be the day. REAL TALK breezed to an easy win in his only start and looked like the real deal in doing so. Won by six widening lengths and is ready for this level. POPPY’S PRIDE goes for his third straight win and comes off a clear triumph in the open. RACE 8 (4:08PM ET) // MILLIONS DISTAFF PREVIEW STAKES SOUND MACHINE closed for third in the G3 Ms Preakness and has done well on the circuit. Capable of a big effort against restricted company. HEIRESSALL was impressive in winning the Sheer Drama last out and has mixed it up with open rivals. Doing some of her best running right now. CORY GAL has never been better as she’s won three straight, including in an optional claiming race last time in her first off the claim for Peter Walder. Has crushed rivals recently and tests stakes rivals here. RACE 9 (4:42PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT EASTON ROCKS is a Declaration of War first-timer starter for Todd Pletcher and can be expected to show her talent right off the bat. She’s bred for the grass and the distance will not be a problem. STAND WITH MO has had just one start, but it came against good company at Belmont. Will improve off that effort with this change in venue and Christophe Clement usually does quite well in Florida. CHESS’S DREAM tired in a stakes race on a sloppy track after two good second-place finishes in mile turf races. One was from far off the pace and he was right in the hunt all the way in the other. MY TICKET ($54) Race 6: #2 Jackson, #3 With Verve, #7 Shivaree Race 7: #1 The Distractor, #2 Gatsby, #4 Real Talk, #7 Poppy’s Pride Race 8: #1 Sound Machine, #4 Heiressall, #8 Cory Gal Race 9: #1 Easton Rocks, #7 Stand With Mo, #8 Chess’s Dream

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11.12.2020:

Jeff Siegel’s National Best Plays for Thursday, November 12, 2020

Aqueduct First Race – Post time: 12:20 ET6 – Uno (8/5) Debuting son of the hot freshman sire Laoban lands a nice spot to win at first asking in this state-bred sprint for juveniles. Listed at 8/5 on the morning line, the T. Pletcher-trained colt sizzled a furlong in 9 4/5 seconds at the OBS July Sale (looked terrific in doing so) and then attracted a bid of $255,000, an impressive sum considering the sire at the time had an advertised stud fee of $5,000. The recent workout tab shows two recent bullet workouts to have him primed first crack out of the box for the T. Pletcher barn, and from a cozy outside post J. L. Ortiz can pop and go or stalk and pounce. Churchill Downs Eight Race – Post time: 4:36 ET6 – Dame Cinco (12-1) Let’s go for a big price is this maiden special weight juvenile filly sprint that is loaded with first timer starters. Dame Cinco certainly is bred to be quick and was quite impressive breezing a furlong over the Timonium bullring main track when previewing in the spring sale in 10 1/5 seconds, after which she brought $200,000 through the ring. From the barn that is quite capable of winning with debut runner, the daughter of Cinco Charlie has done some good work at the Churchill Downs Training Center, attracts the stable’s “go-to” rider B. Hernandez, and looks very much like a live item in a wide-open, unclassified affair. The best of the known element, 11-Zoom Up, should be considered as an exact partner but the main punch goes to this strong, look-looking filly from the C. DeVaux stable. Churchill Downs Ninth Race – Post time: 5:06 ET8 – Perjury Trap (4-1) Talented but sparingly-raced colt makes just his second start over a year’s time in this first-level allowance middle distance turf event, and with a healthy recent series of works he should be fit and ready for a winning effort. Thew C. Brown-trained colt broke his maiden at the expense of subsequent Grade-1 winner Gufo last November, returned in July when a troubled fourth in a fast allowance affair at Saratoga, and today shows up at Churchill Downs against a field that he should be capable of handling. The C. Brown-trained son of Blame is listed at 4-1 on the morning and offers value at that price in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.

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11.12.2020:

Jon White's Breeders' Cup Recap

VENUE: Keeneland on Nov. 6-7. Main Track: dirt, fast Friday and Saturday; Turf Course: good Friday and for Saturday’s BC Turf Sprint, firm for Saturday’s BC Filly & Mare Turf, BC Mile and BC Turf. $6 MILLION BREEDERS' CUP CLASSIC RECAP (NOV. 7) Results: (1) Authentic, who paid $10.40, (2) Improbable, (3) Global Campaign. Winner: Owned by Spendthrift Farm, MyRacehorse.com Stable, Madaket Stables and Starlight Racing; trained by Bob Baffert; ridden by John Velazquez. Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 111. Vino Rosso won the 2019 BC Classic at Santa Anita with a 111 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Classic: 124 (Sunday Silence in 1989 at Gulfstream Park, Ghostzapper in 2004 at Lone Star Park). Recap: Dashing immediately to the front, Authentic led past every pole and put an exclamation point on his 2020 campaign by winning the nation’s richest race, the 1 1/4-mile BC Classic at odds of 4-1 while facing older foes for the first time. Authentic provided Baffert with his fourth BC Classic victory, all with 3-year-olds, following Bayern in 2014, American Pharoah in 2015 and Arrogate in 2016. Not only did Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert win this year’s BC Classic, it was a Baffert exacta. The $1 exacta paid $22.70. Improbable, off at 7-2, ran second in the field of 10. Global Campaign, dismissed in the wagering at 25-1, ended up third. In my selections for Xpressbet.com, I made Tacitus my “nice-price danger” selection. I wrote “the price is right for a superfecta candidate.” Tacitus, a 21-1 longshot, finished fourth to round out a 10-cent superfecta that returned $167.95. Maximum Security, the third starter trained by Baffert, came in fifth and was followed across the finish line in order by Tiz the Law, Title Ready, By My Standards, Tom’s d’Etat (my pick to win, ouch) and Higher Power. In Authentic’s 2020 debut, he won the Grade III Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 4. Authentic ran all over the place in the final furlong that day. At one point, he ducked in so sharply that he nearly hit the inside rail. To win by 7 3/4 lengths despite such behavior not only showed everyone just how much ability this equine athlete possesses, it was a harbinger of important wins to come. What Authentic accomplished during the first half of the year mainly was due to his raw talent. That he would become more professional during the second half of the year is understandable inasmuch as he’s what is termed “a late foal.” He was born on May 5. Because of the coronavirus, the Kentucky Derby this year was delayed to Sept. 5. If the Run for the Roses had been run on its original date of May 2, Authentic would not have celebrated his actual third birthday yet. After the Sham, Authentic led all the way when he won Santa Anita’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths on March 7. The Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt then lost for the first time when he finished second, 2 3/4 length behind the highly regarded Honor A.P., in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on June 6. Authentic had the outside post in the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby. He veered outward in the initial strides. When unable to clear the field early, he found himself vying for the lead in a three-wide trip all the way to the top of the stretch. Honor A.P. then charged to the front in upper stretch and kicked clear. Next, Authentic won Monmouth Park’s Grade I Haskell Invitational on July 18, but he darn near blew it. Because he lost his focus in the final furlong, he turned a 2 1/2-length lead with a furlong to go into a desperate nose victory over Ny Traffic. What happened in that 1 1/8-mile affair fueled speculation on the part of many that 1 1/4 miles might be farther than Authentic wanted to go. But Authentic did win the coveted Grade I, 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby by slightly more than one length at odds of 8-1 when he came home better than 7-10 favorite Tiz the Law. After the race, Authentic caused a ruckus in the winner’s circle when the traditional garland of roses was placed on him. According to Baffert, ribbons that been added to the bottom of the garland of roses “scared the hell out of him.”Between the Haskell and the Kentucky Derby, Baffert really tightened the screws on Authentic in his training. The trainer did not train the colt as hard between the Kentucky Derby and the Grade I, 1 3/16-mile Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Oct. 3. Nevertheless, Authentic nearly won in Baltimore.In the Preakness, jockey Robby Albarado on Swiss Skydiver boldly wrested the lead from Authentic with about four furlongs left to run. There never was much separating Swiss Skydiver and Authentic the rest of the way. But the filly managed to keep a small lead all the way to the end. Swiss Skydiver won by a neck. The thing about Authentic is he seems to be more effective if he is the one in front.But in the BC Classic, nobody ever made a Swiss Skydiver-like move to try and take the lead away from, or put pressure on, Authentic. Did all the other riders simply make a tactical error by letting Authentic roll along on an uncontested lead? Or, from start to finish, was Authentic just too fast for them on this particular occasion?In any case, the plain truth is if you let Authentic alone on the front end, your chances of beating him are significantly reduced. He won the BC Classic by 2 1/4 lengths.By the way, not only did Authentic receive the winner’s share of the $6 million BC Classic purse, he received a $1 million bonus. He took the first-ever “BetMakers Bonanza” created by BetMakers and Monmouth Park that offered $1 million for a sweep of the Haskell, Kentucky Derby and BC Classic.BC CLASSIC FINAL TIME CONTROVERSYAuthentic’s final time was 1:59.19. Or was it? Once again the Thoroughbred sport has embarrassed itself in terms of the timing of its races.One would have thought timing never again would be an issue after the 1973 Preakness Stakes fiasco. Secretariat’s original time was posted as 1:55. But there had been a timer malfunction. Two Daily Racing Form clockers timed Secretariat in 1:53 2/5, which would have broken Canonero II’s track record of 1:54.In the Kentucky Derby, Secretariat’s final time of 1:59 2/5 broke Northern Dancer’s track record of 2:00.Secretariat’s official Preakness time became 1:54 2/5. That was the time provided by the Pimlico clocker, E.T. McClean.Owner Penny Chenery (Penny Tweedy at the time), trainer Lucien Laurin and jockey Ron Turcotte all were miffed in their belief (like many others) that Secretariat had been robbed of setting a track record in the Preakness.But keep in mind that what happened time-wise in the Preakness was why Turcotte did not ease up on Secretariat and just let him canter home after opening a huge lead in the subsequent Belmont Stakes. Team Secretariat not only hoped their colt would become the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years, they wanted him to, if at all possible, break the 1 1/2-mile track record in the Belmont Stakes.With a furlong left to go in the Belmont, Secretariat was 28 lengths in front. He had left Sham and the others in a different zip code. Years later, I asked Turcotte if, at any time during the final furlong of the Belmont, he was looking at the timer in the infield.“Oh, I was,” Turcotte said. “I was definitely looking at the timer. I was looking at the teletimer because I was not racing against any horse. All I was racing against was the clock at that point.”Secretariat’s 2:24 Belmont clocking shattered Gallant Man’s track record set in 1957 by 2 3/5 seconds. Secretariat’s 2:24 remains the fastest 1 1/2 miles ever run by a horse on dirt.Jack Wilson, one of the finest chart-callers of all time, summed it up with these three words he wrote to describe what Secretariat did in Daily Racing Form’s chart of the 1973 Belmont Stakes. Wilson called it “a tremendous performance.”As for the 1973 Preakness, justice finally prevailed in a 2012 hearing conducted by the Maryland Racing Commission regarding the longstanding controversial final time of that race. For more than two hours, commissioners heard testimony, backed by modern technology, to prove Secretariat’s Preakness time actually was faster than 1:54 2/5.The evidence was so compelling that the commissioners deliberated for only about 10 minutes before announcing the vote had been 7-0 to change Secretariat’s official Preakness time to 1:53, a stakes record. Consequently, as of 2020, Secretariat is credited with having run the fastest Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont in history.You would think that after the timing originally was so messed up at the 1973 Preakness, Thoroughbred racing would have taken measures to avoid anything like that happening again. But that’s not the case.In last Saturday’s BC Classic, the richest race to be run in this country this year, there initially were no fractional times listed in the official Equibase chart. The final time was listed as 1:59 (1:59.19). In the chart’s comments, it said: “Due to a timer malfunction, the times were timed manually using video.”What kind of pace did Authentic set? Fast? Moderate? Slow? Who knew?Many questioned the official final time of 1:59.19 for the 2020 BC Classic, much like the original official final time of the 1973 Preakness. In this case, even the Trakus system used by Keeneland disagreed with the 1:59.19 clocking. The Trakus system timed the race in 1:59.82.And now yet another clocking, 1:59.60, has become the official final time for the 2020 BC Classic.Keeneland and Equibase issued this statement on Nov. 11:“Prior to the running of the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (Gr. 1) on November 7, 2020, at Keeneland, a photo eye at the start of the race originally was tripped, which resulted in an error when attempting to operate the timing system manually causing inaccurate timing for all fractions and the final time of the race. A final time of 1:59.19 was initially provided by Equibase using the available video replay. After subsequent and more detailed review and timing of the race from multiple sources and camera angles, Keeneland and Equibase have determined the fractional times for the Classic (:23.20, :46.48, 1:10.32, 1:34.64) and confirmed a final time of 1:59.60. The Classic chart has been updated and the running of Authentic in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic is now the official track record for the 1 1/4-mile distance at Keeneland.”Acccording to Keeneland and Equibase, Authentic broke American Pharoah’s track record of 2:00.07 that had been established by the Triple Crown winner when he registered a 6 1/2-length victory in the 2015 BC Classic.It took Keeneland and Equibase four days to finally come up with fractional times and a final time for this year’s BC Classic (a race ironically sponsored by a company that makes watches).This is ridiculous. This is embarrassing. This is inexcusable.Humans can control a rover 48 million miles away on Mars, but seemingly can’t time the 2020 BC Classic without problems.It would be one thing if the timing problem with the 2020 BC Classic was an isolated case. But it’s not. Timing problems have been rampant all over the country this year, primarily due to a number of tracks embracing a GPS technology that has produced questionable times.Consider this Sept. 10 Daily Racing Form item regarding Kentucky Downs and Equibase’s Gmax tracking and timing system:“With extraordinarily swift clockings having been recorded during the first two cards of the Runhappy meet, Kentucky Downs officials said none of the times will count as track records. At least five would-be records were set during the first two cards, including the 1:32.21 run by Flavius in the Tourist Mile on Monday.“A track release said no clocking during this meet will be recognized as records because the track is testing Equibases Gmax tracking and timing system, which utilizes GPS technology.”When the powers that be permit America’s most lucrative Thoroughbred race to have an untrustworthy original final time that takes four days to correct, how can horseplayers have confidence in the timing of the thousands of other races run in this country? Time is an important factor for the vast majority of horseplayers when they analyze a horse’s past performances to determine how they are going to bet.Andrew Beyer questioned Authentic’s original 1:59.19 clocking, just as Beyer did not believe it when he saw 1:55 on the board for Secretariat’s final time at the 1973 Preakness. Beyer’s skepticism in the latter was vindicated first by the two DRF clockers and later by modern technology that proved Secretariat’s final time had been 1:53. Beyer’s skepticism in the former was vindicated when Keeneland and Equibase announced that the original official clocking of 1:59.19 had been changed to 1:59.60.The difference between 1:59.19 (1:59 flat in fifths) and 1:59.60 (1:59 3/5 in fifths) is significant. To use the longstanding rule of thumb that a fifth of a second equals one length, the difference in the two clockings is two lengths. That’s a lot.I, for one, am taking race times with a grain of salt these days. I doubt that I’m alone in this regard.Thoroughbred racing needs to do everything it possible can, as quickly as it can, to restore confidence in the timing of races.Andrew Beyer has said a GPS system is fine for determining how many feet a horse traveled or other such information. And I agree with Beyer in his belief that until a GPS system becomes reliably accurate, the timing of races, which provides critical information to horseplayers, should be done utilizing what is known as “the beam system,” which has worked well for decades.As for Authentic’s Beyer Speed Figure for his BC Classic triumph, he originally was credited with a 109. It was then upped to 111.What Beyer Speed Figure did American Pharoah get when he won the 2015 BC Classic at Keeneland in 2:00.07, a clocking supposedly slower than Authentic’s? American Pharoah received a 120 Beyer for that performance.TIZ THE LAW DISAPPOINTS BACKERSSent off as the 3-1 favorite, Tiz the Law finished sixth in the BC Classic. I did not pick him 1-2-3. A main reason for that was he drew post 2. I thought he might not get a trip to his liking if forced to race inside rivals.As it turned out, regular rider Manny Franco never could get Tiz the Law to the outside and in the clear, which seems to be the colt’s preference. It appeared to me that Tiz the Law was not enjoying himself in the early furlongs when rank while close up and racing along the inside rail. Tiz the Law, who had been third early, dropped back to fifth on the far turn and lacked a kick in the lane. He lost by 5 1/2 lengths.Tiz the Law, it’s been said, is better if given more time between races than the four weeks between the Grade I Travers Stakes on Aug. 8 and Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby. He got nine weeks between the Kentucky Derby and BC Classic, yet did not hit the board.It’s also been said that Tiz the Law is not fond of running on Churchill Downs’ main track. Does he also not like Keeneland’s main track?Maybe Tiz the Law has an aversion to racing in Kentucky. He’s 0 for 3 in Kentucky and 6 for 6 in other states (Florida and New York).HORSE OF THE YEAR AND FINAL NTRA POLLSBy virtue of his wins in the Grade III Sham Stakes, Grade II San Felipe Stakes, Grade I Haskell Invitational and, most especially, in the Grade I Kentucky Derby and Grade I BC Classic, Authentic is an overwhelming favorite to be voted 2020 Eclipse Awards as champion 3-year-old male and Horse of the Year.Authentic became only the fourth horse to take both the Kentucky Derby and BC Classic in the same year. The others were Sunday Silence in 1989, Unbridled in 1990 and American Pharoah in 2015.Unfortunately, it already has been announced that Authentic has been retired from racing to begin a stud career next year at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky. In fact, he’s already at Spendthrift, having arrived there Monday morning. Unlike a number of other stallion prospects in recent years, Authentic is not even going to make just one more start in the $3 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 23.I sure would have liked to have seen what Authentic might achieve next year at 4, particularly seeing that he’s a late foal. But now we will never know. Thoroughbred racing continues to have a big problem by having far too many of its champions whisked off to the breeding shed instead of being given an opportunity to continue racing and grow their fan club.Meanwhile, when I saw the final NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll of 2020, I immediately noticed something seemed to be amiss. Gamine ranked No. 7 in the NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll, yet she was missing from the Top 10 in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll.Looking further, I noticed that Gamine supposedly did not receive a single point in the Top Three-Year-Old rankings, which are determined by voters on a 10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. This meant Gamine was not even credited with receiving 7 points she would get from me ranking her No. 4.I contacted the NTRA regarding Gamine. They looked into it and informed that Gamine actually should be No. 4 in the Top Three-Year-Old Poll. The NTRA then issued a corrected final Top Three-Year-Old Poll.Here is the final NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll for 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 Yodeler6. 107 Tiz the Law7. 104 Gamine8. 100 Rushing Fall9. 97 Whitmore10. 82 Maximum SecurityAlso receiving votes: Knicks Go (76 points), Global Campaign (59), Tom’s d’Etat (41), Midnight Bisou (31), Channel Maker (22), By My Standards (20), Essential Quality (10), Code of Honor (9), Serengeti Empress (9), Tacitus (8), Glass Slippers (7), Happy Saver (6), Vequist (5), Volatile (5), Tarnawa (5), Uni (3), United (2), Nashville (2), C Z Rocket (2), Mo Forza (2), Mystic Guide (1), Starship Jubilee (1), Golden Pal (1).Ironically, Maximum Security finished No. 10 in both the final NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls of 2019 and 2020.This was the ballot that I submitted for the final NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll of 2020:1. Authentic2. Improbable3. Monomoy Girl4. Tiz the Law5. Swiss Skydiver6. Gamine7. Essential Quality8. Vequist9. Rushing Fall10. WhitmoreHere is the final NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll for 2020:Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)1. 370 Authentic (37)2. 306 Tiz the Law3. 295 Swiss Skydiver4. 259 Gamine5. 185 Happy Saver6. 115 Honor A.P.7. 89 Shedaresthedevil8. 74 Art Collector9. 62 Jesus’ Team10. 53 Max PlayerAlso receiving votes: Mystic Guide (45 points), Nashville (35), Gufo (19), Thousand Words (18), Maxfield (15), Nadal (15), Harvey’s Lil Goil (13), Charlatan (12), Order of Australia (11), King Guillermo (8), Ny Traffic (7), Rushie (5), Mr. Big News (4), Harvest Moon (2), Smooth Like Strait (2), Yaupon (1), Sharing (1), Caracaro (1).Global Campaign is listed as having received 13 points in the NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll. Global Campaign is a 4-year-old.This was the ballot that I submitted for the final NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll of 2020:1. Authentic2. Tiz the Law3. Swiss Skydiver4. Gamine5. Happy Saver6. Shedaresthedevil7. Order of Australia8. Honor A.P.9. Gufo10. Mystic Guide$4 MILLION TURF (NOV. 7)Results: (1) Tarnawa, who paid $11.40, (2) Magical, (3) Channel Maker.Winner: Owned by The Aga Khan; trained by Dermot Weld; ridden by Colin Keane.Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 109. Bricks and Mortar won the 2019 BC Turf at Santa Anita with a 104 Beyer. Top Beyer in the Turf: 118 (Daylami in 1999 at Gulfstream Park).Recap: In my Xpressbet.com selections for this race, I picked it Lord North, Magical, Tarnawa. My “nice-price danger” was Channel Maker, who ran third at 9-1. My comment for Tarnawa: “Dual G1 wins in France for fab horseman.”The “fab horseman” is 72-year-old Dermot Weld, a two-time winner of the world-famous Melbourne Cup (Vintage Crop in 1993 and Media Puzzle in 2002). Weld also is the only European-based trainer to win an American Triple Crown race, having done so with Go and Go in the 1990 Belmont Stakes.This was Weld’s first Breeders’ Cup victory. Tarnawa, a 4-year-old Irish-bred Sharmardal filly, rallied from eighth to prevail by one length while completing 1 1/2 miles in 2:28.02 on a turf course classified as firm.Not only did Tarnawa defeat males in the BC Turf, the classy mare Magical finished second as the 2-1 favorite to complete a female $1 exacta that paid $18.10. Pacesetter Channel Maker held on to finish third in the field of 10.Earlier in Magical’s career, she finished second to the great Enable in the 2018 BC Turf at Churchill Downs.Tarnawa came into the BC Turf having won all three of her 2020 starts. After winning a Group III race in Ireland in her first start of the year, she took France’s Group I Prix Vermeille and Group I Prix de l’Opera. Following those performances by Tarnawa, Weld felt that she was the best chance he’d ever had to win a Breeders’ Cup race.It was a jockey named Keane winning at Keeneland on Tarnawa. Keane replaced Christophe Soumillion, who could not ride at the Breeders’ Cup because of a positive coronavirus test.How well did Tarnawa run in the BC Turf? Her 109 Beyer was better than the 104 posted by Bricks and Mortar when he won the 2019 edition. Bricks and Mortar was America’s 2019 Horse of the Year.United, who finished second in the 2019 BC Turf at odds of 51-1, stumbled on the far turn in this year’s renewal and wound up eighth at 8-1. Hall of Famer trainer Richard Mandella reported the following morning that despite the incident on the far turn, United emerged from the race in good order.“I was worried about that, but we just got him out and jogged him,” said Mandella, who also sent out Bombard to finish eighth at 20-1 in the BC Turf Sprint. “Both of them are in great shape. They both kind of fumbled around on that turf course.”$2 MILLION DISTAFF (NOV. 7)Results: (1) Monomoy Girl, who paid $4.00 as the favorite, (2) Valiance, (3) Dunbar Road.Winner: Owned by Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables; trained by Brad Cox; ridden by Florent Geroux.Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 100. Blue Prize won the 2019 BC Distaff at Santa Anita with a 103 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Distaff: 120 (Princess Rooney in 1984).Recap: Win-machine Monomoy Girl registered a second BC Distaff victory. She took the 2018 renewal, missed all of 2019, then got the job done last Saturday to complete a perfect five-for-five 2020 campaign.A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred Tapizar mare, Monomoy Girl raced wide on both turns and won by 1 3/4 lengths. Her final time was 1:47.84. Valiance finished second, while Dunbar Road ended up third in the field of 10.Monomoy Girl now has finished first in 14 of 15 lifetime starts. She lost the Grade II Golden Rod Stakes by a neck at Churchill Downs in 2017 and was disqualified from first to second in the Grade I Cotillion at Parx Racing in 2018.The second favorite in the BC Distaff at 2-1 was 3-year-old star Swiss Skydiver, who was coming off a neck victory in a rousing edition of the Preakness Stakes when she edged Kentucky Derby winner and future BC Classic winner Authentic.But Swiss Skydiver, ridden by Robby Albarado, stumbled at the start of the BC Distaff and finished seventh.“It maybe cost her a length or two postion-wise, but it didn’t cost us the win,” Albarado said candidly in reference to Swiss Skydiver stumbling at the start.Another contributing factor to Swiss Skydiver’s 8 1/4-length defeat last Saturday could have been that a busy 2020 campaign in which she raced at nine different tracks from coast to coast might have finally caught up with her.Monomoy Girl was one of four winners for trainer Brad Cox at this year’s Breeders’ Cup. The others were Aunt Pearl, Essential Quality and Knicks Go.Cox became the second to train four winners at a single Breeders’ Cup. Richard Mandella won four races at the 2003 Breeders’ Cup when it was a one-day event consisting of just eight races.Incidentally, in the Breeders’ Cup Wager Guide presented by 1/ST BET, I had a $5 exacta of Monomoy Girl over Valiance among my $100 in wagers. This produced a payoff of $106.50, which means I showed a profit of $6.50. I’m glad that anyone who played my $100 in wagers did come away with a profit, albeit a very small one.$2 MILLION MILE (NOV. 7)Results: (1) Order of Australia, who paid $148.40, (2) Circus Maximus, (3) Lope Y Fernandez.Winner: Owned by Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Mrs. Anne Marie O’Brien; trained by Aidan O’Brien; ridden by Pierre-Charles Boudot.Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 105. Uni won the 2019 BC Mile at Santa Anita with a 106 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Mile: 119 (Miesque in 1987 at Hollywood Park).Recap: Along with Kurt Hoover, I was co-host of Santa Anita’s simulcast commentary from the paddock at the 1993 Breeders’ Cup. The two of us handled the paddock commentary for all of the races that day, including the Breeders’ Cup events. These days there is a large group of commentators for the simulcast of the Breeders’ Cup races.One of my many memories from that hot afternoon was the sound heard when gigantic longshot Arcangues won the BC Classic. There was virtually no sound, despite there being a crowd of 55,130. People were in such a state of shock that you could have heard a pin drop.I was not at Keeneland for this year’s Breeders’ Cup. Not too many people were, either. Because of the coronavirus, this was the first Breeders’ Cup contested without the general public allowed.But even if a big crowd had been on hand, I imagine that, like Arcangues in 19993, it would have been pretty darn quite when Order of Australia crossed the finish line in front by a neck.Arcangues paid $269.20 for each $2 win ticket. It remains a Breeders’ Cup record. Order of Australia paid $148.40. It’s the second-highest win mutuel in Breeders’ Cup history.Order of Australia was fortunate to even start in the BC Mile. Originally relegated to the also-eligible list by the selection committee, Order of Australia got into the race when One Master was withdrawn. Daily Racing Form reported that One Master was scratched “because of persistently elevated muscle enzymes. The elevated enzyme levels can produce a condition known as tying up, a locking of muscles that restricts movement, and that is what happened to One Master the first day she trained at Keeneland this week, according to trainer William Haggas.”It’s perfectly understandable why Order of Australia was virtually ignored by horseplayers. The 3-year-old colt by the Galileo stallion Australia was coming off a 47 3/4-length loss in a Group III race in Ireland.This year’s BC Mile produced a 1-2-3 finish by Aidan O’Brien-trained runners. Order of Australia, off at odds of 73-1, completed one mile in 1:33.73 on a turf course rated as firm. Circus Maximus ran second at 11-1 and Lope Y Fernandez finished third at 18-1 in the field of 14.The lukewarm 5-1 favorite, Kameko, came in seventh. Uni finished fifth at 6-1 after having won the 2019 BC Mile at Santa Anita.$2 MILLION SPRINT (NOV. 7)Results: (1) Whitmore, who paid $38.80, (2) C Z Rocket, (3) Firenze Fire.Winner: Owned by Robert LaPenta, Ron Moquette and Head of Plains Partners; trained by Ron Moquette; ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 104. Mitole won the 2019 BC Sprint at Santa Anita with a 112 Beyer. Top Beyer in the Sprint and the top Beyer in Breeders’ Cup history: 125 (Precisionist in 1985).Recap: This was one of the most popular victories at this year’s Breeders’ Cup.For Whitmore, described as being a “big, old, grumpy gelding” by co-owner and trainer Ron Moquette, the fourth time was the charm.Whereas Authentic now is exiting the racing stage at the age of 3, Whitmore has been around long enough to develop a legion of fans. At age 7 in his 38th career start, Whitmore rallied from 10th in the field of 14 to win this year’s six-furlong BC Sprint by a convincing 3 1/4 lengths in 1:08.61.In previous BC Sprints, Whitmore had finished eighth at Del Mar in 2017, second at Churchill Downs in 2018, then third at Santa Anita in 2019.Whitmore is a Kentucky-bred Pleasantly Perfect gelding. Pleasantly Perfect won the BC Classic at Santa Anita in 2003.Vekoma had been installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite in this year’s BC Sprint, but was scratched after spiking a temperature four days before the race.$2 MILLION FILLY & MARE TURF (NOV. 7)Results: (1) Audarya, who paid $37.60, (2) Rushing Fall, (3) Harvey’s Lil Goil.Winner: Owned by Mrs. A.M. Swinburn; trained by James Fanshawe; ridden by Pierre-Charles Boudot.Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 103. Iridessa won the 2019 BC Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita with a 105 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Filly & Mare Turf: 112 (Banks Hill in 2001).Recap: This year’s Group I Prix de l’Opera on the Group I Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe undercard on Oct. 4 proved a productive race vis-a-vis the subsequent Breeders’ Cup.Prix de l’Opera winner Tarnawa took the BC Turf. Audarya, who finished third in the Prix de l’Opera, won the BC Filly & Mare Turf.Ioritz Mendizabal was supposed to ride Audarya at the Breeders’ Cup, but he could not travel to the U.S. from Europe after testing positive for coronavirus. That opened the door for Pierre-Charles Boudot to win the BC Filly & Mare Turf aboard 17-1 Audarya in addition to taking the BC Mile on 73-1 longshot Order of Australia.Audarya, seventh early, generated the necessary late kick to prevail by a neck. Rushing Fall, the 5-2 BC Filly & Mare Turf favorite, finished second. Harvey’s Lil Goil ended up third in the field of 14. Starship Jubilee stumbled badly at the start and unseated jockey Florent Geroux. Starship Jubilee has been retired from racing.This was a tough loss for Rushing Fall in her farewell appearance under silks. She had a half-length lead with a furlong to run, but could not quite outfinish Audarya. This 1 3/16-mile trip was just slightly farther than Rushing Fall wants. She retires having won 11 of 15 lifetime starts while winning Grade I races at ages 2, 3, 4 and again this year at 5.Trainer Sir Michael Stoute has won eight Breeders’ Cup races. Trainer James Fanshawe, an erstwhile assistant to Sir Michael Stoute, conditions Audarya. The 4-year-old French-bred Wootton Bassett filly completed 1 3/16 miles on a firm turf course in 1:52.72 last Saturday to break the course record of 1:53.01 set by Speedy Solution on July 11.$1 MILLION DIRT MILE (NOV. 7)Results: (1) Knicks Go, who paid $5.60 as the favorite, (2) Jesus’ Team, (3) Sharp Samurai.Winner: Owned by Korea Racing Group.; trained by Brad Cox; ridden by Joel Rosario.Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 108. Spun to Run won the 2019 BC Dirt Mile at Santa Anita with a 109 Beyer. Top Beyer in the BC Dirt Mile: 119 (Corinthian in 2007).Recap: The metamorphosis in Knicks Go’s form has been quite dramatic since Brad Cox took over the training of the 4-year-old Maryland-bred Paynter colt prior to his 2020 debut at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 22.Knicks Go had lost 10 in a row for trainer Ben Colebrook prior to a 7 1/2-length win in an allowance/optional claiming contest on Feb. 22.In Knicks Go’s next start, he romped to a 10 1/4-length win in an allowance/optional claiming affair Oct. 4 at Keeneland. His final time of 1:40.79 that day broke the track record.And then Knicks Go won the BC Dirt Mile in front-running fashion by 3 1/2 lengths while setting another track record. His final time of 1:33.85 on a lightning-fast strip bettered the one-mile mark of 1:34.54 established by Liam’s Map when he won the 2015 BC Dirt Mile.Jesus’ Team finished second in the BC Dirt Mile, while Sharp Samurai ran third in the field of 12. This was the second straight race in which Jesus’ Team earned a minor award at a big price. He finished third at 40-1 in the Preakness, then was an even bigger 62-1 last Saturday.When trained by Colebrook, Knicks Go was good enough as a 2-year-old to finish second behind Game Winner in the BC Juvenile at Churchill Downs.$1 MILLION TURF SPRINT (NOV. 7)Results: (1), Glass Slippers, who paid $22.40, (2) Wet Your Whistle, (3) Leinster.Winner: Owned by Bearstone Stud Limited; trained by Kevin Ryan; ridden by Tom Eaves.Winning Beyer Speed Figure: 104. Belvoir Bay won the 2019 BC Turf Sprint at Santa Anita with a 107 Beyer. Previous top Beyer in the BC Turf Sprint: 119 (Stormy Liberal in 2018).Recap: Trainer Peter Miller’s remarkable three-year winning streak in this race came to an end when Euro invader Glass Slippers uncorked a furiously rally from 10th to win this roughly run race in which several horses in the field of 14 encountered trouble in the stretch.A 4-year-old Great Britain-bred Dream Ahead filly trained by Kevin Ryan, Glass Slippers completed her 5 1/2-furlong journey on a grass course listed as good in 1:01.53.Glass Slippers became the first European-based runner to win th