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6.21.2021:

Monday Myths: Does the Summer Heat Take Its Toll?

Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities.Assumption:Horses need more time to recover between starts during the heat of summer.Background:The taxing nature of summer temperatures, and a horse population largely running on the diuretic Lasix, are believed to be reasons why it’s tougher to bounce back from an effort this time of year as we turn into the hot summer months.Data Points:I dialed up the Betmix database to track return days of a very short nature (14 days or less), short nature (21-28 days), average nature (29-42 days) and extended nature (43-56 days). I looked at the performance of all horses nationally at all class levels in each of those return spans by each season on the calendar. For seasons, I used Jan-Feb-Mar as winter; Apr-May-June as spring; July-Aug-Sep as summer; Oct-Nov-Dec as fall. We looked at the past 4 years of data going back to the start of 2017 through 2020.Winter Return DaysHorses with very short return days (14 days or less) won 11.4% with a $0.74 ROI for every $1 bet.Horses with short return days (21-28 days) won 13.3% with a $0.75 ROI for every $1 bet.Horses with average return days (29-42 days) won 13.3% with a $0.71 ROI for every $1 bet.Horses with extended return days (43-56 days) won 13.3% with a $0.74 ROI for every $1 bet.Spring Return DaysHorses with very short return days (14 days or less) won 12.4% with a $0.75 ROI for every $1 bet.Horses with short return days (21-28 days) won 14.1% with a $0.76 ROI for every $1 bet.Horses with average return days (29-42 days) won 14.5% with a $0.75 ROI for every $1 bet.Horses with extended return days (43-56 days) won 14.5% with a $0.77 ROI for every $1 bet.Summer Return DaysHorses with very short return days (14 days or less) won 12.3% with a $0.70 ROI for every $1 bet.Horses with short return days (21-28 days) won 14.1% with a $0.78 ROI for every $1 bet.Horses with average return days (29-42 days) won 14.4% with a $0.76 ROI for every $1 bet.Horses with extended return days (43-56 days) won 13.6% with a $0.70 ROI for every $1 bet.Fall Return DaysHorses with very short return days (14 days or less) won 11.6% with a $0.74 ROI for every $1 bet.Horses with short return days (21-28 days) won 12.8% with a $0.78 ROI for every $1 bet.Horses with average return days (29-42 days) won 13.2% with a $0.79 ROI for every $1 bet.Horses with extended return days (43-56 days) won 13.0% with a $0.75 ROI for every $1 bet.Overall Findings:Horses returning on the shortest layoffs (14 days or less) had the lowest win percentage in each of the four seasons. The difference in win percentages between short, average and extended returns were negligible in all four of the seasons, but slightly more pronounced in summer – where extended layoff horses fared .5% and .8% worse than those off short and average returns.Bottom line:Nothing jumps off the page in terms of seasonal influence when it comes to the success or failure of horses returning from varying lengths of rest. Summer horses coming off the shortest layoff (14 days or less) performed as well or better than other seasons; the same goes for those off 21-28 days, and the 29-42 day breaks. The numbers do indicate that it’s a falsity to assume that a horse running back on short rest in the summer is statistically compromised.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 trainers do best at various levels of layoff and by season? The Betmix database shows Kelly Von Hemel (48%) and Dale Capuano (42%) are among the very best at summertime (July-August-September) returns from 14 days or fewer. You could sort this study by race class, distance or track to hone it in for the circuit and races you follow.

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6.21.2021:

Monday, June 21: Woodbine Mohawk Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Woodbine Mohawk Park begins the week with a 10 race card. The 0.20 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 7, and that sequence will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 71-Combs Hanover (3-1)-Left from this same post in last and broke 7th but that was not an issue. Went the long way around and raced wide to score a sharp win in the 1st start off the bench. Best to respect off a top effort and could be better tonight.5-Toccoa Falls (8-1)-Comes off a nice qualifier with a 55.2 last half and should like the company. This is a camera shy 4-year-old and will need an honest pace. But JMac may find a decent seat from this post and is worth a swing at the morning line price.8-I got The Looks (4-1)-Is only 1-12 at Wbsb but comes off a big try to cash a 2nd place check as the betting favorite. This post will add to the price and can come off cover like in last when he rolled the back half in 55.4.Race 84-Behavenmyself (3-1)-Dialed it up last week in the 1st start off the bench and took a picture at 10-1. Won't be that price but fits with this crew. Will include and hope winning becomes a habit but is only 2-23 going back to 2020.7-Vines To Heaven (5/2)-First start after the break was an even try versus better. Fits well with this kind and had success at this level in April. Should be a player at a short price.Race 91-First Class Horse (4-1)-Nine-year old has made only 6 starts since 2020 but has banked over $500,000 in his career. Did race well on 6-15 but faded down the lane after a tough trip. Comes right back here, so will assume all systems are go and could have an even stronger effort tonight.4-General Lee (7/2)-Makes the 2nd start for the Johnson barn and was driven aggressively from the 9-hole after shipping back from Hoosier. It was a strong try and Roy should be able to work a smooth trip with this post draw.6-Art Of Fire (10-1)-Got a race in at GrVr after the break. Now drops into a good level and one of recent success. Has had only 3 Wbsb starts but has hit the board twice with one win.Race 103-O Narutac Perfetto (9/2)-Raced in the Preferred Handicap class in the 1st race back and now drops to a spot to shine. Coulter should be able to work a nice trip and could offer a square price.4-Only For Justice (7/2)-Won its qualifier on 6-11 and trotted a quick 55.3 back half. Is only 3-33 at Wbsb but has faced better. Should be in the mix with a decent steer at this class if minds manners.8-Memo (3-1)-Beat this kind last week and 4 from this field were part of that race. McNair has some gate speed to work with and looks like a real threat to take another trip to the winner's circle.My Ticket Race 7) 1,5,8 Race 8) 4,7 Race 9) 1,4,6 Race 10) 3,4,8Total Ticket Cost) $10.80 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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6.20.2021:

Sunday, June 20: Hawthorne Pick 4 Analysis-$25,000 Guaranteed Pool

Hawthorne completes the weekend with a 12 race card. The 0.50 Late 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 91-Instantaneous Cash (9-1)-Qualified at Springfield and came the back half in a sharp 55.3 after a slow 1st half mile. This appears to be a wide open affair, and the program chalk #6 could be vulnerable.2-Round Here Buzz (9-1)-Team Leonard trainee raced from the back and started from post 10. Did pace a 56.3 back half and having a start at this track could be an advantage over the 2 others mentioned here.6-Hidden Assassin (2-1)-Art Major 3-year-old was a $20,000 purchase, qualified a couple of times in 2020 and then was put away. Qualified at Spr on 6-15 on a "good" track and it was okay, so will include but look to others for more value.Race 102-Incedible Bombay (5/2)-Here's the program chalk who is 1-21 lifetime and is trip dependent. On the positive side of the ledger Bombay has raced better this year. Just missed by a nose with a 55.4 back half on 6-6. Seekman steers which should help and he needs to take advantage of the inside starting spot.8-Super Park (12-1)-Blasted out for the top from post 10 in last. That was also the same plan for a few others and raced wide beyond the 1st turn. Needs to step-up off that effort in the 3rd Haw start and the price should be right to take a swing.10-Shark Snare (6-1)-Comes out of the same race as #8 and didn't get a smooth journey either. Was used hard off the gate and although no one was catching the winner, was bottled up down the lane and that didn't help. Todd Warren takes the lines for the Simmons' trainee who makes its 2nd appearance in Stickney and that's a ++ driver change.Race 111-Fox Valley Lynyrd (7/2)-Was bet down to 2-1 in last and got locked in on the rail. Then was blocked down the lane so had to race wide and closed nicely late in the race. Had excuses and will likely be bet hard. Four-year-old looks like a main player in its 3rd lifetime start but could be over bet.5-Rock With JK (7-1)-Makes its 1st career start for the Willis barn and comes off a sharp Haw qualifier on 6-10. Raced in 154.2 on the engine and best to respect connections.7-Born Desire (5-1)-Comes off a decent debut on 6-6 to finish 2nd. Raced from the back and rolled home with .57 back half. Maybe tonight the pace will be more lively and Seekman will have this 3-year-old in striking range to fly by near the wireRace 121-Fox Valley Kizzy (8-1)-Drew off by 6 lengths to break its maiden in last. Got on the engine from post 9 and didn't look back. Should get a cozy trip, this isn't a very talented field of fillies and mares, so best to not overlook.4-Adjacent (6-1)-Miller trainee was staked last year and didn't have success so this is a soft spot for a $52,000 Always B Miki filly. Sometimes the apple doesn't fall far from the tree and other times it's in another time zone. Qualifier at HoP was good so will take a swing and hope the morning line price holds up.8-Countercurrency (7/2)-Has hit the board in 4 of 6 but with only 1 win, and has been a bridesmaid in the last 3 starts. Should be rolling late and Wilfong may catch the leaders with an honest pace.My Ticket Race 9: 1,2,6 Race 10: 2,8,10 Race 11: 1,5,7 Race 12: 1,4,8Total Ticket Cost) $40.50 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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6.20.2021:

Sunday, June 20: Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Analysis

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click Here to view Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Burgoo Alley; 4-Beirut Beauty; 6-For Love Not MoneyForecast: Burgoo Alley was extremely well-meant in her U.S. debut last month but was off slowly from the rail and simply had too much to do when rallying to be fifth, beaten less than four lengths. She’s stuck on the rail again today in this six furlong turf sprint for maiden fillies and mares but has returned to train quite well since raced, so if she can avoid trouble (especially at the start) the Irish-bred filly should be capable of earning her diploma. While the main push in our rolling exotic play will go to ‘Alley, we’ll also include on a backup ticket a couple of first timers, Beirut Beauty and For Love Not Money, both of whom have shown enough ability in morning trials to expect a good performance first crack out of the box.RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Dozo; 5-Paid InformantForecast: Paid Informant is listed as the 8/5 morning line favorite in this restricted (nw-3) $30,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares and will win if she can run back to her highly-rated optional claiming score two races back over this track and distance. The P. Miller-trained filly lacks tactical speed but should return to the winner’s circle under the assumption that she has at least one good one left. Dozo is worth tossing in on a ticket or two as a backup. Away for nearly a year and returning waiver protected, the M. Puype-trained filly has looked quite good in recent workouts to indicate she’s fit and ready, and with only three starts on her resume (with two wins) the daughter of Coil may have further improvement in her.RACE 3: Post: 2:06 PT Grade: C+Use: 3-Disappearing Act; 4-On Mars; 5-BeguiledForecast: We’ll go three-deep in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass this second level allowance turf affair for fillies and mares. On Mars was victimized by a brutal trip/ride last time out while being forced to race wide throughout while never getting any cover. She switches to J. Bravo, has trained well in the interim, and should bounce back with a major effort today. Beguiled has the blinkers off angle that we like and should be prominent throughout in a race that projects to be slowly run early. She’s a one-paced grinder and will have here best chance if put into the race early by J. J. Hernandez. Disappearing Act is slower on speed figures than the other main contenders but she’s a progressive type and could be a strong threat if her improving pattern continues.RACE 4: Post: 2:40 PT Grade: XSingle: 3-Big City LightsForecast: Big City Lights ran away and hid in a very impressive debut performance last month, graduating by more than 12 lengths while widening at will in the final furlong. He’s listed as the 2/5 morning line favorite, rendering the race unplayable other than to use the son of Mr. Big as a short priced, no value, rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post: 3:13 PT Grade: B+Single: 5-HeirForecast: French-bred Heir finally makes it to the post at age four and shows up in a wide-open maiden $50,000 claiming turf miler that really doesn’t have a whole lot in it. The L. Powell-trained gelding has looked quite good in his morning dirt workouts – he’s been breezing in most of drills while finishing with plenty left - and should be even more comfortable on the lawn based on his European pedigree. He offers a legitimate gamble at 15-1 on the morning line, so let’s take a stand and make this newcomer a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 6: Post: 3:48 PT Grade: CUse: 3-Vanna; 4-My Tigress; 6-RicottaForecast: We’ll use three in this woefully weak bottom-rung maiden $20,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares and hope that’s enough to survive and advance. Vanna has been away since last August and returns for new trainer J. Mullins with a work tab that indicates she may be a tad better this time around. My Tigress is slow on speed figures, but everything else in the field is, too, and she’s hit the board in all four career starts so she’s sure to get plenty of play. Ricotta is a first-timer from the R. Bell barn with an okay (for this level) work tab. She clearly won’t have to be any type of world beater to act with these. Tread lightly here.RACE 7: Post: 4:21 PT Grade: XUse: 1-Tiz Plus; 3-Neptune’s StormForecast: Neptune’s Storm is listed as the 4/5 morning line favorite in this year’s renewal of the American S.-G3 for older turf milers despite having not been out since last September. The good news is a solid series of workouts that should have him fit and ready and an outstanding record (four wins in nine starts) over the Santa Anita turf course. Effective on the front end or from a stalking position and picking up top rider F. Prat, the P. Miller-trained gelding has much in his favor. Tiz Plus has been impressive in the morning of late and makes his first start since being gelded, so improvement is likely. He’s 15-1 on the morning line and probably is better than that, so the son of Tizway is worth tossing in somewhere as a backup or a saver.RACE 8: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Laurel Canyon; 2-At The Spa; 5-Royal O’HaigainForecast: All three fillies listed above were impressive debut maiden winners and each should step forward with that bit of experience behind them. Rather than split hairs, we’ll triple the race in our rolling exotics while otherwise sitting it out. At The Spa drew off with authority to graduate by seven widening lengths and should run at least as well today. Royal O’Haigain essentially did the same thing in her maiden romp, though she earned a slightly lower speed figure than ‘Spa. Gulfstream Park shipper Laurel Canyon displayed some quality in her victory and has worked quite well since arriving in California and joining the P. Miller barn. She’ll have to avoid trouble from the rail, though.RACE 9: Post: 5:28 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Brooke; 3-Gidgetta; 7-Stela StarForecast: This year’s edition of the Wilshire S.-G3 has a ton of speed signed on so the race flow should promote the chances of the closing types. Brooke was a good third in her U.S. debut in January and the Chilean Oaks winner can be quite dangerous off her South American form in her first outing since making that favorable impression in the Megahertz S.-G3. She picks up U. Rispoli and projects to settle into a comfortable second flight early position and then have every chance from there. Gidgetta is unproven in graded stakes company and around two turns, but her speed figures continue to rise, and she has a late kick that should be complimented by what we expect to be a faster-than-par pace. She picks up M. Gutierrez, who has an outstanding record when riding for the R. Baltas barn. Stela Star, off the track for more than a year, returns for J. Sadler and is another who projects to be doing her best work from the quarter pole home. A group-3 stakes winner in Ireland as 2-year-old and stakes placed in both of her U.S. starts last year, the lightly-raced 4-year-old will be dangerous if she returns as well as she left.RACE 10: Post: 6:02 PT Grade: BUse: 3-Sea Dreamer; 4-Zydeco MamaForecast: Morning line (8/5) favorite Just Distorted in the logical top pick and one to beat but she’s been scratched since raced and hasn’t been out since early February. That’s not the pattern we’re willing to accept at a short price. Instead, let’s go with the newcomer Sea Dreamer, a daughter of Into Mischief with a good series of workouts for S. Callaghan. She’s done everything asked of her in the morning without showing any sizzling workouts and appears to be a filly with some quality. With F. Prat aboard, she’s worth a play at or near her morning line of 5/2. Zydeco Mama has the benefit of a prior win and could produce a significant forward move after finishing a distant second to the talented Illumination in her debut earlier this month for the Desormeaux brothers. The daughter of Hard Spun should be prominent throughout and have her chance.RACE 11: Post: 6:37 PT Grade: B-Use: 7-Gypsy Blu; 8-Smiling Annie; 12-After MidnightForecast: We’ll spread the nightcap, a first-level allowance grass sprint for state-bred fillies and mares. Gypsy Blue, a first-off-the-claim play for P. Miller (26% with a strong ROI with this angle), removes blinkers, retains F. Prat, and has finished first or second in seven of 12 career starts over the Santa Anita turf course. It’s been quite a spell since she’s won but she gets ideal conditions today and should have no excuses. Smiling Annie also removes blinkers (love that angle) and may have needed the outing last month when second over this course in her first start since August. With a forward move today, she’ll be right there. After Midnight must leave from the 12-hole in her first race since October but the works look good and the daughter of Gervinho gets Lasix for her sophomore debut. At 15-1 on the morning line, she’s worth using in your exotics.

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6.19.2021:

Jerry Shottenkirk: Gulfstream Late Pick 4 Ticket | Sunday, June 20

A trio of good allowance optional claiming races and a maiden-claiming heat greet Late Pick 4 players at Gulfstream Park on Sunday, and while there are some solid favorites, some of their opponents are legit players and could pull some upsets. This week’s suggested Late Pick 4 is for $48 for races 7-10, here’s a look at the ticket: RACE 7 (3:56PM ET) // ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT) LIZA STAR runs very few bad ones and has taken two of her last three. She’s always somewhere on your ticket. BRAMBLE BERRY was second in a state-bred stakes race last out and has had her moments. Does her best slightly off the pace and may not have a choice to run that kind of race. MERSEYSIDE improved steadily for third last time in what was her first dirt race in a year. Can make a run at the leaders and should be taken seriously. AWESOME ANNMARIE has won four of her last five, and while she has not seen opponents this good, she has undoubtedly figured out this game and can be a factor.   RACE 8 (4:29PM ET) // ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF) GLOBAL BRAND has not been consistent, but her best races put her in the hunt. She’s one of two tough entrants from the Tom Proctor stable. DRAPES is the second Proctor runner and is unbeaten in two turf races and not being a factor in a dirt sprint. Was impressive in a Tampa maiden win and followed with a strong effort at Gulfstream. SUGAR FIX beat starter allowance runners in fast time last out and followed with a quick work. Likely to make herself the target from the beginning. RACE 9 (5:02PM ET) // ALLOWANCE OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 MILE (DIRT) COLLABORATE held third in the Roar Stakes and was an easy player before tiring in the G1 Florida Derby. The $600K yearling by Info Mischief has a good chance to live up to his initial cred. LITTLE DEMON was up in time in his first attempt at a mile and can easily have the leaders in sight from the get-go. Would be a mild upset, but he gets better with distance and can give the favorite a run for his money. RACE 10 (5:35PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF) TRACEABILITY drops to his lower level and has been good in three of his last five. MISSION BRIEF finished with interest in his return to Gulfstream and needs some luck with the come-from-behind approach. A clean trip can put him right there with these. JARLIAN comes off his best effort by far, and continued improvement makes him a serious entrant for this price. Makes his second off the claim by Gonzalez. ZALINSKY has been in much tougher races and this drop should wake him up. GULFSTREAM LATE PICK 4 TICKET FOR SUNDAY, JUNE 20 Race 7: 1, 2, 3, 6Race 8: 2, 5, 8Race 9: 2, 7Race 10: 1, 2, 3, 4 Cost: $48 for $0.50    

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6.19.2021:

Saturday, June 19: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has 14 races scheduled with the 0.50 Early Pick 4 starting in Race 6. That sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout, and it will be my focus.On Friday, Dexter Dunn had a huge night winning 7 of 14 races. Marcus Melander led the trainers with two trips to the winner's circle.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Machnhope (6-1)-The last line looks worse than it was, may not have been in A+ form but couldn't make up ground even with a 53.4 back half. Comes right back, likes to race near the top of the stack and this post draw helps. Should be in the hunt throughout and could be a player at a nice price.2-Lyons Sentinel (5/2)-Raced gamely but couldn't catch #4 in last as Bartlett probably stole a couple of quarters. Looks like a major threat and could end up in the pocket. The concern would be if breaks 3rd and has to come 1st over, but still best to respect.4-Racine Bell (3-1)-Nice drive by Bartlett last week and draws the same post. Has hit the board in 3 of 4 starts at the Big M with 1 picture and with another sharp steer this mare could get on a winning streak.5-Peaky Sneaky (10-1)-Tough race but this Takter trainee could be ready to step forward. The last 2 starts have been the best since arriving in town. The pace could be hot so Gingras could stalk and roll by down the lane at a price.Race 76-South Beach Star (3-1)-Winner of 3 straight and 5 of 8 in 2021 will face his toughest test this year. But will give the benefit of the doubt he can make it 4 straight pictures. Has enough gate speed to be driven aggressively and be in striking range turning for home.7-Summa Cum Laude (9/2)-Makes the 3rd start this year but qualified on Lasix on 6-5 in a 149.2 mile with a .26 last quarter. Has won 4 of 5 at M1 and could be sitting on a big try at what should be a square price.8-Mullinax (15-1)-Cashed a 3rd place check at Buffalo on 6-9 and finished behind #2. That start followed a sick scratch and the previous race was back on 5-22. This will be the 4th start on Lasix and if Gingras keeps him close this colt could fly home.Race 86-Test Of Faith (2-1)-Pelling trainee is 9 of 10 lifetime and won coming off the bench at Stga on 6-2 by >5 lengths without breaking a sweat. This is a very talented 3-year-old filly, and she would have to be off her game or get a brutal trip to not beat this field. Can't see either happening tonight.Race 91-Captain Barbossa (3-1)-The Captain has started this year in fine fashion winning 3 of 5 at M1. Comes off the fastest mile this year (147.1) with Dunn between the pipes and he is back again. May not get on the point but has a pilot who will work a smooth trip and look to take another picture.2-Ruthless Hanover (4-1)-Winner of 2 straight to start the campaign and then despite a 25.4 last quarter couldn't survive the challenge from #12. Winner in 5 of 7 Big M races could make the most of the post draw edge, then take control early on and not look back.My Ticket Race 6) 1,2,4,5 Race 7) 6,7,8 Race 8) 6 Race 9) 1,2Total Ticket Cost) $12 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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6.19.2021:

Saturday, June 19: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday and Saturday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6. Selections are listed in chronological order.Belmont Park Race 9 - Post time: 5:12 ET2-Dancing Buck (9/2)Lightly-raced gelding appears to have found his niche as a turf sprinter, and after a clever score against older foes in mid-April over the Aqueduct lawn the son of War Dancer returns to his own age group in the New York Stallion S. at seven furlongs on grass at Belmont Park. The M. Nevin-trained 3-year-old projects to enjoy an ideal ground-saving, second-flight trip and then have every chance to exert his superiority when the pressure is turned. At 9/2 on the morning line, he offers good value in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.Churchill Downs Race 10 - Post time: 5:26 ET3-Four Graces (7/2)High class sprinting filly launches her comeback in the Roxelana Overnight Stakes and has worked like she’s fit and ready to reproduce her best form from last year. A graded stakes winner over the Churchill Downs main track, the daughter of Majesticperfection is a versatile type that can win on the lead or from a stalking position, so this extended sprint distance should fit her perfectly. The I. Wilkes-trained filly is listed at 7/2 on the morning line and at that price looks playable in the win pool and as a rolling exotic key.

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6.19.2021:

Saturday, June 19: 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 Here to view Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B+Single: 7-Lena’s Big DayForecast: Lena’s Big Day has done some excellent work in a series of main track drills leading up to her racing debut and as a daughter of Mr. Big should be most effective on grass. The 3-year-old filly has displayed good speed, the ability to close, and a lovely way of moving in her a.m. trials to indicate she may be a cut above the norm. In what certainly appears to be a below par race for older maiden state-bred distaffers, the C. Gaines-trained homebred seems the solid choice at 5/2 on the morning line, so with top rider F. Prat taking the call, she’s a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: X-Use: 4-Censorship; 5-EdaForecast: B. Baffert workmates Censorship and Eda will break side-by-side in this maiden special weight five furlong sprint for juvenile fillies and therein lies the race within the race. In the morning, Censorship is the quicker of the two, but Eda generally looks best late, so they’re really hard to separate, though at this abbreviated five furlong trip the former, a daughter of speed sire Munnings, may hold a slight edge over the latter, a daughter of Tonalist and therefor likely to need a bit more ground. In any cause, we’ll pass the race other than to include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 3: Post: 2:06 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Tatters to Riches; 4-Texas Wedge; 7-Chasin MunnyForecast: Chasin Munny exits a stronger race and appears capable of regaining his winning form from a cozy outside post position that should allow new jockey F. Prat to dictate his trip. Quick enough to make the lead or handy enough to settle and stalk, the son of Munnings is lightly-raced with arguably the most room to improve among the major contenders. Texas Wedge is capable of winning a race such as this on his best day, but this is a relatively quick turn around after he finished a good third in his comeback at Lone Star Park three weeks ago. First or second in 10 of 22 career starts, the P. Miller-trained gelding switches to U. Rispoli and projects to draft into a good stalking position and have every chance from the quarter pole home. Tatters to Riches hasn’t been out since December of 2018 but has trained like he’s his old self (perhaps better) and returns in a stakes race, a move that we view as a sign of confidence. Perhaps this outing is just a prep for Del Mar but at 6-1 on the morning line he’s worth including on a ticket or two as a saver.RACE 4: Post: 2:40 PT Grade: XUse: 2-Trainer Please; 4-BruttoForecast: Brutto just missed at 50 cents on the dollar when beaten a neck in a similar maiden special weight sprint last month so he may be a tad hard to trust, but an awkward start probably cost him the win so the son of Nyquist surely will be a short price to make amends today. Trainer Please, third when beaten more than four lengths in the same race Brutto exits, makes his second career start and has every right to produce a forward move and would seem the one to fear most. Preference on top goes to Brutto in a race that might be best left alone.RACE 5: Post: 3:13 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Bender; 6-Subconscious; 10-Lincoln HawkForecast: Lincoln Hawk made a favorable impression when rallying from far back to finish second beaten a neck in his U.S. debut sprinting on grass last month and today the Irish-bred colt stretches out to what should be a more favorable trip. The R. Baltas barn has solid stats with the sprint-to-route angle and following a recent sharp the European import looks ready to earn his diploma. Subconscious improved considerably in his second career outing when finishing an excellent runner-up in a nine furlong grass affair here last month. He has since worked well since to indicate another forward move is likely. The shortening in trip to a mile shouldn’t be an issue, and with A. Cedillo staying aboard the R. Mandella-trained son of Tapit is strictly the one to beat. Bender has been well-beaten in both of his starts but today draws the rail, switches to grass, and has looked quite good in the morning in the interim, so at 15-1 on the morning line the son of Curlin should be included somewhere on your ticket.RACE 6: Post: 3:44 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Tripoli; 2-Bold EndeavorForecast: Bold Endeavor was soundly beaten when runner-up at 4/5 in a 10-furlong main track affair last month, but this is a softer assignment so we’re expecting the son of Bernardini to make amends. First or second in seven of 13 career starts over the Santa Anita main track, the M. Glatt-trained gelding projects to enjoy a second flight, stalking trip and then have his chance to kick home when called upon. Tripoli makes his first career start on dirt but based on his grass pedigree it’s problematic whether he can transfer his turf form to the main track. He’s worked well dirt, but you don’t always get the same results in the afternoon. Relatively lightly-raced and in good form, the J. Sadler-trained colt is worth tossing in on a ticket or two for protection.RACE 7: Post: 4:17 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Adare; 3-Uncle Addouma; 8-Southern HorseForecast: Let’s go for a long shot in this first-level allowance turf miler for older horses. Uncle Addouma was a visually pleasing winner sprinting over the local lawn two runs back but then was given too much to do when rallying much too late last time out, finding his best stride in the final furlong to wind up seventh but beaten less than four lengths. He’s trained well since that outing, stretches out to a mile, and should be set to produce a career top effort in a field that that on paper doesn’t look all that intimating. He’s 12-1 on the morning line and we suspect he’s better than that. Adare lands the rail while stretching out again after finishing a solid third in the same race our top pick exits. From the rail the son of Medaglia d’Oro is likely to secure an ideal ground-saving trip and should have his chance to produce the last run with the switch to good turf rider J. Bravo. Southern Horse has been given a couple of runs sprinting on grass since being imported from Ireland and is another that seems certain to improve with today’s added distance. He’s faced better overseas than what he’s seeing today and based on his strong Time Form ratings is quite dangerous at his morning line of 15-1. With the switch to top grass jockey U. Rispoli, the Argentine-bred veteran is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.RACE 8: Post: 4:50 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Howbeit; 4-Palace CoupForecast: Howbeit is a hard-knocking sprinter with a pair of strong runner-up efforts in two recent outings vs. similar entry-level allowance competition. He had the proper style for this extended sprint trip, and with a clean break from the rail should be able to secure a comfortable, second flight, ground-saving early position. Beaten less than a length last time out while earning a career-top equaling speed figure, the M. Glatt-trained colt seems a fairly solid top pick. Palace Coup has been routing most of his career but had performed well around one turn when given the chance and with this turn back in trip the son of Bernardini could easily return to winning form. The P. D’Amato-trained colt is a strong fit on speed figures and projects to be prominent throughout. Preference on top goes to Howbeit but both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 9: Post: 5:23 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Found My Ball; 2-None Above the LawForecast: None Above the Law has won three of his last four starts with rising speed figures and appears well-spotted to continue his outstanding recent form in this year’s edition of the Snow Chief S. a race restricted to California-bred 3-year-olds. The P. Miller-trained gelding is reunited with “win rider” F. Prat and at this nine furlong trip should be capable of producing the last run. Found My Ball adds blinkers for the first time and from his rail post should be on or near the lead throughout. He’s been a money burner during his six race career, having failed three times as the favorite, but at this longer distance the son of Square Eddie should enjoy soft early fractions and a ground-saving trip. We’ll try to get by using just these two in rolling exotic play.RACE 10: Post: 5:56 PT Grade: BUse: 3-Fi Fi Pharoah; 6-Eddie’s New DreamForecast: Eddie’s New Dream, a strong recent runner-up when facing older sprinters in her first start since November, stretches out and returns to 3-year-old only competition in this year’s edition of the Melair S., a race restricted to state-bred fillies. There’s no reason the daughter of Square Eddie won’t enjoy the trip, and a recent bullet workout since raced indicates the B. Cecil-trained sophomore should be on or near the lead throughout. Fi Fi Pharoah has winning form over the local main track around two turns and with a decent amount of pace to compliment her late running style the daughter of American Pharoah should be heard from in the final furlong. U. Rispoli stays aboard and will give her the patient ride she needs. We’ll put Eddie’s New Dream slightly on top but double the race in our rolling exotics.RACE 11: Post: 6:29 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Ward ‘n Jerry; 5-Pillar MountainForecast: Pillar Mountain offers a price chance as a first-off-the-claim play for R. Hess, Jr. in this year’s San Juan Capistrano S.-G3, a long-time popular classic for older stayers. The winner of his last two outings in Florida, both over a marathon trip, the Irish-bred veteran has a few decent stakes outings to go back to and with just 14 career starts on his resume may still have a bit of improvement in him. He’s worth a shot at 6-1 on the morning line. Ward ‘n Jerry, a thoroughly genuine and consistent gelding, is strong on numbers and a six time winner over the Santa Anita turf course. With regular pilot F. Prat staying aboard, the M. Puype-trained handle the trip and fight hard to the end.

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6.19.2021:

Johnny D: Royal Ascot Day 5 Preview | Saturday, June 19, 2021

At the conclusion of a six-furlong journey over a bog created by a perpetual rain, a pair of combatants, well clear of the rest, hit the finish of the G1 Commonwealth (VIDEO) as one with nothing between them.Jockey Oisin Murphy, aboard once-beaten colt #3 Dragon Symbol, knew his mount had gotten the nod over #13 Campanelle, a fellow sophomore of the female variety partnered with all-time Royal Ascot leading reinsman Frankie Dettori. Murphy fist-pumped the air in elation.Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on which way you punted, Murphy’s satisfying moment in the rain soon was short circuited by a sensible stewards’ decision to disqualify #3 Dragon Symbol from first to second for interference and to promote #13 Campanelle to the winning position. It’s the 13th time a US-based runner has won a Royal Ascot race and Campanelle’s trainer Wesley Ward, amazingly, has saddled 12 of those!Not more than a half-hour later, in what racing gods gigglingly call ‘messing with the humans,’ at the conclusion of the G1 Coronation (VIDEO), jockey Murphy once more emphatically pumped his fist. This time, though, his celebration was above revision. #1 Alcohol Free, at 9/2 odds, had drawn well clear at the finish to emphatically capture Coronation glory from #13 Snow Lantern in second and #6 Mother Earth third.The penultimate 2021 Royal Ascot card, at one point in danger of surrendering completely to a deluge, delivered drama, excitement, great story lines and anticipation of future races from the participants. Saturday’s card, the final one of the season, also holds anticipation, too, in the form of hope that The Queen will make an appearance.It must be noted, The Queen has been busy. Normally, at this time of the year, she’s ‘going racing’ at Ascot, daily. Dates for the five-day meet traditionally are the first appointments booked on her annual calendar. However, in case you haven’t noticed, this and the previous year have been quite different. No kidding. Here we are, about to enter the final of the current stand and The Queen Mother has yet to make an Ascot appearance.You can’t say all is right with the world if The Queen Mother hasn’t been to Ascot yet. In fact, let that be the barometer by which a return to normalcy will be judged: When The Queen, finally, waves to us from a horse-drawn carriage trundling down the green straightaway at Ascot, then and only then, will matters even be considered to have approached ‘normal.’Earlier this week, because of COVID and the G7 Summit - the latter attracting dignitaries like President Joe Biden from the United States and Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia to Windsor Castle - The Queen has been otherwise engaged. However, she is expected to visit Ascot before the meet concludes. Saturday is her last chance and she has a ‘live one’ named Tactical running in the Jersey Stakes. Anyway, this year, there’ll be no procession and The Queen will need to lay low (if a Queen can even do that).According to Vanity Fair, The Queen has, ‘…ridden in more than 260 royal processions at Royal Ascot, often accompanied by members of the royal family and driven in horse-drawn landaus.’ Any way you look at it, that last sentence contains too many mentions of ‘royals.’ Reportedly, The Queen has only missed Royal Ascot twice during her 69-year-reign, both times when she was pregnant. Of course, she also missed last year when the meeting was presented behind closed doors and we’re pretty sure she wasn’t pregnant. So, make her overall Royal Ascot attendance record 66-for-69.I like it when The Queen shows up at Ascot. It’s cool knowing someone that important derives a similar level of enjoyment from racing as you do. It’s almost as affirming as knowing that the late Elizabeth Montgomery of “Bewitched” fame was a regular attendee at Hollywood Park.The final day of Royal Ascot racing includes G1, G2 and G3 races. The main event is the G1 Diamond Jubilee, presented at six furlongs on a straightaway. #10 Starman is the 5-2 morning line choice with Oisin Murphy aboard for trainer Ed Walker. The 4-year-old colt has won four of five, including the G2 Duke of York Clipper Logistics last out at York. The only blemish on his resume is a poor effort in October in the G1 British Champions Sprint Stakes over a soft Ascot course—similar to the one he might see Saturday. #5 Glen Shiel, also entered in the Jubilee, defeated him that day under Holly Doyle, who is aboard.#2 Dream of Dreams is the 3-1 morning line second choice and starts for the all-time leading Royal Ascot trainer Sir Michael Stoute and will be accompanied by Ryan Moore. This 7-year-old won a stakes race last out but defeated just two rivals over soft going. He was well-beaten as 3-1 favorite in the common British Champions Sprint Stakes.Murphy leads all jockeys with four Royal Ascot wins, one more than all-time Royal Ascot winning pilot Frankie Dettori. William Buick alone has two wins at the meet. The John & Thady Gosden team lead all trainer with four wins, one more than Andrew Balding and two more than William Haggas. Aidan O’Brien has had a notably frustrating week with one win, four seconds and three thirds. Godolphin top all owners with two wins and three thirds. Coolmore Partners have one win along with a host of trainers and four seconds.We hope you’ve enjoyed racing from Royal Ascot, our observations and that juicy 10X XB Rewards Points promotion on all of your Ascot wagers through Saturday. If you haven’t registered yet, do it before you play today. Saturday, June 19, 2021 Royal Ascot Schedule Race 1 (9:30AM ET) // Chesham StakesRace 2 (10:05AM ET) // Jersey Stakes (G3)Race 3 (10:40AM ET) // Hardwicke Stakes (G2)Race 4 (11:20AM ET) // Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1)Race 5 (12:00PM ET) // Wokingham StakesRace 6 (12:35PM ET) // Golden Gates StakesRace 7 (1:10PM ET) // Queen Alexandra StakesRace On!

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6.18.2021:

Friday, June 18: 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 Here to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: BSingle: 3-Lookout PointForecast: The known element in this maiden juvenile turf miler is thoroughly unimpressive so let’s make an educated guess on a fresh face. Lookout Point, bred to run long on the lawn, makes his debut for a high percentage jockey-trainer combo and shows a healthy series of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs to have him fit and ready. A $32,000 OBS March sale purchase, the son of Point of Entry breezed a furlong during the preview in 10 2/5 seconds – that’s just an average clocking over the extremely fast Ocala all-weather surface - but in doing so showed himself to be a good mover with a nice, athletic stride, indicating that he’ll thrive over a distance of ground. He’s drawn comfortably inside (post three) that should lead to a ground-saving trip for leading rider F. Prat, so in a wide open affair in which nothing would surprise, let ‘s take a stand and make the P. Miller-trained colt a win play and rolling exotic single at or near his morning line of 7/2.RACE 2: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: C+Use: 5-Summer Rose; 8-Queen of LoveForecast: Summer Rose has little to beat in this bottom-rung maiden claiming middle distance main track affair, so she gets top billing despite the fact that she’s hardly one to trust. A maiden after five career outings despite having been well-backed on the tote in each outing, the daughter of Jimmy Creed had every chance when establishing the pace in a similar affair last month but was worn down late, though to her credit she did finish 10 lengths clear of the rest. On pure numbers she’s clearly the top pick but for protection we’ll also include Queen of Love, unexposed after just one start sprinting against maiden $50,000 foes in late March but probably better than then race show after a slow start compromised her chances. She’s worked pretty well since, though her bullet five furlong gate drill of 59 4/5 seconds was actually much slower than given (1:01hg), though it was visually decent. At 12-1 on the morning line, she’s worth tossing in on a ticket or two in a race that is otherwise best left alone.RACE 3: Post: 2:00 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Harbor Sky; 3-Really Big News; 5-Wilder Than Most; 10-Donner LakeForecast: Here’s a fairly intriguing grass grab bag for maiden state-bred older horses that offers several price possibilities. Donner Lake ships in from San Luis Rey Downs following a series of steady workouts that includes a bullet :59 flat drill last month. Bred for grass, the son of Hard Spun was impressive in the 2020 OBS 2-year-old in training sale, where he brought $80,000 through the ring after previewing in a quick :21 1/5, so we suspect this R. Baltas-trained colt is well-meant for a barn that has enjoyed considerable success employing jockey M. Gutierrez (32% with a significant flat-bet profit this year). Wilder Than Most finished second in his debut vs. maiden special weight foes at Del Mar during the summer of his 2-year-old season but then disappeared. The good news is that as a 4-year-old gelding off as 20 month layoff the son of Vronsky returns protected in maiden special weight company in what we’ll take as a sign of confidence by his connections. The comeback workouts aren’t flashy but can be considered okay for trainer C. Gaines, whose record with layoff runners is reasonably decent. Really Big News appeared to find his best stride late when a distant second in his debut over this course and distance last month and has every right to build on that favorable initial impression today, though we suspect he’s best work will come eventually over a distance of ground. The switch to top grass rider U. Rispoli is a plus, so we’ll regard the T. Yakteen-trained son of Mr. Big as a “must use” in rolling exotic play. Harbor Sky was given a race in his debut when taken back and then not really being knocked about in the stretch. He’s worked well since, has the route-to-sprint angle that we like, and could produce a dangerous late kick at 30-1 on the morning line.RACE 4: Post: 2:31 PT Grade: XUse: 1-Dr. Schivel; 4-Canadian Pride; 5-Speed PassForecast: We’ll pass this five-runner affair while going three-deep in our rolling exotics. Del Mar Futurity winner Dr. Schivel makes his first start as a 3-year-old and has picked no easy spot for his first outing in 10 months, as the 3-year-old colt faces tough older foes from the rail in this second-level allowance sprint for new trainer M. Glatt. He was a good colt as a 2-year-old but didn’t break his maiden until his third career start and may be the type that needs to be raced into shape. The son of Violence has done everything asked of him in the morning and should come back as well as he left, but because he’ll need to shake off some rust we’ll also include on our ticket Canadian Pride, a genuine and consistent sprinting gelding with two career wins over the local main track and speed figures that are solid for this level, and the usually disappointing but capable-on-his-best-day Speed Pass, drawn comfortably outside and probably the quickest of the speed types.RACE 5: Post: 3:01 PT Grade: C+Use: 1-Little Bird; 2-A New Peace; 5-Lavender; 6-InvincibellaForecast: Here’s another challenging affair, an extended grass sprint for $25,000 claiming fillies and mares that offers several possibilities. Best advice is to spread as deeply as your budget allows. Invincibella switches to F. Prat, and on that angle along is a logical contender. Though she’s just 2-for-24 during her career, the English-bred mare has recent form at this level that makes her a major player, and in a race that doesn’t have all that much early speed signed on she should be comfortably placed throughout and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. A nice series of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs since her most recent outing in early May is another positive factor. Lavender is a first-off-the-claim play for a low profile outfit so there’s no guarantee she’ll perform as well for the J. Glenn stable as she did for J. Sadler. However, the Irish-bred mare is a three-time winner over the Santa Anita turf track and shows a healthy series of recent workouts at Los Alamitos that should have the daughter of Born to Sea ready to fire a good shot. With good racing luck, this prototype late-running grass sprinter will be heard from late. A New Peace returns on short rest (two weeks) and turns back to a sprint. Her form suggests she’s better sprinting than routing and on pure numbers is a solid fit while returning to her claim level. Little Bird has been tried around two turns in each of her nine U.S. outings while always displaying a tendency to flatten out in the final stages. Today, she’s finally given a chance to sprint and on the chance that the turn back in trip will bring out her best, the Irish-bred mare is worth including on a ticket or two as a price chance.RACE 6: Post: 3:32 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Over Attracted; 2-She’s a DimeForecast: Over Attracted will be making her 15th career start in this allowance optional claiming miler but this will be her first race over conventional dirt, and she certainly trains like a filly who’ll appreciate the switch in surface. This will also be her first start in blinkers, and a recent five furlong main track drill in :59 4/5 with the hood on was her best drill since arriving from France last year. From the rail we’re expecting the daughter of Atreides to secure a favorable ground-saving, stalking position behind the committed front-runners and then have her chance to pounce and go by when called upon. She’s a Dime, fresh from a career top victory vs. starter’s $20,000 allowance foes, projects as the controlling speed, though she’ll likely be stalked and pressured from the get-go by recent gate-to-wire winner Ole Silver, who most likely will be sent from the bell by J. Pyfer, who isn’t inclined to wait around for anybody. It’s possible that the two speed types hook up, or at least set quick early fractions that could play to the strength to Over Attracted, who prefers to settle and make a run. But regardless of the race flow, in a five-runner affair, everybody should have their chance.RACE 7: Post: 4:03 PT Grade: BUse: 4-Brittle and Yoo; 6-Buy Wave BuyForecast: Brittle and Yoo returns from Oaklawn Park after earning a career top speed figure when second (while three lengths clear of the rest) in an optional claiming middle distance affair in late March and sports a steady, healthy series of recent workouts to have her primed for a similar performance today. The switch to turf shouldn’t be an issue, so against this considerably soft restricted (nw-2) $25,000 group of fillies and mares the J. Sadler-trained daughter of Include should have no excuses. Buy Wave Buy is a sparingly-raced 5-year-old mare dropping into a proper spot, and with a sharp recent training track drill earlier this month the daughter of Unusual Heatwave appears primed for a major effort. Reunited with “win rider” T. Baze, the A. Barba-trained mare earned a good number when breaking her maiden three runs back last November at Del Mar, and after being overmatched in a hot sprint vs. tougher last time out she could rebound in a big way against this group at 6-1 on the morning line.RACE 8: Post: 4:34 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Mulligan; 6-Agreetodisagree; 8-Taming the TigressForecast: Mulligan launches a comeback for a stable that boasts superior stats with layoff runners (30% with a massive ROI) so we’re expecting the daughter of Trappe Shot to return at least as well if not better than she left in this starter optional claiming main track sprint for fillies and mares. A debut winner at Del Mar last summer (so we know she can fire fresh), the R. Baltas-trained filly will be making her first start on dirt but is bred for it and trained well on it so we’re hoping the surface switch won’t be an issue. The main concern is her lack of tactical speed, she’ll need good racing luck from the rail, and some help up front. Taming the Tiger is another dangerous comebacker shipping in from San Luis Rey Downs and perhaps in the one to fear most. The daughter of Smiling Tiger, a maiden claiming winner when last seen in September at Del Mar, returns protected while attracting top rider F. Prat, so we expect the P. Miller-trained filly to fire a huge shot from her cozy outside post. She’s had six workouts in her current pattern so she should be fit enough. Agreetodisagree, second in her last pair, gets a break in the weights with the switch to J. Pyfer and projects to be forwardly placed throughout. Beaten at 40 cents on the dollar last time out, she’s apparently not one to trust, but the P. Eurton-trained filly has numbers that fit and is worth including in rolling exotic play, at least as a back-up.RACE 9: Post: 5:05 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Hudson Ridge; 7-FlashiestForecast: Hudson Ridge is improving with racing and just won the listed Cinema S. over this course and distance last month despite being badly bothered soon after the start that cost him valuable early position. That the son of American Pharoah was able to overcome the early trouble made his victory that much more impressive, and with a sharp, easy half mile breeze on the training track since that race we’re expecting the B. Baffert-trained colt to produce another forward move in this first-level allowance race that he conveniently remains eligible for. From the rail, he’s guaranteed a ground-saving, pace-prompting trip. Flashiest is unbeaten in two starts and was visually quite impressive when winning an optional claiming grass miler last month with an impressive turn of foot from the quarter pole home. Privately purchased by sharp connections after that outing (but remaining in the L. Powell barn), the son of Mizzen Mast switches to F. Prat, gets an extra furlong to work with, and looks clearly to be the most dangerous of the late-runners. We’ll prefer Hudson Ridge on top but include both in rolling exotic play.RACE 10: Post: 5:36 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Ax Man; 5-MidcourtForecast: Ax Man has never been the most consistent of performers – it seems that he either wins or you can’t find him – but the one thing that is for certain is that he’s much more consistent routing than sprinting. Unbeaten in three starts over this track and distance, the veteran gelding projects as the controlling speed in this stakes-quality allowance main track miler while being reunited with M. Smith, who has won on him in the past. A bullet :58 1/5 five furlong workout just six days ago should have the son of Misremembered on his goes. Midcourt returns off a nearly six month freshening and probably is using this race as a springboard to Del Mar, but the son of Midnight Lute has trained well if not particularly fast in recent weeks and should at least give a good account of himself. You can use him as a back-up or a saver, but the main punch should go to Ax Man.RACE 11: Post: 6:07 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-La Gioiosa; 5-Cider Apple; 9-Rhythm and GraceForecast: La Gioiosa has a nightmarish trip when a self-caused much-troubled fifth in her U.S. debut in a similar maiden special weight turf event for fillies and mares (the “trouble line” in the DRF makes no mention of it), and if she minds her manners today the French-bred filly absolutely can beat this field. A four length winner in France last summer but subsequently disqualified, she was Group-3 placed at Deauville before being imported to California. In her local bow, the P. Gallagher-trained filly broke poorly to lose her early position, pulled very hard and became rank entering the backstretch, waited for room entering the lane and then finished willingly to wind up third, beaten less than four lengths, before galloping out strongly past the wire. U. Rispoli stays aboard and will be aware of her antics, so if he can secure a good position and get her to switch off with cover, the daughter of Myboycharlie should be along in time. Rhythm and Grace and Cider Apple are worth including in rolling exotic play as savers. The former is a bit too one paced for our liking but finished a willing third in the same race our top pick exits and will appreciate today’s longer trip, while the latter, beaten a nose vs. similar over this course and distance in late April, shows rising speed figure with each outing but has had just one workout in the seven weeks since she last raced.

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6.18.2021:

Friday, June 18: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday and Saturday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6. Selections are listed in chronological order.Belmont Park Race 4 - Post time: 1:31 ET5-Divine Wine (4-1)Juvenile daughter of Into Mischief filly from an Australian group stakes-placed mare was quite impressive breezing a furlong in 10 1/5 seconds at the OBS March Sale before bringing $275,000 through the ring and makes her debut in this six furlong grass dash for the always-powerful I. Ortiz, Jr./C Brown team. A solid series of drills at Monmouth Park should have her plenty fit, and in a wide open fray she appears to have found a proper spot to graduate at first asking. At or near her morning line of 4-1 she’s a win play and a rolling exotic single.Gulfstream Park Race 5 - Post time: 4:03 ET9-Forever Souper (5/2)Quick, athletic son of American Pharoah has displayed plenty of talent in his morning preps leading up to this five furlong sprint for 2-year-olds and will be tough to beat at first asking if he leaves cleanly from the gate. The Live Oak Stud homebred hasn’t missed a beat in a series of recent drills and goes for the red-hot M. Casse barn while landing the stable’s current “go to” rider E. Gonzalez. There’s plenty of wagering value in the win pool and in rolling exotic play at 5/2 on the morning line if you can get it. Exacta players should consider hooking up another promising newcomer, Octane, with our top pick.

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6.18.2021:

Friday, June 18: 1/ST BET AI Picks - Pimlico Rainbow 6 Longshots

Pimlico’s single-ticket jackpot Rainbow 6 carryover will be $1,093,866 into Friday’s weekly return to racing. The largest carryover in Maryland racing history will comprise races 3-8 on the program.To take down the entire pool, you'll need some longshots to separate you from the pack. The 1/ST BET app's artificial intelligence selections for today's Rainbow 6 have pin-pointed some price players to consider.Race 4#4 Where’s the Ben’s // 20-1 morning line (14% fourth-best win projection in race)Penn National shipper tries Pimlico for the first time; lures hot-riding Charlie Marquez.Race 5#6 Fool Yourself // 12-1 morning line (9% co-second-best win projection in race)Recent claim for top trainer Claudio Gonzalez may go shorter price than morning line.Race 7#3 Tappahannock // 10-1 morning line (12% fourth-best win projection in race)Switches to good turf jockey after being defeated only 1-1/2 lengths in similar race last time.Race 8#3 Runaway Crown // 10-1 morning line (18% second-best win projection in race)Charles Town dasher catches sprint field without a lot of early speed; tries to go wire to wire.

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6.17.2021:

Johnny D: Royal Ascot Day 4 Preview | Friday, June 18, 2021

In Thursday afternoon’s only G1 race at Ascot, 4-year-old Subjectivist won the two and one-half miles 4.15 pm Gold Cup (VIDEO) over 28-1 shot Princess Zoe. Mark Johnston trained the winner, his fourth Gold Cup success, and jockey Joe Fanning was aboard for owner Dr. Jim Walker. Spanish Mission finished third at 7-1. But, perhaps, the day's biggest news surrounded 5/6 favorite Stradivarius--going for his fourth Gold Cup victory and a tie with Yeats as the all-time winningest runner in the race’s history--finishing fourth. The popular 7-year-old never really got a clear run until late and even then, perhaps discouraged by earlier restraint, couldn’t muster enough to hit the trifecta for trainers John & Thady Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori. The Gosden’s enjoyed their second longshot winner in as many days as Loving Dream pulled off an 18-1 upset in the 3.40 G2 Ribblesdale Stakes (VIDEO). It also marked the training team’s fourth win of the week. Ridden by Robert Havlin, the 3-year-old filly was always prominent in the mile and one-half race before making a winning move and holding off late challengers. 17/2 Eshaada closed for second and 28-1 Nicest was third. The winning $1 trifecta returned over $5,000! Friday’s card features 2 G1 races—The Commonwealth Cup at six furlongs for 3-year-old colts and fillies, as the third race, and The Coronation at one mile for 3-year-old fillies, as the fourth. The G3 Albany, for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs, begins the card at 9:30 a.m. ET and is followed by the G2 King Edward VII, for 3-year-olds colts and geldings at one mile and one-half. An interesting runner in the Commonwealth Cup is #21 Suesa, George Strawbridge’s unbeaten 3-year-old Irish-bred, French-raced filly trained by Francois Rohaut and ridden by William Buick. She’s a multiple G3 winner that has acted over heavy and soft ground for three of her four wins. That’s good news for connections because rain is forecast overnight and for Friday afternoon. Close second choice in the Commonwealth Cup at 5-1 is Stonestreet Stables’ Campanelle, also an Irish-bred filly with three wins out of four starts, her only defeat coming in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf at Keeneland in November. She was a G1 Prix Morny winner in France and a G2 Queen Mary heroine at Ascot in Great Britain at 2. Before that she broke maiden at Gulfstream Park. Wesley Ward trains and Frankie Dettori rides. In the Coronation, 7-2 morning line favorite #6 Mother Earth will attempt to enhance a four-race G1 in-the-money streak for trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore. She closed resolutely to finish second in the Gr. 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in November and returned to win the G1 One Thousand Guineas at Newmarket in May. 9-2 second choice #10 Pretty Gorgeous for John Oxley, Joseph O’Brien and Frankie Dettori failed as favorite last out when beaten by Coolmore’s #2 Empress Josephine in the G1 Irish One Thousand Guineas. It was the first time the former has been off the board in six starts and it was her first out since October. Perhaps, she has a right to improve with an outing or, maybe, she won’t be able to transfer that fine 2-year-old form into her 3-year-old season. Remember to register to earn 10X XB Rewards Points on all your Ascot wagers when you play with Xpressbet and 1/ST BET.Friday, June 18, 2021 Royal Ascot ScheduleRace 1 (9:30AM ET) // Albany Stakes (G3)Race 2 (10:05AM ET) // King Edward VII Stakes (G2)Race 3 (10:40AM ET) // Commonwealth Cup (G1)Race 4 (11:20AM ET) // Coronation Stakes (G1)Race 5 (12:00PM ET) // Sandringham StakesRace 6 (12:35PM ET) // Duke of Edinburgh StakesRace 7 (1:10PM ET) // Palace of Holyroodhouse StakesRace On!

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6.17.2021:

Johnny D: Royal Ascot Continues Through Saturday

Racing at the Royal Ascot meeting began Tuesday and will go through Saturday. It’s one of the most important fixtures worldwide and something yours truly appreciates annually. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading daily Royal Ascot musings this week in the blog section of the Xpressbet web site. If you’ve been following along at home, you’ve probably gathered that we’re not a certified expert, but we thoroughly enjoy the show because it’s simultaneously familiar and noticeable different.  The most obvious similarity is the object of the game: Whoever gets there first wins! The most obvious difference? All races are run clockwise and on turf. There. By George, I think you’ve got it. Some aspects of Royal Ascot racing are better than what we have here in the States. For example, photo finish results are determined within seconds after the race, not minutes. And actual finish photos are available and televised almost immediately. Now, I enjoy sweating out a tight finish that might go either way as much as the next guy, but agonizing over a stretch run replay two…three…four…or five times while disputing the potential outcome with anyone within earshot seems so 70s. Immediate photo processing technology is available (it has been for a while). Tracks just don’t want to upgrade. That’s a shame. Horseplayers, like the accused, ought to be entitled to a speedy trial. It’s in the US Constitution, I think. As I’ve often said, “I love visiting the UK, because I almost speak the language.” For example, in the UK an umbrella is a brolly; their football is our soccer; a ‘lift’ in either place suggests a ride but, in the UK, it refers to an elevator. In racing, the word ‘declared’ has a completely opposite meaning depending on where you are! In the US, a ‘declared’ horse has been scratched from a race. In Europe, a ‘declared’ horse is confirmed to start in a race. Not difficult to imagine how that could be confusing. Like in the US, Royal Ascot races are numbered according to their order on the day’s card. However, across the pond, you’d better be familiar with race post times instead of race numbers. In the US, it’s the fourth at Belmont. In ‘British,’ that would translate to the Belmont 2:25. Assigning times to races instead of numbers makes a spot of sense. For example, you might tell me you absolutely love one running in the 4th at Podunk Downs on Friday. But, in order for me to make sure I don’t get shut out, I’d have to search for and note the approximate post time of the race. Scratches at the gate also are handled differently ‘over there.’ Because post times are important, an unruly horse holding up the start of the race will be given limited opportunities to behave. If that’s not accomplished in a reasonable timeframe, matters will proceed without them. The horse will be scratch and the field dispatched, post-haste. No taking everyone out of stalls and reconfiguring numbers on the gate like they do in the US. Nope. Over there it all happens quickly. Either you’re in or you’re out. One. Two. Three. Scratch. ‘And they’re off.’ The folks at Royal Ascot had egg on faces Wednesday afternoon when the starting trigger may have been prematurely pulled before the Kensington Palace Stakes (6.10). A blindfold, used to help calm a horse while loading into the gate, was not removed from one horse’s eyes before the gates popped open and the field was dispatched. That left jockey Silvestre de Sousa scrambling to unsuccessfully remove the blindfold from his mount Stunning Beauty. If New Jersey jocks think riding without whips is dangerous, they ought to try it on the backs of blindfolded horses.  de Sousa pulled eased his mount and there was a 30-minute delay while stewards decided if the 7-1 shot should be declared a non-starter and money wagered on the animal refunded. Amazingly, at 6.47 (see, they even note the time when races go ‘official’), the verdict was ‘no refunds’ and many horseplayers discovered a novel way to lose money. Apparently, racing rules there only permit a horse to be declared a non-starter in certain cases and being blindfolded isn’t one of them. During the Royal Ascot meet, I’ve been reminded about how much more emphasis Brits place on weight than we do in the US. They also strongly subscribe to course (translation: track) biases. A field of 16 runners is liable to split into two distinct groups—one close to the near rail and the other over by the far rail. That’s because jockeys and connections want their runners to be on the ‘best’ part of the course. US riders are aware of track biases but seldom do they take such drastic measures either on dirt or on turf.   You also may have noticed that Royal Ascot wagering numbers do not correspond to post positions as they do in the US. Noticed? It drives me mad! In a European Handicap race horses are assigned numbers based on weight. The horse carrying the most weight is assigned number 1 and the rest of the field follows in order of highest to lowest. In Weight-for-Age races, horses are numbered alphabetically. Apparently, over there, they not only value weight more than we do, but also the alphabet. The order in which they appear listed on a race card corresponds to respective starting stall or post positions.

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6.17.2021:

Frank Carulli: Stronach 5 Picks | Friday, June 18, 2021

Five races, spanning three tracks and 75 minutes. A $1 wager with a low 12-percent takeout and a mandatory payout. If you haven't played the Stronach 5 yet, this week is a good time to start. Here's a look at the lineup of races: LEG A // PIMLICO, RACE 7 (3:45PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 1/16 MILE (TURF) POSTERITY followed the move of the winner and finished with a 7-wide flourish for second at 41-1 odds. APRECIADO took money in his first start locally and closed well between rivals, while no match for Posterity. LUCKY RAMSEY was outrun in a 2X allowance two starts back but merits longshot consideration with 18 first- or second-place finishes in 33 starts on turf.   LEG B // GULFSTREAM, RACE 5 (4:03PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 5 FURLONGS (DIRT) LIGHTENING LARRY ran second to a 6-to-5 firster despite not changing leads in the stretch and is a must use against all debut runners today. FOREVER SOUPER is by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and his dam, Mighty Souper, was stakes-placed as a 3-year-old. Trainer Carlos David and jockey Emisael Jaramillo are 28 percent as a team in the last year, mandating a play on OCTANE, whose dam, Star Recruit (27/5-7-4) was a multiple Grade 3 winner and $800,000 earner.  LEG C // PIMLICO, RACE 8 (4:17PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT) GOLDEN G stalked a contested pace in third, circled 3-wide for the stretch drive but settled for second best as the odds-on favorite on a sloppy track. LEG D // SANTA ANITA, RACE 2 (4:30PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 1/16 MILES (DIRT) Not sold on favorite SUMMER ROSE at 8-5 after she drifted late and blew a clear stretch lead in a 5-horse field. Not sure where else to look, so go five-deep in this leg of the Stronach 5. LEG E // SANTA ANITA, RACE 3 (5:00PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 FURLONGS (TURF)  TALKLESSWORKMORE, one of five first-time starters entered, is by Summer Front, a multiple graded stakes winner on grass, and his dam, Talk Less Run More, won in the only start of her career. CONSTANT CONFLICT chased a fleet-footed first-out winner after he was bumped at the break. He 'lost contact' on the turn, then re-rallied for third. HOT SPOT has kept a busy and steady work tab for a barn looking to put the finishing touches on a big meet, so use him on the ticket at 12-1.  SUGGESTED $1 STRONACH 5 TICKET Leg A: 1, 7, 8Leg B: 5, 6, 9Leg C: 6 Leg D: 3, 4, 5, 6, 8Leg E: 4, 11, 12 Cost: $135

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6.16.2021:

Johnny D: Royal Ascot Day 3 Preview | Thursday, June 17, 2021

Love, once again, conquered all. The most recent triumph came Wednesday in Ascot’s G1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes (VIDEO) at one mile and one-quarter. The multiple Group 1 winning 4-year-old filly--away since defeating filly and mares in the G1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York in August--returned victorious for the seventh time in 11 starts. She went to the front and improved her position throughout the journey to hold determined fellow female 5-year-old Audarya safe in the final strides. Jockey Ryan Moore and trainer Aidan O’Brien combined talents to deliver the favored filly for her first victory over males and her fifth G1 tally. With the score she earns a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, if connections (Tabor and Smith) decide to pursue that avenue…and they just might. Another Ascot Wednesday highlight came when all-time leading Royal Ascot jockey Frankie Dettori booted Indie Angel home going one mile on the straight for trainers John & Thady Gosden in the G2 Duke of Cambridge (VIDEO) at 22-1 odds. It’s always surprising when top connections score at double digit odds, but it’s absolutely shocking when the Dettori/Gosden combo cause bookies to wail during the Royal Ascot stand. That duo is expected to return to the winner’s enclosure Thursday at a much shorter price when #4 Stradivarius makes another Gold Cup appearance in the fourth race. It has been said, ‘The older the violin, the sweeter the music.’ That appears to be the case with this 7-year-old in the Ascot Gold Cup at two and one-half miles. The race headliner and favorite will attempt to join Yeats, who recorded four consecutive Gold Cup victories between 2006 and 2009, atop the list of all-time Gold Cup winners. He’ll be less than even money to do it! A homebred, the full horse won his last start at Ascot in April by taking the Gr. 3 Longines Sagaro Stakes. Trained by John & Thady Gosden (John’s son), Stradivarius seeks a fifth consecutive Ascot victory and seventh tally in 10 attempts there. His first Ascot triumph came in the G2 Queen’s Vase in 2017. On a media call regarding Stradivarius, the elder ‘training Gosden’ made his affection for the star abundantly clear, “This boy is very vociferous and an absolute riot to be around. He has always been very entertaining and has a great personality. I just tend to let him enjoy himself and, as long as he is enjoying himself, that’s all that matters. “Stradivarius has won four Goodwood Cups, as well as Yorkshire Cups, Doncaster Cups, Lonsdale Cups. They put up the £1 million bonus two years running, thinking nobody would do it, and he knocked it off both years and finished the insurance company off. He has been remarkable.” Gosden mentioned #12 Subjectivist and #5 Trueshan as major threats, adding that the latter may prefer ‘a downpour.’ Rain is in the forecast, but the amount and timing are unclear. The potent Magnier/Tabor/Aidan O’Brien team have supplemented G1 Investec Derby winner Serpentine to the race at a cost of £30,000. On the surface, the remainder of the card is not scintillating, but the Royal Ascot meeting is famous for producing grand drama when the script calls for little or none. The afternoon’s first race is a five-furlong, G2 2-year-old dash that inspires some US interest, particularly surrounding the Wesley Ward runner in the form of impressive sloppy surface Keeneland winner #10 Nakatomi. The second event is a one mile and one-quarter route for 3-year-olds, featuring 6/5 favorite #3 Mohaafeth, winner of his last three. The race conditions are interesting in that they invite sophomores which have not won a Group 1 or Group 2 Pattern race. Racing resumes Thursday at Ascot for seven races and continues through Saturday, first post time is 9:30 am daily. Play Ascot races with Xpressbet and 1ST/Bet and take advantage of 10X XB Rewards Points on all of your wagers. You must register for this promotion. Thursday, June 17, 2021 Royal Ascot Schedule Race 1 (9:30AM ET) // Norfolk Stakes (G2)Race 2 (10:05AM ET) // Hampton Court Stakes (G3)Race 3 (10:40AM ET) // Ribblesdale Stakes (G2)Race 4 (11:20AM ET) // Gold Cup (G1)Race 5 (12:00PM ET) // Britannia StakesRace 6 (12:35PM ET) // King George V StakesRace 7 (1:10PM ET) // Buckingham Palace Stakes

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6.16.2021:

Jon White: A Tale of Two Breeders' Cup Juveniles

There is ample evidence that the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile cast was considerably better than the field in the 2019 edition. Eight competed in the 2019 BC Juvenile at Santa Anita. They have gone on to win just three of 52 starts between them, which is a puny 5.7% success rate. Fourteen started in the 2020 BC Juvenile at Keeneland. They have subsequently won nine of 38 starts combined, a significantly higher 23.6% success rate. The 2020 BC Juvenile has produced three times more subsequent victories than the 2019 version. In yet another example of the huge difference between the strength of the 2019 and 2020 BC Juvenile fields, not one of the three subsequent wins by the 2019 group came in a graded stakes race, though it is true that one of victories did come in a lucrative foreign race. Full Flat, who finished fifth in the 2019 BC Juvenile, won the $8 million Saudi Derby the following year. Making it even worse that the 2019 BC Juvenile field has gone on to win just a total of three races, one of those three victories came when Scabbard was victorious in the claiming ranks for a $20,000 price this year at Churchill Downs on April 28. By contrast, the 2020 BC Juvenile participants have gone on to register nine graded stakes wins, highlighted by Rombauer’s victory in the Preakness and Essential Quality’s win in the Belmont. After capturing the 2020 BC Juvenile, Essential Quality, by himself, has won as many subsequent races -- three -- as the entire 2019 BC Juvenile field combined. Below is a horse-by-horse look at the subsequent record of all starters in the 2019 and 2020 renewals of the BC Juvenile: 2019 BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE Finish Horse (Post-BC Record) Post-BC Stakes Wins 1. Storm the Court (0-10)2. Anneau d’Or (0-5)3. Wrecking Crew (0-8)4. Scabbard (1-11)5. Full Flat (1-4) 2020 Saudi Derby6. Eight Rings (0-3)7. Shoplifted (1-9) 2019 Springboard Mile8. Dennis’ Moment (0-2) 2020 BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE Finish Horse (Post-BC Record) Post-BC Stakes Wins 1. Essential Quality (3-4) 2021 Southwest (G3), 2021 Blue Grass (G2), 2021 Belmont (G1)2. Hot Rod Charlie (1-4) 2021 Louisiana Derby (G2)3. Keepmeinmind (1-5) 2020 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2)4. Jackie’s Warrior (1-3) 2021 Pat Day Mile (G2)5. Rombauer (2-4) 2021 El Camino Real Derby, 2021 Preakness (G1)6. Dreamer’s Disease (0-2)7. King Fury (1-2) 2021 Lexington (G3)8. Classier (0-1)9. Sittin On Go (0-6)10. Reinvestment Risk (0-1)11. Calibrate (0-2)12. Camp Hope (0-1)13. Likeable (0-2)14. Next (0-1) ESSENTIAL QUALITY’S IMPROVING BEYER PATTERN When Essential Quality overhauled pacesetter Hot Rod Charlie to take the Grade I Belmont Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths on June 5, Essential Quality was credited with a career-best 109 Beyer Speed Figure while winning for the sixth time in his seven lifetime starts. As far as Beyer Speed Figures are concerned, Essential Quality has done something rarely seen. Since recording a 69 Beyer in his career debut, he has managed to post a new top in each successive start. After the 69 Beyer in his debut, Essential Quality registered an 88 in his next race, then a 95, then 96, then 97, then 100, then 109. My guess is the trend probably will stop when Essential Quality makes his next start, which will be in either Saratoga’s Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes on July 31 or Saratoga’s Grade I Travers Stakes on Aug. 28, according to trainer Brad Cox. While it’s not impossible that Essential Quality will get a 110 or higher Beyer in his next race, it would surprise me. Hot Rod Charlie has received much praise for finishing second despite running the fastest opening quarter-mile (:22.78) in the long history of the 1 1/2-mile Belmont. He also has quite an interesting Beyer Speed Figure pattern. Since receiving a 51 Beyer in his career debut, Hot Rod Charlie has recorded a new top in each successive start, with the exception of back-to-back 94s in his final start at 2 and first start at 3. After the 51 Beyer in his debut, Hot Rod Charlie logged a 56 Beyer in his next race, followed by a 57, 78, 94, 94, 99, 100, then a 108 in the Belmont. INDICATIONS OF A STRONG CROP Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie appear to head a vintage crop of 3-year-old males this year. Lurking right below them are Kentucky Derby winner (for now) Medina Spirit, Kentucky Derby runner-up Mandaloun and Preakness winner Rombauer. And don’t forget Life Is Good. Undefeated in three career starts, he won Santa Anita’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes by eight lengths on March 6. At that time, Life Is Good was the early Kentucky Derby favorite in future wagering conducted by Churchill Downs. However, Life Is Good then went on the shelf after he was found to have a hind-leg injury following a bullet six-furlong workout in 1:11.40 at Santa Anita on March 20. Mandaloun, who like Essential Quality is trained by Cox, won Monmouth Park’s 1 1/16-mile Pegasus Stakes last Sunday, though it turned out to be a much closer call for the overwhelming 3-10 favorite than most expected. Steadied when in close quarters to drop back shortly after the start, Mandaloun trailed in the field of five through the early stages. He generated a wide rally to wrest the lead away from Weyburn in upper stretch. Mandaloun increased his advantage to about a length with a sixteenth to go, but then he appeared to try to pull himself up when thinking he had done enough or Weyburn came back on or a combination of both. Mandaloun did win, but by only a neck. “I think our horse might have got lost a little bit once he made the lead, maybe didn’t stay focused,” Cox was quoted as saying regarding Mandaloun’s Pegasus win in a Daily Racing Form story written by Marcus Hersh. “That could be something we work on going forward in terms of timing. He took a ton of dirt [kick-back], about as much dirt as you’re going to take with four other horses in the race. I was able to get back to the test barn and saw that he cooled out quick. In the end, he’s a young horse that’s learning.” Mandaloun’s final time was 1:44.63. The Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt was credited with a 93 Beyer, a pretty substantial drop from his career-best figure of 101 when he lost the Kentucky Derby by just a half-length. The next race for Mandaloun is scheduled to be Monmouth’s Grade I, $1 million Haskell Invitational at 1 1/8 miles on July 17. Medina Spirit also is a candidate for the Haskell. He worked three furlongs in :37.60 for Baffert at Santa Anita on Monday. It was Medina Spirit’s first workout since finishing third in the Preakness. Though Weyburn did not win last Sunday, he did give a good account of himself. Looking down the road, something to keep in mind vis-a-vis the longer Haskell is Weyburn galloped out in front of Mandaloun after the finish of the Pegasus. Trained by Jimmy Jerkens, Weyburn kicked off his 3-year-old campaign by winning Aqueduct’s Grade III Gotham Stakes in a 46-1 upset on March 6. He then finished fourth in the Grade II Wood Memorial at the Big A on April 3 in his only start between the Gotham and Pegasus. AN UP-AND-COMER TO FOLLOW The belief here is Following Sea just might establish himself as a star on the national racing stage during the second half of the year. From what I’ve seen, his sheer talent might -- I repeat, might -- be on a par, or even exceed, all of the other 3-year-old males in the U.S. Originally trained by Bob Baffert, Following Sea was a 9-10 favorite when unveiled at Santa Anita on March 6. The Kentucky-bred Runhappy colt finished second, then was disqualified and placed third for causing interference. He recorded a modest 77 Beyer Speed Figure, far lower than many had anticipated. Following Sea ran to the hype in his next start. He stepped six furlongs in a crisp 1:09.92 to win a maiden race by 5 3/4 lengths at Oaklawn Park on April 10. Finishing second was the Steve Asmussen-trained Happymac, also a Kentucky-bred Runhappy colt. In Happymac’s next start, he won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race by 10 1/4 lengths at Oaklawn on April 30, an effort that certainly flattered Following Sea. In Following Sea’s maiden victory, he made a gigantic leap in the Beyer Speed Figure department, going all the way up to a 97. After graduating from the maiden ranks, Following Sea was pure poetry in motion when he won a 6 1/2-furlong allowance race on a wet track rated good June 3 at Belmont Park for new trainer Todd Pletcher. Following Sea ran the opening quarter in :22.03, then zipped the half in :44.79 and six furlongs in 1:08.82 before completing his 6 1/2-furlong journey in 1:15.28. The 100 Beyer Speed Figure that Following Sea was credited with for his June 3 victory was impressive. Just as impressive was the consummate ease with which the Beyer was accomplished. According to Pletcher, the two races under consideration for Following Sea’s next start are Belmont’s Grade II Dwyer Stakes, a one-turn mile race on July 5, or the Haskell. Maybe I’m crazy, but I could see Following Sea possibly -- I repeat, possibly -- having an Arrogate-like second half of the year as a sophomore. When Arrogate was 3, he lost his first career start (as did Following Sea). Arrogate then reeled off five straight wins that year en route to a 2016 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. Arrogate was nothing less than spectacular when he destroyed a dozen rivals while making his stakes debut in the 1 1/4-mile Travers on Aug. 27. He won by 13 1/2 lengths in 1:59.36 or 1:59 1/5 in fifths. The 1:59 1/5 clocking shaved four-fifths of a second off the track record set by General Assembly when he won the Travers on a sloppy track in 1979. The icing on the cake came in Arrogate’s final start at 3. He won the Grade I BC Classic at Santa Anita by a half-length. The runner-up was no less a foe than California Chrome, a two-time Horse of the Year (2014 and 2016). The Travers was Arrogate’s fifth career start. Depending on what Following Sea does in his next race, the Travers could possibly be his fifth lifetime start. Arrogate recorded a mammoth 122 Beyer Speed Figure in the Travers. He nearly duplicated that figure by recording a 120 Beyer in the BC Classic. Prior to the Travers, Arrogate’s top Beyer Speed Figure had been a 103. In his final start before the Travers, he recorded a 99 Beyer. Considering how effortlessly Following Sea reached 100 on the Beyer scale, I don’t think it’s far-fetched that a much bigger figure might be seen from him down the line. Another talented 3-year-old colt trained by Pletcher to keep an eye on during the second half of 2021 is Mahaamel. The Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt finished second at first asking on April 24 at Belmont in a seven-furlong maiden race won by the $1.5 million auction purchase First Captain. With a race under his belt, Mahammel won a seven-furlong maiden race by 3 1/4 lengths on a muddy track June 4 at Belmont when blinkers were added to his equipment. He recorded a 99 Beyer, up from the 93 figure in his first race. After First Captain’s maiden victory, in which he recorded a 94 Beyer Speed Figure, he splashed home to a one-length win in a one-mile allowance contest on a sloppy track May 29 at Belmont. Trained by Shug McGaughey, the Kentucky-bred Curlin colt received a 95 Beyer in his May 29 triumph. First Captain, now two for two, looks like he might have some important wins in his future. Still another very good 3-year-old, The Chosen Vron, won Santa Anita’s Grade III Affirmed Stakes at 1 1/16 miles last Sunday. Last early in the field of five, he came on in the lane to win going away by 1 1/4 lengths while racing farther than seven furlongs for the first time. Trainer Eric Kruljac has done a terrific job with The Chosen Vron, who has lost only once in five career starts. The Chosen Vron now is a two-time Grade III winner. In his most recent start prior to the Affirmed, the California-bred Vronsky gelding won Santa Anita’s Grade III Lazaro Barrera Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths when racing 6 1/2 furlongs on May 15. The lone blemish on The Chosen Vron’s record is his third to Baffert trainees Concert Tour and Freedom Fighter in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Feb. 6. Kruljac has attributed The Chosen Vron’s only loss in his second career start to greenness stemming from inexperience. The Chosen Vron has been a gem of consistency Beyer-wise. He recorded a 90 Beyer Speed Figure when he won Santa Anita’s 6 1/2-furlong Echo Eddie Stakes for Cal-bred or Cal-sired runners on April 3, followed by a 90 in the Barrera and an 89 in the Affirmed. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS After Essential Quality won the Belmont, he debuted in the Top 10 at No. 9 on last week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. Even though Essential Quality did not race last week, he climbs to No. 5 this week. The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 325 Mystic Guide (26)2. 228 Silver State (1)3. 225 Letruska4. 213 Domestic Spending (5)5. 181 Essential Quality (2)6. 143 Charlatan7. 133 Maxfield (1)8. 103 Gamine9. 99 Monomoy Girl10. 34 Knicks Go

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6.15.2021:

1/ST Look Santa Anita Stats: D'Amato Closes Strong

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.HeadlinesClosing week at Santa Anita will be a 3-day run Friday through Sunday with a mandatory payout in all jackpot pools on Sunday … The Rainbow 6 begins Friday with a $140,449 carryover in its jackpot provision – with a projected pool of $2 million if the wager carries to closing day … Seven stakes races will be featured Saturday and Sunday in a furious finish to the meet, including Saturday’s Grade 3 San Juan Capistrano for turf marathon runners, and Sunday’s Grade 3 duo of the American and Wilshire … Phil D’Amato holds a 46-42 edge over Peter Miller in the chase for the meet’s leading trainer title, while Flavien Prat has sewn up the jockey’s title.Stronach 5The Stronach 5 was cancelled last week due to severe weather at Pimlico. The bet paid $2,828.40 on June 4 to 20 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, June 18, will be (all times ET):Leg A – Pimlico Race 7 with an approximate post time of 3:45Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 5 with an approximate post time of 4:03Leg C – Pimlico Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:17Leg D – Santa Anita Race 2 with an approximate post time of 4:30Leg E – Santa Anita Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:00Note that with the summer closures of Santa Anita and Golden Gate, the Stronach 5 will go on hiatus following this week.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 39% or greater win rate and a flat-bet profit of $28 or more. Santa Anita’s $52.20 weekly profit for a $2 win bet on each top choice was the 1/ST BET app’s top-performing track of the week.Best Lifetime SpeedITM (In The Money) %Speed Last RaceTrends Last Week-- Trainer Phil D’Amato is finishing the meet strong with a 6: 3-0-2 week with all 3 winners in the sprint ranks (turf and dirt). Winners paid $4, $6 and $9, including a pair of allowance victories.-- Trainer Craig Lewis went 5: 2-0-0, featuring stable star Brickyard Ride in stakes company and a $62 upsetter in maiden claiming company.-- Trainer Mike Puype had a 5: 2-1-1 record, both winners well-backed at $4 and $5. He has sustained a 22% win rate for the meet – 26% in sprint races on turf or dirt.-- Jockey Alexis Centeno was 3-for-7, winners paying $4, $23, $62, aboard an average mount at a whopping 27-1 odds.-- Leading jockey Flavien Prat was back riding full-time after a Belmont trip and was 20: 7-4-5, riding 12 favorites (4 winning favorites) along the way.-- Favorites were 14: 7-2-3 on the dirt last week.

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6.15.2021:

1/ST Look Gulfstream Stats: Jaramillo Spreads Success

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 kicks off a 3-day racing week, Friday through Sunday, with a $318,483 carryover ($500,000-guaranteed pool) … Friday’s cards begin at 2 pm ET for a twilight program … Feature race this week will be Saturday’s $75,000 Martha Washington Stakes for 3-year-old turf fillies … Invitations were extended to top distaff sprinters for the July 3 Princess Rooney, centerpiece of the Summit of Speed. Among the leading ladies invited were Grade 1 winners Ce Ce and Kimari. Updates on the invitees are to come June 20 and 27 … Construction on the track’s third surface, a Tapeta synthetic surface that will reside between the dirt main track and the turf course, continues and is on schedule for a September unveiling.Stronach 5The Stronach 5 was cancelled last week due to severe weather at Pimlico. The bet paid $2,828.40 on June 4 to 20 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, June 18, will be (all times ET):Leg A – Pimlico Race 7 with an approximate post time of 3:45Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 5 with an approximate post time of 4:03Leg C – Pimlico Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:17Leg D – Santa Anita Race 2 with an approximate post time of 4:30Leg E – Santa Anita Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:00Note that with the summer closures of Santa Anita and Golden Gate, the Stronach 5 will go on hiatus following this week.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 27% or higher rate.Lifetime EarningsWin % RankTrainer Current YearTrends Last Week-- Jockey Emisael Jaramillo led the way with a 19: 5-4-1 record and $1.21 ROI for every $1 bet. He had $14 and $17 scores as well as a 24-1 runner-up. Notably his 9 exacta finishes came for 8 different barns.-- Jockey Jose Morelos – winning approximately 8% since the end of the Championship Meet prior – was an efficient 8: 3-0-0, riding $9, $10 and $15 winners for 3 different trainers.-- Trainer Saffie Joseph continued his roll at 10: 3-2-3, winning a pair of turf allowance miles. Winners paid $3, $7 and $10, but he also had 5-1 and 12-1 shots in the money.-- Trainer Ron Spatz made the most of limited strikes with a 3: 2-0-0 mark, going 2-for-2 with chalk.-- Favorites ruled the roost at 31: 14-5-5, hitting 45% wins and 61% in the money. Jockey Leonel Reyes was 3-for-3 aboard favorites.

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6.15.2021:

1/ST Look Pimlico Stats: Rainbow 6 Carryover Now 7 Figures

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Pimlico. 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.HeadlinesThe Maryland all-time record carryover in the Rainbow 6 jackpot wager has reached $1,093,866 heading into Friday’s card and 3-day racing week … Chub Wagon extended her undefeated mark to 7 races in winning the June 13 Shine Again at Pimlico. The win could propel her to the July 3 Grade 2 Princess Rooney at Gulfstream Park as part of the Summit of Speed … Racing at Pimlico will extend through July and likely into August as track repairs at Laurel Park have unearthed additional problems and a more extensive renovation.Stronach 5The Stronach 5 was cancelled last week due to severe weather at Pimlico. The bet paid $2,828.40 on June 4 to 20 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, June 18, will be (all times ET):Leg A – Pimlico Race 7 with an approximate post time of 3:45Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 5 with an approximate post time of 4:03Leg C – Pimlico Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:17Leg D – Santa Anita Race 2 with an approximate post time of 4:30Leg E – Santa Anita Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:00Note that with the summer closures of Santa Anita and Golden Gate, the Stronach 5 will go on hiatus following this week.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 Pimlico, each posting at least 24% wins. The category Dirt Pedigree showed a $70.20 profit if you bet $2 win on each top choice for the week.Lifetime EarningsITM (In The Money) %Dirt PedigreeTrends Last WeekNote: last week’s action was shortened by the weather cancellation on Friday’s card to just 2 full days.-- Jockey Xavier Perez was an efficient 7: 3-0-0, booting him $4, $9 and $18 winners, including a pair of stakes sprints.-- Jockey Victor Carrasco went 9: 3-0-1 with a $1.17 ROI for every $1 bet behind a couple of dirt sprint victories.-- Jockey Jevian Toledo has heated up in June with a 15: 4-2-1 record during the month. That’s netted 27% wins and a $1.23 ROI for every $1 bet.-- Trainer Jerry Robb put up a 5: 2-0-0 record. Only Claudio Gonzalez (2-7) also doubled on the week.

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6.15.2021:

Johnny D: Royal Ascot Day 2 Preview | Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Often, popular procedure in show business and racing are to ‘save the best for last.’ Ascot opening day proceedings went against the grain Tuesday, as heavily-favored Palace Pier kicked things off with a bang while winning the one-mile, Gr. 1 Queen Anne. Kept within striking distance against little early pace by partner and all-time Royal Ascot leading rider Frankie Dettori, the John & Thady Gosden trained 4-year-old motored home best for the eighth time in nine starts--only loss at Ascot in October when losing a shoe. The five-time Group 1 winner has unequivocally stamped himself as one of the top horses in the world. The danger in opening on too high a note is that, from there, there’s only one way to go and that’s in a negative direction. Fortunately, that’s not an issue with Ascot. Top notch racing through Saturday is guaranteed to produce additional high notes. Make certain to watch, wager and register for 10X XB Reward Points on all of your Ascot wagers when you play with Xpressbet and 1/ST BET. First post is 9:30 a.m. ET daily. At a first…second…and even third glance, Wednesday’s Ascot opener--the Gr. 2 Queen Mary Stakes--appears daunting. Keep panning. There’s gold in that stream. Few of us are accustomed to evaluating form for nearly two dozen 2-year-old fillies in one afternoon…let alone in a single race! Another novel experience is solving for a five-furlong turf straightaway dash. No matter. As Winston Churchill once advised, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” In the Queen Mary, Wesley Ward trains the 3-1 favorite #19 Twilight Gleaming, a more than seven-length winner last out sprinting five furlongs at Belmont. But, in this massive proposition, 3-1 odds seem a bit hollow. One could patriotically back the other US invader #1 Artos, trained by Rusty Arnold at 7-1. She ships off a winning five and one-half furlong effort over Churchill Downs turf. Dual Newmarket success #7 Desert Dreamer at 8-1 is a bit appealing, as is #22 Yet, a one-for-one Ryan Moore/Aiden O’Brien charge offered at early 7-1 odds. If you don’t know the difference between Charlie Appleby and Johnny Appleseed, pay attention. The former is one heck of a trainer and he’s got the powerful Godolphin stock to work with. Forced to scratch UAE Derby winner Rebel’s Romance from the main event on Belmont Stakes Day, Appleby runners won the Epson Derby in England and also finished first and second in the Gr. 1 Just a Game in New York. He saddles 8-1 #6 Kemari in Wednesday’s second race the Gr. 2 King’s Vase at one mile and three-quarters. The Moore/O’Brien team have favored Wordsworth at 5/2. Only five go in the Gr. 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes for 4-year-olds and upwards at one mile and one-quarter. The 8-5 favorite is Love, a 4-year-old filly who absolutely dominated fellow sophomore gals last season before she was sidelined in August. She entered the break after winning a previous trio, all Group 1’s, by at least four lengths! She’s won six of 10 and just under $1 million and is handled by the Moore/O’Brien combo. She defeated older foes in her last start, but this will be her first against males. She has the opportunity to hit a new 2021 Ascot high note in just the second day of racing. Second choice at 9-5 is Lord North, a 5-year-old gelding who won the Gr. 1 Dubai Turf last out at Meydan in March. He’s seven-for-13 lifetime, with over $3 million in the bank for the powerful Frankie Dettori/John Gosden combo. US racing fans may recall this one encountering trouble in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland when fourth, beaten less than three lengths behind Tarnawa, Magical and Channel Cat. Wednesday, June 16, 2021 Royal Ascot ScheduleRace 1 (9:30AM ET) // Queen Mary Stakes (G2) Race 2 (10:05AM ET) // Queen’s Vase (G2) Race 3 (10:40AM ET) // Duke of Cambridge Stakes (G2) Race 4 (11:20AM ET) // Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) Race 5 (12:00PM ET) // Royal Hunt CupRace 6 (12:35PM ET) // Windsor Castle StakesRace 7 (1:10PM ET) // Kensington Palace Stakes

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6.15.2021:

Woodbine Mohawk Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Woodbine Mohawk Park has a 10-race card set for tonight. The 0.20 Pick 5 with a $100,000 guaranteed pool kicks off the action. The 0.20 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 7 and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 73-Spittin Chicklets (9/2)-Hasn't raced since 10-19-20 but has qualified 4 times since, twice recently. Has hit the board 2 times in 8 starts at Wbsb and did face stakes company. Should be in the hunt and could break its maiden in 12th try.9-Shes A Comedian (3-1)-Hoosier invader appears to be much faster than the rest but this is a 3-year-old filly making its 2nd lifetime start. Looks like a must use and this race consists of an interesting group.Race 82-Alwaysyourway (7/2)-Beat the $12k claimers back in April at Wbsb and has been racing on the East coast without much success. But has been racing, that should help and could get sucked around with this post draw.4-Jaydens Place (3-1)-Another making its 1st start for a new barn, this time it's the Moreau-Filion connection. Will respect chances of being ready for a big try.6-Mister Goodro (15-1)-Was claimed for $8k before the break and now makes the 1st start for Puddy and his usual pilot Henry. Won his last by 6 lengths and will take a swing at this price in a race without a standout.Race 95-Julerica (3-1)-Raced well before the break and will take a swing the connections have this veteran ready to fire hot off the bench. Winner in 13 of 43 starts at Wbsb could offer a fair price. McClure steers and he knows well.6-Legion Seelster (5/2)-Makes 1st start for the Puddy barn after being claimed for $30k on 3-27. Henry has some choices with this post. Handy 5-year-old could get on the point but if not, should still be racing near the top of the stack.Race 103-Cold Freeze (7/2)-Fits with this crew and should be in the hunt. If Jamieson finds some liver cover and the fractions are honest it could be picture time.4-Twin B Sunkissed (3-1)-Had a miscue in the last qualifier and is only 1-11 lifetime and 0-9 here but this is a soft spot for her 2021 debut. Was competitive in 2020 facing some of the best 2-year-old fillies at Wbsb and JMac should be able to work an efficient trip with this post draw.9-Sweet Pink (6-1)-Bettors Delight 3-year-old filly is another who should like the company. Has some decent gate speed so Drury should be able to fund a good early seat and could cash the top check at a nice price.0.20 Late Pick 43,9/2,4,6/5,6/3,4,9Total Bet=$7.20Check me out on Twitter!

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6.14.2021:

Johnny D: Royal Ascot Day 1 Preview | Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Used to be that yours truly couldn’t give a leaky brolly for racing across the pond at Ascot Racecourse. Then, in 2009, US-based trainer Wesley Ward won the Windsor Castle stakes at the venerable meeting with 33-1 Strike the Tiger and it was big news. I wondered, why? Stateside, Ward, seemingly wins dozens of 2-year-old dashes and no one blinks. The next day, Ward won again with Jealous Mary in the Grade 2 Queen Again and the Brits were as apoplectic as if Big Ben had been muted. In 2016, on opening day, the missus and I actually ‘went racing’ at Ascot and it was as much a spectacle as it appears on broadcasts. We touched base with old pals Ward, jockey Frankie Dettori and trainer John Gosden; proudly watched as US-based mare Tepin and jockey Julien Leparoux won the Grade 1 Queen Anne and applauded as the Queen Mother arrive in splendor. Unfortunately, we misfired with bookies on the color of the Queen’s hat; the first, but not nearly the last, errant punt of the afternoon. Despite all that, for some reason, the wife seemed most interested in a gander at a pre-Meghan Prince Harry. Also, that day, for the first and only time in my life, I purchased a ‘bag of champagne’ for my wife. It was a split of Veuve Clicquot travelling in a clear plastic bag, including ice and handles. That Ascot officials permit fans to stroll the grounds toting bottles and ice cubes was culture-shock. Stateside, during Eagles’ games at the Linc, concession workers dutifully confiscate caps from plastic water bottles as if they were tiny hand grenades. Tuesday is opening day at Ascot and there’s a fantastic promotion you might like. Get 10X XB Reward Points for your wagers when you play with Xpressbet and 1/ST BET over five days and 35 Ascot races, including 19 graded stakes. First post is 9:30 a.m. ET daily. Complete details here.  Opening day, Ward will saddle two of nine planned Ascot starters—#17 Kaufymaker (5-2 odds) in the Group 2 Coventry (Second Race), for 2-year-olds at six furlongs, and #6 Maven (12-1) in the Group 1 King’s Stand (Third Race), for 3-year-olds and upward at five furlongs. US-based Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will ride both and all but two of Ward’s overall Ascot invaders. Dettori, also one of the world’s best, will ride the others. Gosden and Dettori figure to enjoy to a sterling start, Tuesday, in the Group 1, $548k Queen Anne at one mile with 2-5 favorite Palace Pier. He’s a 4-year-old colt with seven wins in eight starts and over $1 million in earnings. The afternoon’s fourth race, the $479,500, Group 1 Saint James’s Palace at one mile, is a wide-open wagering event topped by 4-1 favorite Poetic Flare, winner of four of seven lifetime. In that race, we plan to have a few quid on #4 Highland Avenue, a Godolphin runner trained by Charlie Appleby and ridden by William Buick. The Dubawi colt never has been worse than second in five starts with three wins.Tuesday, June 15, 2021 Royal Ascot ScheduleRace 1 (9:30AM ET) // Queen Anne Stakes (G1)Race 2 (10:05AM ET) // Coventry Stakes (G2)Race 3 (10:40AM ET) // King’s Stand Stakes (G1) Race 4 (11:20AM ET) // St. James’s Palace Stakes (G1) Race 5 (12:00PM ET) // Ascot StakesRace 6 (12:35PM ET) // Wolferton StakesRace 7 (1:10PM ET) // Copper Horse Stakes As you can tell, we’re way more interested in Ascot these days, so stop back in this space daily for Ascot racing previews, recaps, and tales of wagering woes. As always, Race On!

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6.14.2021:

Monday Myths: Do 3-Year-Olds Improve Vs. Elders as Year Unfolds?

Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities.Assumption:Three-year-olds improve against older horses as the year progresses.Background:As 2-year-olds and early in their 3-year-old campaign, Thoroughbreds compete against their peer age group. As the sophomore season unfolds, race class conditions are written fewer for restricted 3-year-olds and more for 3-year-olds and older competition. Horseplayers generally assume that the early season is a time to stand against the 3-year-olds as they lack some of the development that time will allow later in the year. The goal here is to find out if that’s true, and when might the development be best to follow.Data Points:I dialed up the Betmix database to track all North American Thoroughbred races for 3-year-olds and up going back to 2017. The months studied were April through December as the spring is when the first attempts against elders begin in earnest.Overall Findings:In April, 3-year-old vs. older horses win 11.96% with a $0.72 ROI for every $1 bet.In May, 3-year-old vs. older horses win 13.14% with a $0.75 ROI for every $1 bet.In June, 3-year-old vs. older horses win 13.71% with a $0.77 ROI for every $1 bet.In July, 3-year-old vs. older horses win 13.82% with a $0.77 ROI for every $1 bet.In August, 3-year-old vs. older horses win 14.49% with a $0.80 ROI for every $1 bet.In September, 3-year-old vs. older horses win 14.15% with a $0.76 ROI for every $1 bet.In October, 3-year-old vs. older horses win 13.81% with a $0.79 ROI for every $1 bet.In November, 3-year-old vs. older horses win 13.18% with a $0.77 ROI for every $1 bet.In December, 3-year-old vs. older horses win 13.26% with a $0.76 ROI for every $1 bet.Bottom line:April is the worst month for 3-year-olds against elders, and it’s typically the first test for them annually. The numbers increase as summer approaches and peak with August in both win percentage and ROI. Interestingly, the growth does not continue throughout the autumn and winter. The late-season sophomores aren’t any more effective than those in spring. The place to tackle the 3-year-olds against elders clearly is June-October with a peak in August and September. The myth that 3-year-olds improve as the season unfolds is partially true, to a point.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 see the most success with 3-year-olds vs. elders? During this timeframe, tracks like Mountaineer, Presque Isle and Canterbury showed the highest win percentages of sophomores vs. elders. Which trainers know best when to put their runners against elders? Find out for yourself.

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6.14.2021:

Monday, June 14: Yonkers Raceway Late Pick 4 Analysis

Yonkers Raceway has a 12 race card ready for a Monday night of harness action. The feature rolls in Race 7, an Open Pace with a $42,000 purse. That same race starts the $1.00 Late Pick 4 sequence, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 71-Raukakupa N (2-1)-The entire field is bumping up in class but this 8-year-old comes off a win in the Open Handicap level. Moves up to straight Opens and gets lucky with a post draw that could help him make it 2 wins in a row. Wired the field in last from post 6 and that included most of this crew.2-Some Waratah A (7/2)-Winner of 4 straight, 1 was at YR and the others at Stga. Does like this oval winning 3 of 4 here and Bartlett steers. Winner of 7 in 10 starts this year has been too good to ignore.5-Galante A (7-1)-Most will likely use only the 2 above but if they burn each other up as others leave too, Marohn could be there to roll by down the lane. Finished 2nd to #1 in last and couldn't rally from the pocket after a 29.1 second quarter helped the leader. Looks worthy of a swing and could be overlooked at the windows.Race 82-Lyons William (5/2)-Has recorded a win at this level and then raced a big mile to finish 3rd from the 7-hole. Stratton should be out and rolling from the word go and appears to be a good steer away from the 5th picture in 15 starts this year.Race 93-Ehrmantraut (7/2)-Using the #3-#4 who are dropping in class and playing against the 8/5 morning line choice #2 who moves up. Brennan should be aggressive at this level and could land on top of the stack and not look back.4-Flying Finn N (9/2)-Has been competitive at this class and could be in line for a stalking trip. If Siegelman gets this 6-year-old in striking range it could lead to an upset at a nice price.Race 103-Micky Gee N (9/2)-Drops to the level of the last win and the class relief could lead to another picture tonight. The chalk will be leaving from the rail in the 1st start here and usually starts slowly. So, Zeron could get a good seat and work a nice trip.5-San Domino A (5/2)-Back from Phl and will need its best versus this kind. But this race could set up nicely for the Harris trainee. Has the gate speed to get on the engine or land in the pocket and if either works out chances for success go up.My Ticket Race 7) 1,2,5 Race 8) 2 Race 9) 3,4 Race 10) 3,5Total Ticket Cost) $12 for $1.00Check me out on Twitter!

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6.13.2021:

Sunday June 13: Hoosier Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hoosier Park has 13 races set to go with the headliners being 3-year-old colts and geldings battling in Indiana Sires Stakes action. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 10 and that sequence will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 103-My Wish Came True (5-1)-This 3-year-old has learned how to get it done this year and posting 5 wins in 11 starts backs up my thinking. This will be a test but the Miller barn has been rolling along and can trip out from this post with a similar win as on 6-4.4-Saddle Up (7/2)-Came 3rd in the same race as #3 but missed a start and raced from the back. Has the speed to get a good early seat and will look for DeLong to be more aggressive tonight with a big purse on the line.6-Brookview Bullet (3-1)-The tepid morning line favorite cashed a 2nd place check in last but was a bit fortunate to do so and was rather dull until the late going. Did come off a sparkling win on 6-4 and it's best to not overlook here because this Burke trainee could be posing with a top effort.Race 114-Rockin On Venus (5/2)-Fits with this group and has won 3 of 6 this year all coming at Hoosier. Left from post 9 last week and was 20 lengths back into a .56 opening half. Then proceeded to scorch the back half in 52.1. Looks like a major player and the pace could be lively.5-Virgo (2-1)-On 5/21 made the 1st start this year versus this class. Broke slowly that day and when pulled on the backside stalled and then slowed to a crawl at 3/2. Qualified in 151.4 and paced the back half in less than .54 to win by >19 lengths. Using and hoping the price will be better than last time, but did win >$126k in 9 races at HoP in 2020.6-Nick's Monster (5-1)-Has fallen short against the better 3-year-olds but did come up with a 2nd place finish on 5-21 when in with #4 and #5. Needs a sharp steer but the price should be right to take a swing.Race 125-Snowmoon (3-1)-Has been paying bills and then some racing over 5/8's ovals in Ohio. Made its HoP season debut last week and cashed a 2nd place check with a 150.4 effort at this class. Tetrick takes the lines and this 4-year-old could be even better with a Hoosier race under his belt.6-Shamwow (4-1)-Gets some needed class relief and regular pilot returns. Likes to race near the top and could follow #5 and make the most of a pocket trip.7-Boiling Oar (5-1)-Has been facing straight Open company without success. Should be a player if returns to the form of April-May versus this kind and should be a fair price.Race 134-Odds On Osiris (4-1)-Team Wrenn 4-year-old should relish this company and has done well at HoP winning 9 of 21 starts. Hasn't taken a picture in 6 starts this year but this is a spot to wake-up and should be forwardly placed from the start.5-Rockie Got Framed (5/2)-Makes the 2nd start of the year after finishing a close up 3rd at this class. Got on the engine into a 54.1 opening half in the 1st start on Lasix. Made only 11 starts last year and notched 1 win but has 8 pictures in 39 Hoosier races. Could be ready to take top honors and Tetrick might be able to get on the engine this time without using up as much gas.My TicketRace 10) 3,4,6 Race 11) 4,5,6 Race 12) 5,6,7 Race 13) 4,5Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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6.13.2021:

Sunday, June 13: 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 Here to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B+Use: 4-Pushing Sixty; 5-Freedom LassForecast: Freedom Lass benefits from a useful recent sprint prep that should set her up for today’s grass miler, and with a strong recent workout to have her on edge the M. Puype-trained filly appears ready for a career top effort. She switches to the barn’s “go-to” rider J. J. Hernandez and offers excellent price value at 6-1 on the morning line. Pushing Sixty is worth including on your rolling exotic ticket as well, at least as a backup. She’s looked good in the morning since her starter’s allowance win over this course and distance last month and projects to be forwardly paced throughout.. Based strictly on speed figures, she’s a solid contender.RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Chollima; 4-Luck Be MineForecast: Chollima, claimed in her last pair and now in the A. Lerner barn, retains regular rider A. Cedillo and will be tough to beat if she can avoid trouble from her rail draw. First or second in three of four career outings over the Santa Anita main track, the daughter of Paddy O’Prado is overdue for a winning effort, having finished second as the favorite in each of her last two outings. Luck Me Mine beat our top choice in convincing fashion last month and rates a legitimate shot to do it again. Today’s extra furlong may be problematic but the daughter of Lookin At Lucky is a four-time winner and the deserving morning line favorite at 6/5. We’ll give Chollima a chance to turn the tables today, but both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 3: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Rager; 2-ExultationForecast: We’ll go two-deep in this five-runner starter’s allowance turf sprint while preferring Exultation on top. Genuine, consistent, and first or second in each of his last five starts, the veteran son of Paynter projects to enjoy an ideal pace-prompting trip and have every chance to seal the deal when the pressure is turned on at the head of the lane. So far during his career he’s much preferred to run second or third rather than win but this is an opportunity he shouldn’t let slip by. Rager, fourth in the same race our top selection just finished second in, will enjoy a ground-saving, second flight trip from his rail post and is the one to fear most. A repeat of his winning race over this course and distance may be good enough.RACE 4: Post: 2:41 PT Grade: XSingle: 1-Beyond BrilliantForecast: Beyond Brilliant is listed as the 1/5 morning line favorite in this maiden main track miler and you don’t have to be Pittsburgh Phil to see why. The Twirling Candy 3-year-old was more than nine lengths clear of the rest when second under these conditions last month, has trained well since, and projects to be the controlling speed from his rail post. In an unplayable race, he’s no-value rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post: 3:16 PT Grade: C+Use: 5-Racetrackers; 7-UnilateralForecast: Racetrackers drops to the restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming ranks while retaining F. Prat and projects to enjoy an ideal pace-stalking trip in a race that should be slowly run early and late. A sprint winner three races back over the local lawn, the Tizbud gelding is unproven at nine furlongs but has a grinding style that should be effective at this trip. Unilateral gets an extra furlong to work with today while retaining U. Rispoli, and on off his best race figures as a major player. He’s always been a one-paced type without any turn of foot but against this soft group he should deliver a reasonably effective closing kick. We’ll try to survive and advance using just these two in rolling exotic play but if you feel the need to include others, go right ahead.RACE 6: Post: 3:48 PT Grade: BSingle: 6-Sauls CallForecast: Sauls Call veered out sharply and was bumped sideways at the start, rushed up to display good early speed, loomed a threat wide into the lane but then lost his punch and wound up fourth in a promising debut against a field that was stronger than what he’s facing today. The S. Miyadi stable has excellent stats with second-time starters, and we suspect that this son of Stay Thirsty will step forward in a significant way, assuming he breaks straight and true. At 5-1 on the morning line the juvenile California-bred gelding offers good value in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.RACE 7: Post: 4:19 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Goldini; 2-VantasticForecast: Vantastic appears ready for a career top effort in this starter optional claimer over a mile on grass. He’s a first-time gelding with recent workouts that give strong indication that he’s better horse now than before, and with the major jockey switch to F. Prat the son of Dialed In should snap to life in his first start for a tag. From where he’s drawn the P. Eurton-trained 5-year-old seems likely to settle into an ideal second flight, ground-saving position. Goldini is a 3-year-old tackling older and is light in the speed figure department, at 5/2 on the morning line the son of Goldencents probably won’t offer much in the way of wagering value. That said, he may have more room for improvement than most of the others, so we’ll include him on a ticket or two in our rolling exotic play while reserving the main punch to Vantastic.RACE 8: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: BUse: 5-Thrive; 6-Minister ShaneForecast: Thrive has burned money as the favorite in all three of his career starts, but he’s a first-time gelding and has shown recent improvement in his a.m. drills, so we’re expecting the son of Competitive Edge to step forward today and be tough to beat. F. Prat knows him well and stays board. Minister Shane is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. Drawn comfortably outside while adding blinkers for the first time, the son of Ministers Wild Cat tries dirt for the first time (bred for it) and has trained very well over the Santa Anita main track before and after his most recent outing. We’re confident the winner will be one of these two, so we’ll include both in our rolling exotics with a slight edge on top to Minister Shane strictly due to price considerations.RACE 9: Post: 5:26 PT Grade: XSingle: 3-DogtagForecast: Dogtag is listed as the 9/5 morning line favorite in this year’s edition of the Possibly Perfect S., a race she won last year in facile fashion. She was the 4/5 favorite in that race, and we suspect she’ll leave at a similar price again this year. An excellent runner-up in the Royal Heroine S.-G2 in her first outing of the season in April, the daughter of War Front has trained very well in the interim and can be placed just about wherever regular rider U. Rispoli wants her to be. While the R. Mandella-trained mare most likely will be too short to play in the win pool, we can use her as a logical short-priced rolling exotic single.RACE 10: Post: 5:50 PT Grade: B+Single: 1-ClassierForecast: Classier has trained like he’s fit and ready for his 2021 debut and because he won his debut over the Santa Anita main track in the fall of his 2-year-old season we know he can fire fresh. Out of action since finishing off the board in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile S.-G1 last November in what was a case of too much, too soon, the B. Baffert-trained colt has been given enough of a foundation to be set for a major effort in this middle distance main track event, and while others, including 8/5 morning line favorite The Chosen Vron, may look better on resume this colt appears to have the highest ceiling. With F. Prat taking the call and at 2-1 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 11: Post: 6:26 PT Grade: B+Single: 9-Sweet and CheekyForecast: Sweet and Cheeky resurfaces in a high-priced maiden claimer for her first start since last August and just her third outing overall and the daughter of Candy Ride has trained like she’ll return as well as she left, perhaps even better. This extended turf sprint should fit her second flight, stalking style perfectly, so in a below par race for the level the P. Eurton-trained filly seems solid, so at 5/2 on the morning line she’s a win play and rolling exotic single.

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6.13.2021:

Sunday, June 13: My Golden Pick 6 Ticket

We bid farewell to the Golden Gate Fields meeting today, and in doing so, we take a pop at the mandatory payout in the Golden Pick Six. The track also has mandatory payouts in the Rolling Super High Five and the two Pick 5 pools.The 20-cent Golden Pick Six runs during the last six races on the special 12-race closing day card.Here’s a suggested $76.80 ticket for the sequence:Race 7 (6:45 p.m. ET, maiden claiming)EL BEAUTIFUL came up empty in his first in more than 20 months and drops from maiden special to $8,000 maiden claiming. Has the speed to gain good position from the outside and bug rider Jose Rodriguez will let him roll. This lower maiden-claiming race is a challenge at the beginning of the sequence, and spreading out is the way to go here.Also on the ticket: SPEEDY TOM, ALIBI FOR MISCHIEF, SEATTLE SEA YA.Race 8 (7:15 p.m. ET, allowance optional claiming)If you can find a flaw in UNION DANCE, your digging skills are impressive. Beginning in February, the Isidro Tamayo-trained Unionize gelding has picked up the winning habit, having taken four straight races, including a pair of starter allowances and the last two in allowance optional claiming events. He’s put himself in perfect situation just off the lead and has been able to close it out.Also on the ticket: KAZAN.Race 9 (7:45 p.m. ET, maiden)A.P. PHAROAH ended 2020 with what was likely his best career effort, which came at Santa Anita. He also has a third to his credit. Peter Miller took over the trained for one start at Del Mar before the latest. The American Pharoah colt has trained exceptionally well and will be hard for others to handle in this one.Also on the ticket: FROST WARNING.Race 10 (8:15 p.m. ET, claiming)DEE GEE last won in February and was claimed by Isidro Tamayo that day and has tried higher levels since then. She is back to ‘non-winners of two company’ and enters off a closing second against slow fractions. It was her first two-turn attempt and gave a good effort. A more legit pace can play into her game plan today.Also on the ticket: ROSE PRINCESS, NICOLE GRACE, TOTALLY NORMAL.Race 11 (8:45 p.m. ET, allowance)SUNRISE JOURNEYStepped up to this level from claiming company and delivered a good second in a fast race last time out. Has performed well without the lead in his last two races and with that new approach looks like a better horse. His last win came two races back, when he stalked a leader and pounced in the stretch. Any of his last three races would make him a power player here.Also on the ticket: R M C HOOK ‘EM, THE LITTLE H MAN.Race 12 (9:15 p.m. ET, maiden)LADY CROCKER moves up the coast from Santa Anita and was third for upper maiden claiming two races back. The Curlin filly has taken on some decent company and should regain a late kick as she turns back to six furlongs after running longer on grass as well and dirt.Also on the ticket: TORREY’S GIRL.Golden Gate Fields Golden Pick Six on Sunday:Race 7) #4 Speedy Tom, #5 Alibi for Mischief, #8 El Beautiful, #9 Seattle Sea Ya.Race 8) #2 Kazan, #6 Union Dance.Race 9) #4 A.P. Pharoah, #11 Frost Warning.Race 10) #1 Rose Princess, #3 Nicole Grace, #5 Totally Normal, #6 Dee Gee.Race 11) #4 R M C Hook ‘em, #5 Sunrise Journey, #8 The Little H Man.Race 12) #5 Lady Crocker, #12 Torrey’s Girl.Total Ticket Cost) 4,5,8,9/2,6/4,11/1,3,5,6/4,5,8/5,12 = $76.80 for $0.20

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6.12.2021:

Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has a 13-race card scheduled with the feature coming in Race 8, the Miss Versatility Open Trot with a $30,000 purse. The 0.50 Early Pick 4 begins in Race 6. The sequence has a $50,000 Guaranteed Pool with a 15% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Harambe Deo (3-1)-Went to Phl, got some class relief and has been very good winning the last 2 and making it look easy. Winner in 10 of 38 Big M starts, and did beat better than this at the end of last year here. Best to respect, the upswing may continue.4-Chaser Hanover (5-1)-Trip dependent 5-year-old does best working racing near the top of the stack. Mark Mac should be able to work a cozy trip and get a good seat. Could offer a square price and take a picture with an efficient trip.6-Ima Real Ladys Man (4-1)-Drops to a spot to shine in a competitive race. Tetrick is back in the bike and he had success steering this Cullipher trainee back in the spring. Fits with this crew and raced a .53 back half versus better in last.Race 72-Bettor Notbitter A (7/2)-Was scratched sick on 5-5 but before that was claimed by Cullipher and raced evenly in a 151.1 mile. This race is a real taffy pull and will take a swing that Tetrick's choice will be ready to go. Has hit the board in 7 of 9 here with 3 pictures.6-Kingofthejungle (5-1)-Missed a start on 6-5 when was scratched ineligible. Did have a nice run of competitive efforts before that and there isn't anyone to be afraid of in this field. Should have the gate speed to be put in play early on.10-TJ Blast (3-1)-The Quevedo barn must like this 8-year-old, was claimed away on 5-29 for $15k and they took him back for $17k on 6-5. Is only 1-20 this year but would probably go off as an odds-on choice with a good post draw. Allard should get him to blast out and land on top. The issue is finishing off the mile but this looks like a softer spot than the last couple.Race 84-Next Level Stuff (9/5)-Versatile mare is the winner of 2 straight at this level, has won on the engine or by coming off cover. This appears to be a 2-horse contest and Tetrick should have her ready to stand tall down the lane.5-When Dovescry (5/2)-Not sure who will be leading at the half pole but Miller would probably like to be sitting on top. This should be an interesting battle between 2 very nice mares and 2 of the best pilots in the game.Race 92-Tattoo Artist (7/2)-Has been taking on some tough customers in Graduate action and drops into a much more comfortable spot. TMac is back between the pipes for his 2nd tour of duty and he should have this Ryder trainee in control from the word go.0.50 Early Pick 42,4,6/2,6,10/4,5/2Total Bet=$9Check me out on Twitter!

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6.12.2021:

Eddie Olczyk’s June 12 Saturday Spot Plays

1/ST and NBC handicapper Eddie Olczyk puts his emphasis on horses on both coasts this Saturday, one at Belmont and one at Santa Anita. His latter selection can be applied in today’s Golden Hour Pick Four, matching the final two races at Golden Gate and Santa Anita – don’t forget we’ve got a $10 free play promotion on that wager Saturday and Sunday when you bet with Xpressbet and 1/ST BET.Follow Edzo’s plays each week – only with 1/ST and Xpressbet!Belmont ParkRace 3 // 2:02 pm ET // claiming // 1 mile#2 Grit and Glory (6-1 ML)Like how new barn protected him in an allowance last time after being claimed, even if he was defeated as the favorite. Back where he belongs now, price-wise, and returns to Belmont – where he’s been second and third in two attempts. He’s a bit more tactical than some of the deep-closing favorites here. Win-place bet.//Santa Anita ParkRace 9 // 8:26 pm ET // claiming // 1 mile#10 House Limit (12-1 ML)Longshot contender is tactical in terms of pace style. Was speed and fade last time when needing the race after a long layoff. There’s pace in this race to run into, so I’m banking on Trevor McCarthy to rate off the pace today. Win-place bet.

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6.11.2021:

Sunday, June 13: Picks for Pimlico's Five Stakes Races

Five stakes races are on a super Sunday menu at Pimlico, where the Rainbow 6 jackpot carryover pool was just under $1 million heading into this racing week. The Shine Again Stakes, part of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series, headlines the action with a quartet of supporting turf stakes. Forecasts are for dry skies over Saturday and Sunday in Baltimore, which is good news for the grass action.RACE 4 (2:18PM ET) // SEARCHING STAKES // 1 1/2 MILES (TURF)Eight turf marathoners are entered, including a trio of New York-based shippers. Blame Debbie (Graham Motion) and Lucky Money (Arnaud Delacour) are the only fillies in the race to win at this 12-furlong distance, and they did so in Keeneland’s Grade 3 Dowager and Belmont Park’s listed Zagora Stakes, respectively. Class and conditioning for the trip are difficult to overlook. Expect it to come down to this pair with the lean toward Blame Debbie.RACE 6 (3:25PM ET) // BEN'S CAT STAKES // 5 FURLONGS (TURF) **This Race has been taken off turf** The namesake race for Maryland’s legendary grass sprinter attracted a dozen runners for turf (plus a main-track only entrant). Keep an eye on So Street for a Jamie Ness barn that has lit up the region in June. This one has been racing in open company of late and gets back to the Maryland-bred and sired restricted ranks. He was runner-up in the Maryland Million Turf Sprint last fall in similar company. Cannon’s Roar, runner-up in the 2020 Maryland Million Turf, cuts way back in distance for what looks like a seasonal starting off point for Dale Capuano’s 7-year-old. New Jersey-based shipper Introduced is a stakes winner at Laurel and Saratoga. She’ll try the boys, but has plenty of class, albeit from a difficult outside post. So Street will be the play.RACE 8 (4:31PM ET) // PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY STAKES // 1 1/8 MILES (TURF) Eleven open-company turf routers are entered (plus a main-track only), including the two-three finishers from Preakness Day’s Grade 2 Dinner Party Stakes – Talk Or Listen and Midnight Tea Time. The deep field also includes April’s Henry S. Clark beaten favorite Pixelate, runner-up by a nose in his first trip over the Pimlico lawn. Add in shippers from New York (Argonne) and Kentucky (Logical Myth, a Joe Sharp stablemate to returnee Midnight Tea Time) and this may be the deepest and best race on the entire card. Pixelate won last year’s Grade 2 Del Mar Derby and was beaten only 3 lengths in Gulfstream’s Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf this winter. His Clark runner-up was flattered some when third-place finisher Dreams of Tomorrow came back to smash Belmont allowance runners next out. With a bit more time between starts, give the edge to Pixelate over the Dinner Party alumni Talk Or Listen and Midnight Tea Time.RACE 9 (5:04PM ET) // SHINE AGAIN STAKES // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT) Rising star sprinter Chub Wagon looks to remain unbeaten through her seventh start when she faces seven rivals in this MATCH Series dash. Lupe Preciado’s 4-year-old filly makes the trek from Parx in a preferred placement after scratching from last week’s Bed O’ Roses at Belmont for this spot. That she worked June 8 between the scratch and refocused goal is a good sign that this was, indeed, a preferred spot – vs. something amiss where they didn’t want to run in New York last week. She will be heavily favored and a likely single for many in multi-race bets. The Shine Again field includes Hello Beautiful, who hasn’t run since her three-stakes winning streak was snapped in February’s Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel. Don’tletsweetfoolya has made the lead in seven straight races, so this could be quite a tussle up front with the inside-drawn pair of Chub Wagon and Hello Beautiful. If you’re going to beat Chub Wagon, look for a closer. Unique Factor for sprint specialist Peter Miller could fit that bill in her local debut; she’s faced the likes of Guarana, Finite and Gamine over the past year and could find the class relief beneficial. It would seem like Chub Wagon early and Unique Factor late as the Shine Again scenarios.RACE 10 (5:37PM ET) // STORMY BLUE STAKES // 5 FURLONGS (TURF) **This Race has been taken off turf**Open company 3-year-old filly turf sprinters square off with a dozen entered for grass (plus a main-track only). Wesley Ward adds first-time Lasix to fast and classy Amanzi Yimpilo, while also sending out international Group 3-placed Wink, who drew the far outside post. No one prepares turf sprinters in the East and Midwest any better than Ward, so these have to be respected. They dueled each other into submission in the Mamzelle at Churchill Downs on May 8, so it will be curious to see if either can throttle down (or if Ward, as he often does, will scratch one of these). Honey Pants cuts back in trip for Christophe Clement and is stakes-placed in New York and at Gulfstream. Street Lute won five straight stakes on dirt before being knocked off her game in her last two. She’s never tried turf, and her sire Street Magician gets only about 9% winners on the Pimlico lawn (11% overall), according to Betmix stats. The Ward speedballs and the late run of Honey Pants should have this one covered. Amanzi Yimpilo is preferred.

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6.11.2021:

Friday, June 11: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday and Saturday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6. Selections are listed in chronological order.Belmont Park Race 6 - Post time: 3:34 ET6-Acushla (4-1)Makes just her third career start in this state-bred maiden turf miler and it should be her best effort after a couple of troubled outings to begin her career. In her most recent race, the daughter of Tiznow failed to gain a favorable early position after breaking slowly and then raced wide throughout when looming a threat but losing her punch in the closing stages, eventually winding up fourth, beaten just two lengths. The J. Abreu-trained sophomore should be fitter and sharper today, and makes a pivotal jockey switch to J. Rosario, so at 4-1 on the morning line we’ll make her a play in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.Santa Anita Race 2 - Post time: 1:37 PT4-Honor Among Men (5/2)Showing up in a claimer after failing at 4/5 in a maiden special weight sprint up north in his first start since the summer of 2019, the 4-year-old son of Bayern obviously has issues but against this group the S. Callaghan-trained gelding should be capable of dominating from gate to wire. We like the blinkers off angle and the switch to F. Prat, so in a field without much speed the lightly-raced gelding he should have every chance to wire the field. There’s value in the win pool and in rolling exotic play at or near his morning line of 5/2.

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6.11.2021:

Friday, June 11: 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 Here to view Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Flash of Genius; 6-Runningoutoflove; 7-Bet On MookieForecast: Two-year-olds sprint five furlongs on turf in the Friday opener in a race that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Bet On Mookie has the benefit of a prior run, a decent runner-up effort on dirt last month in what was a respectable race for the level. With War Front on the bottom side of his pedigree, the son of Uncaptured should have no issues with grass, so with any kind of forward move the P. Miller-trained colt should be tough to beat. The “other” Miller in the field, the debuting Flash of Genius, breezed a furlong in a rapid 10 seconds flat before bringing $67,000 through the ring at the OBS March Sale and shows a series of solid recent workouts at San Luis Rey Downs that should have him fit and ready. If he breaks running from the rail, the son of Flashback projects to be a major player every step of the way. Also worth including in rolling exotic play is the first-timer Runningoutoflove, a son of Acclamation and therefore bred to excel on grass. The B. Koriner-trained colt has done some good work in the a.m. and looks like a live item under top grass rider U. Rispoli.RACE 2: Post: 1:37 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Silver Moon Road; 4-Honor Among MenForecast: Honor Among Men shows up in a claimer after failing at 4/5 in a maiden special weight sprint up north in his first start since the summer of 2019 and just his second overall outing. The 4-year-old son of Bayern obviously has issues but against this group the S. Callaghan-trained gelding should be capable of dominating from gate to wire. We like the blinkers off angle and the switch to F. Prat, so in a field without much speed he should have every chance to wire the field. Silver Moon Road, also vanning down from Golden Gate Fields, hit the board in both of his two prior outings and on pure numbers is strictly the one to beat. The T. Yakteen-trained 3-year-old has as good stalking style that works well at this extended sprint distance. Both should be used in rolling exotic play with the main push going to Honor Among Me.RACE 3: Post: 2:09 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Navy Queen; 6-Best of Show; 7-Maggie’s MagicForecast: This restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming turf sprint for fillies and mares is a treacherous affair in which nothing would surprise. We’ll use three and hope to survive and advance. Although she just broke her maiden in a two-turn main track miler, Best of Show might actually prove most effective as a late-running turf sprinter and gets a chance to verify that impression today. In a field loaded with suspect speed, the daughter of Honor Code figures to have every chance from the quarter pole to the wire to produce a winning late kick. She’s in light, shows improving speed figures, and likely has further improvement in her, so at 5-1 on the morning line we’ll put her on top. Navy Queen was overmatched when unplaced in a state-bred first-level allowance race last time out but is realistically spotted today and seems likely to bounce back with a good performance. She has a prior win over the local lawn and is reunited with J. Pyfer, who got good run out of her when second over the local lawn two races back. She’s the likely choice and one to beat. Maggie’s Magic, first off the claim for R. Hess, Jr., is a consistent type with steadily rising speed figures. If she can transfer her dirt form to grass, she’ll have a legitimate look.RACE 4: Post: 2:41 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Sir Flatter; 7-Gerlach’sForecast: Gerlach’s drops to his lowest level ever while stretching out for the first time and seems a solid top pick in this modest bottom-rung maiden claiming main track miler. The Grazen gelding is a fit on numbers, retains K. Desormeaux, and projects to draft into a comfortable second flight position outside and take control when ready. Sir Flatter lands the rail and seems certain to enjoy an ideal ground-saving, stalking trip. The P. Miller-trained gelding plummets in class to where his best makes him the one to fear most. These are the two we’ll be including in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Gerlach’s.RACE 5: Post: 3:17 PT Grade: XUse: 6-Storm the BastilleForecast: Storm the Bastille has little to beat in this $25,000 claiming turf miler and is listed as the 4/5 morning line favorite. The French-bred 5-year-old removes blinkers (one of our favorite angles) for new trainer P. Miller and makes a monumental jockey switch to F. Prat while dropping to his lowest level ever. Though winless in nine prior outings over the Santa Anita turf course, the French-bred veteran should be along in time in a race with enough early speed signed on to compliment his late-running style. You can use him as a no-value rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.RACE 6: Post: 3:50 PT Grade: BSingle: 8-NobuForecast: Nobu drops into a soft maiden claimer after failing to deliver the goods at 4/5 in a maiden special weight sprint at Golden Gate Fields in late April. Clearly, this former $140,000 2-year-old in training purchase is being culled from the stable but against this group she should be able to dominate from gate to wire with anything close to her best. We’re hoping J. Pyfer, who rides speed horses as well as anybody, can keep her together late because the daughter of Uncaptured must be considered somewhat suspect in the final furlong, even against this group. However, at or near her morning line of 5/2 the S. Callaghan-trained filly is worth a play in the win pool and as a rolling exotic single.RACE 7: Post: 4:24 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Wyfire; 3-Swiss Swoo; 6-Harbored MemoriesForecast: Harbored Memories just graduated over this course and distance in good style with a strong speed figure, has trained well since, and can dictate his trip from his comfortable outside draw. He’s the logical morning line favorite at 9/5 and clearly the one to beat, but in a stronger than par first level allowance event we’ll include a couple of other major players in rolling exotic play. Wyfire adds Lasix while making his first start since narrowly missing in the Speakeasy S. over the local lawn last September. The talented 3-year-old shows a healthy series of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs top have him fit and ready off the bench, and with F. Prat taking the call for P. Miller, this first-time gelding appears the one to fear most. Swiss Swoo has done some useful work in the morning for a barn that always does well with European shippers. A winner of a maiden race over the all-weather surface at Dundalk during the winner, the Irish-bred gelding is bred for turf, gets Lasix, and projects to be forwardly placed throughout and have every chance to spring a mild surprise.RACE 8: Post: 4:54 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Head for Business; 4-Hello HandsomeForecast: The morning line favorite at 9/5 in this maiden $50,000 claiming sprint for California-bred older horses is Active Account, a first-time starter with okay but not great workouts on his resume. At that price, he’s worth trying to beat with two others that may offer better wagering value. Head for Business makes the critical class drop from straight maiden to maiden claiming for a barn that has good stats with this angle, switches to the main track, removes blinkers, and should have enough early speed to take advantage of his inside draw. Hello Handsome does the same after just one start and he, too, should greatly appreciate the softer assignment. He’s trained fairly well on dirt, so at least in his case we’re not too concerned with the switch to the main track.

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6.11.2021:

1/ST BET AI Longshots for Pimlico's $974K Rainbow 6 Carryover

The single-ticket jackpot Rainbow 6 carryover has blossomed to $974,464 into Friday’s weekly return to racing at Pimlico. The largest carryover in Maryland racing history will eclipse seven figures when it’s unveiled on Races 3-8 on the card.To take down the entire pool, you'll need some longshots to separate you from the pack. The 1/ST BET app's artificial intelligence selections for today's Rainbow 6 have pin-pointed some price players to consider.Race 4#1 Backwoods Boogie // 12-1 morning line (30% top win projection in race)Big step up in class after second-place finish over course and distance.#9 It’s Sizzling Time // 15-1 morning line (20% second-best win projection in race)Speedster tries turf for the first time.Race 5#5 Justice of War // 10-1 morning line (12% fourth-best win projection in race)Obviously didn’t handle Charles Town oval in last, but back on track where was decent April 29.

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6.10.2021:

Friday, June 11: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Picks

Picks updated due to scratches and track conditions as of 12:00PM ET on Friday, June 11, 2021.LEG A // PIMLICO, RACE 8 (4:14PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF) Class-dropping OFFICER COUNTRY accounts for the only turf victory in a field that is a combined 1-37 on the grass. MOSBY'S RANGER blew a clear stretch lead and held second on the drop to this level. TYREEK made a move after a slow start but flattened out in the stretch in his first turf go-round.    LEG B // GULFSTREAM, RACE 6 (4:34PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (DIRT) GEGE CONQUEST pulled up and was walked off in his last start five weeks ago. He appears an all-or-nothing type play off his prior start at one mile, when he chased 2-1 winner Dropped Anchor (7/3-3-0, $64k) and finished a clear second second to the next-out, allowance runner-up despite not changing leads. Jockey Gaddiel Martinez has four of his 14 wins at the meet for this barn with a +1.37 return on investment. TONALISM tried one mile for the first time two starts back, dueled for a half-mile with the 8-5 winner and tired in a hand-timed race. LEG C // GOLDEN GATE, RACE 3 (4:52PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (ALL-WEATHER) LUCKY LAGS shows a steady work tab in the months following a 'very green' debut effort behind odds-on winner Forefathers Fury, who has done little in four starts since then. He's still worth using at 12-1 for a 27 percent barn. HANDSOME ACCOUNT lacked kick in a 6F sprint dominated by closers, but the son of Grade II winner Capital Account (14/5-4-3, $455k) can improve enough to win in his second start. GOVERNOR'S GAMBLE has speed and the rail and sandwiched a pair of fast workouts around a runner-up finish at the distance. LEG D // SANTA ANITA, RACE 3 (5:09PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (TURF) BEST OF SHOW, out of stakes-placed turf router Film Critic, progressed steadily through her maiden win at one mile. She will be running late and could spring the upset if speedy fave MAGESTIC GIGI comes back to the pack. NAVY QUEEN dueled on the outside through the turn in a long sprint, battled to take a late lead between calls and finished second. LEG E // GULFSTREAM, RACE 8 (5:36PM ET) // CLAIMING // 7 FURLONGS (DIRT)  Plenty of angles to look at in this speed-laden field. Among them: KAREN'S COVE drew away from the troubled favorite and makes his third start of a cycle. DIAMONDS ENJOY steps up after the best performance of his career and he ran well second start off a freshening last fall. OLD TIME REVIVAL, the field's top money earner, benefits from several scratches and could be a forward factor throughout in his first long sprint attempt this year.  SUGGESTED $1 STRONACH 5 TICKET LEG A: 9, 12, 15LEG B: 4, 6LEG C: 1, 2, 5 LEG D: 1, 6LEG E: 3, 6, 8 COST: $108

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6.10.2021:

2021 Belmont Stakes Horse-by-Horse Review

The two best 3-year-olds in the nation thundered through the Belmont stretch Saturday, once more proving the adage that the longer the race the more likely cream will rise to the top.  Essential Quality asserted superiority over classmates—for the sixth time in seven tries--his only defeat coming by a mere length in the Kentucky Derby after travelling wide for much of the way. Runner-up Hot Rod Charlie expended all in an effort that would have won so many other races that it’s nearly criminal. He set strong early fractions of :22 3/5, :46 2/5, 1:12 before being collared and grudgingly passed by Essential Quality. The pair was more than 11 lengths clear of a spent Rombauer, who was three-quarters of a length better than outgunned Known Agenda. The wagering public was nearly spot on about the Belmont outcome—first five across the finish were five of the top six choices. Rock Your World, ranked third in wagering at 5-1, was the only outlier finishing in sixth place. The rest concluded matters exactly as the dinero had predicted—from winner and favorite Essential Quality, at 1.30-to-1 odds, to France Go de Ina, last as the longest shot in the field at 27-to-1. Below is a horse-by-horse review of the Belmont Stakes. There really wasn’t much ‘trouble’ in the race to comment about, but it’s worth a detailed look at the final Triple Crown stanza in order to put a neat bow on this year’s series. Along with trip notes, we’ve included commentary on where each runner fits into the overall sophomore picture. Remember, Derby, Preakness and Belmont competitors will fight again (Derby runner-up Mandaloun is in action Saturday at Monmouth), so it’s worth recalling how they fared in Louisville, Ky; Baltimore, MD, or Elmont, NY. In the coming months, new combatants will emerge; they always do, but, down the road, there’s nothing worse than missing out on cashing a ticket on a familiar face. Thanks to those who have followed along this Triple Crown season, losing and, finally, winning a few bucks on our analysis and suggested plays. It’s been a blast and one of those ‘close-but-no-cigar’ experiences. During the second half of the racing season, we’ll continue to offer observations and horseplayer advice, so, as they say on TV, stay tuned!  Also, we’ll be blogging daily about the upcoming Ascot race meeting (June 15 through June 19) and you can find those observations in the Blogs section of the site. Runners below are listed in post-position order with trainer, jockey, finish and off odds. 1. BOURBONIC (Pletcher/Carmouche) // 5th at 14/1 Not much was expected from this colt in the Belmont Stakes but, since he hails from the Todd Pletcher stable and had won the Wood Memorial, he took some play as third longest shot in the race at 14.70-1. As usual, out of the gate, had no speed and was last early. He saved ground on the rail near the back of the pack for the entire one mile and one-half journey and went evenly through the lane to pass a fading Rock Your World for fifth. He’s a real grinder and will need to find the perfect scenario, like he did in winning the slowest Wood renewal in history, to be successful again.     2. ESSENTIAL QUALITY (Cox/Saez) // 1st at 6/5 He didn’t break with the leaders and was hustled by jockey Saez to hold an early inside position in fifth. Into the first turn, Saez angled his mount one off the rail, in the clear, while still fifth. After about three quarters of a mile, down the backstretch, Saez gradually moved the favorite toward the leaders while four-wide. Around the far turn, France Go de Ina faded from between horses and Essential Quality, while three-wide joined pacesetters Hot Rod Charlies, inside, and Rock Your World. Turning into the stretch, only Hot Rod Charlie and Essential Quality remained, and they traded blows evenly until very late when Essential Quality drew clear to win by one and one-quarter lengths. It’s understandable why this horse hasn’t had the kind of fanfare that usually would accompany a 2-Year-Old Champion and previous winner of five of six starts. He’s just not flashy enough for most people’s tastes. He’s more workmanlike. Diligent. Relentless. He doesn’t have blistering early speed or a breathtaking closing charge. All he does is grab his lunch pail, head to work and do his job. He’s not one of the all-time greats, but he’s talented and reliable.     3. ROMBAUER (McCarthy/Velazquez) // 3rd at 5/1He broke alertly and established great early position inside and just behind a trio of leaders travelling at a fast clip. After about three-quarters of a mile, jockey John Velazquez permitted Rombauer to move closer to the leaders, in tandem with Essential Quality, who was moving forward on the outside. On the turn, about four lengths back, Rombauer was being asked by Velazquez to stay in touch with the leaders—Hot Rod Charlier (inside), Rock Your World (between) and Essential Quality (outside). Known Agenda also was ahead of him. Approaching the stretch, Rombauer shifted outside, around a tiring Rock Your World and inside Known Agenda. Through the lane, the leaders drew well clear, but Rombauer proved best over Known Agenda for third place. There’s little doubt that the quick turnaround from Preakness to Belmont was too much for Rombauer to reproduce his outstanding Baltimore effort. Given time to rest, he will be a horse to be reckoned with.   4. HOT ROD CHARLIE (O'Neill/Prat) // 2nd at 9/2 Some would argue that he ran the best race of all in the Belmont Stakes. Not surprising to this writer. Going in, we thought he had the best chance to upset the favorite. Out of the gate, jockey Flavien Prat hustled Hot Rod Charlie to the lead. He was flanked by France Go de Ina and Rock Your World. Into the first turn, and through a very fast early quarter-mile fraction of :22 3/5, Hot Rod Charlie bounced along on a pressured lead. Heading into the backstretch, Rock Your World was tugging somewhat at jockey Joel Rosario on Hot Rod Charlie’s flank. The half-mile fraction showed :46 2/5—considered by many at the time, possibly, too fast for either runner to survive. At the three-quarter marker, Hot Rod Charlie stopped the timer in 1:12 and was about to be joined by France Go de Ina and Essential Quality on the outside of Rock Your World. Into the far turn, jockey Prat glanced outside to see who was moving and spied the favorite closing in. However, the Frenchman never moved. He waited…and waited…before asking Hot Rod Charlie for everything. That request came as the pair entered the stretch. First, Prat scrubbed; then he shook reins; then he waved his stick before using it left-handed. The tank was empty. Hot Rod Charlie had, as they say, ‘run his eyeballs out’ and it wasn’t enough. This is a very, very nice horse who’s been handled expertly by trainer Doug O’Neill--been ‘led over’ when ready and given appropriate rest along the way, too. He will be heard from again, for sure. Probably with Del Mar’s Pacific Classic as the next major target. 5. FRANCE GO DE INA (Mori/Santana Jr.) // 8th at 27/1       This guy really wasn’t ever good enough to compete against these foes. He broke well in the Belmont, showed more speed than was expected, sat in the garden spot down the backstretch, but just couldn’t keep up. 6. KNOWN AGENDA (Pletcher/Ortiz) // 4th at 6/1  It appears as if he’s close, but just not good enough to reside among those at the top rung of this year’s soph division. A Florida Derby winner is nothing to ever sneeze at, but he just didn’t make another forward step after that outstanding performance. Perhaps he merely ‘got good’ at the right time, catching Greatest Honour on the downside and outfinishing an overmatched Soup and Sandwich. He was in a great position in the Belmont Stakes to make something happen but, when it counted, he couldn’t dent the leaders’ advantage or hold off Rombauer late. Trainer Pletcher knows what to do with this kind. He’ll give the colt a rest and, at about the time we’ve all forgotten about him, surprise in a juicy spot down the road. 7. ROCK YOUR WORLD (Sadler/Rosario) // 6th at 5/1   This guy’s Santa Anita Derby victory over eventual Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit in his first dirt start after two turf triumphs may have been the best and worst thing to happen to him in his young career. The victory propelled him to a start in the Kentucky Derby where he broke slowly and was mauled from the gate. The SoCal success also emboldened connections to enter him in the Belmont Stakes, where he again left the gate a bit slowly, raced in contention for much of the way, challenged for the lead on the turn and finally, when the real running started, faded to sixth. In the end, it all seemed too much, too soon for Rock Your World. He requires a vacation and a chance to start anew, hopefully, with an opportunity away from the bright lights where he can begin to develop his obvious talent.  8. OVERTOOK (Pletcher/Franco) // 7th at 19/1 Not much to say about the colt we thought might be able to produce a closing run good enough to get a slice of the Tri or Super. He never threatened in this race. Forget Overtook, it was more like overmatched. Race On!

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6.9.2021:

Jon White's 2021 Belmont Stakes Recap

In the “Test of the Champion,” the champion aced his test. Essential Quality, the champion 2-year-old male of 2020, was asked to stretch out to 1 1/2 miles in last Saturday’s 153rd running of the Grade I, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes. The talented colt passed his test with flying colors, specifically the royal blue colors of owner-breeder Godolphin. The only blemish on Essential Quality’s lifetime record is his loss when he was the victim of bad racing luck in the Grade I Kentucky Derby on May 1. If not for a bumpy start and wide trip, Essential Quality quite likely would have won the Run for the Roses and now would be seven for seven instead of six for seven. According to Trakus, Essential Quality traveled 68 feet (approximately seven to eight lengths) farther in the Kentucky Derby than Medina Spirit, who finished first. Did Essential Quality’s bad luck in Louisville deprive the sport of a Triple Crown winner? It’s far from a certainty, but I do believe it is a distinct possibility. Let’s play the “what if” game. What if Essential Quality had won the Kentucky Derby? He almost certainly would have returned two weeks later in the Grade I Preakness Stakes. What if Essential Quality had won in Baltimore? He then would have been going for a Triple Crown sweep in the Belmont. And one thing we do know is the long distance of the Belmont isn’t something that would have tripped up Essential Quality in his quest for Triple Crown glory. Rombauer won the Preakness. He did so with authority by 3 1/2 lengths. But adding to the supposition that Essential Quality could have won the Preakness if he had been in it is the fact he has trounced Rombauer all three times they have met. Essential Quality defeated Rombauer by 6 1/4 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, by 5 3/4 lengths in the Blue Grass Stakes, then by 12 1/2 lengths in the Belmont. But despite Essential Quality’s dominance in his three encounters with Rombauer, one can’t automatically assume Essential Quality would have won the Preakness. It’s possible that a fresher Rombauer might have defeated Essential Quality in the Preakness due in large part to Essential Quality having only two weeks between starts. It’s also not out of the question that if Essential Quality had won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, perhaps he then would not have run as well as he did in the Belmont because of the difficult task of starting in all three Triple Crown events within the span of five weeks (something no horse did this year for the first time since 2010). Nevertheless, I can’t help thinking that if racing luck had been a bit kinder to Essential Quality on the first Saturday in May, this country’s 14th Triple Crown winner might be being celebrated following the Belmont. But, of course, we will never know. HUGE EFFORT BY THE RUNNER-UP Hot Rod Charlie, who had to settle for second, ran too good to lose, as they say. In a noteworthy aspect regarding this year’s Belmont Stakes, Hot Rod Charlie scooted to the front at once and zipped the opening quarter-mile in :22.78 or :22 3/5 in fifths. That’s the fastest opening quarter in the history of the Belmont, which was first run in 1867 (making it the oldest of the three Triple Crown races). What about Secretariat? When he won the 1973 Belmont by an enormous margin, he ran the first quarter in :23 4/5. But that was not the fastest initial quarter before Hot Rod Charlie. In 1945, The Doge set the record for the fastest opening quarter in the history of the Belmont when he was clocked in :22 4/5. In the 2014 book “The Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes: A Complete History,” Richard Sowers wrote this concerning the early part of the 1945 Belmont: “When the gate opened, Edward R. Bradley’s Burning Dream stumbled to his knees and fell far off the pace, while The Doge exploded like he had been shot out of a cannon. The Doge, an 11-1 shot ridden by John Gilbert, ran the first quarter in :22 4/5 -- which remains the fastest in a 1 1/2-mile Belmont -- a half-mile in :47, and led by 1 1/2 lengths after a mile [timed in 1:38 1/5]. At that point, The Doge was finished.” The Doge paid the price for running so swiftly early. He ran out of gas and finished seventh in the field of eight. The Doge ended up a little more than 24 lengths behind Pavot, who won by five lengths with the legendary Eddie Arcaro in the irons. There have been 95 editions of the Belmont at 1 1/2 miles. Hot Rod Charlie covered the opening half-mile in :46.49 or :46 2/5 in fifths. The only horse to post a faster time for the first half-mile was Secretariat, who was clocked in :46 1/5. Below are the horses responsible for the only :46 and change fractional times in the history of the Belmont at 1 1/2 miles: Year Time Horse, Finished (Winner if Different) 1973 :46 1/5 Secretariat, finished 1st2021 :46 2/5 Hot Rod Charlie, finished 2nd (Essential Quality)2013 :46 3/5 Frac Daddy, finished last in field of 14 (Palace Malice)1991 :46 3/5 Corporate Report, finished 4th (Hansel)1966 :46 3/5 Highest Honors, finished last in field of 13 (Amberoid)1959 :46 3/5 Manassa Mauler, finished 4th (Sword Dancer)1996 :46 4/5 Appealing Skier, finished 12th (Editor’s Note)1957 :46 4/5 Bold Ruler, finished 3rd (Gallant Man) Secretariat, believed by many to be the greatest racehorse of all time, is the only horse to ever run the first half in :46 and change and win. But the above chart also points out just how marvelously Hot Rod Charlie ran in defeat. Despite recording the second-fastest half-mile time in the history of the race when contested at 1 1/2 miles, he held on well enough to finish second, leaving the other six Belmont starters way behind. Hot Rod Charlie finished 11 1/4 lengths in front of Rombauer, who wound up a distant third in the field of eight. DECISION BY PRAT AND AGENT VINDICATED Flavien Prat rode Hot Rod Charlie when he finished a close third in the Kentucky Derby. Two days after that race, Prat and his agent, Brad Pegram, gave a commitment to trainer Doug O’Neill that Prat would ride Hot Ride Charlie in the Preakness. Prat and Pegram honored that commitment even after Prat then won the Preakness aboard Rombauer. That opened the door for John Velazquez to ride Rombauer in the Belmont. Hot Rod Charlie’s stellar effort in defeat in the Belmont would seem to indicate that Prat and his agent knew what they were doing. COMING HOME FASTER THAN SECRETARIAT Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie both ran a faster final quarter than Secretariat when he won the 1973 Belmont to end a 25-year Triple Crown drought. Secretariat traveled the final quarter in :25 flat. The following splits all belonged to Secretariat when he won the Belmont by 31 spectacular lengths: :23 3/5, :22 3/5, :23 3/5, :24 2/5, :24 4/5, 25 flat These were the splits in this year’s Belmont: :22 3/5, :23 3/5, :25 2/5, :25 1/5, :24 4/5, :24 3/5 Essential Quality, only a head off the leading Hot Rod Charlie at the quarter pole, is the one who ran the final quarter in :24 3/5. All the other splits belonged to Hot Rod Charlie. Hot Rod Charlie lost by 1 1/4 lengths. Tacking on one-fifth of a second because he lost by that much means that Hot Rod Charlie ran the final quarter in :24 4/5. When American Pharoah won the 2015 Belmont to end a 37-year Triple Crown drought, he also ran the final quarter faster than Secretariat in his Belmont. American Pharoah was timed running his final quarter in a sensational :24 1/5. The following splits in the 2015 Belmont all belonged to American Pharoah: :24 flat, :24 3/5, :24 2/5, :24 2/5, :24 1/5, :24 1/5 When Justify won the 2018 Belmont to complete a Triple Crown sweep in the final start of his career, the following splits all belonged to him: :23 1/5, :24 3/5, :25 flat, :24 4/5, :24 4/5, :25 1/5 WHO RAN THE BETTER RACE? There has been a spirited debate as to whether Essential Quality or Hot Rod Charlie ran the better race in the Belmont. Those who say it was Essential Quality point to the fact that, after all, he won. Does that not prove he ran the better race? He didn’t win in a photo finish, either. Those who say it was Hot Rod Charlie make the case that by going so fast early and still finishing second, he ran a better race than the winner. I believe both performances should be applauded. For me, this brings to mind the 1978 Jockey Club Gold Cup when a lot of people thought the runner-up ran a better race than the winner. In a thrilling stretch battle for the ages, Exceller won that race by a scant nose. But many felt runner-up Seattle Slew ran even better than Exceller to lose a 1 1/2-mile race by the slimmest of margins despite going the first six furlongs in a rapid 1:09 2/5. Years after that race, I was chatting with Exceller’s trainer, Charlie Whittingham, one morning at Santa Anita. The 1978 Jockey Club Gold Cup happened to come up during the course of our conversation. Let me tell you, I found out first-hand how irked Whittingham still was that Exceller did not seem to get the credit he deserved. “You know, Exceller WON that race,” Whittingham growled. “People seem to forget that.” A BUDDING RIVALRY? Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie now have met three times at three different tracks and at three different distances. In the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland last Nov. 6, Essential Quality was victorious by three-quarters of a length at odds of 7-2. Hot Rod Charlie ran second at 94-1. In the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1, Hot Rod Charlie was sent off at 5-1 and edged 5-2 favorite Essential Quality by a head for third. Last Saturday’s Belmont was their rubber match. The hope here is we will be seeing more battles between these two. ADAPTABLITYAND VERSATILITY One of Essential Quality’s many, yes, qualities, is he has demonstrated that he can win in so many different ways. When the pace has been slow or moderate, Essential Quality has won after racing forwardly early. When the pace has been fast, as it was in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Belmont Stakes, Essential Quality has produced the necessary rally to win after being many lengths off the early lead. In the Belmont, Essential Quality raced fifth early, six to seven lengths off the fast pace. Hot Rod Charlie was really motoring through the early furlongs when setting the pace while being hounded by Rock Your World. Essential Quality rallied to take on Hot Rod Charlie on the far turn. Turning for home, Rock Your World capitulated, leaving Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie to duke it out the rest of the way. From the top of the lane to the sixteenth pole, Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie slugged it out. And then, in the final sixteenth, Essential Quality flexed his muscles to prevail by a bit more than a length. Essential Quality’s versatility in terms of the range of distances at which he has succeeded is further proof that he is a special colt. He has won from six furlongs to 12 furlongs. Secretariat and Seattle Slew likewise won at distances ranging from six furlongs to 12 furlongs. Affirmed, who swept the Triple Crown in 1978, won from 5 1/2 furlongs to 12 furlongs, as did the phenomenal filly Ruffian. The two most recent Triple Crown winners, American Pharoah and Justify, both won from seven furlongs to 12 furlongs. BIG BEYER FIGURE FOR WINNER AND RUNNER-UP Watching Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie finish so far in front of the others gave the visual impression that the winner and runner-up both ran huge. That they did just that is quantified by the Beyer Speed Figures. Essential Quality was credited with a 109 Beyer. Hot Rod Charlie recorded a 108. Rombauer received a 95. To put Essential Quality’s 109 Beyer into historical context, it’s the highest figure by a Belmont winner since Empire Maker in 2003. Essential Quality and Hot Rod Charlie both recorded a higher Beyer in the Belmont than Triple Crown winners American Pharoah and Justify when they were victorious in the 1 1/2-mile marathon. American Pharoah’s Beyer when he won the Belmont was a 105. When Justify won the race, his Beyer was a 101. In fact, Essential Quality’s 109 and Hot Rod Charlie’s 108 are higher Beyers than the figures recorded by American Pharoah and Justify in any of their Triple Crown races. In an interview Monday on Steve Byk’s SiriusXM radio program “At the Races,” Andy Beyer said that when discussing the 109 Belmont figure for Essential Quality with associate Mark Hopkins, the only real debate was whether the figure could be higher than 109 rather than lower. Beyer explained that the reason for the figure possibly deserving to be higher than 109 is the previous dirt race on the card was the Met Mile, “which came up quite slow,” he said. Silver State, who won the Met Mile in 1:35.45, received a 100 Beyer Speed Figure. Beyer said that if they had gone with a 113 for Essential Quality, then “not-so-great horses” like Known Agenda, who finished fourth, and Bourbonic, who ran fifth, would be “these not-so-great horses going backward at the end, but still running their career bests. When we’re making figures, we want to make a number that really makes sense for most of the horses in the field. So we couldn’t be too generous to the likes of Bourbonic. But the 109, I think, really caught what these horses are.” Essential Quality’s final time in the Belmont was 2:27.11. It was the fifth-fastest Belmont in the last three decades. The five fastest Belmonts in the last 30 years are listed below: Time Winner (Year) 2:26.13 A.P. Indy (1992)2:26.56 Point Given (2001)2:26.65 American Pharoah (2015)2:26.82 Tabasco Cat (1994)2:27.11 Essential Quality (2021) When the 6-year-old gelding Lone Rock won last Saturday’s Grade II Brooklyn Stakes in isolated splendor by 11 1/4 lengths, he completed 1 1/2 miles on “big sandy” in 2:28.97. Lone Rock registered a 100 Beyer Speed Figure. The American Racing Manual, now digital only and available for free on The Jockey Club’s website, lists Beyer Speed Figures for Belmont winners going as far back as 1990. Point Given won the 2001 Belmont by 12 1/4 lengths. His 114 Beyer for that race has the distinction of being the highest figure for the Belmont. The Beyers of 107 or higher for Belmont winners are listed below: BSF Belmont Winner (Year) 114 Point Given (2001)111 A.P. Indy (1992)111 Hansel (1991)111 Go and Go (1990)110 Empire Maker110 Victory Gallop (1998)110 Touch Gold (1997)109 Essential Quality (2021)109 Lemon Drop Kid (1999)107 Rags to Riches (2007) These are the Beyers for winners of the Belmont going back to 1990: 2021 Essential Quality (109)2020 Tiz the Law (100)*2019 Sir Winston (95)2018 Justify (101)2017 Tapwrit (103)2016 Creator (99)2015 American Pharoah (105)2014 Tonalist (100)2013 Palace Malice (98)2012 Union Rags (96)2011 Ruler On Ice (100)2010 Drosselmeyer (94)2009 Summer Bird (100)2008 Da’ Tara (99)2007 Rags to Riches (107)2006 Jazil (102)2005 Afleet Alex (106)2004 Birdstone (101)2003 Empire Maker (110)2002 Sarava (105)2001 Point Given (114)2000 Commendable (101)1999 Lemon Drop Kid (109)1998 Victory Gallop (110)1997 Touch Gold (110)1996 Editor’s Note (106)1995 Thunder Gulch (101)1994 Tabasco Cat (106)1993 Colonial Affair (104)1992 A.P. Indy (111)1991 Hansel (111)1990 Go and Go (111) *Run at 1 1/8 miles As I noted last week, Secretariat’s 1973 Belmont predates Beyer Speed Figures. Andy Beyer once wrote that he retroactively calculated what Secretariat’s Beyer Speed Figure would have been for the Belmont. It would have been a 139. COX TURNED OUT TO BE PROPHETIC When Essential Quality stepped three furlongs in :35.60 at Keeneland last year on June 16 in his first workout for Brad Cox, the trainer recalls telling his assistant that this “is a Belmont horse,” or words to that effect. Nearly a year later, Essential Quality won the Belmont to provide his 41-year-old trainer with his first victory in a Triple Crown event. In addition to Essential Quality finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby for Cox, Mandaloun ran second in that race for the Eclipse Award-winning trainer of 2020. Medina Spirit finished first in the Derby, but the possibility remains that he might be disqualified because his post-race test and split sample reportedly showed the presence of the therapeutic medication betamethasone. If Medina Spirit is disqualified, Cox then would become the winning trainer of this year’s Kentucky Derby and Belmont with two different horses. Cox would be the first Louisville native to win the Kentucky Derby. Contributing to Essential Quality’s victory in the Belmont was a splendid ride on the part of 29-year-old Luis Saez. As with Cox, this was Saez’s first win in a Triple Crown race. Saez finished first aboard Maximum Security in the 2019 Kentucky Derby. But the stewards disqualified Maximum Security and placed him 17th for committing a foul when he veered out sharply nearing the five-sixteenths marker to cause interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy. TAPIT TIES LONGSTANDING SIRE RECORD Essential Quality is a son of Tapit and the Elusive Quality mare Delightful Quality. Cox has said many times that Essential Quality’s sire is something he had going for him in the Belmont. “With the Tapit on top, we really thought he would get the mile and a half when given the opportunity,” Cox told NYRA communications after the race. Also after the race, Cox complimented Hot Rod Charlie. “Hot Rod Charlie ran a tremendous race to hang around that late after doing most of the dirty work,” Cox said, adding that “our horse really showed his talent and stamina.” Tapit now has sired four winners of the Belmont: Tonalist in 2014, Creator in 2016, Tapwrit in 2017 and Essential Quality in 2021. Additionally, Tapit is the sire of two Belmont Stakes runners-up in Frosted and Tacitus. Frosted finished second when American Pharoah won the 2015 Belmont. Tacitus ran second to Sir Winston in the 2109 Belmont. Two sons of Tapit have finished third in the Belmont, Lani in 2016 and Hofburg in 2018. Tiz the Law won the last year’s 1 1/8-mile Belmont. Tiz the Law is by Constitution, a son of Tapit. Tapit now is tied with Lexington for siring the most winners of the Belmont. Lexington’s four winners of this race were General Duke in 1868, Kingfisher in 1870, Harry Bassett in 1871 and Duke of Magenta in 1878. GIGANTIC DAY FOR GODOLPHIN In an extraordinary achievement, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s powerful Godolphin racing operation won the Belmont and the historic Group I Epsom Derby with Adayar on the same day. Also last Saturday, Godolphin’s Althiqa and Summer Romance ran one-two in the Grade I Just a Game Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard. Charlie Appleby trains Adayar, Althiqa and Summer Romance. Appleby had planned to run UAE Derby winner Rebel’s Romance in the Belmont for Godolphin. But Rebel’s Romance was forced to miss the Belmont due to a hind leg infection. Godolphin also should be congratulated for having bred Essential Quality, Adayar, Althiqa and Rebel’s Romance. By the way, am I the only one that each time I come across the name Adayar, I can’t help seeing it at first as Alydar? JIM DANDY AND/OR TRAVERS NEXT The next major goal for Essential Quality, according to Cox, is the Grade I Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 28. A possible start before that is the Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes at that venerable race course on July 31. Of course, the biggest remaining 2021 objective for Essential Quality is the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on Nov. 6. CURRENT LEADER FOR ECLIPSE AWARD Essential Quality, at this time, is the clear-cut leader in the race for the 2021 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. If Essential Quality does receive that Eclipse Award, he will become a rare champion as a 2-year-old and 3-year-old. How rare? Since Spectacular Bid (1979 and 1980), the only others to accomplished this particular double have been Lookin At Lucky (2009 and 2010) and American Pharoah (2014 and 2015). THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS Silver State and Essential Quality are newcomers in the Top 10 of the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll this week. This poll concludes on Nov. 8 (after the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar on Nov. 5 and 6). Silver State, who extended his winning streak to six by taking the Met Mile. rocketed all the way up to No. 2 after being No. 13 last week. Essential Quality debuts this week on the Top Thoroughbred Poll at No. 9. Colonel Liam and Shedaresthedevil exit the Top 10 this week after loses last Saturday at Belmont Park. Colonel Liam finished eighth in the Grade I Manhattan Stakes (won by Domestic Spending). Shedaresthedevil ran third in the Grade I Ogden Phipps Stakes (won by Letruska). The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 337 Mystic Guide (27)2. 242 Silver State (1)3. 240 Letruska4. 234 Domestic Spending (6)5. 161 Charlatan6. 134 Maxfield (1)7. 131 Monomoy Girl8. 121 Gamine (1)9. 118 Essential Quality (1)10. 49 Knicks Go Essential Quality received all 37 first-place votes in final NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll of 2021. Search Results and Drain the Clock, who won Grade I races at Belmont Park last Saturday, are newcomers on this week’s Top 10. Search Results was victorious in the Grade I Acorn Stakes. Drain the Clock took the Grade I Woody Stephens Stakes. The undefeated Life Is Good moved back into the Top 10 this week. He ranked No. 11 last week. Jackie’s Warrior was No. 8, Rock Your World was No. 9 and Known Agenda was No. 10 last week. They all drop out of the Top 10 this week. Jackie’s Warrior ran second in the Woody Stephens. Known Agenda and Rock Your World finished fourth and sixth, respectively, in the Belmont. The Top 10 in the final NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll of 2021: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 370 Essential Quality (37)2. 298 Hot Rod Charlie3. 282 Rombauer4. 227 Mandaloun5. 177 Malathaat6. 164 Medina Spirit7. 147 Midnight Bourbon8. 74 Search Results9. 66 Drain the Clock10. 48 Life Is Good  

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6.8.2021:

Northfield Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Northfield Park will start the week with a 15-Race card. 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 113-Jk Parlay (3/1)-Makes the 2nd start off the bench and was cashing checks versus $15k claimers in February before being put away. Doesn't have great gate speed but should find a good seat, maybe in the pocket behind #4.4-Cougar Bait (2-1)-Wired the $6k claimers on 6-1 and went off at 6/5. Getting on the engine seems like a likelihood and Wrenn may look to follow the same script tonight.6-Bourbans Best (9/2)-Finished behind #4 in last and had the same post. Merriman is back and is making the 3rd start for the Rhoades Barn. Took the long way around last week, if the fractions are honest and the trip is more efficient it could lead to the 5th picture in 21 tries this year.Race 124-Clairmont (7-1)-Defeated the $7k claimers on 5-11 and then faced tougher in the last 3 starts. This is a better level for success. Lake could get aggressive from this post and be in striking range at a solid price.5-In Commando (5/2)-Claimed last week by the Rhoades barn and goes from a 2nd tier starting spot to a prime post draw. This 12-year-old has 6 wins in 20 starts this year and drops in for the same $8k tag as last time. Merriman steers and he is familiar with this veteran who could be sitting on a big try.Race 132-Doowrah Boy (3-1)-This colt has hit the board in 6 of 10 lifetime and has won 3 of 6 at NFLD. Had no chance in last after a soft half and has taken the long way around racing wide in the last 2 starts. Best chance for success from this post would be to leave and the get the top or settle in the pocket behind #5. Should be a player if Grismore can provide a good steer.5-Express All That (4-1)-Leaves from a coveted post, Merriman steers and takes a meaningful drop but is only 1-15 lifetime. The overall record might be cause for pause but probably best to not overlook. Could be a better horse on the 1/2 mile track here than on the 5/8's at the Meadows. Has made 2 starts at NFLD notching a win and a 2nd place finish.Race 144-Vague Traces (4-1)-Nine-year-old has only 3 wins in 31 races the last 2 years but drops to a spot to shine. Seems to do his best work racing near the top of the stack and has the gate speed to be forwardly placed. Should be in the hunt with an alert start.5-Isowantapetrock (2-1)-Merriman steered last week and has the lines again. He was aggressive leaving from post 7 and did get the top but was parked past the quarter pole. That trip took its toll, faded down the lane to finish a close 3rd but could avenge that loss this time. The trip should be smoother with this post draw and will likely land on the point or in the 2 hole.$1 Late Pick 43,4,6/4,5/2,5/4,5Total Bet=$24Check me out on Twitter!

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6.7.2021:

Monday Myths: Is Monmouth Harder to Handicap?

Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities.Assumption:Monmouth’s new no-whip restrictions would create uncertainty in handicapping.Background:Three weeks of racing have now been conducted at New Jersey’s Monmouth Park, which outlawed the use of whips in races in 2021. The announcement immediately caused consternation among many jockeys and horseplayers, concerned about safety and trust of competition factors. The racing has been relatively incident-free in terms of the safety concerns, knock on wood. That portion obviously is open for debate in other forums. As for the horses performing to their expected level and form based on public perception in the mutuel pools, that’s where a study of the results can shed light.Data Points:I dialed up the Betmix database to track all 67 races at Monmouth since the new season and rules began, as well as races to compare from past Monmouth seasons and races of similar field size.Overall Findings:Favorites are winning 48% to start the current Monmouth meet without whips.Favorites won 38% at Monmouth during all 2020 racing in a pandemic-altered schedule with whips.Favorites won 45% at Monmouth during 2019 pre-pandemic (traditional schedule) with whips.Adjusted for field sizes of 8 or more:Favorites are winning 44% in fields of 8 or more at the current Monmouth meet without whips.Favorites won 36% at Monmouth during all 2020 racing in a pandemic-altered schedule with whips.Favorites won 42% at Monmouth during 2019 pre-pandemic (traditional schedule) with whips.The average winner is paying 3.64-1 odds to start the current Monmouth Meet without whips.The average winner paid 5.93-1 odds at Monmouth during all 2020 racing in a pandemic-altered schedule with whips.The average winner paid 4.18-1 at Monmouth during 2019 pre-pandemic (traditional schedule) with whips.6% of races have been won by upsetters at 10-1 or more in odds at the current Monmouth meet without whips.11% of races have been won by upsetters at 10-1 or more in odds at Monmouth during all 2020 racing in a pandemic-altered schedule with whips.9% of races have been won by upsetters at 10-1 or more in odds at Monmouth during 2019 pre-pandemic (traditional schedule) with whips.Bottom line:Racing without whips has produced the highest percentage of winning favorites over the past 3 seasons – even when adjusted for field size – as well as the lowest average win returns and the lowest percentage of longshot winners at 10-1 or more. We’re just over 10% into the number of races offered annually at Monmouth, so it’s still very early to draw conclusions. But you’d have to agree that the data so far indicates the fears of tote chaos are greatly unfounded and exaggerated. The lack of whips used by riders in the Monmouth races so far has had no negative impact on the public’s ability to evaluate the horses.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, see which jockeys or trainers have fared best in certain situations with the new rules. Interestingly so far, the top of the jockey standings in 2021 look exactly as they did in 2019 pre-pandemic with Jose Ferrer, Nik Juarez and Paco Lopez still enjoying great

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6.6.2021:

Sunday, June 06: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse has a 14-race card slated with features involving 3-year-old Illinois bred trotters. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 starts in Race 11. 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 112-Ryans Ambassador (7/5)-Program chalk is only 1-20 at Haw and 4 for 38 lifetime so the 7/5 price isn't a bargain but does fit well with this crew. Drops to a better level and Wilfong should have the 4-year-old in striking range at the top of lane.6-Final Prize (4-1)-Gets class and post relief plus a positive driver change. So, there's a lot to like and this 4-year-old should be in the hunt. Ridge Warren could work a stalking trip to capture the 2nd win in 8 tries in Stickney.Race 121-Mayor Virgin (9/5)-Winner of 2 straight steps-up but is in a spot to race near the top of the stack and that has worked in previous starts. This barn has done well over the last month and Leonard should give the 3-year-old a chance to win again.2-Fox Valley Sampson (3-1)-This is a risky play, has broken stride in 6 of the last 9 starts. Does have 1 win in 2 Haw races and has the speed to be a player if minds its manners.7-Everychanceitake (9/2)-Draws post 7 for the 2nd consecutive time and didn't have the easiest of trips last week but almost caught #1. If Husted can work a more efficient journey this 3-year-old should offer a square price.Race 134-Mr No Fear (3-1)-Not loving the 3-1 price on a horse that doesn't pass anyone down the lane. But draws well, and gets a ++ driver's change. Wilfong could make a difference and help this 3-year-old break his maiden.5-Born Desire (5-1)-Three-year-old 1st time starter had a nice qualifier at Haw on 5-29. Took the lead and didn't look back and paced the back half in 58.3. Could win right out of the box and should offer a solid price.9-Fox Valley Lynyrd (8-1)-This is a 4-year-old making its debut and had a good qualifier on 5-22. Raced in 156.3 and came the back half in 55.2. Not sure the wrapper will come off from post 9 but best to respect. Kept rolling in the qualifier and went by others down the lane.Race 143-Countercurrency (9/5)-Comes off 2 sharp efforts and now Wilfong steers which shouldn't hurt chances. Closed in a sizzling 26.3 to cash a 2nd place check and will look for another strong effort with a better pilot in the bike.5-Sweet But Psycho (7/2)-Left quickly in the last 2 starts to get the lead. That worked against easier and not at this class. Best chance tonight might be to enjoy a cozy pocket ride behind the morning line choice and then take a swing down the lane.My Ticket Race 11) 2,6 Race 12) 1,2,7 Race 13) 4,5,9 Race 14) 3,5Total Ticket Cost) $18 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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6.6.2021:

Sunday, June 6: Santa Anita Picks & Analysis

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click Here to view Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: BUse: 1-One Flew South; 2-Evening Sun; 3-I Will NotForecast: The main contention is drawn inside in the Sunday opener, a first-level allowance turf sprint for older horses. One Flew South crushed a starter’s allowance field over the local lawn last month with a career-equaling speed figure and with a similar effort today he’ll be hard to beat right back. The son of Giant’s Causeway projects to settle into a good ground-saving, stalking position and the kick home when called upon. I Will Not exits a fast dirt sprint and will appreciate this return to turf. Highly-competitive on pure numbers and with a good stalking style, the D. O’Neill-trained son of Square Eddie is a major player at 9/2 on the morning line. European shipper Evening Sun has Timeform ratings that make him a fit at this level and a work tab that should have him fit and ready for a big effort in his U.S. debut. He’s a first-time Lasix, first-time gelding for J. Mullins and lands top grass rider U. Rispoli, so at 4-1 on the morning line he’s a “must use” in rolling exotic play.RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Gotta Be Lucky; 3-You Wanna Ear RipForecast: You Wanna Ear Rip stretches out again and a repeat of her good runner-up effort over this track and distance two runs back should be good enough to handle this modest $10,000 claiming group of older fillies and mares. Gotta Be Lucky adds blinkers and seems certain to employ gate-to-wire tactics from the rail. Fourth in the same race our top pick exits, the daughter of Lucky Pulpit has finished first or second in six of 12 starts over the Santa Anita main track and should produce her usual honest effort again.RACE 3: Post: 2:07 PT Grade: B+Single: 3-FrazzledForecast: Each of the five entrants has credentials to win this starter optional claiming turf event for sophomore fillies but rather than “buy” the race we’ll take a stand and single Frazzled. First off the claim for R. Baltas, the daughter of Outwork can be expected to produce a significant forward move for her new connections in a race that will be slowly run early and may allow her to inherit the role as the controlling speed. A sharp recent training track workout for her new connections catches the eye, so at 2-1 on the morning line we’ll make her a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 4: Post: 2:41 PT Grade: XSingle: 5-Supersonic FlyerForecast: Supersonic Flyer is listed as the 2/5 morning line favorite in this six-runner maiden claiming sprint for state-bred fillies and mares. She projects to enjoy the easiest of front-running trips and though she was worn down late in a similar spot last month she has a sixteenth of a mile less to worry about and speed figures that tower over the field. In an unplayable race, she’s a no value rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post: 3:15 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Cinnte Winte; 3-Bellize; 4-Mongolian MissionForecast: Cinnte Winte makes the all-important class drop from straight maiden to maiden claiming, lands the good rail, switches to U. Rispoli and is a solid fit on speed figures. She’s a legitimate 9/5 morning line favorite in this one mile turf affair for fillies and mares. Bellize, a willing fourth vs. similar last time out with a career top speed figure, should be closer to the pace today and have every chance from the quarter pole home. Mongolian Mission returns to her proper level and ran well over this course and distance when beaten a neck in her debut earlier this year. A repeat of that race today puts her in the fray at 5-1 on the morning line.RACE 6: Post: 3:48 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Smoothlikebuttah; 4-Ultimate HyForecast: Smoothlikebuttah switches to F. Prat, is guaranteed a ground-saving trip from the rail, has worked quite well since raced and shows a prior win over this track and distance. Second at 6/5 in a similar affair in late April, she gets an ideal spot to make amends and offers value at or near her morning line of 4-1. Ultimate Hy is the likely choice and one to beat based on her grass form, but this will be her first career start on dirt. Based strictly on pedigree she shouldn’t have any issues with the main track, but we’ll just have to see. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Smoothlikebuttah due to price considerations.RACE 7: Post: 4:21 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Whatmakessammyrun; 3-Missy P.Forecast: Missy P. was disappointing when having to settle for second at odds of 30 cents on the dollar behind stable mate Astute in the Angel’s Flight S. last month, but she’s trained very well since and switches to grass while taking on the boys in this year’s renewal of the Desert Code S. If she can transfer her dirt form to turf, she’s fast enough to win based purely on speed figures so we’ll give her the slight edge on top over Whatmakessammyrun, was a convincing winner over this course and distance in his West Coast debut in early May in a race that charts very well here despite the class hike. The M. Glatt-trained colt should settle in the second flight and then have dead aim from the top of the lane to the wire. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 8: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: B+Single: 6-RayrayForecast: Rayray exits a series of much stronger allowance races and should find this starter optional claiming field well within his capabilities. The City Zip gelding has several speed figures on his resume that are more than good enough win, and in a field lacking in early speed the M. Glatt-trained 5-year-old should find himself in a good stalking position without having to be used much to get there. He also benefits from a break in the weights with the switch to J. Pyfer so at 5/2 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 9: Post: 5:26 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Fantail; 4-Ivy League; 5-JazziqueForecast: The finale is a competitive affair for entry-level allowance fillies and mares that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Ivy League is steadily improving for R. Mandella, having earned a career top speed figure when a respectable fourth in the Providencia S.-G3 in early April. Freshened, working well, dropping in class and shortening to a mile, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro has plenty of upside and should be capable of producing a winning late kick. Fantail failed to run to her backing when a troubled sixth in her U.S. debut last month as the favorite, but we expect the R. Baltas-trained filly to leave that form behind today while stretching out to a much more suitable trip. She continues to work impressively, retains F. Prat, and figures to be prominent throughout. Jazzique was a bit rusty in her local bow in her first outing since last July when a non-threatening sixth in a recent grass sprint but seems certain to improve today in her second start off a layoff while stretching out to a more favorable distance. All three should be used in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Ivy League.

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6.6.2021:

Sunday, June 6: Golden Gate Fields Late Pick 4 Ticket

Golden Gate has only one week of racing remaining after this one, meaning there are a few more chances to harvest some Late Picks Fours. Sunday’s sequence is in the normal slot of races six through nine and includes a couple of claiming races, a starter allowance and an allowance event.Here’s a look at the suggested $75 ticket:Race 6 (6:50 p.m. ET, starter allowance)RESPECT THE HUSTLE is having a good year with a three of five record. Comes off a courageous score and stays on turf. POUR ON THE COLE drops out of an allowance and runs a shorter distance; gets back to good form here. SHOT OF A LIFETIME missed by a nose after setting the pace last out. Can be in close attendance throughout and turns back in distance by a sixteenth.Race 7 (7:20 p.m. ET, claiming)LINGUA FRANCA rallied mildly for this last out and could sustain a strong bid against this group. GRAY GEM stretches out after setting the pace in a sprint last out; has a chance to cruise on the front end and could be difficult to catch. MOONLIGHT BLUE should be able to get a perfect stalking trip just off the leader and could capture this with a well-timed move. CURRY NATION ran on for second last out and is getting closer to getting it done; can benefit from the pace. AIGLE drops to his lowest level and could wake up in this spot; should be able to show an energetic stretch run.Race 8 (7:50 p.m. ET, allowance)ON RAGLAN ROAD was up in time against claimers last out and gets back to the allowance ranks; tough if he runs back to that effort. CLAIM OF PASSION improved position against a slow pace last out and should get a better scenario for his late move. DESCARTES will vie for pacesetting duties and comes off a second against good company. READY SAY GO occasionally fires late and he could get the pace he needs. GAUGUIN didn’t respond in his first local spot but has several races on his form that would make him a factor here.Race 9 (8:20 p.m. ET, claiming)NIGHT GIG was highly impressive as he closed well and won going away in a starter allowance last out. Good in his last four and will be difficult to beat. CANNONBALL COMIN could be the one to do it as he comes in with solid form and was third at this level last out; always in the hunt.My Ticket Race 6) #1 Respect the Hustle, #3 Pour On the Cole, #5 Shot of a Lifetime.Race 7) #3 Lingua Franca, #4 Gray Gem, #5 Moonlight Blue, #6 Curry Nation, #7 Aigle.Race 8) #2 On Raglan Road, #4 Claim of Passion, #7 Descartes, #8 Ready Say Go, #10 Gauguin.Race 9) #3 Night Gig, #5 Cannonball Comin.Total Ticket Cost) 1,3,5/3,4,5,6,7/2,4,7,8,10/3,5 = $75 for $0.50

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6.5.2021:

Saturday, June 05: Northfield Park Battle of Lake Erie Analysis

Beginning in 1986, the Battle of Lake Erie is the longest running stake race at Northfield Park and one their most notable events. Tonight, there is a solid field of nine pacers going postward in Race 10 and they will be competing for a share of a $200,000 purse. This Is The Plan leads the field in money earned with over $2.1 million in the bank and the Ron Burke trainee is the 2-1 morning line choice.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 10-Battle of Lake Erie-Free For All Pace-Purse $200,0001-Western Joe (7/2)-Arron Merriman is between the pipes replacing usual pilot Dexter Dunn. Merriman knows this track like few others and if Joe is dialed on high he could take a picture. Not sure the rail is the best post draw for this classy 7-year-old but should be a major threat regardless.2-Little Rocket Man (8-1)-Did get in a race over the NFLD surface on 5-16 and paced the back half in a quick .54. Trainer Melisa Essig commented the 5-year-old was a little steppy going into the 1st turn and they will adjust his hobbles, otherwise they were pleased. Regular pilot John De Long will be steering as he was in the last HoP start on 5-29. That night Rocket Man blasted out of the gate with a swift 25.4 opening quarter and made every call a winning one. The program chalks (#3-#1-#4) are making their NFLD debut and maybe having a race over this surface will serve this price shot well.3-This Is The Plan (2-1)-This 6-year-old has big gate speed, if he gets the top and Gingras can steal a quarter it could be trouble for every foe. The son of Somebeachsomewhere can be a handful to drive and at times looks very uncomfortable behind the gate. The morning line favorite should be a main player but probably at a short price.4-Stars Align A (4-1)-Winner of 2 straight since joining the Bongiorno barn faces a big test and hasn't raced since 5-1. Comes into town off a sharp qualifier on 5-29 at the Big M and should be forwardly placed. Does have a 148.0 mark at Dayton on the 5/8s' but my thinking is others could be better suited for a top effort tonight.5-Hesa Kingslayer N (15-1)-Makes NFLD debut and this longshot will probably be hard pressed to hit the board unless the fractions are hot and Wrenn works a great trip. The quick fractions part of the equation should happen but will likely need to take the long way around.6-Gold Digger King (12-1)-Winner of 3 straight makes a nice living on the Ohio circuit but not against this kind. Has never won at NFLD in 4 starts and is unlikely to take a picture battling this company.7-Century Farroh (6-1)-Last year's Breeder Crown Champ has a third place finish in one start at NFLD. The post makes the price and can leave as fast as the gate car but others inside can boast the same. Appears to have a good chance at adding some juice to the gimmicks but it would be tough to cash the top check with this post draw.8-Southwind Amazon (20-1)-Local hero has won 7 of the last 8 and loves the NFLD oval booking 70 wins in 129 starts. This 11-year-old is as game as they come but the outside post draw has sealed his fate and he is not facing Open Handicap company this evening.9-Catch the Fire (10-1)-Knows how to win on a 5/8's oval versus top competition, but leaving from the 2nd tier is a tall task. Not sure how Brett Miller gets this 4-year-old into the race. Has won 2 straight but has not faced anything close to this level of competition and would need racing luck to extend that streak.$6 Exacta 2/1,3-Total Bet=$12$4 Exacta 2/4,7-Total Bet=$8$4 Exacta 1,3/2-Total Bet=$8$2 Exacta 4,7/2-Total Bet=$4Check me out on Twitter!

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6.5.2021:

Saturday, June 5: Jeff Siegel's Belmont Stakes Full-Card Picks

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play. RACE 1: Post: 11:35 ET Grade: XUse: 3-Hagler; 4-Wit Forecast: Wit, a $575,000 Keeneland yearling purchase and a half-brother to Longacres Mile-G3 winner Barkley, debuts for T. Pletcher following a promising series of drills both at Palm Meadows and most recently over the Belmont Park training track. This does not look like a particularly strong field so he’s sure to get plenty of play and in fact is listed as the 8/5 morning line favorite. He’s the logical top pick but if he’s truly the goods the action will show, and he’ll probably be too short to play. Hagler has the benefit of a prior run such as it was, a second place finish in a three-runner affair last month. Though he was beaten five lengths the son of Tapiture earned a good speed figure in a fast event, one that makes him strictly the one to beat. Both should be included in rolling exotic play in a race that might be best left alone. RACE 2: Post: 12:09 ET Grade: B-Use: 4-Migrate; 6-Pipeline; 8-Ranger Fox Forecast: Here’s another maiden affair, this one for older state-bred runners competing over seven furlongs on grass. In a wide open heat, let’s take a stab at a price. Migrate is a first-timer by Candy Ride from the multiple stakes-producing mare Mama Tia and brought $575,000 at Keeneland as a yearling. The W. Mott-trained colt tuned up for his debut with a bullet gate work (5f, 1:00.2hg, fastest of 5) at Saratoga and before that did some good work over the deep Payson Park training track in South Florida. He’s 8-1 on the morning line and could easily be better than that. Ranger Fox is the likely choice and one to beat. The son of Nyquist missed by a neck over the local lawn last month in a legitimate race that produced a solid speed figure, and if builds on that effort today it will take something pretty good to outrun him. Pipeline was wide and green in his debut when fifth to the highly promising First Captain, and though he was beaten more than eight lengths the son of Speightstown earned a strong speed figure, one that makes him a major threat. We suspect the C. Brown-trained colt will step forward, especially with the switch to grass. RACE 3: Post: 12:47 ET Grade: XUse: 3-Jackie’s Warrior; 4-Dream Shake Forecast: Jackie’s Warrior returned to top form with a gutsy win in the Pat Day Mile S.-G2 at Churchill Downs five weeks ago, has trained well since, and deserves the edge on top due in no small part to his victory over this track last fall in the Champagne S.-G1 that produced a career top speed figure. Clearly most effective around one turn, the son of Maclean’s Music should be the controlling speed once again but at 7/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower he won’t be offering much wagering value. Dream Shake, beaten a head by ‘Warrior at Churchill Downs, gets a two pound break in the weights compared to his chief rival and is guaranteed a comfortable stalking trip outside. He’ll have every chance once again will need nothing less than his “A” game. RACE 4: Post: 1:22 ET Grade: BUse: 3-Campaign; 8-Tizamagician; 9-Lone Rock Forecast: Let’s zero in on a long shot in this year’s renewal of the Brooklyn S.-G2 for older stayers at a mile and one-half. Campaign, fourth but beaten less than a length in this race two years ago, hasn’t gotten involved in three 2021 marathon outings but might perk up considerably today with the addition of blinkers. The veteran son of Curlin has given himself way too much to do of late but if he be within shouting distance when the field hits the far turn he may have a shot to grind out a win. With the switch to L. Saez and at 12-1 on the morning line, the J. Sadler-trained 6-year-old may be worth a bit of a gamble. Lone Rock, vastly improved since stretching out to the longer distances, has won five of his last six starts and has the type of tactical speed that makes him tough no matter what the pace scenario turns out to be. He’s strong in the speed figure department and though moving up in class semes quite capable of competing at this level. At 9/2 on the morning line, he’s a “must use.” Tizamagician didn’t have a lot behind him when easily winning the Tokyo City S.-G3 at Santa Anita in mid-April but relishes these types of races and will be especially tough if he’s allowed to establish the pace without pressure. First or second in 10 of 16 career starts, the son of Tiznow seems certain to fire another big shot. RACE 5: Post: 2:01 ET Grade: XUse: 4-Dayoutoftheoffice; 6-Search Results Forecast: Search Results had her undefeated record snapped in her fourth career start when missing in a photo to Malathaat in the Kentucky Oaks-G1 in late April in a gallant effort that produced a career top speed figure. She shortens to a one-turn mile while drawing nicely outside, and projects to inherit an ideal pace-stalking trip. The daughter of Flatter is listed at even money on the morning line and on resume deserves to be, but she’d better bring his best effort in a race that came up especially strong. Dayoutoftheoffice, the winner of the Frizette S.-G1 over this track and distance during her terrific juvenile campaign, was worn down late in the seven-furlong Eight Belles S.-G2 earlier on the Oaks program in Kentucky but makes a major jockey switch to Johnny V. and will be on or near the lead throughout. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics. RACE 6: Post: 2:41 PT Grade: B+Use: 6-Bound for Nowhere; 10-Stubbins; 12-Sombeyay Forecast: This year’s renewal of the Jaipur S.-G2 for turf sprinters came up fairly contentious, but with a paucity of early speed signed on, the pace flow is difficult to predict. Bound for Nowhere certainly doesn’t need the lead to win but in a field such as this the high-class veteran may find himself enjoying an unpressured front-running trip. A perfect 1-for-1 over sprinting over the Belmont Park turf course, the son of The Factor is fast on numbers, retains J. Rosario, and is fresh from a superior winning performance in the Shakertown S.-G2 at Keeneland. He’ll get the main push in rolling exotic play, but we’ll include Stubbins and Sombeyay on a back-up ticket. The former has been away since September but has trained well enough to fire a big shot off the bench and can turn it on late if given the patient ride her prefers. The latter, a strong second in graded stakes turf sprint company in his last two outings, will have clear sailing outside and is much more dangerous than his 12-1 morning line would lead you to believe. RACE 7: Post: 3:18 ET Grade: BUse: 3-Letruska; 5-Shedaresthedevil; 7-Bonny South Forecast: Shedaresthedevil may be the controlling speed, or she might find herself stalking or pressing the Apple Blossom upset winner Letruska, who also does her best running on the front end. ‘Devil is drawn outside her pace rival and can dictate the race flow, but If they hook up early, the race could set up nicely for Bonny South, the best of the closers. Any one of these three can win depending upon how the race shapes out so we’ll include all three in our rolling exotics but otherwise stay out of it. RACE 8: Post: 3:58 ET Grade: B+Use: 4-Regal Glory; 6-Pocket Square; 8-Althiqa Forecast: This year’s edition of the Just A Game S.-G1 is a terrific event with a strong international flavor. Group-2 winner Althiqa arrives from Dubai following a pair of outstanding performances during the winter carnival, including a thoroughly convincing score in the Cape Verdi S-G3 over a mile in January and then a better-than-looked third place effort behind stable mate-Summer Romance in the Balanchine S.-G2 the following month. In the latter race the daughter of Dark Angel was victimized by a lack of pace and did well to finish as close as she did over a nine furlong trip that stunted her exceptional turf of foot. Clearly capable of firing a big shot fresh and with a devasting late kick that should be well served by this course and distance, the Godolphin homebred has Timeform ratings that are good enough to beat this field and at 8-1 on the morning line offers enticing value both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play. Pocket Square was a visually stunning winner of an overnight race at Keeneland in her U.S. debut and could easily be this good. She was a Group-3 winner at Deauville as a 2-year-old and rates a major chance at 5-1 on the morning line. Regal Glory has returned to elite form, winning her last pair with good stalking trips and strong speed figures, most recently the listed Plenty of Grace S. in her seasonal bow at the Big A in mid-April. One of four C. Brown entrants in the race, she was a two-time graded stakes winner at Saratoga as a 3-year-old. RACE 9: Post: 4:42 ET Grade: XSingle: 6-Knicks Go Forecast: Knicks Go may have found the Saudi Cup’s world class competition a bit too strong – especially when asked to go head-and-head with Charlatan and with Mishriff in the catbird seat – but the gifted son of Paynter has been given more than three months off to recover from that physically taxing assignment, shortens to a mile, faces a favorable pace picture, and lands the cozy outside box in this year’s Met Mile, making him the obvious top pick at 6/5 on the morning line. The B. Cox-trained horse has worked like he’s ready to fire his best shot, and the winner of the last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile-G1 and this winter’s Pegasus World Cup should get his confidence back against a field he’s clearly good enough to handle. It all adds up to a short price rolling exotic single. RACE 10: Post: 5:38 ET Grade: BUse: 4-Domestic Spending; 9-Gufo; 10-Colonial Liam Forecast: Domestic Spending and Colonial Liam finished in a dead-heat for first in the Turf Classic-G1 over a mile and one-eighth at Churchill Downs last month and they figure to fight it out again in this year’s 10 furlong Manhattan S.-G1. They’re almost impossible to separate, but we’ll give ‘Spending a very slight edge on top this time only because of a more favorable inside draw that might lead to a better (ground-saving) trip. We’re splitting hairs, though. Gufo should be included as well. The stretch-running son of Declaration of War may be a bit pace dependent but he’s getting six pounds from the two main players and his numbers continue to rise with each outing. RACE 11: Post: 6:49 ET Grade: BUse: 3-Rombauer; 4-Hot Rod Charlie; 7-Rock Your World Forecast: Rock Your World was supposed to be on the lead – or at least very close to it – when second choice in the Kentucky Derby-G1, but whatever chance he may have had went out the window two strides leaving of the gate when he was squeezed back, bobbled, and found himself near the rear of the 19-runner field in the opening furlong. We’re tossing the race out. This time, with just seven other runners to contend with, the son of Candy Ride will hopefully leave cleanly and establish the running, just as he did when trouncing the Kentucky Derby first place finisher Medina Spirit in the Santa Anita Derby-G1 two races back. A sizzling five furlong workout last week in :58 2/5 seconds (before galloping out seven furlongs in 1:25 and change) tells that J. Rosario won’t be waiting around for anybody when the latch is sprung. Rombauer was a thoroughly convincing winner of the Preakness three weeks ago while leaving his previous form far behind. If he can repat that type of performance and extend his range to the Belmont’s marathon 12 furlong distance, the son of Twirling Candy may very well be the one to fear most. He won’t be 11-1 this time, nor should he. Hot Rod Charlie doesn’t really have a turn of foot, but he acts like he will stay forever with his one-paced, grinding style sure to serve him well in this mile and one-half journey. He’s run eight times, and in every outing his speed figure has risen. With another forward move today, the son of Oxbow will be a major factor ever step of the way. As for the race’s 2-1 morning line favorite Essential Quality, you can use him if you’d like. Other than our (very slight) concern that this distance may be farther than he wants, the son of Tapit has an admirable resume and certainly should be forwardly placed and within striking range throughout. RACE 12: Post: 7:34 ET Grade: B+Single: 2-Runaway Rumour Forecast: The trouble line in the past performance chart last month for debut winner Runaway Rumour does not do her justice. The extended (accurate) version of her trip note should read: “broke poorly and quickly fell back to trail, advanced on her own courage midway to move within range to the head of the lane while saving ground, found plenty of room when angling outside entering the upper stretch and then gobbled up the leaders with an electric turn of foot to win going away while being eased up in the closing stages.” Today, the daughter of Flintshire gets an extra furlong to work with, so despite the raise to the first level allowance condition she appears quite capable of winning right back from what should be a favorable inside post position. At 5-1 on the morning line, she’s a win play and rolling exotic single. RACE 13: Post: 8:05 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Price Talk/1a-Value Engineering; 3-Microsecond Forecast: The Klaravich Stable entry of Price Talk and Value Engineering could be used as a single in rolling exotic play simply because you get two for the price of one and either one could win. In fact, we half way expect they’ll finish one-two. Price Talk has speed figure that have risen with each of his five career starts and today at this nine furlong trip the son of Kitten’s Joy should again produce a career top. He’s reunited with “win rider” J. Lezcano, and though beaten as the choice in his last two starts at this level we’re expecting the 4-year-old gelding to be well-paced in the second flight and then have dead from the quarter pole home. Value Engineering is an excellent piece of insurance just in case Price Talk doesn’t step forward. The C. Brown-trained son of Lemon Drop Kid has been away since August, but his steady, healthy work tab should have him plenty fit enough for a barn that hits with 27% with layoff runners. He’s fast on numbers and has the proper second flight style that should guarantee a clean journey. Microsecond may wind up being the controlling speed, especially from the rail, and if not respected on the front end could take this field a very long way. The T. Pletcher-trained gelding was nailed right on the money vs. similar last time out but shortens up a furlong today and has shown the versatility to win from mid-pack and on the front end.

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6.5.2021:

Saturday, June 5: Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Park 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 View Today’s Santa Anita Workout Report RACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: XSingle: 3-I Got No Munny Forecast: I Got No Munny demolished a slightly softer starter’s allowance field over this track and distance last month and if he can turn in two alike the Munnings gelding should have no difficulty repeating despite the minor class hike. On pure numbers he’s a standout, one of the main reasons he is listed at 4/5 on the morning line. You can use him as a short price rolling exotic single or simply pass the race. RACE 2: Post: 1:32 PT Grade: B+Single: 1-Feeling Grazeful Forecast: Feeling Grazeful was very well-meant in her debut, but a slow start cost her valuable early position and the daughter of Grazen did well to finish a promising second while seven lengths clear of the rest. If she can leave cleanly today from the rail, the W. Spawr-trained sophomore will be hard to beat in this maiden state-bred sprint. At or near her morning line of 8/5, she’s a win play and rolling exotic single. RACE 3: Post: 2:03 PT Grade: XSingle: 3-Reedley Forecast: Here’s another short price favorite that should win but won’t offer any real wagering value. Listed at 4/5 on the morning line, Reedley is a first-off-the-claim play for J. Mullins (strong stats with this angle), and though he missed at a similar price last time out when worn down late the veteran son of Paynter should fire a shot similar to his highly-rated score two runs back that produced a career top speed figure. E. Maldonado stays aboard and knows him well and should have this 5-year-old on the front end throughout as a no-value rolling exotic single. RACE 4: Post: 2:33 PT Grade: C+Use: 2-Big Andy; 4-Mucha Woman; 6-Varoma Forecast: Mucha Woman returns to the main track, clearly her preferred surface, and the D. O’Neill-trained filly also stretches out again to a distance she’s shown she can handle. In an open fray in which any one of the six entrants appear capable of winning, we’ll go with this sophomore daughter of Empire Way, who already has three wins on her resume. Big Andy returned off a layoff to win her sophomore debut vs. maiden $50,000 claiming sprinters last month, and with a forward move today the daughter of Mr. Big can be competitive right back. She should settle in the second flight and then have dead aim and every chance from the quarter pole home. Varoma is a fit on figures and shows an easy score over this track and distance when breaking her maiden in February. If she can negotiate a decent trip from her widest-of-six post position, she’ll be right there. RACE 5: Post: 3:15 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-McWherter; 8-Armour Plate Forecast: McWherter is fresh from a clever maiden $50,000 claiming score over this course and distance in early April and shows a strong, healthy work tab at San Luis Rey Downs in the interim. He’s a fairly quick type and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Armour Plate is the 8/5 morning line favorite (and may even go lower) and certainly is the one to fear most, but he has one win from 25 career starts (with nine seconds/thirds) and therefore isn’t one to trust. He certainly could win, and we’ll include him on our ticket, but at his projected price he’ll offer little wagering value. We’ll try to get by using just these two in rolling exotic play. RACE 6: Post: 3:50 PT Grade: BUse: 4-Desmond Doss; 5-Tizhotndusty Forecast: Desmond Doss removes blinkers, returns to the main track, and drops from state-bred stakes company into this allowance optional claimer, all positive factors that contribute to his 6/5 morning line price. No worse than second in three career starts over the local main track, the son of Grazen can win on the front end or by rallying from mid-pack, so regular rider A. Cedillo can assess the early pace flow and then decide on a strategy. Tizhotndusty is a hard-hitting gelding with strong form over the Santa Anita dirt surface, most recently earning a career top speed figure when a close second under similar conditions last month while well clear of the rest. Based on that race, he’s the one to fear most. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Desmond Doss on top. RACE 7: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Nasty; 8-Superstition Forecast: Superstition got caught in a wicked speed duel and paid the price late when second in the Mizdirection S. over this turf course in mid-April but catches what promises to be a much more comfortable pace scenario today, and with the benefit of her outside draw she appears capable of dictating the terms of the early fractions. The daughter of Ghostzapper offers wagering value at or near her morning line of 5/2 if you can get it. Nasty seems worth including on a ticket or two as a backup. Freshened since winning the grassy Lady Shamrock S. over a mile here in late December, the R. Baltas-trained filly has trained in sharp style of late and though primarily a middle distance performer in her career could be just effective as a late-running sprinter. RACE 8: Post: 5:26 PT Grade: XSingle: 3-Signofthecross Forecast: Signofthecross looks solid in this first-level allowance main track miler for state-bred older horses, but he’s listed at 6/5 on the morning line so he won’t be offering any real wagering value. First or second in five of seven career starts, the L. Powell-trained gelding makes his first appearance since early February but the work tab, while certainly not flashy, should have him fit enough to return as well as he left. Anything close to his best race wins, so we’ll make him a rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race. RACE 9: Post: 6:01 PT Grade: BUse: 6-Magic Man; 7-Landowne Forecast: Magic Man outran his 15-1 odds when leading the way until deep stretch before winding up a close fourth in his debut over the local lawn vs. similar last month. If he can improve off that race – and the barn has solid stats with the second-time starter angle – the son of American Pharoah will be hard to catch. Today’s shorter distance certainly won’t hurt, and the apparent lack of other early speed in the field also enhances his chances. Landowne represents stranger danger and is the one to fear most. A couple of outings during the winter over the all-weather surface at Dundalk in Ireland were okay but not great; however, English-bred gelding has trained extremely well for his local debut and could easily be better than shown. This will be his first try on grass (bred for it) and the P. D’Amato barn has a superior record with European imports.

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6.4.2021:

Friday, June 04: 1/ST BET AI Picks for Pimlico Rainbow 6 Carryover

It's a single-ticket jackpot Rainbow 6 carryover of $895,000-plus that welcomes horseplayers Friday at Pimlico. To take down the entire pool, you'll need some longshots to separate you from the pack. The 1/ST BET app's artificial intelligence selections for today's Rainbow 6 have pin-pointed some price players to consider.Race 3#1A Summer Velvet // 8-1 morning line (31% top win projection in race)Second-time starter has the advantage of a race under her belt.Race 5#2 Royal Crusader // 15-1 morning line (18% third-best win projection in race)Veteran changes up distance from sprint to route.Race 6#1 Virginia Fib // 12-1 morning line (17% third-best win projection in race)Adds blinkers, returns from layoff and picks up hot-riding Charlie Marquez.Race 8#4 Shanghaid Astoria // 6-1 morning line (34% top win projection in race)Drops back to proper claiming level after over-matched in last.#2 Honey Island // 10-1 morning line (11% third-best win projection in race)Disaster pre-load and out of gate in debut, but started to find stride late.

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6.4.2021:

Saturday, June 5: Eddie Olczyk's Belmont Stakes Day Spot Plays

1/ST and NBC handicapper Eddie Olczyk brings momentum into Belmont Stakes Day after winning Monday’s Xpressbet Santa Anita Challenge Handicapping Tournament. He turns his attention Saturday on Belmont for a trio of key plays. Follow Edzo’s plays each week – only with 1/ST and Xpressbet!RACE 3 (12:47PM ET) // GRADE 1 WOODY STEPHENS STAKES // 7 FURLONGS (DIRT)#4 DREAM SHAKE (5-2 ML)He should get a golden trip with the speed of Drain the Clock, Jackie’s Warrior and Caddo River all battling for the front. Look for him to break, settle, sit behind the speed and make a run. Win bet.RACE 9 (4:42PM ET) // GRADE 1 METROPOLITAN HANDICAP // 1 MILE (DIRT)#1 MISCHEVIOUS ALEX (5/2 ML)The speed of the race is Knicks Go, but he’s run 1-turn races on dirt only 4 times in this career – winning only the first race of his life. This is a 1-turn race, so at 2-5 odds, no thanks. Mischevious Alex can sit in the golden spot behind the big favorite. Not sure he wants to go this far, but hoping that he trips out. The price will be fair, and with the trip I see for him, why not? Win-place bet.RACE 13 (6:49PM ET) // GRADE 1 BELMONT STAKES // 1 1/2 MILES (DIRT)#2 ESSENTIAL QUALITY (2/1 ML)Essential Quality is the horse to beat in the Belmont and I’ll key him in the exotics.$100 Wagering Strategy:• $26 Win: Essential Quality• $5 Exacta Key-Box: Essential Quality with Rombauer, Known Agenda ($20)• $2 Trifecta Part-Wheel: Essential Quality over Rombauer, Known Agenda, Hot Rod Charlie over ALL ($36)• $1 Trifecta Part-Wheel: Rombauer, Known Agenda, Hot Rod Charlie over Essential Quality over ALL ($18)

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6.4.2021:

Friday, June 4: 1/ST BET Full-Card Belmont AI Picks

Betting the Belmont Gold Cup card on Friday, June 4? Here are full-card AI Picks from the 1/ST BET App.  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.Updated at 1:00PM ET due to scratches and off-turf racesRACE 1 (12:50PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF) #6 FLOWER POINT (5/1) // 30% Win #1 STAND FOR THE FLAG (2/1) // 20% Win #4 AUNT KAT (4/5) // 16% Win  #3 MY SWEET WIFE (20/1) // 14% Win RACE 2 (1:22PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 FURLONGS (TURF)#13 RAFFINITY (6/5) // 28% Win#1 WINDS OF CAPRI (8/1) // 14% Win #9 STRONG MOMENT (10/1) // 13% Win#10 LITTLE RED BUTTON (15/1) // 13% Win RACE 3 (1:54PM ET) // TREMONT STAKES // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)#4 TRUST OUR JOURNEY (8/1) // 35% Win #2 KAVOD (10/1) // 22% Win#3 OVERBORE (5/2) // 22% Win #1 BAYTOWN FROSTY (15/1) // 20% Win RACE 4 (2:24PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 7 FURLONGS (DIRT)#4 MAHAAMEL (4/5) // 30% Win#8 REPO ROCKS (7/2) // 14% Win#1 THEREGOESMYMIRACLE (50/1) // 11% Win #3 LEMON DROP ROAD (12/1) // 10% Win RACE 5 (2:58PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)#4 ORIGINAL (8/1) // 16% Win#12 PUBLIC SECTOR (3/1) // 16% Win #10 FOUNDER (10/1) // 14% Win #11 MIRA MISSION (15/1) // 14% Win RACE 6 (3:34PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 6 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT) #6 COLORMEPAZZI (8/1) // 21% Win#3 BRILLIANT BROOKS (5/2) // 15% Win #1 KAZ'S BEACH (8/1) // 10% Win #2 IMPERIO D (15/1) // 10% Win RACE 7 (4:07PM ET) // G2 TRUE NORTH STAKES // 6 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)#1 FIRENZE FIRE (2/1) // 30% Win#6 WICKED TRICK (6/1) // 19% Win#5 LOOKING AT BIKINIS (7/2) // 17% Win #2 FLAGSTAFF (5/2) // 14% Win RACE 8 (4:40PM ET) // G3 BED O' ROSES STAKES // 7 FURLONGS (DIRT)#1 LAKE AVENUE (6/1) // 30% Win#5 VICTIM OF LOVE (7/2) // 21% Win#7 PACIFIC GALE (5/1) // 15% Win#8 ESTILO TALENTOSO (9/2) // 13% Win RACE 9 (5:15PM ET) // G2 NEW YORK STAKES // 1 1/4 MILES (TURF)#5 HARVEY'S LIL GOIL (3/1) // 28% Win#6 CIVIL UNION (12/1) // 13% Win#4 MY SISTER NAT (15/1) // 9% Win#7 MEAN MARY (9/2) // 9% Win RACE 10 (5:48PM ET) // G2 BELMONT GOLD CUP STAKES // 2 MILES (TURF)#3 ZIYAD (5/1) // 22% Win#2 TIDE OF THE SEA (7/2) // 17% Win#1 SO HIGH (30/1) // 12% Win#4 CONVICTION TRADE (10/1) // 11% Win RACE 11 (6:22PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 1 1/4 MILES (TURF)#5 CAMBI LION (9/2) // 30% Win #6 PRAYER BOOK (10/1) // 19% Win#12 I AM THE LAW (15/1) // 13% Win#1 Q F SEVENTY FIVE (8/1) // 7% Win 

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6.4.2021:

Friday, June 04: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday and Saturday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6. Selections are listed in chronological order.Belmont Park Race 9 - Post time: 5:15 ET9-Thundering Nights (6-1)Arrives from Europe following a career top effort when an outstanding runner-up in the Alleged S.-G3 at The Curragh in April behind top class Broome, a performance that if repeated will be good enough to win today’s New York S.-G2 for older fillies and mares. Assigned an outstanding 118 Timeform in that outing that makes her a Breeders’ Cup level performer, the Irish-bred filly has good tactical speed, handles any going, and lands J. Velasquez for her stateside debut. Listed at 6-1 on the morning and offering wagering value at that price, the daughter of Night of Thunder warrants a play in the win pool, in exactas and trifectas (along with another likeable long shot Virginia Joy) and as a key in the various rolling exotics.Belmont Park Race 10 - Post time: 5:48 ET8-Baron Samedi (8/5)Trainer J. O’Brien and jockey J. Velasquez, who team up with Thundering Heights in the previous race, will try to make it two straight when they combine talents with this outstanding staying gelding in the Belmont Gold Cup-G2 over two miles on grass. The English-bred 4-year-old seeks his seventh straight score while arriving with Timeform ratings that make him a standout over this level of competition. With a good stalking style that should keep him free of trouble and the ability to handle softer surfaces if needed, this classy gelding can justify his 8/5 morning line favorite’s role as a rolling exotic single.

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6.4.2021:

Friday, June 04: 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 Here to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Lemonade Stand; 3-HenchmanForecast: The Friday opener, a maiden $50,000 claimer on turf, drew just five entrants, topped by the 9/5 morning line favorite Lemonade Stand. The T. Yakteen-trained gelding had no excuse when a non-threatening fourth in a similar affair last month, but the race earned a pretty decent number and today’s nine furlong distance should produce a much more comfortable early pace. The lightly-raced son of Lemon Drop Kid may have a bit more improvement in him than the others and based on the projected pace flow he could inherit the role as the controlling speed if such a strategy is employed. Henchman was a well-beaten fifth at 71-1 in his debut, but he exits a live, productive and highly-rated maiden special weight event and with that bit of experience behind him seems certain to improve in this much softer affair. The barn is solid with second-time starters, so at 8-1 on the morning line this Grazen gelding is worth including in rolling exotic play.RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: B+Single: 4-FlatterwithjewelsForecast: Let’s go with the sprinter-stretching-out angle in this restricted $16,000 claiming miler for fillies and mares. Flatterwithjewels is bred to run long and seems likely to produce a forward move after chasing a much tougher group in a starter optional claiming sprint two months ago in what was just her second career start and her first since a debut maiden win at Los Alamitos last summer. The daughter of Flatter switches to the barn’s “go-two” rider J. J. Hernandez and should find herself in an ideal pace stalking/pressing early position and then have every chance to seal the deal when her best is needed. The D. Hofmans-trained filly is 2-1 on the morning line but if she leaves lower than that we can still use her as a rolling exotic single.RACE 3: Post: 2:10 PT Grade:Use: 3-Sunshine Babe; 4-So Very SmartForecast: We’ve got this race down to two main players. Sunshine Babe, the 6/5 morning line favorite, is gradually improving with racing and most recently earned a career top number when a non-threatening second while well clear of the rest in a similar maiden special weight turf miler for California-bred fillies and mares. She’s likely to draft into a comfortable second flight stalking position and then have dead aim on the leaders from the top of the lane to the wire. So Very Smart, a $50,000 claim by D. O’Neill last month, closed well but too late when fifth in a dirt sprint lats month in what was just her second career outing. She is being raised into straight maiden company today in a sign of confidence and is bred to improve a ton going long on the lawn and, so we’re expecting her to step forward under today’s conditions. Additionally, the barn has strong stats with the first-off-the-claim angle (21%) so at 6-1 on the morning line she offers legitimate wagering value.RACE 4: Post: 2:43 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-We All Agree; 5-Ruby Ray; 6-HarddianeForecast: We All Agree is a homebred first-timer by the promising freshman stallion Unified from a barn that excels with two-year-old runners this time of the year. A bullet three furlong gate workout (34 3/5 seconds, fastest of 34)) last month catches the eye as does a subsequent half mile drill on the flat of 47 4/5 seconds, 11th fastest of 65), so let’s assume this L. Mendez-trained filly is a fit and ready. Harddiane has the benefit of a prior run – a non-threatening but willing runner-up in a fast race last month – and seems likely to improve with that race behind her and today’s extra furlong to work with. We’re expecting this daughter of Hard Spun to be running on late. Ruby Ray has done some good work in the a.m. for D. O’Neill and must be considered as well. From the first crop of Del Mar Futurity-G1 winner Klimt, she was purchased at the OBS March Sale for $55,000 after previewing nicely in 10 1/5 seconds and has been given a good foundation since arriving in California.RACE 5: Post: 3:18 PT Grade: XSingle: 4-Lucky PeridotForecast: Lucky Peridot is listed as the even money morning line favorite in this five-runner $25,000 claiming turf miler for fillies and mares, and while her overall record (three wins, 12 seconds/thirds in 23 starts) doesn’t quite justify heavy backing in the win pool the P. Miller-trained mare certainly should have this field over a barrel. Strong in the speed figure department and stretching out again to her preferred trip, the daughter of Itsmyluckyday was a sharp winner over this course and distance in January and didn’t run badly in three subsequently starts against considerably tougher foes than she’s facing today. She projects to settle into a cozy stalking position and then be able to exert her superiority when given her cue. You can take the short price if you’d like or simply pass the race.RACE 6: Post: 3:50 PT Grade: XSingle: 1-IlluminationForecast: Here’s another heavy favorite that looks hard to ignore. Illumination, a maiden in four starts during her juvenile season but stakes-placed twice, has been burning up the track for her first outing since October and appears bigger, stronger, and quicker this time around based on her recent workouts. The B. Baffert-trained daughter of Medaglia d’Oro adds Lasix while returning for what should be easy pickings in this five-runner maiden sprint and thus is listed at 3/5 on the morning line. She’s an obvious no-value rolling exotic single.RACE 7: Post: 4:22 PT Grade: BUse: 5-A New Peace; 6-Nice IceForecast: A New Peace earned a career top speed figure when missing by a neck in a fast, highly-rated and productive starter’s allowance event over this course and distance in late April and has trained well since, so with any kind of forward move the daughter of Declaration of War should be hard to beat. The S. Knapp-trained mare, with just six starts on her resume after missing her entire four year-old campaign, has a good stalking style and should be forwardly placed and free of trouble throughout. Nice Ice can be tough on the front end or from a stalker’s position so regular rider T. Baze, who knows her well, can assess the pace flow and then pick his early position. A repeat of her clever score when facing $40,000 claiming rivals two runs back probably would be good enough to win. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to A New Peace.RACE 8: Post: 4:49 PT Grade:Use: 2-Call Nine One One; 3-Stir the Pot; 4-Moon Mischief; 9-Mad CatterForecast: The finale is an inscrutable bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint for older horses. Nothing would surprise us, so the best advice is to include as many as you can afford in rolling exotic play. We’ll go four deep but with no real degree of confidence. Moon Mischief is a first-time gelding with a bullet recent workout at Los Alamitos following a distant runner-up effort vs. similar last month. The son of Into Mischief was claimed by a low percentage outfit last time out but may not have to improve much at all to outlast this bunch. Call Nine One One has a gradual improving pattern and may be a late threat after finishing a willing but non-threatening third in a decent race for the level last month. If he can produce another forward move, the son of Graydar should be heard from late. Stir the Post looks the like the quickest in the field but he’s a 12-race maiden and always has been suspect in the final furlong. Perhaps against this group he’ll be able to hang on. > Mad Catter is the least exposed in the field, having finished a fair third in a Turf Paradise sprint in early April. He’s drawn comfortably outside and shows a healthy series of local workouts since raced but is ridden by a jockey (E. Flores) who is just 2-for-101 at the meeting.

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6.3.2021:

Friday, June 4: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Picks

LEG A // PIMLICO, RACE 8 (4:15PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 1/8 MILES (TURF) With eight runners scratched and the race switched from turf to dirt, TIPYOURHATTOTHAT becomes today's solo play. He finished second three times going a route of ground and should control the pace throughout. LEG B // GULFSTREAM, RACE 6 (4:34PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF) MISSING LINK has thrived in this dual condition, wiring the field in 4 of her last 5 starts. She got away easy on the lead last time and will be undervalued, but our hopes of hitting the Stronach 5 will rest largely on her. UNCAPTURED HEART carried her speed the distance in her turf debut with second-time Lasix and is a late add-on to the ticket. RASMALAI will get alot of support off a well-bet debut victory, but note that she benefitted greatly when the race favorite was bumped into the rail by the second favorite, essentially eliminating both runners from contention. LEG C // SANTA ANITA, RACE 3 (5:09PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 1 MILE (TURF) SUNSHINE BABE, a bit fractious in the gate, made a run to the lead late on the final turn but was no match for the rallying 6-to-5 favorite at 1-1/8 miles. SO VERY SMART switches to turf off the O'Neill claim. She was well-backed last out, launched a 3-wide bid from far back at the half-mile pole and was fanned 7-wide in the stretch. MENSA ON TAP finished in the money in her last two grass miles and ran okay from post 10 prior to that. LEG D // GOLDEN GATE, RACE 3 (5:23PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF) SUMMER FUN steadily faded while under urging in his 7F seasonal debut on the Santa Anita dirt, but he could take some catching from the rail if he fires his best shot. DRASARIO exited MSW company, battled up front in a pair of longer turf routes and settled for third both times. He was pestered by a 45-1 longshot last out and just missed after a stretch-long duel with the odds-on favorite. LEG E // GULFSTREAM, RACE 8 (5:36PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF)  BREAKTHROUGH willingly chased the favorite through rapid splits until he gave way at the sixteenth pole. He appears the speed of the speed in here and offers good value. AWESOME BEACH back-pedaled in a fast-paced dirt sprint, but he worked a pair of bullets since them and makes his grass debut after he was entered in a pair of turf-to-dirt sprints last fall. HALCYON DIGEST steadied briefly into the far turn and rallied inside to finish third -- ahead of Breakthrough -- on the cutback from one mile. SUGGESTED $1 STRONACH 5 TICKET Leg A: 5Leg B: 1 2, 8Leg C: 3, 4, 6Leg D: 1, 6Leg E: 2, 4, 5 Cost: $54

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6.3.2021:

2021 Belmont Staks Horse-by-Horse Analysis + Betting Strategy

It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. That’s attributable to either Confucius, Lao Tzu or Dr. Phil. (My money’s on the good doctor’s nose.) At any rate, if you don’t subscribe to the adage, then you ought to contact either trainer John Sadler, jockey Joel Rosario or one of the Hronis brothers, all connections of Belmont starter Rock Your World. They’ll explain how it doesn’t matter if you’re going a thousand miles, the Derby distance of one mile and one-quarter or the Belmont journey of one mile and one-half, fortune begins and can end in a single step. No runner in the 153rd presentation of the Belmont Stakes will complete the entire journey through all three Triple Crown events—Derby, Preakness and Belmont. Five of the eight Belmont horses ran in the Kentucky Derby and skipped Preakness. Two didn’t contest the Derby but ran in Preakness. One is trying his first Triple Crown race, having last raced in the Peter Pan. Why, this year, was no horse able to compete in all three legs? Different reasons. However, the absence of a perfect attendee, once again, has stimulated tired discussion that the Triple Crown series should be altered to accommodate a more fragile modern racehorse. Hogwash! American Pharoah and Justify had no worries while recently sweeping the series. If time, circumstances and horse are right, a Triple Crown sweep is one of the most thrilling accomplishments in all of sports. It’s a special occasion; meant to celebrate a rare achievement. For 37 years, no horse was able to win the Triple Crown. That’s a long time, but a special horse finally did it. One that moved smooth as silk and glided across the racetrack like he was running on air. Then another one did it. And he was special, too, in a different way. Speed, class, reliability. Both had it all. In 2021, not only will no horse win the Triple Crown, no horse will even run in all three Triple Crown races. Fine. Who’s missing? Medina Spirit, the sullied Kentucky Derby winner, was fortunate to win that afternoon, helped immensely when Rock Your World, a serious early speed threat, was eliminated at the start. The Derby winner then returned to finish a tired third in the Preakness. Rombauer, surprisingly successful in Baltimore, is in the Belmont toting 126 pounds and a serious question regarding his ability to duplicate his Charm City conquest. The ones that could make it Saturday are here and they’re capable, beginning with 2-year-old champ and Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality--a wide Derby trip and one length away from being unbeaten in six starts. Preakness winner Rombauer, Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Hot Rod Charlie and Derby second choice Rock Your World all will run. Trainer Todd Pletcher, going for his fourth Belmont Stakes triumph has three starters, including Florida Derby winner Known Agenda. Triple Crown sweep aside, name another currently active sophomore you were excitedly looking forward to seeing race in the Belmont Stakes? It’s a fair collection of runners, an interesting handicapping puzzle and those that wager on the appropriate finishing combinations will be handsomely paid. Stop lamenting about who isn’t here and get to work figuring out in which order those that are here might finish. After all, every day can’t be Christmas. (Double or nothing, that’s Doctor Phil’s line.) Below is one man’s opinion of each horse entered in the Belmont Stakes, including post position, trainer/jockey and morning line odds. A suggested wagering strategy is also included.   1. BOURBONIC (PLETCHER/CARMOUCHE) - 15/1 He’s one of three in here trained by Todd Pletcher, who will enter the Hall of Fame on the first ballot this summer. Pletcher’s won this race three times before, so he knows what it takes to win. And, from where we sit, what it takes to win the Belmont is much more than what this fellow’s been able to previously produce. He has three wins—a maiden $50k claimer, an optional $50k/starter allowance and the slowest Wood Memorial in history. He would need to take a substantial jump forward to have a say in the outcome of this race. 2. ESSENTIAL QUALITY (COX/SAEZ) - 2/1 The 2-year-old champ and failed Kentucky Derby favorite didn’t have a great journey in Louisville. He was bumped at the start and then jostled around. That forced him to go wide throughout the race and waste precious energy. He was unable to collect #4 Hot Rod Charlie through the lane for third place. This son of Tapit is quality and jockey Luis Saez will ask him to be closer to the pace this time around the oval. Two five furlong works, including a best-of-43, :59 2/5 over a ‘good’ Churchill surface should guarantee that he’s as fit and ready as top trainer Brad Cox can get him. Like in the Derby, he’s no cinch, but he can’t be ignored and is a worthy favorite. 3. ROMBAUER (MCCARTHY/VELAZQUEZ) - 3/1 No matter which speed figs one consults, the Preakness winner put it all together three weeks ago to run, by far, the best race of his young career. He’ll be asked to reproduce that effort in the Belmont to challenge for the win. It’s questionable whether or not he’ll be able to repeat such a strong effort so soon. At the short price of 3-1 he’s worth taking a stand against in the win slot and maybe worth boldly tossing from exotics, too. This son of Twirling Candy has made consistent, steady progress for trainer Michael McCarthy and that development led to the huge Preakness effort. But can the colt rebound quickly for his best again? It’s asking a lot. He loses the services of talented jockey Flavien Prat, who reunites with Derby mount #4 Hot Rod Charlie. Hall of Fame resident John Velazquez currently has a hot hand and is a more than capable replacement. This colt’s a closer, but he won’t be in another area code early in the race, so that helps. Based on the visual of how determined and dominant he was winning Preakness, it’s difficult to believe that he won’t run well in the Belmont, but that’s what the figs say, and, at the price, we’ll agree to go against him. 4. HOT ROD CHARLIE (O'NEILL/PRAT) - 7/2    He’s got a legitimate shot at winning this race. He should be close to the early pace, much like he was in the Kentucky Derby when he finished third, beaten just one length. Jockey Flavien Prat, who rode #3 Rombauer to victory in Preakness, returns about this son of Oxbow, winner of the Louisiana Derby. The colt has had the usual roughly six weeks between races for trainer Doug O’Neill and he’s responded to the rest by finishing no worse than third in his last five races, beaten less than a total of two lengths, combined. It would be easy to assume he could move forward off his Derby effort and such an improvement puts him squarely in the Belmont win photo. His final work for this race as a solid 1:00 2/5 at Santa Anita, fifth best of 34, for a barn that doesn’t usually work them fast. 5. FRANCE GO DE INA (MORI/SANTANA JR.) - 30/1 He did not run well in Preakness and had trouble before that in the Grade 2 UAE Derby when sixth, beaten more than 10 lengths. He won a maiden and an allowance race in Japan. He would need to do something extraordinary to move forward off his recent efforts. Don’t see it happening. 6. KNOWN AGENDA (PLETCHER/ORTIZ JR.) - 6/1 This son of Curlin has hinted that he has the firepower to win this race. His dominating Florida Derby victory shows he’s got the goods and slight improvement off that race fits well in here. Trainer Todd Pletcher has three starters in the race and that would give him a career total of 33-- the all-time mark for number of Belmont runners. Pletcher’s Belmont starters have done well, too--won three times, with six seconds and three thirds. Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. is sensational and he combines with Pletcher to win with roughly 28% of starts. Known Agenda’s final work in preparation for Belmont was a best-of-10, five-furlong blowout in 1:01 breezing. He enters Belmont off a ninth-place Derby finish where things didn’t go his way early in the race. He didn’t close a ton of ground late, but he didn’t lose any either. It was, as his trainer put it, “…a sneaky good race.” He will be closer early in the Belmont and connections would like to see someone push #7 Rock Your World along, insuring a legitimate pace. If that happens, this guy could grab more than a minor piece of the pie. 7. ROCK YOUR WORLD (SADLER/ROSARIO) - 9/2 Much about how this Belmont Stakes concludes depends on how this Belmont Stakes begins. Early attention rests on the withers of Rock Your World and in the hands of Joel Rosario. If the duo leaves the gate alertly and races uncontested, the Candy Ride colt will be dangerous, especially, if he can negotiate the marathon distance in only a fourth career start and mere third on dirt. That tally includes his truncated Kentucky Derby debacle. Overall, that’s an experience deficit. Plus, the colt hasn’t had a meaningful race since April 3, when he soundly defeated eventual…current…and likely soon to be former Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit in the Santa Anita Derby. Rock Your World will take them as far as he’s able and that could be a long way, but it might not be all the way. 8. OVERTOOK (PLETCHER/FRANCO) - 20/1 Blinkers will be added to the equipment of the third Todd Pletcher runner in the race. This son of Curlin has been worse than third just once in five starts and that was sprinting six furlongs first time out. He’s raced one mile and one-eighth three times and has a second and two thirds from those starts. His sole win came in a maiden race going one mile at Aqueduct. He’d really need to step up his game to have a big say in here but, if a few of the obvious ones don’t fire, he could hit the tri or super.    BOTTOM LINE One to Beat: #2 Essential QualityShould Run Well: #4 Hot Rod Charlie, #6 Known AgendaAgainst: #3 Rombauer MY BETS $2 Superfecta ($48.00) First: #2 Second: #4, #6 Third: #3, #4, #6, #7, #8Fourth: #3, #4, #6, #7, #8 $1 Superfecta ($24.00) First: #4, #6Second: #2Third: #3, #4, #6, #7, #8Fourth: #3, #4, #6, #7, #8 Race On!

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6.2.2021:

Jon White's 2021 Belmont Stakes Picks + Analysis

This Saturday’s 153nd running of the Belmont Stakes is back to its traditional spot on the calendar and its traditional 1 1/2-mile distance. Last year’s Belmont originally was scheduled to be run on June 6. However, as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the race was shifted to June 20 and contested at 1 1/8 miles. A 1 1/8-mile Belmont Stakes seemed just plain weird to me. But then, due to the pandemic, much of what happened throughout the entire world in 2020 was abnormal. The 2020 Kentucky Derby was run on the first Saturday in September instead of the first Saturday in May. Last year’s Preakness Stakes was run on the first Saturday in October instead of the third Saturday in May. Last year was the first (and hopefully only) time in the long history of the Triple Crown that the Belmont was run before both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. This year’s Grade I, $1.5 million Belmont has attracted a field of eight. There was a defection just prior to Tuesday’s draw for post positions. UAE Derby winner Rebel’s Romance was not entered due to a hind leg infection, according to trainer Charlie Appleby. My selections for the Belmont are below: 1. Essential Quality (2-1 morning-line favorite)2. Rock Your World (9-2)3. Hot Rod Charlie (7-2)4. Rombauer (3-1) Brad Cox trains Essential Quality. Cox praised Medina Spirit for winning the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby in front-running fashion by a half-length at odds of 12-1. Essential Quality, sent away as the 5-2 favorite, finished fourth, one length behind Medina Spirit. Cox said it was a “huge, huge performance” on the part of Medina Spirit. “He did all the dirty work [early] and kept on rolling.” But when Cox was asked if he believed that Essential Quality might have been the best horse in the race because of his wide trip, the trainer was quick to respond. “I do,” Cox said. “I think he was the best horse. People can say what they want, but he was beaten a length and ran 68 feet further than the winner [according to Trakus].” There are those who say Essential Quality, who ranged up to loom boldly approaching the top of the long Churchill stretch, had every chance to run down Medina Spirit in the lane. And that is true. Nevertheless, it is awfully difficult for a horse to run 68 feet (approximately seven to eight lengths) farther than someone and still beat them. “I’m guessing that Essential Quality will be the Kentucky Derby starter who quite possibly will emerge from the race with the best Thoro-Graph number,” I wrote following the Run for the Roses. “When it comes to Thoro-Graph, a lower number is better than a higher one. This is the opposite of Beyer Speed Figures. “Thoro-Graph takes many more factors into account than the Beyers. According to Thoro-Graph, ‘each number on a sheet represents a performance rating arrived at by using time of the race, beaten lengths, ground lost or saved on the turns, weight carried, and any effects wind conditions had on the time of the race.’ ” It turned out I was right. Essential Quality’s Thoro-Graph number for the Kentucky Derby was the best of anyone in the race. In fact, Medina Spirit came away with just the fourth-best Thoro-Graph number of the Kentucky Derby starters. That was a major reason I was willing to take a stand against Medina Spirit in the Preakness, even though his trainer, Bob Baffert, previously had been five-for-five when running a Kentucky Derby winner back in a Preakness held in May. Below are the Thoro-Graph numbers for the first four finishers in the Kentucky Derby: Finish Horse (Thoro-Graph Number) 4. Essential Quality (negative 1/4)3. Hot Rod Charlie (1/2)2. Mandaloun (1 1/4)1. Medina Spirit (1 1/2) After Medina Spirit, there was a gap to the next-best Thoro-Graph number, a 3, which was posted by O Besos, who finished fifth. THE POWER OF TAPIT Essential Quality’s first workout for Cox was three furlongs in :35.60 at Keeneland last year on June 16. After the workout, Cox recalls telling his assistant that Essential Quality “is a Belmont horse,” or words to that effect. Almost a year later, Essential Quality gets the chance to prove whether his trainer was prophetic. Essential Quality’s sire is Tapit. Cox often has alluded to his belief that the 1 1/2 miles of the Belmont will suit Essential Quality because of his sire. Tapit has sired three winners of the Belmont: Tonalist in 2014, Creator in 2016 and Tapwrit in 2017. Additionally, Tapit is the sire of two Belmont Stakes runners-up in Frosted and Tacitus. Frosted finished second when American Pharoah won the 2015 Belmont to complete a rare Triple Crown sweep. Tacitus ran second to Sir Winston in the 2109 Belmont. Two sons of Tapit have finished third in the Belmont, Lani in 2016 and Hofburg in 2018. Tiz the Law won the last year’s 1 1/8-mile Belmont. Tiz the Law is by Constitution, a son of Tapit. If Essential Quality gets the job done Saturday, Tapit will tie Lexington in terms of the record for siring the most winners of the Belmont. Lexington’s four Belmont winners were General Duke in 1868, Kingfisher in 1870, Harry Bassett in 1871 and Duke of Magenta in 1878. THUMBS UP FOR RECENT DRILLS The Belmont is known as “The Test of the Champion.” That’s literally the case this year in that Essential Quality, the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male champion of 2020, will be tested Saturday at the demanding distance of 1 1/2 miles. Cox has expressed his delight with how Essential Quality has trained leading up to Saturday’s race. The Kentucky-bred colt worked five furlongs in :59.80 at Churchill Downs on May 22. On May 27, Cox said: “Moving forward off the [Kentucky] Derby, his weight’s great, his energy level’s great. We’re happy with everything we’ve seen post-Derby.” Two days later, Essential Quality stepped five furlongs in a bullet :59.40 at Churchill. Those sharp workouts suggest it’s all systems go for Essential Quality. ROCK YOUR WORLD MERITS MUCH RESPECT It was very tempting to make Rock Your World my top pick. Rock Your World was three for three going into the Kentucky Derby. He was the 9-2 second favorite in the wagering. But you can take a pen and draw a line right through his Kentucky Derby. His race that day was essentially over about as fast as you can say his name. Off a step slowly and mugged in the opening strides, Rock Your World found himself much farther behind early than ever before. Never in contention, he finished 17th in the field of 19. Prior to the Kentucky Derby, Rock Your World showed early speed when he won the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby on April 3 in his dirt debut after winning twice on turf. The Kentucky-bred Candy Ride colt trounced his eight foes that day, drawing away in the stretch to prevail by 4 1/4 lengths. It looks like Rock Your World has an excellent chance to get the early lead Saturday. It also appears that he might be allowed to set an uncontested pace without having to expend much energy to do so. Remember what happened in the 2020 Kentucky Derby and 2020 Breeders’ Cup Classic when Authentic was permitted to go along in a comfortable manner while setting the pace? Authentic won both races. Remember what happened in this year’s Kentucky Derby when Medina Spirit was allowed to go along in comfortable fashion while showing the way early? It resulted in a Medina Spirit victory. What if Rock Your World is left alone in the early furlongs of the Belmont like Authentic in the 2020 Kentucky Derby and 2020 Breeders’ Cup Classic and Medina Spirit in this year’s Kentucky Derby? Yes, it’s a rather tall order for Rock Your World to go 1 1/2 miles with only four races under his belt. But the gusto with which he galloped out after the finish in his Santa Anita victories indicates he might have what it takes to win Saturday despite the long distance. Keep in mind, Rock Your World does possess some pedigree appeal to get the 1 1/2-mile trip. His dam, Charm the Maker, is a daughter of 2003 Belmont winner Empire Maker. I picked Essential Quality first and Rock Your World second in the Kentucky Derby. Ditto the Belmont. I can see Rock Your World setting the pace and finishing second to Essential Quality. Or, as I said earlier, I won’t be surprised if Rock Your World sets the pace and proves uncatchable. Or, as what occurred five weeks ago in the Kentucky Derby, maybe the Belmont will be won by somebody other than Essential Quality or Rock Your World. And that somebody just might be Hot Rod Charlie. He certainly should be considered a major player Saturday. It seems like it was ages ago, but Hot Rod Charlie, dismissed at odds of 94-1, gave Essential Quality a run for his money in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland last Nov. 6. Essential Quality, off at odds of 7-2 that day, won by three-quarters of a length by running down Hot Rod Charlie in the final furlong. In Hot Rod Charlie’s only win this year, he was a pace factor from the outset and won the 1 3/16-mile Louisiana Derby by two lengths on March 20. The Kentucky-bred Oxbow colt then edged Essential Quality by a head for third in the Kentucky Derby. JOCKEY MUSICAL CHAIRS Warning: This is going to get rather convoluted. Joel Rosario won the Louisiana Derby aboard Hot Rod Charlie. Umberto Rispoli was in the irons when Rock Your World captured the Santa Anita Derby. Trainer John Sadler opted to go with Rosario on Rock Your World in the Kentucky Derby. That opened the door for Flavien Prat to ride Hot Rod Charlie in the Kentucky Derby. Rispoli? Instead of riding Hot Rod Charlie, a contender, Rispoli piloted a 43-1 longshot in the Kentucky Derby, Brooklyn Strong, who finished 15th. Hot Rod Charlie finished third in the Kentucky Derby while losing by just a neck. Two days after that race, Brad Pegram, Prat’s agent, gave a commitment to trainer Doug O’Neill that Prat would ride Hot Rod Charlie in the Belmont. A couple of weeks after the Kentucky Derby, Prat won the 1 3/16-mile Preakness in an upset with 11-1 Rombauer. Pegram and Prat honored their commitment to ride Hot Rod Charlie in the Belmont. That resulted in a domino effect in which Rosario will be reunited with Rock Your World in the Belmont. Also, since John Velezaquez’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness mount, Medina Spirit, is not running in the Belmont, it enables Johnny V. to ride Rombauer in the Belmont. Is your head spinning yet? I have much respect for Hot Rod Charlie. I admire the consistent form that he’s displayed ever since blinkers were added to his equipment. In Hot Rod Charlie’s first three career starts, all sans blinkers, he never finished better than third. In his five subsequent starts, all with blinkers, he has never finished worse than third. I believe Hot Rod Charlie has an excellent chance to finish 1-2-3 Saturday. WHAT ABOUT ROMBAUER? Rombauer’s dominant 3 1/2-length triumph in the Preakness was his best performance by far to date, as evidenced by his 102 Beyer for that race, a considerable improvement from his previous top figure of 88. Perhaps the Preakness was Rombauer’s coming out party, showing the world that he’s a star. But even if that’s the case, it’s a concern from where I sit that he’s being asked to come right back three weeks later, compete at Belmont Park for the first time and now go 1 1/2 miles. It’s my view that the Belmont field is probably a stronger one than the Preakness. That also doesn’t help Rombauer. But I certainly would never say Rombauer can’t win the Belmont. The Kentucky-bred Twirling Candy colt definitely can win it in light of the authority with which he defeated his nine opponents in Baltimore. It’s also to Rombauer’s credit that his final time of 1:53.62 was so good. That clocking is tied for the sixth-fastest in Preakness history when adjusted to fifths of a second. 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 Rombauer (2021)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) If Rombauer does add a Belmont win on top of his Preakness victory, the two jewels will put him in the driver’s seat vis-a-vis a 2021 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. Rombauer is trying to win the Preakness and Belmont without having started in the Kentucky Derby, which hasn’t happened in 99 years. The last time a horse won the Preakness and Belmont without participating in the Kentucky Derby was Pillory in 1922. And in that particular case, Pillory’s connections had to choose between entering him in either the Kentucky Derby or Preakness inasmuch as that year those two races were both run on May 13. KNOWN AGENDA LOOKS BEST OF PLETCHER TRIO Todd Pletcher, appropriately voted into the Hall of Fame this year, has won the Belmont three times. None of this year’s other Belmont trainers has even one Belmont victory to his credit. Pletcher’s three Belmont winners were Rags to Riches in 2007, Palace Malice in 2013 and Tapwrit in 2017. Speaking of Rags to Riches, as I’ve stated many times, it’s absurd that she is not in the Hall of Fame. At the beginning of Tuesday’s “Belmont Stakes Draw Show” on Fox Sports 2, a portion of four previous Belmonts were shown, in this order: --1978: Affirmed winning to become a Triple Crown winner by edging arch-rival Alydar in one of the epic stretch battles in American racing history. --2007: Rags to Riches winning to become the first filly to win the Belmont in 102 years by edging no less an adversary than a future two-time Horse of the Year in Curlin. --2015: American Pharoah winning to end a 37-year Triple Crown drought. --1973: The great Secretariat winning by 31 stupendous lengths to end a 25-year Triple Crown drought. I found it interesting that Rags to Riches’ Belmont victory would be put in such illustrious company. A few weeks ago, I discussed Rags to Riches again not getting into the Hall of Fame this year with Pletcher. He told me that he remains optimistic that the voters will see the light and vote her in one of these years. I hope Pletcher is right. I really do. But as wrong as I believe it is to keep her out of the Hall of Fame, I’m growing increasingly pessimistic that she is ever going to get in. As for this year’s Belmont, Pletcher is represented by Known Agenda (6-1 on the morning line), Bourbonic (15-1) and Overtook (20-1). Known Agenda, like Hot Rod Charlie, showed improvement after having blinkers added. In his first two starts with blinkers, he romped to an 11-length victory in a 1 1/8-mile allowance/optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 26, then won the Florida Derby by 2 3/4 lengths at the same distance there March 27. In the Kentucky Derby, Known Agenda was far back early after breaking from the inside post. He never menaced and finished ninth at 9-1. Known Agenda is by the aforementioned Curlin, who narrowly lost the 2007 Belmont to Rags to Riches. Bourbonic ran 13th in the Kentucky Derby at 30-1. He previously had won Aqueduct’s 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial in a 72-1 shocker on April 3. Bourbonic is by Preakness winner Bernardini, a son of 1992 Belmont winner A.P. Indy and grandson of 1977 Belmont winner Seattle Slew. Bourbonic’s dam, Dancing Afleet, is a daughter of 2005 Belmont winner Afleet Alex. Overtook, who like Known Agenda is by Curlin, ran second in Aqueduct’s 1 1/8-mile Withers Stakes on Feb. 6. He then finished third in the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont on May 8. Overtook’s dam, Got Lucky, is a daughter of Belmont winner A.P. Indy and granddaughter of Belmont winner Seattle Slew. France Go de Ina (30-1 on the morning line) makes his second U.S. start after finishing seventh at odds of 24-1 in the Preakness. He won two of three starts in Japan last year, then ran sixth in the UAE Derby this year prior to the Preakness. Because he is a horse who has made three starts in Japan, France Go de Ina is eligible to receive a $1 million bonus from the New York Racing Association should he win the Belmont. The guess here is NYRA isn’t sweating bullets as to whether it will have to pay the bonus. NO HORSE RUNS IN ALL THREE LEGS Not one horse is competing in all three legs of the Triple Crown this year. The last time this has happened was 2010. In 2010, Pletcher won the Kentucky Derby with Super Saver, Bob Baffert sent out Lookin At Lucky to take the Preakness, then Bill Mott saddled Drosselmeyer to win the Belmont. FASTEST FINAL TIMES IN THE BELMONT These are the fastest final times for the Belmont in fifths (when it has been run at 1 1/2 miles): 2:24 flat Secretariat (1973)2:26 flat Easy Goer (1989)2:26 flat A.P. Indy (1992)2:26 2/5 Point Given (2001)2:26 2/5 Risen Star (1988)2:26 3/5 American Pharoah (2015)2:26 4/5 Affirmed (1978) BELMONT STAKES BEYERS Point Given won the 2001 Belmont by 12 1/4 lengths. His 114 Beyer for that race has the distinction of being the highest figure for the Belmont. The American Racing Manual, now digital only and available for free on The Jockey Club’s website, lists Beyer Speed Figures for Belmont winners going as far back as 1990. The Beyers of 107 or higher for Belmont winners are listed below: BSF Belmont Winner (Year) 114 Point Given (2001)111 A.P. Indy (1992)111 Hansel (1991)111 Go and Go (1990)110 Empire Maker110 Victory Gallop (1998)110 Touch Gold (1997)109 Lemon Drop Kid (1999)107 Rags to Riches (2007) Secretariat’s 1973 Belmont predates Beyer Speed Figures. But Andrew Beyer, the father of these figures, once wrote that he retroactively calculated what Secretariat’s Beyer Speed Figure would have been for the Belmont. It would have been a 139! These are the Beyers for winners of the Belmont going back to 1990: 2020 Tiz the Law (100)*2019 Sir Winston (95)2018 Justify (101)2017 Tapwrit (103)2016 Creator (99)2015 American Pharoah (105)2014 Tonalist (100)2013 Palace Malice (98)2012 Union Rags (96)2011 Ruler On Ice (100)2010 Drosselmeyer (94)2009 Summer Bird (100)2008 Da’ Tara (99)2007 Rags to Riches (107)2006 Jazil (102)2005 Afleet Alex (106)2004 Birdstone (101)2003 Empire Maker (110)2002 Sarava (105)2001 Point Given (114)2000 Commendable (101)1999 Lemon Drop Kid (109)1998 Victory Gallop (110)1997 Touch Gold (110)1996 Editor’s Note (106)1995 Thunder Gulch (101)1994 Tabasco Cat (106)1993 Colonial Affair (104)1992 A.P. Indy (111)1991 Hansel (111)1990 Go and Go (111) *Run at 1 1/8 miles TRAINING NOWADAYS IS VERY DIFFERENT While Secretariat’s Beyer Speed Figure for the 1973 Belmont has been projected to be a whopping 139, consider how differently he was trained prior to that race than horses are these days. This year’s Preakness winner, Rombauer, will have one workout between that race and the Belmont. According to Equibase, Rombauer worked four furlongs in :50.01 on the Belmont Park main track May 28. Secretariat had not one, not two, but three workouts between the Preakness and Belmont. All three drills took place on the Belmont Park main track under the supervision of trainer Lucien Laurin. Secretariat won the Preakness on May 19. On May 27, he worked six furlongs in 1:12 1/5. On June 1, he worked one mile in 1:34 4/5. In the book “Big Red of Meadow Stable,” William Nack wrote that Laurin had wanted jockey Ron Turcotte to work Secretariat a mile in 1:36. “He went faster than I really wanted,” Nack quoted Laurin as saying. “But he did it so easily that I am very pleased.” According to Nack, “there were murmurs from other trainers that Laurin had worked his horse too fast.” But the 1:34 4/5 workout “hardly bothered Secretariat,” Nack noted. On June 6, “Secretariat was ready for the third and final workout [between the Preakness and Belmont], one of those zingers to open his eyes and bring him to his toes,” Nack wrote. “Laurin told Turcotte to let the colt roll for a half-mile, and the red horse took off with him around the turn. It was one of those gray, melancholy mornings at Belmont Park -- a chill was in the air -- and when the colt appeared turning for home he seemed to emerge through the mists, grabbing at the ground and folding it under him. You could hear him breathing through all of the upper straight. For those who sought to beat him in the Belmont Stakes, that move was an omen. As Secretariat flashed past the wire, the clockers caught him in a fiery :46 3/5.” Three days after that :46 3/5 “zinger,” Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes in what many believe to be the greatest performance in the history of American racing. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS There are no newcomers in the Top 10 of the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll this week. This poll concludes on Nov. 8 (after the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar on Nov. 6 and 7). The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 284 Mystic Guide (26)2. 194 Colonel Liam2. 194 Knicks Go (2)4. 166 Charlatan5. 156 Monomoy Girl6. 131 Maxfield (1)7. 123 Letruska8. 118 Gamine (1)9. 89 Shedaresthedevil10. 57 Domestic Spending Known Agenda is a newcomer this week on the Top 10 of the NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll. This final edition of this poll will be announced Monday. The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 258 Rombauer (8)2. 257 Essential Quality (12)3. 213 Mandaloun (4)4. 211 Hot Rod Charlie5. 210 Medina Spirit (7)6. 158 Midnight Bourbon7. 145 Malathaat8. 63 Jackie’s Warrior9. 51 Rock Your World10. 37 Known Agenda Life Is Good received one first-place vote. He has 35 points and ranks No. 11.

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6.1.2021:

1/ST Look Santa Anita Stats: McCarthy Rolls Into Belmont

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.HeadlinesWith a Rainbow 6 carryover of $353,386 heading into Friday’s card, Santa Anita will have a mandatory Rainbow 6 payout on Sunday (estimated pool $3 million if the carryover continues) … There’s also a $17,709 Super High Five carryover into the Friday action … Runhappy Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World and Lewis Stakes runner-up Rock Your World are among 8 entrants in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes … Leading jockey Flavien Prat will be in New York to ride Friday and Saturday … This week’s feature race will be Sunday’s $75,000 Desert Code for 3-year-old turf sprinters … The final day of racing for the current meet will be Sunday, June 20.Stronach 5The Stronach 5 paid $1,297.70 on May 28 to 79 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, June 4, will be (all times ET):Leg A – Pimlico Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:15Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 6 with an approximate post time of 4:34Leg C – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:09Leg C – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:28Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 5:361/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 22% or greater win rate and showing a flat-bet profit. The factor Avg. Best 2 of Last 3 Speed was a top-3 factor at SA for the second straight week.Speed Last RaceAvg. Best 2 of Last 3 SpeedLast PurseTrends Last Week-- Jockey Juan Hernandez led the riders with a 6-22 record (27%) that netted a $3.08 ROI for every $1 bet. He piloted victories at $6, $8, $13, $15, $29 and $61 for 6 different trainers. With Flavien Prat away this weekend, Hernandez could be in the spotlight.-- Jockey Tiago Pereira made the most of limited mounts at 9: 3-1-0, popping $12, $15 and $40 winners for a $3.82 ROI for every $1 bet.-- Trainer Mark Glatt’s runners were 8: 3-2-2 with winners paying $4, $6 and $10 and an 11-1 runner-up in the mix. His route runners were 3: 2-1-0 on any surface.-- Trainer Carla Gaines had one of her best weeks of the meet at 6: 3-0-0, netting $4, $7 and $15 winners. All 3 victories came in the maiden ranks. The barn was 1-31 since the start of April before the recent perk-up.-- Trainer Michael McCarthy continued his extended strong run with a 9: 3-0-1 mark, highlighted by Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile winner Smooth Like Strait. The Preakness-winning barn is hitting 26% with a $1.95 ROI for every $1 bet at Santa Anita since April 4.-- Favorites were a rock-solid 8-18 on turf with 44% wins. They hit 39% on grass for the month of May.

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6.1.2021:

1/ST Look Gulfstream Stats: Garcia Pilots Prices

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.HeadlinesA $62,635 Rainbow 6 carryover ($150,000-guaranteed pool) welcomes players back Thursday for a 4-day racing week (as well as a $5,093 Super High Five carryover) … Fridays at Gulfstream Park all summer long now kick off with a pm ET first post on twilight cards … Feature race this week will be Saturday’s $75,000 Game Face Stakes for 3-year-old filly sprinters … Curlin Florida Derby winner Known Agenda is among 8 entered in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes … Gulfstream Park will begin a 3-day racing week (Friday-Sunday) starting June 11 … Gulfstream starts construction on a new Tapeta synthetic racing surface – over the outside third of the current turf course – next week. The third course option is expected to be ready for this fall.Stronach 5The Stronach 5 paid $1,297.70 on May 28 to 79 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, June 4, will be (all times ET):Leg A – Pimlico Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:15Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 6 with an approximate post time of 4:34Leg C – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:09Leg C – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:28Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 5:361/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 30% or higher. The factor Best Speed Last 3 was a top-3 factor at GP for the second straight week.Avg Speed Last 3Best Speed Last 3Best Speed DistanceTrends Last Week-- Jockey Emisael Jaramillo posted a second straight week with 27% winners and a slight flat-bet profit. He’s 13-for-14 in the exacta (6 wins) aboard favorites the past 2 weeks.-- Jockey Wilmer Garcia lit up the board with a 13: 2-3-1 week that included $13 and $135 upsets, a 34-1 runner-up and a 25-1 shot on the bottom of the trifecta.-- Leading trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. continues to grove at 21: 7-4-2. The barn is 17-49 (35%) the past 3 weeks.-- Trainer Tom Proctor did everything he could with limited starters, going 2-2-- Trainer Louis Roussel III finished second with both starters and now sits 20: 6-4-5 at the meet.-- Favorites controlled the action with 46% wins and 73% in the exacta.

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6.1.2021:

1/ST Look Pimlico Stats: Rainbow Continues Swell

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Pimlico. 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.HeadlinesA Maryland-record $895,265 Rainbow 6 jackpot carryover remains on the table after Monday’s holiday card and into this Friday-Sunday racing week … Nominations closed for the June 13 stakes-laden card that features 5 stakes worth $475,000 including the Shine Again as part of the revitalized MATCH Series across the Mid-Atlantic. Among the nominees for the day include Hibiscus Punch and Dontletsweetfoolya … Preakness winner Rombauer faces 7 rivals in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, trying to capture the final 2 legs of the Triple Crown.Stronach 5The Stronach 5 paid $1,297.70 on May 28 to 79 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, June 4, will be (all times ET):Leg A – Pimlico Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:15Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 6 with an approximate post time of 4:34Leg C – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:09Leg C – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:28Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 5:361/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 Pimlico, each posting at least 39% wins and a flat-bet profit.Last Race ClassAvg Speed Last 3Best Speed DistanceTrends Last Week-- Jockey Charlie Marquez was 13: 5-1-1 to top the riders with a 38% strike rate and $1.92 ROI for every $1 bet. He was a reliable 3-4 on favorites, but also added a $27 upsetter.-- Jockey Forest Boyce went 8: 3-1-0 with $6, $7 and $8 winners to go along with a 7-1 runner-up. It was her best week since returning from a shoulder injury in late April.-- Jockey Jorge Ruiz posted an 11: 3-0-3 week that included a whopping $5.06 ROI for every $1 bet. That’s what happens when guide $13, $45 and $53 victors. His 2 ‘smaller’ winners came for Dale Capuano.-- Trainer Mary Eppler made the most of limited starters. Her 4: 2-0-1 record included $5 and $9 scores with Charlie Marquez aboard. The barn had been just 2-30 since the start of April before the perk up.-- Trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer won with both starters, and now is 9-23 (39%, $1.87 ROI for every $1 bet) since April 23 from Keeneland to Charles Town to Pimlico.

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6.1.2021:

1/ST Look Golden Gate Fields Stats: 'Empire Strikes Back

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Golden Gate Fields. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Northern California. And be sure to support GGF by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Golden Gate Fields.HeadlinesThe Rainbow 6 carryover heads into the three-day week, Friday through Sunday, at $16,893 … El Camino Real Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Rombauer is among the 8 horses entered in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes … Navy Armed Guard appropriately won the Memorial Day featured All American Stakes to go 2-for-2 on the local Tapeta. His other victory was a track-record performance over a mile last fall … Nominations close Thursday for the June 12 Albany Stakes, a $50,000 turf sprint … Jockey Erick Lopez has moved his tack to Delaware Park … Golden Gate Fields’ current meet will end June 13 as the Northern California racing schedule hits the fair circuit.Stronach 5The Stronach 5 paid $1,297.70 on May 28 to 79 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, June 4, will be (all times ET):Leg A – Pimlico Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:15Leg B – Gulfstream Park Race 6 with an approximate post time of 4:34Leg C – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:09Leg C – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:28Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 5:361/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Golden Gate Fields, each posting at least 26% winners.Win %Trainer Win %Average Turn TimeTrends Last Week-- Sire Empire Maker was 2-2 with main track routers ($8, $23) and is a strong 16: 7-0-4 with his main track route runners at GGF the past 3 years.-- Favorites mustered only 27% on the main track, though Steve Sherman’s Tapeta chalks were a reliable 4: 2-2-0.-- Jockey Kyle Frey went 31: 9-6-5, including 7: 4-2-0 on favorites. Despite 29% and 48% in the exacta, his hard-backed runners mustered only $0.64 back for every $1 bet. His average winner was 6-5 odds.-- Trainer Steve Sherman was on point at 7: 3-2-1, but all 5 of his exacta finishers were 2-1 or less. He was 4: 2-2-0 with Kyle Frey in the saddle.-- Trainer Leanna Ekstrom went 4: 2-0-0, popping $16 and $41 winners with Cristobol Herrera riding both.

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6.1.2021:

Northfield Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Northfield Park has a 15-race card scheduled with the first post at 6:00 EST. 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 111-Cougar Bait (7/5)-Was scratched sick on 5-11, then was claimed for $7,000 and now drops in for a $6,000 tag. This is a soft spot and it could be a wake-up call. But there might be some persistent issues attributing to the dull efforts since being scratched. Will use because of the drop and the post draw. The results should be better if gets the top without using much gas.6-Bourbans Best (4-1)-Drops, fits well with this group plus makes 2nd start for the new barn and Merriman steers tonight. Could win by leaving and getting a pocket ride behind #1 or could come off cover and roll by down the lane.Race 122-Feelin Western (3-1)-The Brown barn is batting over 26% the past 30 days and this 3-year-old was staked last year. The last 2 tries here have been on an-off track and is 0-3 on a wet surface. Should be in the mix if ready, but has been off since 5-9.4-Imabeachboy (5-1)-Will toss last at this class from the 8-hole. Before that won 2 straight and now gets a positive driver change plus post relief and should offer a solid price.5-Dubai Seelster (9/2)-Sportswriter 3-year-old races better near the top of the stack and has been stuck with post 7 in the last 2 starts. Draws well and Merriman takes the lines, so will look for an aggressive steer and to be there at the wire.Race 132-Backseat Joker (2-1)-Beaten chalk left from the rail in last but couldn't get the top into a 26.3 opening quarter. Ended up in the 3-hole which made things very difficult. Wrenn got the 3-year-olds attention near the 3/4 pole but needed to go 3-wide around stalled cover. Did finish willingly to cash a 2nd place check. Will single here as the horse with probably the best gate speed starts from the 2nd tier. Should be bet hard again and can make amends with a more efficient trip.Race 141-Downwyn Shark (3-1)-Raced big from post 6 in last and can close well. But this isn't the best post draw for this slow starter. That said, there could be a few leaving and the pace should be honest so will include. Did win 6 of 19 in 2021.7-Maradona (12-1)-Beat this kind last week by over 6 lengths from the 3-hole going off at 13.80-1. Didn't get any respect at the windows as the program odds were 5-1. Has the gate speed to be well positioned throughout. Grinded it out 1st over and was strong to the wire. Loses Sugg as Myers steers, but is still worth a swing at the morning line price.9-In Commando (9/5)-Makes the 2nd start for new connections and just missed at this class last week. This will be more difficult because of the post draw but best to not overlook. May need to take the long way around but has won before without having the lead coming into the stretch.$1.00 Late Pick 41,6/2,4,5/2/1,7,9Total Bet=$18Check me out on Twitter!

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6.1.2021:

2021 Belmont Stakes Post Position Draw Rapid Reaction

Saturday’s Grade 1 Belmont Stakes attracted 8 entrants, including Preakness winner Rombauer, at today’s post position draw for the final jewel in the 2021 Triple Crown. The Belmont Stakes will be Race 11 on a 13-race card that begins at 11:35 am ET. Post time for the main event will be 6:49 pm ET. Fans betting the Belmont Stakes with Xpressbet and the 1/ST BET app can take advantage of our Belmont Money-Back Guarantee on Friday and Saturday. Get up to $10 back on each race if your win bet finishes second or third. The balanced Belmont field lacks a clear-cut favorite, though Kentucky Derby fourth-place finisher and beaten chalk Essential Quality (post 2) is expected to start as the public choice. He’s the 2-1 morning line favorite. Hot Rod Charlie (post 4), third in the Derby, and Rombauer (post 3) also will attract attention. The pace of the Belmont Stakes figures to come from Runhappy Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World, who starts from post 7. He and Hot Rod Charlie appear the most naturally gifted speed horses in this mile and one-half contest. Rock Your World's draw outside of Hot Rod Charlie may be advantageous if they choose to press. But you’d expect Rock Your World to be sent from the outside, clear and cross over under Joel Rosario. Either way, that pair should set the table with Essential Quality just off the first flight and Rombauer in mid-pack. Both of those pursuers are well-drawn to save ground into the first of a pair of expansive turns. Trainer Todd Pletcher, a 3-time Belmont winner (2007, 2013, 2017) sends out three in the field, led by Curlin Florida Derby champ Known Agenda (post 6), along with Wood Memorial upsetter Bourbonic (post 1) and local Peter Pan third Overtook (post 8). Known Agenda may be the more tactical of the trio and figures to be midflight under the nation’s 3-time reigning champion jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. The international flavor of this Belmont Stakes includes France Go De Ina (post 5), the Japanese-based colt who finished seventh in the Preakness. UAE Derby winner Rebel’s Romance, who has been training in New York for several weeks, was forced to drop out of the Belmont on Tuesday just prior to entries, due to a leg infection. No one has you covered for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes like our team at 1/ST. Be sure to download the Belmont Stakes Wager Guide, which will be updated Thursday with exclusive 1/ST BET app artificial intelligence selections, workout analysis and expert handicappers coast to coast. The field for the 153rd Belmont Stakes (with jockeys & NYRA track morning line odds): #1. Bourbonic (Kendrick Carmouche) 15-1 #2. Essential Quality (Luis Saez) 2-1 #3. Rombauer (John Velazquez) 3-1 #4. Hot Rod Charlie (Flavien Prat) 7-2 #5. France Go De Ina (Ricardo Santana Jr.) 30-1 #6. Known Agenda (Irad Ortiz Jr.) 6-1 #7. Rock Your World (Joel Rosario) 9-2 #8. Overtook (Manny Franco) 20-1

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5.31.2021:

Monday, May 31: Scioto Downs Pick 5 Analysis

Scioto Downs has a 15-race Memorial Day card ready to roll this evening. The 0.50 Pick 5 begins in Race 5. The sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool with a 14% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 53-Medoland Bosa (4-1)-Had a 2 week pause before the 1st start at ScD this season and then suffered an interference break. Has hit the board in 5 of 7 here with 2 pictures and this could be the night to capture the 1st win of 2021.7-Mr Ds Rock (7/5)-Banked over $97K as a 3-year-old but is winless in 16 tries as a 4-year-old. Has hit the board in 5 of 9 here and this will be the 3rd local start. Miller may leave to race near the top of the stack and this is a beatable field.Race 63-Friendly's Scooter (12-1)-Price shot was used hard off the gate to a quick half in last and then faded. Will need a trip but will take a swing. The 2 chalks are going to be bet and they are beatable. This could be a trip-out candidate.5-Clemson (3-1)-Left from the rail last time and broke 9th because about 7 others left for the top. Should be in a better position tonight and will give the benefit of the doubt versus this suspect field.6-Cantescapemydesire (2-1)-This is only the 3rd lifetime start at ScD for this 9-year-old and is winless here. This is the program chalk and could come out on top but will need a smooth trip. May leave versus this bunch and getting on the engine might be the right strategy to take the top prize.Race 74-Imma Bee (9/5)-Has made it look easy versus this kind in the past 2 starts and went off at 1/9 last week. Will probably be the odds on chalk again and with a smooth journey could be posing.7-Borntobeshameless (5-1)-Using with the thinking #2 and #4 will be wrestling for the lead and the pace will be brisk. If that comes about Sutton could find some live cover and roll down the lane at a square price.Race 82-Beebeetee (9/5)-Beaten favorite raced big from the 10-hole last week to finish 3rd. Comes right back to make its 3rd ScD start of the year and was off 2 weeks before the last race. Upswing can continue and could be sitting on a big try.3-Nuzzle Loader (12-1)-Left to get on the point and that was a more aggressive effort last week after missing a start. Could leave again and get an up-close seat which will lead to a cozy trip at long odds.10-Velocity Chip Rock (4-1)-Finished right behind #2 in last and now gets the 2nd tier to deal with. Raced from the back in 1st lifetime start and finished nicely. Using and hoping the price will be better than the morning line, and could get a decent seat following #2 at the start.Race 94-Onedarkknight (7/2)-The 0-15 record this year is an issue. But comes off 2 solid tries and now makes the 1st start for the Luther barn who is batting 20% over the past 30 days. Smith steers tonight and that may help, could be in the hunt at a fair price.5-Montano Pablo A (9/5)-Looks the part of the morning line chalk and has been bet in all 3 ScD starts. Makes 4th start for the Morgan barn and hasn't been able to seal the deal. Should be bet hard again, is difficult to dismiss but is only 1-24 at ScD.My Ticket Race 5) 3,7 Race 6) 3,5,6 Race 7) 4,7 Race 8) 2,3,10 Race 9) 4,53,7/3,5,6/4,7/2,3,10/4,5Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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5.31.2021:

Monday, May 31: Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Full-Card Picks

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play. Click Here to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout Report RACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Coast of Roan; 4-Lure Him In; 6-Astronaut Forecast: The Memorial Day opener is a competitive entry-level allowance event over nine furlongs on turf that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll try to get by going three-deep. Astronaut was nosed out at this level at a mile last time out and today is reunited with “win rider” F. Prat. We’re expecting the progressive son of Quality Road to inherit an ideal pace-stalking position and have every chance from there. There’s some wagering value at or near his morning line of 4-1 if you can get it. Lure Him In wanted no part of 12 furlongs on dirt when a distant third in the Tokyo City S.-G3 last month but should bounce back in this easier assignment while returning to grass. First or second in nine of 16 career starts, the son of Khozan is a one-paced grinding type and runs best when he’s not given too much to do. It will behoove K. Desormeaux to put him in the race early. Coast of Roan was scratched out of a similar race May 9 and didn’t work again until May 18 but if he fires his best shot today the D. O’Neill-trained gelding should be a serious threat. All three of his career wins have been accomplished over the local lawn and U. Rispoli, who fits him well, stays aboard. RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Trainer Please; 6-Brutto Forecast: This maiden special weight sprint boils down to two main players, with Brutto getting the edge on top strictly because he has the benefit of a race over the track. The son of Nyquist was beaten 13 lengths when second last month behind speed freak Flightline and has since trained quite well for B. Baffert, so a significant forward move can be expected. Trainer Please has been impressive in the a.m. leading up to his debut and if he breaks with his field the son of Orb should make a race of it. The D. O’Neill-trained gelding has done everything asked of him in his drills and could be a decent type, or maybe even more than that. RACE 3: Post: 2:07 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Eustace; 5-Single Me Out Forecast: Eustace, away since early February, was scratched out of a similar turf sprint on May 7 but worked three day later and should be set for a major effort in his second start off a claim for D. Blacker. The son of Ministers Wild Cat is re-equipped with blinkers while retaining F. Prat and has worked well in recent weeks to indicate he’s ready for an improved effort. In a race that appears fairly wide open this Cal-bred gelding projects to settle in the second flight and then have his chance to wear down the leaders from the quarter pole home. Single Me Out, like Eustace pegged at 6-1 on the morning line, should be a solid fit in his first start off a $20,000 claim by R. Saldana (a solid 19% with this angle) and similar to our top pick should be doing his best work from the second flight. He owns a prior win over the course and has earned consistent recent speed figures that make him dangerous. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics in a volatile race without much speed signed on, making good early position mandatory for success. RACE 4: Post: 2:41 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Contagion; 6-Conquest Cobra Forecast: Contagion won an allowance race over this track and distance earlier this month in his first start off the claim for P. Miller, rallying from far back with the help of the race-shape to be up close home while earning a career top speed figure. Three times victorious over the Santa Anita main track, the son of Fed Biz should be set to fire another big shot, though he’ll need some help up front to have his best chance. Conquest Cobra, with six career wins over the Santa Anita main track, certainly qualifies for “horse for course” status and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. The pace flow projects to be comfortable and this nine-year-old gelding, first or second in 19 of 50 career starts, is reunited with bug girl J. Pyfer, who has gotten good run out of him in the pat. We’ll prefer Contagion on top but include both in rolling exotic play. RACE 5: Post: 3:14 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Burgoo Alley; 10-Speedcuber Forecast: Speedcuber has been very impressive in workouts leading up to her debut and the daughter of War Front is bred on both sides of her pedigree to excel on grass. We suspect the R. Baltas-trained filly will be very difficult to beat if she leaves cleanly from the gate, something that’s always a bit of a concern when dealing with first time starters. Burgoo Alley displayed talent in in three non-winning starts in Ireland and makes her California debut as a first-time Lasix user for a barn that excels with European imports. A recent training track drill while in company with her high class stablemate Charmaine’s Mia caught the eye, so if the Irish-bred filly can avoid trouble from her rail draw she should make a serious run for it. We’ll prefer Speedcuber on top but include both in our rolling exotics. RACE 6: Post: 3:48 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Thanks Mr. Eidson; 4-Speed Pass Forecast: Here’s a second-level allowance sprint that appears a bit treacherous. We’ll try to survive and advance using the two listed above, but not with a great deal of confidence, so if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead. Speed Pass was somewhat disappointing when a non-threatening third of six in the Tom Fool H.-G3 at Aqueduct in early March but his narrow third place finish at this level over this track in late January makes him the one to beat. A sparingly-raced 5-year-old, the son of Bodemeister picks up F. Prat and catches a sprint field lacking in good early speed, so he should be prominent throughout and have no excuses. Thanks Mr. Eidson has two career wins and 11 seconds or thirds so he’s never really been one to count on under pressure, but the J. Bonde-trained gelding has been facing tougher foes of late and could find this group well within his range. He’ll need to break running from the rail to secure a forwardly placed trip to have his best chance. RACE 7: Post: 4:22 PT Grade: XUse: 2-Smooth Like Strait; 6-Whisper Not; 7-Say the Word Forecast: Smooth Like Strait deserves top billing in this year’s edition of the Shoemaker Mile-G1 but at 4/5 on the morning line there’s not much value to be found. The M. McCarthy-trained colt lost two toughies in his last pair but always fires his best shot and this return to a flat mile should make him tough to beat in a race that projects to have comfortable early splits. Whisper Not likely will settle into a pace-stalking trip and have dead aim and every chance from the quarter pole home. Fresh from a confidence-building win in the San Francisco Mile-G3 at Golden Gate Fields last month, the English-bred colt always impresses in his a.m. drills and with another forward could give the favorite a run for his money. We’ll also toss in on a ticket or two Say The Word, a devout marathoner dropping back to a distance that logic would say is too short for him (and it probably will be). However, the P. D’Amato-trained gelding can really turn it on late and if gets any help of front he could make his presence felt from out of the clouds. RACE 8: Post: 4:49 PT Grade: BSingle: 1-Royal Ship Forecast: Royal Ship won the Californian S.-G2 last month in game fashion, has maintained his edge in the a.m. during the interim and should have no difficulty producing a similar effort over this classic mile and one-quarter main track trip. We’re expecting the Midshipman gelding to be forward placed while saving ground and then be able to kick home when called upon by regular pilot M. Smith. He’s our top pick but a strong case also can be made for Big ‘Cap runner-up Express Train, the 2-1 morning line favorite and likely to enjoy a soft stalking trip outside. Additionally, Country Grammar, beaten a neck by Royal Ship in the Californian in his first start since joining the B. Baffert barn, gets a favorable four pound shift in the weights compared to ‘Ship and is lightly-raced with plenty of upside. The winner likely will be one of these three and if you’d prefer to triple the race in rolling exotic play you can do so. We’ll take a stand and single Royal Ship. RACE 9: Post: 5:24 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Charmaine’s Mia; 9-Bodhicitta Forecast: Charmaine’s Mia must be considered a tad suspect at this nine furlong distance but if the P. D’Amato-trained mare switches off and relaxes during the early stages of this year’s edition of the Gamely S.-G1 she should be able to extend her winning streak to four. Extremely fast on speed figures in her victories over a mile, the daughter of The Factor probably can be the controlling speed if she wants to be, and perhaps if the opportunity is presented F. Prat should take full advantage of the situation. The most dangerous of the closing types is Bodhicitta, winner of the Yellow Ribbon S.-G2 at Del Mar last summer and three times victorious over the Santa Anita turf course. Freshened since November but training like she’s fit and ready, the R. Baltas-trained mare likes to lag and then blast home, and if the Charmaine’s Mia can’t see out the trip this talented import could produce a winning late kick.

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5.30.2021:

Monday, May 31: Lone Star Park $100K Guaranteed Late Pick 4 Ticket

It’s a great Monday of racing, with the Hollywood Gold Cup at Santa Anita and a major stakes day at Lone Star Park, headlined by the G3 Steve Sexton Mile. That big Lone Star card will be my focus. If you’re betting Lone Star with Xpressbet and 1/ST BET, remember to take advantage of our Lone Star Million Money-Back Special, offered on every race. Bet your horse to Win and get your cash back, up to $10, if you finish 2nd or 3rd.  Here’s my take on the $100,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 4, which covers Races 8 – 11. RACE 8 (7:01PM ET) // CHAMBERLAIN BRIDGE STAKES // 5 FURLONGS (TURF) Named for 2010 BC Turf Sprint victor and 19-time winner Chamberlain Bridge, this race comes down to conversation about the three classy favorites. #3 ARCHIDUST (9/5) is ML fave and is a remarkable 6-for-8 at the distance. He won an allowance race at Lone Star on May 7 and held his own against top competition in New York last fall. The price is light, but he’s quality. He’ll just need to work out a trip. #6 TEXAS WEDGE and #7 CHAOS THEORY are in from California. They met twice in the span of six weeks over the winter, with CHAOS THEORY getting the better of the finish – by a head – in a Del Mar allowance and TEXAS WEDGE finishing slightly ahead in the G2 Hernandez, when they ran 4th and 5th. CHAOS THEORY got a solid prep in for this on April 25 when he finished 3rd in a Santa Anita allowance. The horse that ran 2nd that day, Bombard, just came back to dominate the G3 Daytona. Use: #3 ARCHIDUST, #7 CHAOS THEORY  RACE 9 (7:31PM ET) // TEXAS DERBY // 1 1/16 MILES (DIRT) Fulsome’s dominating win the G3 Matt Winn Stakes on Saturday at Churchill could change the dynamic of this race. #5 WARRANT (7/2) and #1 SCARRED (5/1), 2nd and 4th respectively behind that one in the $300K Oaklawn Stakes in May, have to be viewed with a bit more confidence. I see quite a bit of pace in here, with 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 6 – 8 all having done their recent races from on the engine. I think you have to take a stand against ML favorite #10 SUPER STOCK here. The G1 Arkansas Derby upsetter drew terribly benefitted from such a perfect trip at Oaklawn that it’s impossible to envision replication from his outside post. I’ll take a chance on #9 GET HER NUMBER (4/1), exiting that same Arkansas Derby, where he finished 4th, beaten 3-lengths.  He took a big step forward from the G2 Rebel to the G1 Arkansas Derby and let’s remember this is just his third start of the year. Use: #1 SCARRED, #5 WARRANT, #9 GET HER NUMBER RACE 10 (8:03PM ET) // OUIJA BOARD DISTAFF STAKES // 1 MILE (TURF) #1 LAURA’S LIGHT (1/1) is fast and an exceptional 5-for-9 at the distance. Her rail draw and the presence of Florent Geroux figure to ensure that she’ll be on the lead. And frankly, I’m not sure anyone wants to go with her. #5 SUMMERING won a FL-bred stakes race at Tampa last out from just off the pace, but she doesn’t appear to have LAURA’S LIGHT’s early foot. I like #6 RAVEN’S CRY (8/1) as a second pick. She’s 2-for-2 in the US but the horses she beat are suspect. Use: #1 LAURA’S LIGHT, #6 RAVEN’S CRY RACE 11 (8:35PM ET) // G3 STEVE SEXTON MILE // 1 MILE (DIRT) The injury to Charlatan hit this race hard, as both Knicks Go and By My Standards – both originally pegged for Lone Star’s richest race – are pulling an audible and heading to New York for the G1 Met Mile on Saturday, June 5. The former didn’t enter and the latter will scratch. That leaves #8 C Z ROCKET (2/1) as an interesting puzzle. He’s one of the top sprinters in the US (if not the top sprinter in the US) but two-turn racing may not be his forte. He hasn’t raced around the entire oval since April 2020 (he finished 8th) and he was twice beaten at a short prize in the (one turn) one-mile G3 Ack Ack at Churchill. He’s better today than he’s ever been, and he’s 7-for-8 since Peter Miller claimed him, but he’s a wildcard and a short price. In a sequence that could skew to chalk, do you really want to take 3/5 on him?  I don’t love #4 WARRIOR’S CHARGE (3/1), but I think this spot hits him right between the eyes – one-mile, two-turn race. He’s going to face immediate pace pressure from #5 HUNKA BURNING LOVE (12/1), drawn directly to his outside and #7 MO MOSA (12/1) could be part of the pace. I’m going to bet that one of the first two chooses not to indulge in a gate-to-wire duel, which would set us up to use both on the ticket and toss C Z ROCKET at too little value.  Use:  #4 WARRIOR’S CHARGE, #5 HUNKA BURNING LOVE MY TICKET Race 8: 3, 7Race 9: 1, 5, 9 Race 10: 1, 6Race 11: 4, 5 Cost: $48.00 for $2.00 

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5.30.2021:

Sunday, May 30: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse has 12 races scheduled for tonight. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 has a $25,000 guaranteed pool. That sequence starts in Race 9 and it will be my focus.On Saturday, Kyle Husted led the pilots with five trips to the winner's circle. Husted was also the top conditioner with three training wins. Speed held throughout the night as eight of eleven winners were leading at the head of the stretch. In the other three races the winners were within 1 1/2 lengths of the lead at the top of the lane.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 92-Super Park (9/2)-Broke stride in season debut and then had a sharp qualifier in 155.2 on 5-22. This barn has been cold but fits well with this crew and should be forwardly placed.3-Killer Credit (4-1)-Gets post relief and class relief in 2nd start on Lasix. This could be a wake-up situation but wouldn't recommend taking a short price. Has only raced 6 times over the past 2 years.10-Flashy Dude (8-1)-Smolin makes his 2nd consecutive appearance taking over from the owner/trainer. Last week's effort was the best since shipping in from CalX.Race 105-Redayfortheladys (7/2)-This will be the 3rd race this year restarting on Lasix and has been facing better. This is a soft spot and should be a main player if close to 100%.8-Rock Jagger (12-1)-This is the 3rd start at Haw this year, has notched 1 win and should be a big price. Warren might duck and then make an early move to get into striking range at the top of the lane.10-Trump Train (15-1)-Wilfong's choice over #6 paced the 2nd half in 54.1 and was just caught at the wire. Started from post 9 last time and the fractions this week could be more lively than a 59.1 first half.Race 113-White Satin (7-1)-Makes the 3rd start for Team Leonard and showed improvement last week. Paced the 2nd half in 56.1 with a 26.4 last 1/4 to cash a 3rd place check. This could be the night for a more aggressive steer and a chance to take a picture.6-Princess Mooss (5/2)-Raced better last week in 1st start on Lasix and this is a softer spot. Has recorded only 1 win in 12 tries but has hit the board in 9 of 11 races at Haw and has banked over $44k in Stickney. Ridge Warren is the new pilot and should be a major player with a sharp steer.Race 127-Mudville (2-1)-Brink trainee is a perfect 3-3 this year and has looked like a veteran in winning. Has been an odds-on chalk in the last 2 starts, that could be the case again and with a smooth journey may reward backers.9-Alwaysshowfaith (5-1)-The post draw helps the price and if Bender can work an efficient trip this 3-year-old appears to have the best chance of taking down #7.My Ticket Race 9) 2,3,10 Race 10) 5,8,10 Race 11) 3,6 Race 12) 7,9Total Ticket Cost) $18 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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5.30.2021:

Sunday, May 30: 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 Here to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B+Single: 4-Midnight MysteryForecast: Midnight Mystery got caught in a torrid pace duel (:21 1/5, :43 4/5) in a similar starter optional claiming turf sprint last month and paid the price late, but since that race he’s worked very well (as usual) and projects to face less pace pressure today. We’re expecting the War Front gelding to be on or near the lead and this time keep on going, so at 5/2 on the morning line we’ll make him a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: C+Use: 3-Rock N Rye; 4-Barsini RedForecast: Barsini Red and Rock N Rye finished a distant second and third, respectively, behind runaway winner Big City Lights when they debuted in maiden sprint for juveniles earlier this month. We can say with a high degree of certainly that there is nothing in here remotely as good as ‘Lights, so with any kind of improvement off that race each has a legitimate to earn their diploma in what appears to be a below par race for the level. In that race ‘Rye was finishing with interest despite failing to change leads while winding up just a half length behind ‘Red and may have a bit more room to improve, so we’ll give him a very slight edge on top while including both in rolling exotic play. Tread lightly here.RACE 3: Post: 2:07 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Circleofchampions; 2-Funkenstein; 8-Harbor SkyForecast: Let’s take a 10-1 flyer on the first-timer Harbor Sky in this challenging maiden state-bred turf miler that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. The S. McCarthy-trained gelding has done some good work in the a.m. and gets a considerable break in the weight with the presence of J. Pyfer in the saddler. The barn’s first-timers often run better than they work, and this son of Majestic City appears to be a good mover with some ability. Circleofchampions may be the best of the known element and is guaranteed a ground-saving trip from his favorable rail draw. The C. Gaines-trained colt exits a highly-rated race that produced a career top speed figure and not much more will be needed today. Funkenstein is a progressive type with a nice recent workout to indicate he’s ready for another forward move. We’ll be expecting this son of Smiling Tiger to settle in mid-pack and then take hold from the quarter pole home.RACE 4: Post: 2:41 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Hapi Hapi; 5-Full DrawForecast: Full Draw returns to dirt and a repeat of his seven length maiden claiming victory over this track and distance three runs back should be good enough to handle this soft assignment. He’s been fairly consistent for a cheap type, having hit the board in four of five career starts over the local strip. Hapi Hapi also has a solid record over the Santa Anita main track (in the frame in five of seven starts) and was a better-than-looked third with a wide trip in a similar affair last time out. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics in a race that we’ll otherwise not get too involved with.RACE 5: Post: 3:15 PT Grade: BUse: 6-Sensible Move; 7-Chao Mar; 8-Beautiful TempleForecast: Sensible Move is a first-timer bred for speed and grass (Summer Front) and comes from a capable outfit while showing a series of workouts that should have her fit and ready for a major effort first crack out of the box. The D. Pederson-trained filly is a good mover with a touch of quality and really doesn’t have a whole lot beat in this state-bred affair for older fillies and mares. Beautiful Temple is another debut runner that deserves some consideration in an open affair. She’s bred for grass on both sides of her pedigree (Temple City from a Kitten’s Joy mare) and has displayed good speed in the morning, though she really hasn’t been finishing well in her drills. Perhaps she’ll stick much better on turf. Chao Mar closed with a bit of interest in her debut to finish third when outrunning her 26-1 price in a similar maiden turf sprint earlier this month. She has a right to produce a forward move and should appreciate today’s extra half-furlong.RACE 6: Post: 3:48 PT Grade: XSingle: 9-Sweet SonnyForecast: Sweet Sonny is a 10-race maiden and not one to trust, but she has numbers that are good enough to handle this weak maiden claiming field of fillies and mares. In the frame in her last pair and never off the board in four starts over the Santa Anita main track, the B. Koriner-trained filly is drawn comfortably outside and should be on or near the lead throughout. However, she offers no real value at 9/5 on the morning line (and likely to go lower) so you can use her as a rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race.RACE 7: Post: 4:21 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Keep Dancing; 5-Prance; 7-UnbreakableForecast: Prance backs up to a mile, a distance that we suspect will bring out her best, so in a below average starter optional claiming turf event for fillies and mares the N. Drysdale-trained filly may be capable of settling in the second flight and producing a winning late kick. She’s 8-1 on the morning line and at that price is worth at least a small play. Keep Dancing handled a modest state-bred maiden field earlier this month in decent fashion and a repeat of that race puts her in the thick of it, class hike notwithstanding. The daughter of Clubhouse Ride is most effective when held up early and cut loose late. Unbreakable probably doesn’t offer good wagering value at 2-1 on the morning line (she just failed as the favorite in a similar spot) but on pure numbers she’s a major player based on her maiden score two runs back, so we’ll toss her in as well.RACE 8: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: XSingle: 4-SoothsayForecast: Let’s stick with Soothsay this five-runner edition of the Summertime Oaks for sophomore fillies, though the K. McPeek-trained shipper Crazy Beautiful has strong credentials as well. Soothsay is undefeated in two starts and won the Santa Anita Oaks-G2 following a maiden sprint, so she’s a filly of some quality and produced a significant forward with regards to speed figures between her first and second start. The daughter of Distorted Humor continues to train well and projects to be in a good stalking position outside and have every chance to extend her perfect streak to three. At 4/5 on the morning line, she’s a rolling exotic single but most likely will be too short to play in the win pool.RACE 9: Post: 5:26 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-George Herman Ruth; 4-Beaudacious; 5-Fly to MarsForecast: Fly to Mars lost a toughie at 2/5 last time out over this course and distance after being off the track for two months but will be a bit better price today in this allowance optional claimer for state-bred older turf horses. The veteran gelding projects to draft into a good stalking position and then have his chance to exert his superiority under F. Prat, who’s always gotten the most run out of him. Beaudacious earned a career top speed figure when easily handling maidens last time out and if he can turn in two alike he’ll be dangerous on the one-level raise. George Herman Ruth will enjoy a ground-saving trip from the rail in his third start in his current form cycle, and with another forward move – his speed figures have risen with each outing - the son of Grazen will be right there. We’ll give preference on top to Fly to Mars but include all three in our rolling exotics.

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5.30.2021:

Sunday, May 30: My Late Pick 4 Ticket at Golden Gate

Golden Gate’s Late Pick Four on Sunday has a couple of allowance optional claiming races that are inviting, particularly the eighth race, which is a 1 1-4-mile event.The suggested $64 ticket this week takes a 4x4x4x2 approach in a sequence that seems to be evenly matched for the most part.Here’s a look at the principals involved on this exotic play:Race 6 (6:50 p.m. ET, claiming)IZ INVINCIBLE’s form cannot be overlooked (with three straight wins) and he moves up in price. It’ll be a form vs. class battle, and he could be up to the task. LORD WIMBORNE usually makes a late run but forced the issue early last time, mainly because of lack of pace. He’ll get a better setup here. MANY ROSES was a factor at higher levels here last year and makes his first off the claim for Jonathan Wong, who hits at 34 percent in first off claim. MEGAMEISTER has the speed to put himself into the mix from the beginning and can dig in if allowed to set a moderate pace.Race 7 (7:20 p.m. ET, allowance optional claiming)I’M A ROCKETTE had solid outings in her last two with a win and a third, and has won going two turns over this strip. CREATIVE ROMANCE missed by a head last time and will be bearing down in the run to the wire. Ran well at a decent level last out. TAKE A TIME OUT was sharp in a maiden win, then fizzled vs. allowance runners on the turf. Back to the main track and can close into this pace. MISS PEAKY BLINDER was fourth in the Cal Oaks last out and broke her maiden two back. Has responded to the switch from southern California to the Bay area.Race 8 (7:50 p.m. ET, allowance optional claiming)MULHOLLAND HIGHWAY drops out of a 1 7-8-mile turf race at Turf Paradise and shortens to 1 1-4 miles. Won here in February. AUTUSMS WORLD has never been the distance but it bred to run forever on the front end. OF GOOD REPORT was third in a tough spot last time and looks to be on the improve. Has not been the distance but the pedigree says he’s a candidate. GALLANT WARREN closed going 1 1-8 miles and had won two straight going into that one.Race 9 (8:20 p.m. ET, claiming)TROUBLE N PARADISE romped last time and a repeat win would be no surprise. Is usually well spotted and has won two of her last three and three of her last six. SIMPLY PERFECT drops in class and her speed can take her farther than usual in this spot.My TicketRace 6) #1 Iz Invincible, #3 Lord Wimborne, #4 Many Roses, #6 Megameister.Race 7) #1 I’m a Rockette, #3 Creative Romance, #4 Take a Time Out, #5 Miss Peaky Blinder.Race 8) #3 Mulholland Highway, #4 Autisms World, #5 Of Good Report, #7 Gallant Warren.Race 9) #9 Trouble N Paradise, #10 Simply Perfect.Total Ticket Cost) 1,3,4,6/1,3,4,5/3,4,5,7 with 9-10 = $64 for $0.50

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5.29.2021:

Saturday, May 29: Meadowlands Late Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, the Meadowlands has 14 races ready to roll with the feature coming in Race 10, the Miss Versatility Trot with a $30,000 purse. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 10, it has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout and it will be my focus.On Friday, over a sloppy track every winner was either on top or within a 1 1/2 lengths of the leader at the top of the stretch.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 101-Sorella (4-1)-Classy 4-year-old is back with the girls and should be in the hunt. Could offer a fair price and might make the most of drawing inside of the others.5-AB'sattititudeexpress (5/2)-Also comes out of the Graduate series and before that rattled off 3 in a row versus this kind. Looks like a major player and Tetrick has choices from this post.6-When Dovescry (2-1)-Just missed by a neck on 5-8 in the 1st start of the year. Then tuned up for this in a qualifier last week winning by 26 lengths and should be ready for a big try tonight.Race 112-Seriously Hanover (5-1)-Raced a big mile in last but just fell short by a head versus a very tough foe. Comes back at the same level and Dunn should have in play from the start.5-Allywag Hanover (4-1)-Makes 3rd start on Lasix in 4th race this year. Tough to overlook in this spot and the Pelling barn has been rolling along. Maybe will show a little more down the lane and take a picture for the 1st time in 2021.8-Captain Barbossa (9/5)-Jug winner started the year with 2 Big M wins and then had no chance when a rough journey took its toll. There are some tough customers in this field and the post could be an issue. Not sure how aggressive Joe B uses the Captain off the gate. Respecting chances but will be leaning to others at this short of a price.Race 124-Bettor Notbitter A (9/2)-Was in too deep in Phl and returns to a better level. Has hit the board in 6 of 8 starts with 3 wins at M1 and it's best to respect at a square price.6-TJ Blast (7/2)-TJ is often in the mix and had a big try in last from post 10. AMac should put this 8-year-old in striking range but has only 1 win in 25 starts here.8-Justin Credible (5-1)-Raced large from the 8-hole last week with a quick 2nd half and would expect a game effort again. The reason to use is because the fractions could be more lively than last time and if so chances for a trip to the winner's circle go up.Race 133-Lexus Witha View A (7/2)-Drops to a spot to shine and comes off a nice effort from post 10 versus better. Raced the 2nd half in .54 with a 26.3 last quarter and with a good trip could roll by down the lane.9-Rockin The Aces (3-1)-Should relish the company and has won 11 of 36 M1 starts. This is a wake-up spot and Dunn may blast out to get a good seat or look to control the pace. The 9-hole makes this a challenge but should be a player versus this kind with a smooth trip.My Ticket Race 10) 1,5,6 Race 11) 2,5,8 Race 12) 4,6,8 Race 13) 3,9Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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5.29.2021:

Saturday, May 29: Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Full-Card Picks

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play. Click Here to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout Report RACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: XSingle: 5-The Black Album Forecast: Ex-stakes performer The Black Album appears to be rounding back into winning form following a solid third place effort in a similar mid-level claiming turf miler, and in a race that projects to have a favorable pace flow for this stretch-running French-bred veteran he should be able to produce a winning late kick. However, he’s listed as the 6/5 morning line favorite for the always-powerful jockey/trainer combo of F. Prat and P. Miller (33%) so you can use him as a short price rolling exotic single other simply pass the race. RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Sharapova; 2-Ginja; 4-Whistler’s Style Forecast: Whistler’s Style has a steadily improving pattern with rising speed figures, and in a race that offers plenty of early speed she should be able to settle in the second flight and then have every chance to seal the deal from the quarter pole home. The daughter of Tonalist is listed at 5-1 on the morning line but we suspect she’ll go lower. Ginja has the popular two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern combined with the always-dangerous blinkers off angle. Combined with a pedigree that leans towards distance, the daughter of Quality Road is a major player, though the B. Baffert-trained filly has failed at short odds in her last two races when not puting up much of a fight under pressure in the final furlong. We’ll also toss in on a ticket or two Sharapova, the likely controlling speed from the rail in her first try over a distance of ground. She ran well in her debut but then went backwards her second start (a slow start compromised her chances), so she also may not be one to trust. RACE 3: Post: 2:07 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Pray for My Owner; 4-Mind Meld Forecast: Pray for My Owner is the quickest in the field, and as a daughter of Temple City should run every bit as well on turf as she did when breaking her maiden on the main track with a strong speed figures two races back. Overmatched in the Evening Jewel S. last time out but dropping back to reality today, the M. Glatt-trained filly retains T. Baze and will be tough to catch if she can shake loose early without pressure. Recent debut winner Mind Meld is the one to fear most. A winner over this course and distance in late March and with a steady, healthy work pattern in the interim, the daughter of Point of Entry should employ similar stretch-running tactics, and with the projected race flow that is likely to compliment her style the M. Puype-trained filly will have every chance to produce another dangerous late kick. Both should be included in the rolling exotics with preference on top to Pray for My Owner. RACE 4: Post: 2:41 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Queen Stormborn; 7-Miss Lady Ann Forecast: Queen Stormborn was a voided claim when finishing third in a similar $16,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares in early April, but she has trained well since so we’re expecting the lightly-raced 4-year-old filly to bring her “A” game today if she receives a competent ride from 7 lbs. bug boy J. Espinoza. Miss Lady Ann makes her third start off a long layoff, and it should be the best race in her current form cycle. In the frame in all seven of her outings over the Santa Anita main track, the daughter of Munnings projects to settle in the second flight outside and then have clear sailing and every chance from the top of the lane to the wire. We’ll try to get by in rolling exotic play using just these two. RACE 5: Post: 3:15 PT Grade: XUse: 2-Bombard; 4-Law Abidin Citizen Forecast: Bombard adds blinkers after just missing in his recent comeback in a tough allowance race and based on the projected race flow should be able to make the pace without undue pressure and then proceed to justify his role as the 6/5 morning line favorite in this year’s edition of t he Daytona S.-G3. Law Abidin Citizen is certain to put up a fight, and if our top pick fails to reproduce his best form this hard-knocking comebacker will make things difficult. A four-time winner on grass at Santa Anita and always thoroughly genuine and consistent throughout his career, the son of Twirling Candy returns to action after a pair of strong third place efforts in graded stakes company at Del Mar last summer. The M. Glatt-trained gelding has a good stalking style and won’t go down lightly. RACE 6: Post: 3:48 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Scary Fast Smile; 3-Teton Valley Forecast: Scary Fast Smile took seven races to break his maiden but did it in style last month when crushing state-bred rivals by nearly eight lengths while earning a strong, career-top speed figure. He’s hooking considerably more early heat today, so he’ll need to break sharply from the rail to avoid a troubled trip, but with clean start and another forward move the son of Smiling Tiger should be able to handle the class hike. Teton Valley, in the money in his last three outings while setting the pace and then weakening late, removes blinkers for the first time so patient handling might be employed. In the frame in in all five starts over the Santa Anita main track and highly competitive based strictly on speed figures, the R. Hanson-trained colt is the one to fear most. RACE 7: Post: 4:19 PT Grade: XSingle: 4-United Forecast: United is the 3/5 morning line favorite and seems likely to go lower in this four runner renewal of the Charles Whittingham S.-G2 over 10 furlongs on grass. The veteran son of Giant’s Causeway is the defending race champion and a five-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course, and after winning the San Luis Rey S.-G3 here in late March the R. Mandella-trained gelding projects to draft behind speed types Acclimate and Award Winner and then go on with it when ready. He’s a no-value rolling exotic single in a race that we’ll otherwise pass. RACE 8: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Exaulted; 5-Eight Rings Forecast: Eight Rings, so promising as a 2-year-old but highly disappointing in two starts during his sophomore campaign, launches a comeback for B. Baffert and appears to be training like his old self. We know he can fire a big shot fresh – he earned a career top speed figure in his debut win – and from his comfortable outside draw the son of Empire Maker can dictate the terms of the pace flow. He’s a Grade-1 winner and it’s not too late for him to become a major force in the older middle distance stakes division so it’ll be interesting to see if he can bring his best stuff this time around. Exaulted was a willing but non-threatening third in the San Carlos S.-G2 over this track and distance in early March and has trained very well since, so we’re expecting a similar if not slightly better performance today from the son of Twirling Candy. The P. Eurton-trained colt will be doing his best work late but in a race that might not produce modest early fractions his task won’t be easy. RACE 9: Post: 5:26 PT Grade: B+Use: 6-Dicey Mo Chara; 7-American Admiral; 8-No Foolery Here Forecast: The finale is an interesting nine furlong maiden turf affair that has a few possibilities and a chance for a nice payoff. Dicey Mo Chara never really got involved in his U.S. debut vs. similar over a mile earlier this month but he did gallop out full of run and was far in front by the time the field reached the middle of the clubhouse turn. We are expecting the English-bred gelding to run much better today with that effort behind him, the addition of blinkers, and at today’s mile and one-eighth trip. He’s listed at 6-1 on the morning line and is a gamble at or near that price. No Foolery Here missed by a head when a dead-heat second in the same race our top pick exits and is another that should enjoy today’s longer trip. The son of Carpe Diem had a nice recent training track workout to indicate he’s continuing to move in the right direction. American Admiral appeared in need of the outing when a well-beaten third in his debut two weeks ago but with that tightener behind him and today surface switch to grass the son of American Pharoah seems sure to produce a significant forward move for the high-percentage F. Prat/B. Baffert jockey-trainer team.

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5.29.2021:

Saturday, May 29: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday and Saturday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6. Selections are listed in chronological order. Churchill Downs Race 5 - Post time: 2:45 ET8-Royal Prince (3-1) Finished a non-threatening sixth, beaten more than four lengths, in the American Turf S.-G2 over the local lawn four weeks ago but ran much better than the line will show and with better racing luck would have been right there. Broke well but was guzzled back off the pace to lose early position, became trapped in traffic much of the way and then got clear too late to make any real impression. Drawn comfortably outside today and switching to F. Geroux, the B. Cox-trained colt should have clear sailing and be able to regain his stakes winning form. At 3-1 on the morning line, he’s worth a play in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics. Churchill Downs Race 9 - Post time: 4:55 ET1-Ready to Pounce (15-1) Let’s try to blow up the tote board with this promising but untested 3-year-old making the leap from maidens to graded stakes company in this year’s edition of the Matt Winn S.-G3. Was visually very impressive scoring by almost five lengths at Keeneland last month while earning a speed figure that makes him very competitive right back despite the tougher assignment. If he can produce another forward move from his favorable inside draw, the son of More Than Ready should at outrun his 15-1 morning line price and maybe do a whole lot more than just that.

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5.28.2021:

Saturday, May 29: Eddie Olczyk’s Spot Plays

1/ST and NBC handicapper Eddie Olczyk turns his attention to a pair of best bets this Saturday. Follow Edzo’s plays each week – only with 1/ST and Xpressbet!BELMONT, RACE 8 (4:40PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 1 1/16 MILES EDZO'S PICK: #5 CREED (8/1) Anticipating moisture in track; that’s the angle with Creed. This is his third race off a long layoff after no excuse in last. Reunited with Jose Ortiz, love the Shug angle. Don’t take anything less than 5-1. #9 Mystic Night is the horse to beat. Win-Place wager on Creed.CHURCHILL DOWNS, RACE 10 (5:26PM ET) // ARISTIDES STAKES // 6 FURLONGSEDZO'S PICK: #2 TOUGH LOVE (10/1) Price player gets a hot pace to run into and turns back in distance from 7 furlongs to 6 furlongs. He enjoys Churchill with wins in 2 of his last 3 local tries. Win-Place wager on Tough Love.

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5.28.2021:

1/ST BET AI Picks for Lucrative Pimlico Carryovers

Pimlico’s 9-race Friday card features a pair of massive carryovers for horseplayers to attack. The late pick five has a $115,038 carryover, while the Rainbow 6 jackpot pool’s carryover has ballooned to $708,858. Let’s dig into the artificial intelligence of the 1/ST BET app for the full card, providing data-driven insight to the two big sequences.Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app or Xpressbet can receive a $10 free bet in Friday’s Pimlico pick five. You’ll get a $10 refund in wagering credits back into your account. See 1/ST BET and Xpressbet for details.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.Pimlico // Race 4 // 2:07 pm ET // maiden claiming // 6 furlongs#5 Lifespan // 28%W#4 Leave ‘Em Loaded // 15%W#7 Fading Scars // 14%W#1 Star of Normandy // 9%WNotable: Rainbow 6 starts. The 28% win projection on Lifespan is co-second highest in the Rainbow 6, and the 13-point spread from first to second choice is most in any race. The algorithm will undersell the first-time starters in here due to a lack of data, so consider those types, particularly Cranston’s Network, as additions as desired, otherwise it’s a solid lean to Lifespan.Pimlico // Race 5 // 2:40 pm ET // claiming // 5 furlongs (turf)#3 Cindy’s Prayer // 23%W#12 Adabel // 17%W#13 Dominating Buyer // 11%W#6 Suzette Star// 10%WNotable: Late pick 5 starts. Cindy’s Prayer and Adabel have a solid edge with the 1/ST BET app, the former the likely race favorite and the latter a juicy 15-1 morning line pop. This is the kind of coverage you like to have on a focused ticket that gives you logical and separation possibilities.Pimlico // Race 6 // 3:11 pm ET // maiden claiming // 6 furlongs#5 Wicked Hot // 27%W#1 No Chance Given // 15%W#6 Pounding Music // 14%W#8 Rona // 10%WNotable: First-time starters Tidal Waters and Originalist could be supporting alternatives undervalued by the app. Rainbow 6 players trying to get outside the majority of players and score the single-ticket jackpot will want to consider 20-1 morning line price Rona.Pimlico // Race 7 // 3:43 pm ET // claiming // 6 furlongs#2 Petion Lass // 28%W#5 Blue Sky Venezuela // 20%W#1 Instinctive // 17%W#6 R True Sensation // 15%WNotable: Top AI pick Petion Lass has run second 3 straight races and the spread here isn’t great among the leading contenders, so spreading a bit may be worth a look. R True Sensation at 15-1 catches the eye as a potential separator on tickets.Pimlico // Race 8 // 4:15 pm ET // optional claiming-allowance // 6 furlongs#4 Cry No More // 31%W#2 Heir Port // 23%W#5 It’s Sizzling Time // 20%W#3 Exculpatory // 14%Notable: The vast majority of tickets will be no more than 2 deep with the favorites in this 6-horse field. For a unique Rainbow 6 payout, an upset here could open the vault with some price help in other races as well. But Cry No More’s 31% win projection is highest in the multi-race sequences today.Pimlico // Race 9 // 4:47 pm ET // claiming // 1 mile (turf)#12 Gearhead // 21%W#10 My Man Pots N Pans // 19%W#2 Ballivor // 13%W#6 Dothat Dance // 11%WNotable: Gearhead, the 8-5 morning line favorite, and My Man Pots N Pans, second ML choice at 7-2, are separated by only 2 points, tightest projection in the sequences. Ballivor and Dothat Dance offer some price options.

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5.28.2021:

Free 2021 Belmont Stakes Wager Guide Now Available

Our 2021 Belmont Stakes Wager Guide is the definitive resource that you have to read while preparing for the Final Jewel of the Triple Crown. Our FREE, 16-page Guide is loaded with free picks from your favorite 1/ST personalities, as well as betting strategies from Jeff Siegel and Jeremy Plonk.   Have a 1/ST Account? Get the Guide here. Not a 1/ST Customer? Download the Guide here. In addition to Picks & Betting Strategies, our 2021 Belmont Stakes Wager Guide also features: 'Handicap the Belmont Like Eddie Olczyk' Section Belmont Trends, Facts & Stats 'Meet the Contenders' from Johnny D. Belmont Stakes Workout Report  Plus, be sure to download our updated Belmont Stakes Wager Guide on Thursday, June 3, 2021, featuring post-draw picks and analysis, as well as insights from Eddie Olczyk and Brent Musburger.  Join us Saturday, June 5, 2021 for the 2021 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. First post is 11:35AM ET and the Belmont is Race 11, at 6:49PM ET.

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5.28.2021:

Friday, May 28: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday and Saturday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6. Selections are listed in chronological order.Belmont Park Race 9 - Post time: 5:12 ET10-Determined Fury (3-1)Once-promising gelding makes just his fourth career start and couldn’t have found an easier assignment in this $40,000 maiden claiming turf sprint. The C. Clement-trained 4-year-old flashed speed before weakening in a productive race in his first start off a layoff last month and should be fitter, tighter, and much more comfortable on grass. We’re expecting the son of Tale of the e Cat to on or near the lead throughout, so we’ll make him a win play and rolling exotic single at or near his morning line of 3-1.Golden Gate Fields Race 7 – Post time: 4:20 PT2-Tiger Queen (9/2)Finally makes it to the races at age four in the maiden special weight sprint for fillies and mares that is begging to be won by a fresh face. The known element isn’t much, and this daughter of the excellent speed stallion Smiling Tiger has put together an excellent series of workouts that should have her fit and ready for high percentage connections. A recent five furlong drill in 1:00 1/5 (third fastest of 47) catches the eye, so at 9/2 on the morning line she’s worth a play in the win pool and in the various rolling exotics.

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5.28.2021:

Friday, May 28: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click Here to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: BSingle: 2-DrizellaForecast: Drizella was beaten 10 lengths when a distant runner-up to the talented Big Treat in her debut last month but was almost three lengths clear of the rest in what was a fairly decent effort under the circumstances. The daughter of Stanford seems certain to benefit from the outing and because the first-timers appear somewhat ordinary on paper let’s go with the proven element on top as a rolling exotic single for a barn that has strong stats with second-time starters.RACE 2: Post: 1:37 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Exalted Joy; 5-Poseidon WrathForecast: Poseidon Wrath, a solid runner-up in his debut last month at Keeneland and searching for some ship-and-win money following a $50,000 claim by a sharp outfit, shows up for the same price today and seems the solid top choice in a five-runner maiden claiming main track miler. The Super Saver gelding projects to be the controlling speed under good bug girl J. Pyfer, who is not afraid to allow front-running types to show their speed. Exalted Joy drops to a realistic level, is competitive on speed figures and sports a decent work since raced. He’s guaranteed a good ground-saving trip from the rail and appears to have found his proper level. We’ll prefer Poseidon Wrath on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 3: Post: 2:09 PT Grade: B-Use: 5-Trouville; 6-Lalic; 8-Shanghai SunriseForecast: Shanghai Sunrise makes her first start on grass and if she can duplicate her main track form in this starter allowance six furlong sprint she can score again after winning a similar affair here last month. Drawn comfortably outside and with enough early speed to make the running or settle into a stalking position, the M. Puype-trained filly has rising speed figures and a sharp recent workout to indicate another forward move is likely. Lalic retains F. Prat and is lightly-raced and improving while seeking her third straight score over the local lawn. Today she must pick up 8 lbs. and is catching more early speed than she had to deal with in her most recent score, but two races back she rallied from off the pace to graduate from maiden claimers so Prat can assess the pace flow today and choose his best path. Trouville, in the frame in 12 of 14 career starts, continues to impress in the a.m. and will need only slight improvement to be a legitimate threat from the quarter pole home. Toss her in somewhere.RACE 4: Post: 2:41 PT Grade: B+Single: 5-Summer RoseForecast: Summer Rose stretches out for the first time (always like this angle) and projects to be on the lead or in a comfortable stalking position this bottom-rung maiden $20,000 claiming main track miler for fillies and mares. The daughter of Jimmy Creed has worked like a mare that will step forward considerably with the stretch out in trip and goes for a barn that has good stats with this maneuver. If she’s ever going to handle two-turns, it will most likely be in her first try, so let’s make her a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post: 3:17 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Charette; 5-Clearly GoneForecast: Charette was claimed for $25,000 in mid-March by J. Sadler and was subsequently a stewards’ scratch when re-entered for that same price earlier this month (it wasn’t a physical problem, she worked the next day). In what we’ll take as a sign of confidence, the veteran is re-entered on the raise for a barn that has strong stats with the first-off-the-claim angle, and she gets a serious break in the weights with the switch to good bug boy C. Ortega. A healthy recent series of a.m. drills catches the eye, and from the rail she’s assured of a good ground-saving trip, so let’s go with the daughter of Hard Spun in the win pool and as the main push in rolling exotic play. For protection, we’ll also include on a ticket or two Clearly Gone, a genuine and consistent performer. She switches to U. Rispoli and generally produces a good late kick that makes her a strong threat despite the class hike.RACE 6: Post: 3:50 PT Grade: B-Use: 5-Katla; 6-Class CodeForecast: Trainer C. Gaines has two major players in this $20,000 maiden claiming main track miler (a split of the fourth race) for fillies and mares. Katla, runner-up under these conditions last month and today getting a weight break with the switch to J. Pyfer, projects to be comfortably placed on or near the lead in a field without much speed. With any kind of forward move she should be capable of earning her diploma. Stable mate Class Code flashed speed sprinting before fading in her debut, but today’s stretch out and is dropping from maiden special weight to the bottom maiden claiming level, so we’ll use her as well in rolling exotic play.RACE 7: Post: 4:24 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Railsplitter; 2-Onenightstandards; 4-Hammering LemonForecast: This looks like a fairly wide-open starter optional claiming turf miler requiring a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll go three-deep and hope that’s enough. Onenightstandards, claimed at Keeneland for $20,000 two races back, earned a career top speed figure in his West Coast debut when third vs. similar at this distance on the main track last month. A winner of his only prior grass outing last summer at Ellis Park, the M. Glatt-trained colts switches to the barn’s “go-to” rider J. J. Hernandez and projects to enjoy an ideal pace-stalking trip from his comfortable two-hole post position. Hammering Lemon shows up in a seller for the first time – a long overdue drop in class – and at this level the D. O’Neill-trained gelding should be quite competitive. He’s a fit on numbers, had a nice workout six days ago, and could find himself as the controlling speed if his connections opt for that game plan. O’Neill’s other entrant, Railsplitter, backs up from a mile, lands the rail, and should be prominent throughout in his first start since joining this stable. Runner-up at this level in a nine-furlong affair last month, the son of Bodemeister appears to lack a winning punch (he’s one-for-14 in his career and three times second from five starts over this course) but in an open fray has to be considered a contender.RACE 8: Post: 4:54 PT Grade: C+Use: 5-Rebel War; 6-I Am Allthatyourare; 8-Eel PointForecast: Here’s another challenging affair, this one a restricted (nw-3) $20,000 claiming dash for older horses. Eel Point is most effective as a late-running sprinter and with the shortening in trip and the drop in class to below his claim level, the D. O’Neill-trained gelding may have found his friends. The Into Mischief gelding will need some help up front but with a decent pace to chase and clear sailing through the lane he might be able to produce a winning late kick. I Am Allthatyourare was overmatched in a starter’s $50,000 affair on grass last time out but a repeat of his good runner-up effort two runs back at this level makes him a prime contender. The son of Tale of the Cat has won on the lead and from a stalking position so R. Gonzalez can judge the pace flow and adjust his strategy. Rebel War makes his third start off a long layoff, and it should be his best in the current form cycle. Shortening to six furlongs may help him stick around longer and with a prior win over the local main track and speed figures that fit the V. Brinkerhoff-trained gelding figures strongly in the fray. Toss him in on a ticket or two.

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5.27.2021:

Friday, May 28: Penn National All-Stakes Pick 4 Picks

We’re excited for a massive Friday slate to take us into the Memorial Day weekend, including a $115K Pimlico Pick 5 carryover (Johnny D’s picks here), the 12% Takeout Stronach 5 (Frank Carulli’s picks here) and an All-Stakes Early Pick 4 at Penn National. Not bad for a Friday afternoon and evening, huh? Penn National’s All-Stakes (All-Turf) Pick 4 kicks off with Race 1, at 6:00PM ET, and is my focus. Rain is in the forecast for Friday, so keep an eye on turf conditions. I’m handicapping for a course with some potentially significant give in the ground.  RACE 1 (6:00PM ET) // LYPHARD STAKES // 1 1/16 MILES (TURF) The opener is a PA-bred stakes race for fillies and mares and it’s worth pointing out that the entrants would probably prefer this one come off the lawn. Of the seven runners, four have never won on the grass. #3 UJAYI (9/5) is the likely favorite on either surface, having finished second in the G3 Houston Ladies Classic in January.  Her dirt races are superior to those on turf, and if this comes off the lawn, she’ll be much more formidable. The same is true for #5 MIDNIGHT OBSESSION, who shined in a sloppy track race at Belmont in April. She has no turf form, but will be tough on the dirt. In the even this race stays on turf, #1 MOON CHANT (10/1) has lone-speed potential from the rail and could take this field a long way at a solid price. Pick 4 Horses (Turf): #1, #2, #3, #5Pick 4 Horses (Dirt): #3, #5 RACE 2 (6:27PM ET) // WITH ANTICIPATION STAKES // 1 1/16 MILES (TURF) A huge field is signed on here and, again, a lack of established turf form is apparent right off the bat. Of the 12 entrants, just five have had their picture taken in the winner’s circle after a grass race. My favorite of the turf horses is #4 MISSIN THE BIG DOG (8/1). He just won off a layoff at Pimlico and is a three-time winner on the lawn. #7 CHILLY IN CHARGE (4/1) and #10 SOMEDAY JONES (3/1) are circuit veterans, but they’re a combined 0-for-6 on turf. Plus, ML favorite SOMEDAY JONES has never shown an affinity for the surface and just got beat when in for a tag at Keeneland. Mike Maker did grab up this for $62,500 in December and you have to think these type of PA-bred races were what they had in mind, but he’s not a horse I’ll have on my ticket unless this race gets washed off. Pick 4 Horses (Turf): #4, #7, #11Pick 4 Horses (Dirt): #2, #6, #7, #8, #10 RACE 3 (7:02PM ET) // PENN OAKS // 1 MILE (TURF) If this race stays on the turf, #4 HONEY PANTS (7/5) is a single for me. She has been facing tougher horses in Florida and held her own against the likes of Con Lima and White Frost at Gulfstream. She now gets a field that is light on talent and the only real rivals on paper are #6 AMALFI PRINCESS (2/1) and #2 MIDNIGHT OBSESSION (4/1), who is cross-entered in Race 1. AMALFI PRINCESS is just 1-for-7, is 0-for-3 on turf and has never raced around two turns.  Her best race came when third in the G3 Beaumont behind a torrid pace. Pick 4 Horses (Turf): #4 Pick 4 Horses (Dirt): #2, #6 RACE 4 (7:46PM ET) // GRADE 2 PENN MILE // 1 MILE (TURF) Like the ‘Oaks, this race has two standouts on the ML, with #7 OUTADORE (8/5) and #3 ANNEX (9/5) being the primary conversation horses.  Unfortunately, Wesley Ward is reporting that OUTADORE, despite his proven form on soft turf courses, will scratch out of this spot to run in the ungraded $100,000 Paradise Creek at Belmont Park on Sunday. That leaves #3 ANNEX, who goes 'blinkers on' for Bill Mott. I'm not a huge believer in ANNEX, and his form has slipped since winning the Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream in February, but this field is light on turf form and class and he'll be tough to beat. As alternatives to the favorite, I present #6 SIBELIUS (10/1), who has a strong turf pedigree and just broke his maiden at Keeneland and #1 GERSHWIN (12/1), a son of G1 winner Music Note who has twice run in off-the-turf races.  Pick 4 Horses (Turf): #3, #6 Pick 4 Horses (Dirt): #1, #3, #6 Pick 4 Ticket (Turf) Race 1: 1, 2, 3, 5Race 2: 4, 7, 11Race 3: 4Race 4: 3, 6  Cost: $24.00 for $1.00 Pick 4 Ticket (Dirt) Race 1: 3, 5Race 2: 2, 6, 7, 8, 10Race 3: 2, 6Race 4: 1, 3, 6 Cost: $60.00 for $1.00

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5.27.2021:

Friday, May 28: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Picks

LEG A // PIMLICO, RACE 9 (4:47PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF) GEARHARD looks best on paper, but with a 1-13 turf record and an outside post, use several runners on the ticket. MY MAN POTS N PANS was eager while tracking the pace in third, bid 3-wide at the top of the stretch and flattened out a bit late in a longer route race.     LEG B // SANTA ANITA, RACE 3 (5:09PM ET) // STARTER ALLOWANCE // 6 FURLONGS (TURF)  Morning-line favorite LALIC just beat three of her rivals under the same conditions. But the race shape will change with the pace presence of several new shooters. That being said, we're using TROUVILLE to upstage a series of in-the-money finishes and longshot ROSES AND CANDY (12-1) to launch a contending rally on the cutback from 6-1/2F.  LEG C // GOLDEN GATE, RACE 3 (5:26PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 5 FURLONGS (ALL WEATHER)  All but one of 10 entrants debuts in the California-bred dominated sprint. STAY LIT is by Stay Thirsty, the fourth-leading Cal-bred sire this year with 41 winners from 120 runners, and his dam, Light Striker, was 36/5-5-5 in a stakes-winning career. HIGHLAND GHOST debuts for a 21-percent barn and lures leading jockey Kyle Frey, so include him on the ticket. DIAMOND WILLOW'S connections are 3-9 at the current meet with a positive return on investment if you wagered on all nine to win.    LEG D // GULFSTREAM, RACE 8 (5:36PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)  Many angles to consider in this turf route. UNA LUNA and EXTRAVAGANT ROSIE are proven grass milers in recent months. FUDDLED, heavily bet in all four 5F sprints and a MSW breaker, tries to carry her speed for the top barn. SNOW SHOWER worked forwardly for her U.S. debut and earned a competitive speed figure after 10 months away. LEG E // GULFSTREAM, RACE 9 (6:09PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)  IZSHEFROSTED, dismissed at 7-2 odds or less in her last four starts for a higher tag, dueled with the 2-1 winner at 7F from mid-turn to the finish, missing by a neck at 7F. It's now or never time to graduate.SUGGESTED $1 STRONACH 5 TICKET Leg A: 2, 3, 7, 10, 12, 13Leg B: 5, 7 Leg C: 3, 5, 9Leg D: 1, 3, 4, 6Leg E: 4Cost: $144

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5.27.2021:

Friday, May 28: Pimlico $115K Carryover Late Pick 5 Picks

If you’re in a Friday gambling mood (and who isn’t?), there are a few spots that seem tailor made to give this Memorial Day holiday weekend a flying start and they all center around what’s happening at Pimlico. Two weekends ago, the Baltimore track was the center of the racing universe when it hosted the Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness Stakes and it’s a pretty interesting spot for horseplayers again Friday.  XPRESSBET PROMO: Pimlico Pick 5 $10 Free Bet Last Sunday, no one had all five winners in Pimlico’s Pick 5. That means there’s a carryover of over $115k into Friday’s wager which begins with the fifth race at 2:40 pm ET. That’s a decent chunk of dead money in the pool. And that bread can’t beat you, but you can win it—always a golden opportunity. I know what you’re going to say, you don’t regularly play Pimlico. Fine, neither do many others that will take a swing at this attractive $.50 Pick 5 carryover opportunity. Note, this isn’t an official ‘mandatory’ Pick 5 payout, but it plays nearly the same. Except in this case, if no one selects all five winners, the pool will carry over to Saturday. However, with added wagering attention a $115k carryover brings, chances of that happening are small. Players who sweep the card’s last five live races will share in Friday’s entire pool plus the carryover amount—all that dead money. As long as you’re handicapping Pimlico’s last five races, you might as well take a gander at the $.20 Pick 6 that begins one race earlier on the card. That jackpot-style wager has a state-record pool of nearly $709k. Unlike with the Pick 5, that jackpot won’t be paid out unless there happens to be a single winning ticket. That’s unlikely to happen, but not impossible. Chances are the jackpot Pick 6 pool will continue to grow without a single winner until the track decides to clear the deck with a mandatory payout on a future date. While there was no ‘only’ winning Pick 6 ticket Sunday at the Maryland track, anyone with six correct winners collected over $19k! Not bad for a $.20 throw. You might consider asking if you’re walking around lucky Friday and take swipes at both the Pimlico Pick 5 and Pick 6.  Pimlico’s ninth race, final leg for both the Pick 5 and Pick 6, also kicks off this week’s Stronach 5 wager at 4:47 pm ET. The wager includes Santa Anita’s third, Golden Gate’s third and Gulfstream’s eighth and ninth. Loyal Stronach 5 players already know what a fantastic wager it is with juicy $1 payoffs each week at a low 12% percent takeout. Below is one man’s opinion of the five races that make up the $115k carryover in the Pimlico Pick 5. Selections were made before scratches and are for Fast and Firm conditions. Also-Eligible runners have not been considered except in the ninth race where there are a pair of Main Track Only runners in the body of the race and serious challengers waiting to run. FRIDAY, MAY 28, 2021PIMLICO // RACE 5 (2:52PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF)  This is an overflowing turf dash at five furlongs and they often contain surprises. Many of these are stepping up in class and are trying turf for the first time, hence a bit of a grab-bag scenario. #2 Asbuilt seems to have found a decent spot for her first try against winners after a maiden claiming dirt score where she was clear and just held on going a half furlong further than today. #3 Cindy’s Prayer is the 9-5 favorite and the new face in the area. She has a pair of elongated Louisiana Downs turf sprints that fit well on figures. She’s been off since December, though, and goes for capable new trainer Cathal Lynch. #10 Make It a Double has an interesting look as she drops back to what was a competitive level a year ago.   USE: #10, #3, #2 PIMLICO // RACE 6 (3:11PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)  This is either a slam dunk single or a challenging maiden maiden claiming heat. That all depends on how you feel about 2-1 morning-line favorite #5 Wicked Hot. If you think she can repeat her first-out, last-out strong rally she’s a single. If not, break out the net.  #2 Kalenjin is a Munnings first-time starter for the potent team trainer/jockey team of Brittany and Sheldon Russell. They combine to hit at a strong 23%. Additionally, the trainer is 29% with first-out runners and the sire’s runners hit at 15%. Love the 1:01 3/5 five-furlong gate drill this one posted May 7—a sure sign of fitness. #5 Wicked Hot has to be respected off a second-place finish in what was a fast race for the level according to Beyer Speed Figures. But was it too strenuous for the filly to repeat in three weeks? #4 Originalist has a decent five-furlong gate move in 1:02 and is by 15% first out winning sire Constitution. #1 No Chance Given already has been given a few chances, but this will be her first start for trainer Claudio Gonzalez who hits at a torrid 28% first-off a claim.   USE: #2, #1, #5, #4PIMLICO // RACE 7 (3:43PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT) Questions galore and a somewhat vulnerable 5/2 morning-line favorite make this tussle a puzzle. #1 Instinctive is an honest 5-year-old mare and starts with a capable 5-pound apprentice allowance and Carlos Marquez and a chance from the rail. #2 Petion Lass is the 5/2 morning-line favorite but hasn’t started since December. She went to the bench off a trio of runner-up efforts and has races in her past that would win this. Her last two wins came at one mile and she’s 0-3 at this six-furlong distance. #3 Pete’s Pride is a steady 4-year that fits off figs, but she’s won just 3 out of 20 and 1 out of 11 at the distance. #4 Parched Ghost cuts back off a decent mile and one-sixteenth try. The 6-year-old has won only 3 out of 30 but all 3 wins came at this distance. #5 Blue Sky Venezuela has the fastest recent races and was claimed at this level last out by Michael Gorham who is 29% off the claim. She’s the one to beat. Her 9 for 11 in the money record at the distance and blinkers added suggest she’s ready to fire. #7 Family Fortune will be making her fourth start in 36 days for 21% trainer Juan Serey. She’s won two of her last three, is coming back in just 7 days off a win and drew a cozy outside post. Trainer Serey is 29% with this move and this 5-year-old mare has 2 wins in 3 attempts at Pimlico.MUST USE: #5, #7MAYBE USE: #1, #3, #4 PIMLICO // RACE 8 (4:15PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)  This first level allowance/$62,500 claimer for 3-year-olds going six furlongs appears to be a heavyweight bout between two of the hottest trainers at Pimlico, as well as a trio of talented runners. Kieron Magee, who’s hitting at a sterling 32% with 9 wins and 6 seconds from 28 starters at the current meet has a pair of challengers in morning-line 7-5 favorite #4 Cry No More and 9-2 shot #1 Palatial Times. Dale Bennet, batting a remarkable 57% from 4 wins in 7 starts with 6 of 7 in-the-money, has 8-5 second choice #2 Heir Port. While all three runners have chances, we prefer #2 Heir Port off a recent muddy track Pimlico score and a :35 1/5 DelPark, best-of-46 blowout May 22. He was claimed for $40k, started in two stakes and an allowance race at Monmouth and Laurel before going to the bench in November. He returned to win this condition last out in late April. Aggressively, he’s in for the $62,500 tag. #4 Cry No More went first-out for $40k and then hung on going six furlongs to win a maiden allowance. Two tries at five furlongs produced an off-the-turf restricted race allowance win. Six furlongs may be his limit, so he’ll be challenged by the presence of other speed. #1 Palatial Times is a bit interesting off a sneaky good try in the Gr. 3 Chick Lang on Preakness day. He comes from off the pace and may have found the right group of foes at the right time.USE: #2ADD: #1AGAINST: #4 PIMLICO // RACE 9 (4:47PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)  Close out the Pick 6, Pick 5 and launch the Stronach 5 with this one-mile, turf test jam-packed with runners entered for claiming tags from $12,500 to $10,000. There are deep enough questions in here to keep philosophers stroking beards contemplatively for hours. Two Main Track Only runners are in the body of the race and we’ve ignored them while assuming this race will be on turf. If that’s the case, at least two Also Eligible runners could draw in and they are dangerous. #12 Gearhead is the 8/5 morning line favorite and he takes a stiff drop in class for trainer Michael Trombetta off a split-the-field effort at the $25k level at Belmont May 2. He has no speed and probably will race wide throughout. That’s a tough combo to take at a short price but the drop is significant. #10 My Man Pots N Pans starts for 0-18 trainer Kelly Rubley but ran well enough last out in his first turf try. He could improve on the new surface. From the Also Eligible List #14 Projected is a 9-year-old with 10 wins in 45 starts and solid recent form that includes a win going seven and one-half furlongs at Gulfstream in April at this level. 32% Trainer Kieron Magee is 18% with new students. #15 Rohrbacher’s been gone sine a poor effort as favorite at Charles Town on Leap Day. That was his first start for 19% trainer Hugh McMahon. This pace setting or pressing gelding tumbles in class for this return to turf where he’s won 3 of 6 with a second and third. He was entered in a race at DelPark Wednesday but scratched for this spot and he wins races—5 for 12—and McMahon is good off layoffs. #16 Gunslinger has speed and is 1-for-1 over Pimlico turf. He’s won 4 of 6 at the distance and drops in class off two wins at Gulfstream Park in February. Trainer Mary Eppler is winless at the meet in 11 starts but is 19% with runners off layoffs.   USE: #10USE ALSO ELIGIBLE (IF RUNNING): #15, #16, #14AGAINST: #12MY TICKET ($0.50)  Race 5: #10, #3, #2Race 6: #2, #1, #5, #4Race 7: #5, #7 (Add: #1, 3. #4)Race 8: #2 (Add: #1)Race 9: #10 #15, #16, #14 Cost: $48 before adds and AEs  Race On!

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5.26.2021:

Who is the Best Racehorse of This Century So Far?

There is something of a lull going on right now during this year’s Triple Crown series before it concludes with the Grade I Belmont Stakes on June 5. I will have my Belmont selections and analysis for Xpressbet.com next week. I thought this would be a good time to go over my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America to determine if it needed updating. Years ago for Xpressbet.com, I came up with my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries. I have tweaked the list from time to time. The inspiration was BloodHorse’s Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century. Because we now are in the 21st year of this century, it’s become increasingly difficult to continually make room on my list of 100 to include racehorses from this century. Consequently, I have decided the time has come to make two lists, one for the 20st century and another for the 21st century so far. Below is my list of the Top 25 Racehorses of the 21st Century so far: 1. American Pharoah*2. Zenyatta3. Justify*4. Curlin5. Arrogate6. Shared Belief7. California Chrome8. Rachel Alexandra9. Barbaro10. Tiznow11. Wise Dan12. Ghostzapper13. Point Given14. Invasor15. Gun Runner16. Beholder17. Smarty Jones18. Azeri19. Lava Man20. Goldikova21. Bernardini22. Rags to Riches23. Candy Ride24. Kona Gold25. Xtra Heat *Triple Crown winner Below is my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century (in parentheses, when applicable, is where the horse ranked on BloodHorse’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. Forego (8)  14. Phar Lap (22)  15. Buckpasser (14)  16. Damascus (16)  17. Round Table (17)  18. Seabiscuit (25)  19. War Admiral* (13)  20. Tom Fool (11)  21. Colin (15)  22. John Henry (23)  23. Regret (71)  24. Exterminator (29)  25. Whirlaway* (26)  26. Sunday Silence (31)  27. Cigar (18)  28. Nashua (24)  29. Alydar (27)  30. Easy Goer (34)  31. Alysheba (42)  32. Bold Ruler (19)  33. Personal Ensign (48)  34. All Along (68)  35. Equipoise (21)  36. Gallant Fox* (28)  37. Sysonby (30)  38. Gallant Man (36)  39. Assault* (33)  40. Armed (39)  41. Sir Barton* (49)  42. Northern Dancer (43)  43. Omaha* (61)  44. Ack Ack (44)  45. Discovery (37)  46. Majestic Prince (46)  47. Arts and Letters (67)  48. Stymie (41)  49. Challedon (38)  50. Pan Zareta  51. Noor (69)  52. Busher (40)  53. Gallorette (45)  54. Coaltown (47)  55. Sword Dancer (53)  56. Grey Lag (54)  57. Devil Diver (55)  58. Dahlia (50)  59. Zev (56)  60. Ta Wee (80)  61. Twilight Tear (59)  62. Riva Ridge (57)  63. Native Diver (60)  64. Holy Bull (64)  65. Precisionist  66. Inside Information  67. Shuvee (70)  68. Twenty Grand (52)  69. Skip Away (32)  70. Sham  71. Alsab (65)  72. Lady’s Secret (76)  73. Genuine Risk (91)  74. A.P. Indy  75. Landaluce  76. Silver Charm (63)  77. Susan’s Girl (51)  78. Cicada (62)  79. Go for Wand (72)  80. Slew o’ Gold (58)  81. Bald Eagle (74)  82. Exceller (96)  83. Tim Tam  84. Top Flight (66)  85. Manila  86. Johnstown (73)  87. Lure (85)  88. Princess Rooney  89. Two Lea (77)  90. Gallant Bloom (79)  91. Miesque (82)  92. Eight Thirty (78)  93. Fort Marcy (86)  94. Hoist the Flag  95. Cougar II  96. Gamely (87)  97. Carry Back (83)  98. Ancient Title  99. Bayakoa (95)100. Formal Gold *Triple Crown winner ANNIVERSARY OF RUFFIAN’S SENSATIONAL DEBUT Last Saturday marked the 47th anniversary of when Ruffian burst on the American racing scene in maiden race at Belmont Park. Ruffian sped 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03 flat to win by 15 lengths. She tied the track record set 11 years earlier by Raise a Native. Ruffian’s odds were 4-1. She would be the favorite in all of her subsequent starts, never going off higher than 2-5. To prove her dazzling debut was not a fluke, she won Belmont’s Grade III Fashion Stakes by 6 3/4 lengths on June 12 in her second start. Her final time again equaled the track record. How great was Ruffian? When running in a stakes race, she broke or tied a track or stakes record each time. Another example of Ruffian’s greatness was she won from 5 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/2 miles. When Ruffian won the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks by 2 3/4 lengths as a 1-20 favorite in 1975, it was a 1 1/2-mile race. Ruffian won the CCA Oaks under confident handling. Even though she was far from all out, she tied the stakes record. Moreover, when she won the CCA Oaks in 2:27 4/5, it was faster than Avatar’s final time of 2:28 1/5 when he prevailed by a neck over Foolish Pleasure in the Grade I Belmont Stakes that year. The tremendous respect I have for Ruffian is reflected by the fact I rank her No. 11 on my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century to have raced in North America. BloodHorse ranked her No. 35 on their list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century. Ruffian is by far the highest-ranking female on my list. The second-highest is Regret, who won the 1915 Kentucky Derby in her 3-year-old debut and. Regret won nine of 11 career starts. I have Personal Ensign ranked No. 40. BloodHorse put her at No. 48. Personal Ensign retired from racing undefeated in 13 lifetime starts. Zenyatta, who won 19 of 20 career starts, ranks No. 2, behind only American Pharoah, on my list of the Top 25 Racehorses of the 20th Century so far. Zenyatta had ranked No. 24 on my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries. No filly or mare ever beat Ruffian, Regret, Personal Ensign or Zenyatta. That would make for a pretty darn good Mount Rushmore in terms of America’s greatest female Thoroughbreds of all time. HOW DID RUFFIAN MEASURE UP TO SECRETARIAT? Dr. Manual Gilman, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 91, spent 32 years as the chief examining veterinarian at New York tracks. During those 32 years, Gilman anatomically measured many of the finest Thoroughbreds to ever race in America. I became familiar with Gilman’s work when his measurements frequently were featured in many of the profiles of the best horses of the year written by Charles Hatton in the American Racing Manual. Paula Prather currently is the editor of the American Racing Manual. One day in the late 1990s, she showed me copies of Gilman’s actual conformation sheets. In Gilman’s handwriting on those sheets are the measurements of numerous equine champions, such as Affirmed, Buckpasser, Dr. Fager, John Henry, Kelso, Seattle Slew and Spectacular Bid. I made copies of these sheets. Thus, I have a copy of Gilman’s actual sheet showing Ruffian’s measurements taken on Sept. 3, 1974. Many connoisseurs of conformation consider Secretariat to be faultless in this regard. It is interesting to compare Gilman’s measurements of Ruffian at 2 with those he took of Secretariat at 2 on Sept. 6, 1972. Here is the tale of the tape for the two champions: Height: Secretariat, 16 hands, 3/4 inch. Ruffian, 16 hands, 1 1/4 inch. Shoulder to Shoulder: Secretariat, 16 inches. Ruffian, 17 inches. Girth: Secretariat, 74 inches. Ruffian, 75 1/2 inches. Withers to Shoulder: Secretariat, 28 inches. Ruffian, 29 inches. Elbow to Ground: Secretariat, 37 1/2 inches. Ruffian, 38 1/2 inches. Shoulder to Hip: Secretariat, 46 inches. Ruffian, 46 1/2 inches. Hip to Hip: Secretariat, 25 inches. Ruffian, 25 inches. Hip to Hock: Secretariat, 40 inches. Ruffian, 43 inches. Hip to Buttock: Secretariat, 24 inches. Ruffian, 25 inches. Poll to Withers: Secretariat, 40 inches. Ruffian, 40 1/2 inches. Buttock to Ground: Secretariat, 53 1/2 inches. Ruffian, 57 inches. Shoulder to Buttock: Secretariat, 68 inches. Ruffian, 69 inches. Circumference of Cannon Bone: Secretariat, 8 1/4 inches. Ruffian, 8 1/2 inches. JOE HIRSCH HAD HIGH PRAISE FOR POINT GIVEN It’s hard to believe it has been 20 years since Point Given’s tour de force in the Belmont Stakes. As a 3-year-old in 2001, Point Given won six graded stakes races in seven starts His lone defeat at 3 came when he ran fifth in the Kentucky Derby, the only time he finished worse than second in his 13-race career. Monarchos won the 2001 Run for the Roses by 4 3/4 lengths. Point Given finished fifth as the 9-5 favorite in the field of 17. Point Given then won the Preakness Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths and the Belmont Stakes by 12 1/4 lengths. Monarchos finished 7 1/2 lengths behind Point Given in the Preakness and 13 lengths behind him in the Belmont. Point Given became the first Thoroughbred in history to win four consecutive races worth $1 million or more when he followed his Preakness and Belmont victories with wins in the Grade I Haskell Invitational Handicap and Grade I Travers Stakes. Unfortunately, Point Given was retired from racing following the Travers because of a strain in a tendon in his left front leg. After Point Given’s retirement was announced, Joe Hirsch wrote in the Daily Racing Form: “His place in racing history, as one of the outstanding 3-year-olds of our times, is assured. Point Given was brilliant in winning the Santa Anita Derby and, with the exception of the Kentucky Derby, when flawed tactics may have contributed to his defeat, every succeeding appearance added to his stature. Those who saw him win the Travers left with a keen anticipation of his next triumph, never guessing that an injury would force him into retirement so soon.” Point Given won nine of 13 career starts and earned $3,968,500. He was voted 2001 Eclipse Awards as Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male. Point Given was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010. Gary Stevens rode Point Given throughout the colt’s 3-year-old campaign. Point Given “should have a Triple Crown next to his name,” Stevens said to Jay Privman in the Daily Racing Form book “Champions.” Point taken. After all, Point Given’s clocking of 2:26 2/5 was faster in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont than that for all of the 13 Triple Crown winners other than Secretariat’s other-worldly 2:24 flat in his spectacular 31-length triumph for the ages. These are the fastest final times for the Belmont in fifths (when it has been run at 1 1/2 miles): 2:24 flat   Secretariat (1973)2:26 flat   Easy Goer (1989)2:26 flat   A.P. Indy (1992)2:26 2/5   Point Given (2001)2:26 2/5   Risen Star (1988)2:26 3/5   American Pharoah (2015)2:26 4/5   Affirmed (1978) Point Given was credited with a 114 Beyer Speed Figure for his victory in the Belmont. According to the American Racing Manual, which is now digital only and available for free on The Jockey Club’s website, the Beyers for the Belmont go back to 1990. Point Given’s 114 Beyer has the distinction of being the highest figure for the Belmont. The Beyers of 107 or higher for Belmont winners are listed below: BSF Belmont Winner (Year) 114 Point Given (2001)111 A.P. Indy (1992)111 Hansel (1991)111 Go and Go (1990)110 Empire Maker 110 Victory Gallop (1998)110 Touch Gold (1997)109 Lemon Drop Kid (1999)107 Rags to Riches (2007) Secretariat’s 1973 Belmont predates Beyer Speed Figures. But Andrew Beyer, the father of these figures, once wrote that he retroactively calculated what Secretariat’s Beyer Speed Figure would have been for the Belmont. It would have been a 139! THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS There are no newcomers in the Top 10 of the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll this week. This poll concludes on Nov. 8 (after the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar on Nov. 6 and 7). The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)   1. 334 Mystic Guide (31)  2. 219 Charlatan (1)  3. 218 Knicks Go (2)  4. 217 Colonel Liam  5. 189 Monomoy Girl  6. 148 Letruska  7. 142 Gamine (1)  8. 141 Maxfield (1)  9.   96 Shedaresthedevil10.   55 Domestic Spending There likewise are no newcomers in the Top 10 of the NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll this week. This poll concludes on June 7 (after the Belmont Stakes on June 5). The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)   1. 300 Rombauer (12)  2. 292 Essential Quality (12)  3. 262 Mandaloun (4)  4. 221 Hot Rod Charlie  5. 210 Medina Spirit (7)  6. 186 Midnight Bourbon  7. 171 Malathaat   8.   72 Jackie’s Warrior  9.   57 Life Is Good (1)10.   52 Rock Your World

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5.25.2021:

1/ST Look Santa Anita Stats: Mendez Juveniles Firing

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.HeadlinesFriday-Monday holiday racing schedule this week … Feature races this weekend include Saturday’s graded stakes trio of the Charlie Whittingham, Triple Bend and Daytona; Sunday’s graded pair of the Monrovia and Summertime Oaks; and Memorial Day Monday’s Grade 1 trifecta of the Hollywood Gold Cup, Shoemaker Mile and Gamely … Santa Anita-based runners pointing toward the June 5 Belmont Stakes include Preakness winner Rombauer, Santa Anita Derby winner Rombauer and Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Hot Rod Charlie … 17-year-old apprentice Diego Herrrera made his riding debut at Santa Anita on May 21.Stronach 5The Stronach 5 paid $12,378 on May 21 last week to 10 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, May 28, will be:Leg A – Pimlico Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:47Leg B – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:09Leg C – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:26Leg D – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 5:36Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 6:081/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Santa Anita Park last week, each winning at a 34% or greater win rate and showing a $24+ flat-bet profit.Best Lifetime SpeedAvg. Best of of last 3 SpeedDistance PedigreeTrends Last Week-- Trainer Phil D’Amato had a successful week at 7: 3-2-1, but all 3 winners were 6-5 or less, including Grade 3 winner Going Global. D’Amato did add a 6-1 runner-up.-- Trainer Luis Mendez went 3: 2-0-1 with his 2-year-old lineup. Wins came at 4-5 and 3-1, while adding a 6-1 runner-up. The barn’s babies are 8: 3-2-2 in May at Santa Anita.-- Trainer George Papaprodromou posted a 6: 2-1-0 mark that included a $15 winner and a 23-1 graded stakes runner-up. The perk up ended an 0-12 streak dating back to April 24.-- Jockey Edwin Maldonado led the riders at 10: 3-1-1 with winners paying $5, $15 and $37 for 3 different barns.-- Jockey Mario Gutierrez made the most of limited chances with a 5: 3-1-1 record that featured scores at $6, $11 and $18. His 2 defeats came at 1-1 and 4-5, interestingly. He’s riding at 29% ($1.41 ROI for every $1 bet) since May 7 at Santa Anita.-- Favorites were 65% in the exacta last week and are just under 71% in the exacta locally in May.

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5.25.2021:

1/ST Look Gulfstream Stats: Jaramillo Tops in Saddle

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.HeadlinesFriday-Monday holiday racing schedule this week to 10 winning tickets … A $190,483 Rainbow 6 jackpot carryover pool awaits players on Friday ($400,000-guaranteed pool) … There’s also a $41,457 Super High 5 carryover into Friday … This week’s featured race Saturday’s Musical Romance Stakes for Florida-bred sprint fillies/mares; Sunday’s Biscayne Bay overnight for turf sprinters; and Monday’s Solider’s Dancer for state-bred turfers … Gulfstream winter alumni pointing to the June 5 Belmont Stakes feature Curlin Florida Derby winner Known Agenda.Stronach 5The Stronach 5 paid $12,378 on May 21 last week. Stronach 5 races this Friday, May 28, will be:Leg A – Pimlico Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:47Leg B – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:09Leg C – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:26Leg D – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 5:36Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 6:081/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 31% with a flat-bet profit.Best Speed Last 3Avg Best 2 of Last 3 SpeedSpeed Last RaceTrends Last Week-- Another top week for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. saw him go 10: 3-2-1. He’s now 28: 10-5-3 over the past 2 weeks. Last week …..He was 6: 4-1-0 teamed with jockey Edgard Zayas.-- Trainer Carlos Davis was 6: 2-1-3 with a $21 winner and 12-1 shot in the trifecta. The barn had been a cool 2-16 in May prior to the rebound.-- Trainer Juan Reviriego won with both starters he sent out, boasting $20 and $25 returns with horses who were 20-1 and 30-1 morning line shots. The barn was second at 18-1 on May 14 with its only prior starter in 2021. Both were trainer changes from the most recent start, but for different owners and from different trainers.-- Trainer Louis Roussel III continued a precise strike rate at 3: 1-1-0 and his now 18: 6-2-5 at the meet.-- Jockey Emisael Jaramillo had the hot hand at 22: 6-6-1, delivering 27% wins and a slight flat-bet profit. He was 7: 3-3-0 aboard favorites and scored all 6 wins for different barns.-- Jockey Samy Camacho had one of his best weeks of the year at 22: 5-4-2 and a $1.44 ROI for every $1 bet. His 5 wins came for 5 different trainers.

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5.25.2021:

1/ST Look Pimlico Stats: Key In On Keefe

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Pimlico. 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.HeadlinesFriday-Monday holiday racing schedule this week … Pimlico has a $708,858 Rainbow 6 jackpot pool carryover heading into Friday … The track also boasts a $115,038 late pick five carryover for Friday (Races 1-5) ... The 2021 Pimlico Spring Meet has been extended to June 27 … 2021 Preakness alumni Rombauer (first), Keepmeinmind (fourth) and France Go De Ina (seventh) are expected to contest the June 5 Belmont Stakes.Stronach 5The Stronach 5 paid $12,378 on May 21 last week to 10 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, May 28, will be:Leg A – Pimlico Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:47Leg B – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:09Leg C – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:26Leg D – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 5:36Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 6:081/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 Pimlico, each posting at least 35% wins. The factor Lifetime Earnings was a top-3 performer for the second straight week.Lifetime EarningsAvg. E1 (Early) PaceSpeed Last RaceTrends Last Week-- Favorites rolled at 46%, especially on the dirt at 20: 11-3-0 (55% wins, 70% in exacta).-- Trainer Tim Keefe kept his Pimlico roll going with a 3: 2-0-1 mark that makes him 10: 5-0-1 in the last 3 weeks. His winners paid $7 and $10 this week and his other runner was third at 15-1.-- Trainer Claudio Gonzalez didn’t miss much at 7: 3-2-1, including 3: 2-1-0 with favorites. All 3 winners were 8-5 or less. Gonzalez and jockey Angel Cruz were 4: 2-1-1 in tandem.-- Trainer Mike Trombetta had a big week, going 8: 3-1-1 (4: 2-1-0 with favorites). He did add a $9 winner while going 3-for-3 teamed with jockey Victor Carrasco.-- Jockey JD Acosta led the colony with a 23: 5-3-5 record and posted a $1.16 ROI for every $1 bet. He was a combined 4-for-5 riding for Claudio Gonzalez and Mike Trombetta.

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5.25.2021:

1/ST Look Golden Gate Fields Stats: Mathis, Espinoza Turn Up Heat

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Golden Gate Fields. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Northern California. And be sure to support GGF by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Golden Gate Fields.HeadlinesFriday-Monday holiday racing schedule this week … A $17,391 Rainbow 6 jackpot carryover pool will kick off the weekend on Friday … This week’s feature race is Monday’s holiday $100,000 All American for milers on the main track … 2021 El Camino Real Derby and Preakness winner Rombauer is on target for the June 5 Belmont Stakes and will be ridden by John Velazquez … From the category of appropriate names: None Above The Law won last week’s featured Alcatraz Stakes.Stronach 5The Stronach 5 paid $12,378 on May 21 last week to 10 winning tickets. Stronach 5 races this Friday, May 28, will be:Leg A – Pimlico Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:47Leg B – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:09Leg C – Golden Gate Fields Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:26Leg D – Gulfstream Park Race 8 with an approximate post time of 5:36Leg E – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 6:081/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Golden Gate Fields, each posting at least 40% winners and a $24+ flat-bet profit.Last E1 PaceAvg Best 2 of 3 SpeedAvg Speed Last 3Trends Last Week-- Trainer Andy Mathis was on point at 7: 3-0-1 and continued a remarkable run in May. This outfit is 20: 9-2-2 for the month with a $2.18 ROI for every $1 bet (and 4-for-4 with Assael Espinoza aboard).-- Trainer Michael Lenzini made the most with limited starters, going 4: 2-1-1. His winners were well-backed at 4-5 and 5-2, but he also chipped in a 16-1 runner-up. The barn is 4 for its last 11, dating back to May 2.-- Trainer Steve Miyadi was had a 4: 2-0-0 week that upped his barn to 15: 6-2-2 in the month of May at GGF.-- Jockey Assael Espinoza was efficient with a 16: 5-6-1 mark that produced a whopping $2.31 ROI for every $1 bet. He flexed $18 and $35 winners and also went 2-for-2 teamed with trainer Jeff Bonde.-- Jockey Francicso Monroy had one of his best weeks at 14: 4-2-2, including a $1.43 ROI for every $1 bet. He boasted an 11-1 winner and 12-1 runner-up with his half-dozen exacta finishes all coming for different trainers.-- Jockey William Antongeorgi went 4-for-12 and is now 8-for-29 (28% wins) the past 2 weeks.

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5.25.2021:

Scioto Downs Early Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, Scioto Downs has 14-races ready to roll. The 0.50 Early Pick 4 kicks-off the card and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 11-Wildfire Flasher (5-1)-Broke in last in ScD season debut and has had issues in the past. But if minds manners should be in the hunt in a wide open affair.2-Amour Cruiser (6-1)-Only 1-19 lifetime is not a reason to toss versus this field. Will spread in this leg and look for some value in what appears to be an otherwise chalky sequence.6-Calvin L (5-1)-Winless in 4 tries here but last start at NFLD was an improved effort from the 2nd tier and that's reason enough to use. Plus, did take 4 pictures last year and only #8 had a similar total with 5 wins.8-Sixby Hanover (3-1)-Shows good gate speed, should be forwardly placed and is fast enough to win. But is 0-7 this year and can't seem to pass anyone down the lane. Maybe the plan will be to get the top and not look back.Race 23- Imma Bee (1-1)-Drew off in last at .30 on a dollar versus this kind. Unless the trip is brutal or not 100% the same should happen tonight.Race 34-Just A Passenger (3-1)-Banked over $58k in 2020 and hasn't found the winner's circle in 11 tries this year. This is a soft spot and Tyler Smith has driven before, so will look for a determined effort versus a suspect field.5-Crews Hilltopper (5/2)-Trevor Smith sticks after a solid effort from post 10 against this kind. Cashed checks versus better and has had success here hitting the board in 20 of 43 starts here. Could leave and has the gate speed to be put in play early.Race 41-Astroffical (8/5)-Comes off a big try in last from post 10, rejoins the Morgan barn and should be bet hard. Likes to get on the engine and the plan will be to not look back.4-Rockin Peggy (7/2)-Needed last and now makes 2nd start at ScD this year. Team Tharps entry has taken pictures here and should get a better trip than in last. Could end up in the pocket behind #1 and look to roll by down the lane.0.50 Early Pick 41,2,6,8/3/4,5/1,4Total Bet=$8Check me out on Twitter!

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5.24.2021:

Monday Myths: Are Early Season 2YO Races All About the Chalk?

Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities.Assumption:Early season 2-year-old races are all about the live money on the board.Background:As the juvenile campaign deepens, form fills in a bit with 2-year-olds and the handicapping process starts to balance some. But early in the year, we really only have workouts, trainer stats, pedigree and the tote to guide us. Many horseplayers are adamant that the live money shows on the babies. One glaring part of that is because the influence trainer Wesley Ward has this time of year, winning 57% with favorites in Spring Keeneland baby races and 46% at Belmont Park during the same time of year.Data Points:I dialed up the Betmix database to track every 2-year-old maiden race run in April, May and June since 2016. Juvenile races in the allowance and stakes ranks are sure to have more form to influence the betting, so I wanted to track only the maiden races with far more ‘blanks’ in the running lines.Overall Findings:Early Season 2-Year-Old Maidens from 2016-present had an average win price of 4.59-1.Early Season Maidens (3YO & older) from 2016-present had an average win price of 5.10-1.Early Season All Races/All Ages from 2016-present had an average win price of 4.60-1.Favorites in Early Season 2-Year-Old Maidens from 2016-present won 36.5% with a $0.78 ROI for every $1 bet.Favorites in Early Season Maidens (3YO & older) from 2016-present won 38.9% with a $0.84 ROI for every $1 bet.Favorites in Early Season All Races/All Ages from 2016-present won 37.6% with a $0.84 ROI for every $1 bet.Bottom line:It’s a mixed bag with 2-year-old maidens paying a full half-point less per winner than their elder counterparts, but the elder maiden favorites being both more reliable (by +2.4%) and profitable (by + $.06 per) than their younger brethren. In terms of all races, the early season 2-year-old maidens also were less reliable and profitable with their favorites compared to the general race population – and their average win payoffs were nearly identical. These numbers indicate that the declaration that early season 2-year-old maiden races are all about the live money is false.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, look at the particular tracks you follow – or jump ahead to different times of the season like summer (Saratoga/Del Mar) or the fall. For instance, 2-year-old maiden favorites at Saratoga win 32.5%, while they hit 39.5% at Del Mar.

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5.24.2021:

Monday, May 24: Yonkers Raceway Late Pick 4 Analysis

The feature at Yonkers Raceway goes in Race 7, an Open Handicap Pace with a $37,000 purse. That race also begins the $1.00 Late Pick 4 sequence and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 73-Speed Man N (20-1)-Using in an interesting race, and really hasn't had a chance in both recent starts at this class. Now draws inside, usual pilot is back and has 5 wins in 17 Yonkers races. If there is an honest pace Zeron could work a trip and be in striking range.5-Moonshine Kisses (9/2)-Lost by a head in a quick mile at this class and has been consistently in the hunt. Bartlett might be able to work a smoother journey than last week. That could lead to a picture and does have 6 wins in 17 starts here.7-Raukapuka Ruler N (9-1)-Beat Open company, then drew the 8 and 7 posts at this level and raced from the back. Maybe it's time to expend some energy and Stratton will leave to get a close-up seat. Has the gate speed and the price should be right.Race 83-Shadow Cat (7/2)-Has climbed up the class ladder and accumulated 5 wins since joining the Fanning barn on 2-22. Had one try at this level and it came from the 8 hole but could seal the deal tonight. Might get on the engine and not look back.6-Twin B Tuffenuff (9/2)-Gets some class relief and fits better with this crew. Last couple have been dull but if 100%, Brennan could be aggressive. Not sure if this Burke entry has enough gate speed to land on top, but should be in the hunt with a good start.Race 91-Bettor Memories (3-1)-Drops to a better level and likes to race near the top of the stack, so this post draw works well. Has missed a start but will bank on Burke having his trainee dialed on high this evening.4-Mighty Santana N (5-1)-Tossing last from post 7 and was off for 2 weeks. This 8-year-old fits here and is often in the hunt especially when leaving from an inside post. Buter should be able to work a trip and be forwardly placed.5-Levine (5/2)-This 4-year-old will be tested versus some seasoned veterans and not loving the morning line price. But will use because Zeron might be able to leave fast enough to land in the pocket or on top. If that script plays out chances for success go up considerably.Race 102-San Domino A (7/2)-Returns to Yonkers and is in a good spot to pick up an overdue win. Has the gate speed to race on the point. Likes the track, has 8 wins in 28 starts and this is the 4th race since returning to the Harris barn.3-Pyro (3-1)-Here is another who should fit well, was facing Open company, and also has big gate speed. It should be an interesting start and my play is to use these two and shoot against #1 who has been idle since 5-3.My Ticket Race 7) 3,5,7 Race 8) 3,6 Race 9) 1,4,5 Race 10) 2,3Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $1.00Check me out on Twitter!

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5.23.2021:

Hawthorne Pick 4 Analysis-$25,000 Guaranteed Pool

Hawthorne Racecourse wraps-up the weekend with a 13-race card. The headliner from a betting standpoint is the 0.50 Late Pick 4 which begins in Race 10. The sequence has a $25,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.On Saturday, Kyle Wilfong was the top pilot with four wins. All 12 races were captured by different trainers. The front end was good as seven of 12 winners were on the lead at the top of the stretch. The other picture takers were within three lengths of the leader at the head of the lane.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 101-Hillcrest Dynamite (5-1)-Should relish the company and was in deep water in its debut. Plus, that race was on a sloppy track and has never won on a wet surface (0-7). That said, the 0-17 record in '20-'21 is an issue but could get sucked around here.3-Not Me Gram (9/2)-Stewart trains and he is usually the regular pilot but tonight Todd Warren takes the lines. Six-year-old is no stranger to Haw but like the rest of the field is camera shy. Spreading out in this race because the morning chalk doesn't seem trustworthy.6-Ryans Ambassador (8/5)-Took the long way around in 1st local start of the year and didn't fold. This will be the 2nd start on Lasix and that might be a reason to use but will likely offer no value and is 0-18 in Stickney.8-Hello Rooster (10-1)-Needed last and was also impeded. This 4-year-old is not as camera shy as the rest of this field and should offer a solid price in the 3rd start off the bench.Race 115-Ricky the Flash (12-1)-The 5-15 qualifier at Haw was better than it looked for what Ricky has shown in the past, banked barely $4,000 in 2020. Looking for a price, using and hoping Patton will put in play early on.8-Mudville (5/2)-Three-year-old has looked really good in both starts this year. But now moves outside and has to deal with some older foes. Should be a player, will likely be bet and will also look to others with more value.10-Peter Moe (7/2)-Leonard qualified this 4-year-old on 5-8 and is his choice over #6. This is the 1st start since 12-1 and should like the company. Has the gate speed to get a decent seat and has won 1 of 2 Haw starts.Race 127-Rollinwitdaponyzzz (2-1)-Won last versus this kind and now moves outside a few slots. Won't be 8-1 tonight but did show some heart in last. Difficult to look away as this is a suspect group. But this 3-year-old does show a couple of breaks.8-Big Bobby Drock (7-1)-Miami Valley invader doesn't have an issue staying on stride there but broke at the start in1st local start. Husted takes over tonight, that's a positive driver change and this is a softer spot. Will take a stab local connections have Bobby ready for a big try.Race 133-Frontier New Moon (5/2)-Leonard's choice over #6 makes 2nd Haw start after cashing a 3rd place check last week. The effort was better than the line reads, rolled the back half in 55.1. Looks like a major player and should be bet hard.6-Peavine Delight (3-1)-Started slowly in last and came a big 2nd half to win in 1st lifetime start. If #3 leaves there could be an honest pace as some starting inside have a bit of gate speed. Could win right back if the trip is smooth and the fractions aren't soft.0.50 Late Pick 41,3,6,8/5,8,10/7,8/3,6Total Bet=$24Check me out on Twitter!

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5.22.2021:

Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, four-year-old trotters are the headliners at the Meadowlands as they are featured in Leg 1 action of the Graduate Series. The 0.50 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.On Friday, Doug McNair and Yannick Gingras led the drivers with three wins. Jeff Cullipher was the top conditioners with two trips to the winner's circle. On the lead or close to it was the place to be last night as no winner closed from far back.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 66-Pikachu Hanover (3-1)-Team McNair entry races best near the top of the stack and there is no reason to think that won't be the case here. Big players start outside so will use looking for a favorable trip and could be overlooked at the windows.9-JL Cruz (7/2)-This is a soft spot and Dunn should have this veteran in striking range. The question is at what cost? But best to respect despite the post draw and should be hard to beat with a smooth trip.10-Ready For Moni (9/2)-Takter trainee was very good in the 5-14 qualifier despite losing the race to a tough foe by almost 6 lengths. Not sure what the game plan will be tonight, but it's risky to leave off the ticket at this level.Race 71-Allywag Hanover (7/2)-Came off the bench on 5-1 with an even effort in the Graduate. The next start was on 5-15 in that same series, plus it was the 1st time for Lasix. The effort was good, raced near the lead and the fractions were swift so will look for even more tonight.4-Warrawee Vital (3-1)-Makes the 3rd start off the bench and has come 2nd in previous races. Did come very close in both and the winners aren't in this field. Should be on the engine soon after the word "go" and might not look back.Race 81-Machnhope (3-1)-Winner of 3 straight has been that good and should be on top or in the pocket when the dust settles. The Daley barn is batting 32% over the past 30 days and this is probably not the time to overthink and try to beat.3-Alexa Skye (7/2)-This mare came out swinging in her 4-year-old season winning 8 of 12 on smaller and larger ovals. TMac should be sitting on top or right behind his brother (#1). Winner in 5 of 11 starts at M1 looks like a major threat.Race 96-Ideal Feeling (15-1)-Going to stretch out in this leg and there a number of ways this one could play out. Clarke trainee shipped up from the Pomp to PcD to face better than this without any luck. But did post a 148.0 mark here last year and has big gate speed. Could be put in play early and should be a juicy price.7-Franco Totem N (8-1)-Dunn's choice over #10 has had a string of dull efforts but fits better with this kind. Winner of 10 in 38 starts at M1 might be in a spot to wake-up at a solid price.8-Shake That House (15-1)-Raced from the back in a needed start, went a very fast 2nd-half and that was the first time using Lasix. TMac is between the pipes again and he might be more aggressive this time. Quick fractions would help the cause and that could happen.9-Nandolo N (3-1)-Was far back early last week in season debut, and smoked the 2nd half with a 25.3 final panel. Should be a player but this post may pose a big challenge. Plus, this Betterthancheddar 7-year-old is making only the 2nd U.S. start. Tough to leave off the ticket but probably won't offer any value and it's too early to get a very good good read.0.50 Early Pick 46,9,10/1,4/1,3/6,7,8,9Total Bet=$24Check me out on Twitter!

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5.22.2021:

Saturday, May 22: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday and Saturday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6. Selections are listed in chronological order. Churchill Downs Race 1 - Post time: 6:00 ET7-Roger McQueen (3-1) This promising first-timer breezed the fastest time for the distance at the OBS March Sale when he sizzled a quarter mile in 20 2/5 seconds and then brought $530,000 through the ring. From the first crop of the multiple graded stakes winning Unified out of a stakes winning mare, the L. Rivelli trained colt is bred for speed top and bottom and has done everything asked of him while preparing for this race in a series of recent sharp drills over the all-weather track at Arlington Park. We’ll make him a win play and rolling exotic single and hope to get close to his morning line of 3-1. Churchill Downs Race 8 – Post time: 9:39 ET10-Big Dreaming (7/2) Been routing on grass most of his career but today’s one-turn dirt mile should suit him perfectly, so we’re expecting a career-top performance from this speedy colt in a contentious third level allowance event. A recent bullet recent five furlong drill over the local main track should have him on edge, and based on the projected race flow, it won’t be surprising to see him on or near the lead throughout from his comfortable outside draw,. At 7/2 on the morning line the W. Catalano-trained colt is a good gamble in the win pool and in rolling exotic play. Churchill Downs Race 9 – Post time: 10:11 ET4-Temple City Terror (5-1) This daughter of Temple City is bred to run all day and gets her first crack at a marathon distance in the Keertana Overnight Stakes at a mile and one-half for older fillies and mares. A one-paced grinder with an affection for the Churchill Downs grass course (two wins, one second, in three career starts), the B. Walsh-trained mare should have enough tactical speed to settle somewhere in mid-pack and then have every chance to out stay her rivals with her steady but relentless late kick. She’s listed at 5-1 on the morning line and given today’s elongated trip she’s worth a play at or near that price.

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5.22.2021:

Saturday, May 22: Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Full-Card Picks

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play. Click Here to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout Analysis RACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Thumps Dream; 6-Styledome Forecast: Irish invader Thumps Dream was a clever winner of a 14-runner all-weather maiden event at Dundalk in February in just her second career start and has worked like she’s ready to continue her winning ways in her U.S. debut despite facing a stronger-than-par first-level allowance group of sophomore fillies in this one mile turf event. The R. Baltas-trained daughter of Dark Angel should settle into a ground-saving, second-flight early position and then have every chance to accelerate from the quarter pole home. Based on pedigree, there’s no reason she shouldn’t be just as effective on grass. Interestingly, the “other” Baltas in the race, the 9/5 morning line favorite Tetragonal, picks up F. Prat, which could indicate that she’s the barn’s preferred entrant of the two, but that’s an assumption that may not be accurate. Styledome chased the good stakes winning colt Du Jour in her local bow when given a race in late March and then produced a significant forward move when a good closing third, beaten just a length, in the California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields in late April. We’re expecting the P. Gallagher-trained filly to step forward again, and if the race flow is close to standard she should be heard from late. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with a slight preference on top to Thumps Dream. RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: XUse: 4-Ce Ce; 5-As Time Goes By Forecast: This four-runner graded stakes for fillies and mares boils down to two main players. You may opt to include both on your rolling exotic ticket, or you could take a stand one way or the other if you have the confidence that you can correctly separate them. As Time Goes By has a bit more tactical speed than chief rival Ce Ce and is faster on speed figures, but she picks up considerable weight off her facile score in the Santa Margarita S.-G2 and will be asked to carry 126 lbs. Meanwhile, Ce Ce gets in with 120 lbs. and if this race were a handicap, they’d be pretty close to even. Both continue to train well and are coming up to the race in peak form. There’s no real money to be made in either case, so we’ll wave the white flag and simply watch and enjoy. RACE 3: Post: 2:09 PT Grade: BUse: 5-Honey Jar; 6-Feathers Forecast: We find it interesting that F. Prat, who guided Honey Jar to a highly-rated and impressive maiden win over the local lawn last month, jumps off the 2-1 morning line favorite to ride the P. Miller-trained San Luis Rey Downs shipper Feathers in this first-level allowance grass dash restricted to 3-year-olds. To make that choice, you’d have to think that Prat’s agent must have gotten a pretty good story. Miller’s filly – an Irish-bred daughter of Zoffany who had an outing off the plane when eighth of nine in the Speakeasy Stakes last September – returns with Lasix, blinkers, and an eye-catching work tab that should have her fit and ready. Additionally, we know she can fire fresh - she won her debut in June of her juvenile season over a testing seven furlongs at Goodwood – so we’ll take the bait and put her on top at 4-1 on the morning line. As for Honey Jar, she produced a significant forward move when graduating in her second start by pressing the pace and then coming away with authority while earning an impressive speed figure. She has to be used somewhere on your ticket. RACE 4: Post: 2:42 PT Grade: BUse: 4-Octopus; 5-Black Storm Forecast: We’ll use the first two favorites in this $16,000 claiming sprint for older horses and be surprised if the winner isn’t one or the other. Octopus returns to his claim level for D. O’Neill after chasing home the razor sharp Notre Dame in a much tougher starter’s allowance dash earlier this month and should find this group well within his capabilities. First or second in four of six starts over the Santa Anita main track, the son of Shackleford projects to draft into a comfortable pace-pressing position and then have his chance to exert his superiority when the pressure is turned on. Black Storm is a tough old pro (eight career wins, six over the local main track) and should be included as well, at least as a backup. He’s moving up a notch following a good score vs. $12,500 foes last month and will be running on late. RACE 5: Post: 3:15 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Cider Apple; 5-Cinnte Winnte; 6-Lookintogeteven; 9-Miss Bella Ciao Forecast: We’re going to spread four deep in our rolling exotics and eliminate the 9/5 morning line favorite La Gioiosa, who by all rights should be the odds-on favorite based strictly on resume. She’s actually not a maiden – she “won” her second career start in France in a dead heat but got disqualified – and then finished second in the Prix Francois Boutin-G3 at Deauville in an effort that produced a strong 84 Timeform rating. But here’s the thing – she’s an extremely difficult filly to ride with a habit of tossing her head, drifting under pressure, and racing erratically – and we’re not convinced the addition of blinkers will make much of a difference. Against this group of maidens, she could make plenty of mistakes and still win, but there may be gambling value in trying to beat her and that’s what we’ll try to do. Miss Bella Ciao was well-meant in her recent comeback – she had one prior run in November at Del Mar and closed well in a promising effort – but lacked a clear path entering the lane and flattened out a bit late when fourth beaten just over a length in a similar maiden affair at nine furlongs. The daughter of Tapit shortens to a mile and has trained well in the interim, so if she can drop over from her outside draw and secure cover while being held up she could very well produce a winning late kick. At 4-1 on the morning line, we’ll put her on top. Lookintogeteven is a 14-race maiden and certainly not one to trust, but she did finish a good second over this course and distance last time out under F. Prat, who stays aboard, and is likely to make her presence felt from off the pace, Cider Apple strikes us as a one-paced grinder, but she will be dangerous if the pace flow favors her closing style. Look for her to be running on late. Cinnte Winnte is the “other” P. Gallagher entrant in the field. This will be her second U.S. outing and the Irish-bred 4-year-old filly should produce enough of a forward move to at least hit the board at a nice price. RACE 6: Post: 3:48 PT Grade: CUse: 1-Queen’s Code; 6-Head for Business; 7-Gone Somewhere; 8-Vaporized Forecast: This maiden special weight state-bred sprint came up fairly weak, at least among those that have raced. A live first-timer would be nice, but we’re not seeing any world beaters among the newcomers, so you probably should spread as deeply as your budget allows. Queen’s Code shows moderate form in three starts but is the morning line favorite at 2-1 by default. If he breaks cleanly from the rail, the C. Gaines-trained gelding should be forwardly placed throughout. Head for Business flashed speed on turf in his debut before weakening under pressure, but the barn has good stats with second-timers so this son of Boat Trip certainly could stick better today, especially with the addition of blinkers. Gone Somewhere and Vaporized both have shown a bit of ability in a.m. preps and represent stranger danger. In an open fray, you have to use them somewhere. RACE 7: Post: 4:19 PT Grade: XSingle: 6-Going Global Forecast: Going Global is unbeaten in three starts over the Santa Anita turf course since arriving from Ireland and there’s every indication that she’s set to fire another big shot in this year’s renewal of the Honeymoon S.-G3. The P. D’Amato-trained filly has enough tactical speed to adjust to any type of pace flow and proved in her most recent start that her superior turn of foot can be just as effective over nine furlong as it is at a flat mile. With regular pilot F. Prat staying aboard, she’s listed at 6/5 on the morning line with the possibility of going lower, so we’ll pass the race other than to make her a short price rolling exotic single. RACE 8: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: C+Use: 1-Cousin Eddie; 3-Catbernay; 9-Shotgun Rider Forecast: We’ll use three in this maiden $50,000 claiming state-bred sprint but not with a high degree of confidence. Catbernay flashed speed before weakening in his debut at Los Alamitos in December and returns for new trainer K. Mulhall as a first-time Lasix user with a decent series of recent workout to indicate that he could be a better type now. Shotgun Rider has a progressive pattern, as does Cousin Eddie, and both exit the same race in which ‘Rider finished second, a neck in front of ‘Eddie. Preference on top goes to Catbernay – he may have the most potential for improvement – but this is a race we’re not planning on getting too involved in. RACE 9: Post: 5:26 PT Grade: B+Single: 7-Rain Diva Forecast: Although she hasn’t been out since last October, Rain Diva appears ready to extend her winning streak to three in this state-bred first-level allowance sprint following a string of good works that should have her primed and ready. She’s unproven on turf but the daughter of Temple City certainly is bred for the lawn and based on the career top speed figure she earned in her most recent victory she’s fast enough to outrun this group from gate to wire. At 4-1 on the morning line, she’s a win play and rolling exotic single.

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5.22.2021:

Saturday, May 22: Eddie Olczyk's Spot Plays

BELMONT // RACE 4 (2:33PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 1 MILE (TURF)EDZO'S PICK: #3 FETCHING (10/1) Mare didn’t seem to take to good turf course in her last start, but still finished a credible third to a nice Chad Brown filly – no disgrace there while wide most of way. Hoping for fast pace to set up fast finish from this one. Win-place bet. SANTA ANITA // RACE 1 (4:00PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 1 MILE (TURF) EDZO'S PICK: #5 TETRAGONAL (9/5) She gets away from Madone (finally, after 3 tries), while first-time Lasix, second start off the layoff, adds jockey Flavien Prat, and gets speed to run at with Plum Sexy and Risen Lady in this race. All equals ‘Go Time.’ I will settle for 8/5 as a fair price on win play. Key in doubles as well and to start the early pick five. SANTA ANITA // RACE 3 (5:09PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 6 FURLONGS (TURF) EDZO'S PICK: #2 NIMBOSTRATUS (3/1) She’s back on Lasix today, and note the last two times this filly was on it resulted in a win and a second. She looks to be a one-turn filly on grass, so throw out last race around two turns, and her race prior puts her right there. Win bet.

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5.21.2021:

Friday, May 21: Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Full-Card Picks

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play. Click Here to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout Report RACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: BUse: 1-The Longest Night; 4-Silver Moon Road Forecast: The Longest Night returns waiver protected off a year and one-half layoff for a barn that has superior stats (23%, massive ROI) with comebackers and with a work tab that should have him fit and ready in this maiden $50,000 claiming sprint for older horses. The Paynter gelding lands one of stable’s “go-to” riders in R. Gonzalez, and in a field without much pace he should be on or near the lead throughout. Bay Area invader Silver Moon Road, second in his first two career starts but beaten at 4/5 in his most recent outing in late April, picks up F. Prat and has the proper stalking style for this six and one-half furlong trip. The Secret Circle gelding is clearly one to beat. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with The Longest Night getting the slight edge on top. RACE 2: Post: 1:34 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Royal O’Haigain; 3-Distorted Diva; 7-Harddiane Forecast: Royal O’Haigain has been burning up the track in her a.m. preps while getting ready for her debut, and from a barn that sends them fit and ready she figures to get plenty of play in this four and one-half furlong dash for juvenile fillies. She’s listed at 3-1 on the morning line but we suspect she’ll go lower. Distorted Diva has the benefit of a prior run – a respectable third place finish (beaten 7 and one-half lengths) in a fast race earlier this month – and seems likely to move forward with that effort behind her. Based on the early speed she displayed in that race, the daughter of Distorted Humor may be as quick as anything in the field. Harddiane has shown some ability in the morning and is worth consideration as well. A recent half mile workout from the gate in 47 seconds was visually pleasing and from her outside draw the daughter of Hard Spun should enjoy clear sailing and have every chance. All three should be used in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Royal O’Haigain. RACE 3: Post: 2:06 PT Grade: C+Use: 2-Peace Pipe; 3-Acai; 7-Vegas Palm Forecast: Acai was nosed out in a similar affair over this course and distance last time out and though winless in five starts on the Santa Anita lawn and just one-for-14 during her career the D. O’Neill-trained daughter of Square Eddie deserves a slight nod on top. She’s most effective on the front end and projects to be the quickest of this group. Vegas Palm is zero-for-nine on the course and just one-for-17 overall, so she’s not exactly trustworthy, either. However, the veteran mare can turn it on late and should be heard from in the final furlong. Peace Pipe has the first-time-for-a-tag angle that makes her dangerous and has won over the local lawn in the past, albeit in a two-turn event. The daughter of Tribal Rule has numbers that fit and in a soft field deserves at least some consideration. RACE 4: Post: 2:37 PT Grade: BUse: 4-Careless Kitten; 9-Winhappy Forecast: Winhappy has been virtually eased in two career outings but in both races he flashed early speed before fading and both came against stakes quality competition in two of the strongest maiden races of the year. Drawn comfortably outside in a lethargic field that offers no other known early speed, the son of Runhappy should be capable of taking control early and then getting brave and rolling all the way to the wire. He continues to train well so we suspect at this (proper) level the sophomore gelding has found his friends. For protection, you may want to consider Careless Kitten on your ticket, at least as a back-up. He’s a seven race maiden with just one second place finish on his resume but the V. Brinkerhoff-trained gelding exits a productive race and shows a runner-up effort two races back that charts pretty well with these. RACE 5: Post: 3:08 PT Grade: B-Use: 4-True Mischief; 6-So Much Happy Forecast: True Mischief isn’t exactly consistent or dependable and has managed to beat a total of one horse in two prior turf outings but there are reasons to expect a good effort today from the daughter of Into Mischief. Firstly, her grass form isn’t as bad as it looks, as both prior outings were sprinting against much tougher. Secondly, her easy win two races back earned a number good enough to beat this field, and while it was accomplished in gate-to-wire fashion she’s also quite capable of settling in mid-pack and producing a winning late kick, as she did when breaking her maiden by five lengths in December at Los Alamitos. In a field loaded with need-the-lead types, the R. Baltas-trained mare should be capable of settling in mid-pack and then responding when set down for the drive. So Much Happy is a blast-away front-runner with good recent speed figures that make her the one to fear most. The daughter of Twirling Candy gets a massive break in the weights with the switch to good bug girl rider J. Pyfer and if she can switch off just a little during the early stages she could prove very difficult to catch. We’ll sink or swim using just these two in our rolling exotics. RACE 6: Post: 3:40 PT Grade: BUse: 4-Lovesick Blues; 7-Press Briefing Forecast: Press Briefing, first off the second for J. Bonde after being worn down late and missing by a neck for this same $16,000 price last month, returns in this restricted (nw-2) abbreviated dash while switching to F. Prat. Simply stated, he will be hard to deny with anything close to his best race. The son of Khozan shows a healthy work pattern for his new outfit and is guaranteed a good stalking trip from his comfortable outside draw. Lovesick Blues tackles older rivals today after winning a recent sprint at this level that was restricted to 3-year-olds. His numbers are improving but will require another forward move to be competitive against this tougher, older group. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying Press Briefing on top. RACE 7: Post: 4:12 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Cibertruck; 7-Letsgetlucky Forecast: Letsgetlucky, a respectable third in the Echo Eddie S. behind subsequent graded stakes winner The Chosen Vron, tries turf for the first time today in this state-bred first level allowance race and if can duplicate that effort on this surface the K. Mulhall-trained gelding should be hard to beat. We’re expecting the son of Munnings to be on the lead or in a good pace pressing position outside. Cibertruck just graduated over this course and distance and did so in good style from off the pace. With some help up front the son of Vronsky almost certainly will make his presence felt in the final furlong. We’ll give Letsgetlucky the edge on top but include both in our rolling exotics. RACE 8: Post: 4:44 PT Grade: C+Use: 2-Kind But She Lies; 3-Avisse; 6-Nobu Forecast: The finale is a messy affair for maiden claiming sophomore fillies. We’ll go three-deep, but you should include as many as you can afford to. Nobu seems fairly logical on top in her first start for a tag. Beaten at 4/5 vs. straight maidens up north last month, she nevertheless earned a good enough speed figure to handle this group and therefore must be given a chance to make amends. The daughter of Uncaptured gets a break in the weights with the switch to J. Pyfer and while she may be vulnerable under pressure in the final furlong this abbreviated sprint distance will help her see out the trip. Kind But She Lies seems to be gradually improving and today adds blinkers for the first time. A repeat of either one of her last two starts makes her dangerous. Avisse is a nine-race maiden with back numbers than can win, but since being claimed for $50,000 by her present outfit the daughter of Point of Entry hasn’t made any progress. She does the route-to-sprint angle that we like and with patient handling could be dangerous from off the pace, so we’ll toss her in on a ticket or two.

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5.20.2021:

Preakness 146 Horse-by-Horse Recap

First things first…Congratulations to Rombauer, winner of the 2021 Preakness Stakes, which fittingly returned to its intended calendar position on the third Saturday in May. Weekend weather cooperated magnificently to deliver a pair of spectacularly clear and cool spring Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness afternoons. Fast and firm course conditions, a rarity for the Baltimore-based non-Camden Yards double-header, kept overflow fields intact and competitive. Winner and connections deserve all credit. Rombauer showed more speed than usual under talented jockey Flavien Prat, held position throughout the race without being taxed, moved into contention on the final turn and roared by foes in the lane, coming home in ‘racehorse’ time. Trainer Michael McCarthy, by all accounts and personal experience, is a fine trainer and family man who wears emotions on his sleeve. McCarthy hails from the Todd Pletcher training tree, newest to bear Classic-winning fruit directly on the heels of Pletcher’s first-ballot acceptance into racing’s Hall of Fame. Long time owners/breeders John and Diane Fradkin showed patience with the colt and got lucky, both prerequisites to winning the big ones. They had wanted to sell the colt at two but scrapped those plans when advised of an anticipated COVID depressed market.   Despite a somewhat misdirected social media attempt to boycott Preakness wagering, all-time records were set. COVID-restricted limited attendance gave the event a uniquely weird-but-comfortable-feel. ‘Weird’ because the event, at less than 10 times the usual number of attendees, felt empty and ‘comfortable’ because the old warhorse that is Pimlico managed well under the much lighter than usual load.     The 146th Preakness Stakes had as tumultuous a buildup as any in the race’s history. And Preakness history includes plenty of tumult. The race boasts a Tiffany-designed trophy touted as the most valuable in all of sport and valued at $4 million. During the Civil War the trophy was buried beneath the ground to keep it from being melted into shot. Each year, white-gloved Maryland National Guardsmen parade the gem to the infield for ceremonious presentation to winning owners. As everyone now knows, Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s original post-race blood test revealed the presence of a legal, therapeutic but unpermitted race day drug in Medina Spirit’s system. The horse’s connections are in the process of having a split sample tested and, along with the rest of the world, await results. Oddsmakers say the split sample results will match the original and that Medina Spirit will be disqualified from victory and trainer Bob Baffert will be suspended. Baffert, who first announced the presumptive positive test in a press conference on the grounds of Churchill Downs the Sunday before Preakness, also made the rounds early Preakness week on assorted television news networks proclaiming an assortment of defenses, including an assertion that he had no idea how the drug had entered his horse’s system. During Preakness week, a new theory emerged and was supported by the trainer, regarding pre-Derby application of an ointment containing the questionable substance to a stubborn Medina Springs’ skin rash. As if that weren’t enough drama, Preakness officials, squeezed into an unprecedented legal and chronologic bind, hurriedly had Baffert’s planned Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness-day runners pre-tested in order to ascertain their suitability for race entry. They all passed, entered and performed on Friday and Saturday. Concert Tour, one of two of Baffert’s Preakness runners, must have read about COVID crowd restrictions because he didn’t bother to show up. Oh, he was there physically, but not mentally or athletically. At least not so much that anyone who wagered on him could tell. In the end, yours truly, who advised readers of this space to key Concert Tour in a few trifecta wagers, can’t blame the horse as much as himself. We mistakenly overvalued Concert Tour’s ability and incorrectly assumed he would display the usual Baffert-level speed and stamina, neither of which were evident in the colt’s performance. Out of the gate jockey Mike Smith expected to feel propulsion and instead got revulsion. And things got worse from there. He beat only overmatched Ram home. We had a few correct observations in our pre-race Preakness evaluations, including going against the race favorite Medina Spirit, who finished third. We clearly were ‘for’ second and fourth-place runners Midnight Bourbon at 3-1 and Keepmeinmind at 14-1, respectively. Unfortunately, we suggested that winner Rombauer was a solid exotics play and did not predict his victory. Below is a horse-by-horse review of Preakness. We’ve found that, when attempting to plan where you’re going, it often helps to assess where you’ve been. Included are number, horse name, trainer/jockey and finishing odds. 1. RAM (Lukas/Santana Jr.) // 10th at 15/1 Where did all that wagering money on Ram come from? Fans of the NFL’s Saint Louis Rams? D. Wayne Lukas lovers? Random Access Memory addicts? Beats me. Based on past performances, this horse should have at least 30-1 and he was half that price. He broke well and enjoyed a rail-skimming trip into the first turn. From there his inadequacy became apparent and he finished last. 2. KEEPMEINMIND (Diodoro/Cohen) // 4th at 14/1 He was 14.50-1 on the toteboard and that’s about the price we expected. We also thought he had a puncher’s chance to win the race and a solid exotics opportunity. The latter came to fruition and help spark a $1,025.50 one-dollar superfecta payoff. To say that Keepmeinmind broke slowly would be an understatement. He walked out of the gate and spotted foes a significant head start. He’s not nearly talented enough to make up that kind of ground on quality horses. He rode the rail into the first turn while last, made a minor gain down the backside to pass one foe, moved closer on the far turn while inside and continued to close, too little, too late in a try that was similar to his Derby effort. 3. MEDINA SPIRIT (Baffert/Velazquez) // 3rd at 5/2 The Kentucky Derby winner (at this writing) closed as the 2.40-1 race favorite and broke well from the gate under jockey John Velazquez. He made the lead into the first turn, just like in the Derby, but this time he had company to his outside in #5 Midnight Bourbon, who dogged him the entire trip, finally taking over on the turn for home. Through the stretch Medina Spirit gave it all he had and that was third best on this day. 4. CROWDED TRADE (Brown/Castellano) // 5th at 8/1 He started as the shortest priced of two Chad Brown runners in the race at 8.50-1. Both #3 Medina Spirit and #5 Midnight Bourbon outbroke him. He found a cozy rail spot into the first turn, just behind #3 Medina Spirit and #5 Midnight Bourbon. Down the backside, he began a move at the leaders just behind #7 France Go de Ina. The move was short lived, and he wasn’t able to muster anymore. He was passed by #2 Keepmeinmind in the stretch and checked in fifth. 5. MIDNIGHT BOURBON (Asmussen/Ortiz Jr.) // 2nd at 3/1 Broke from the gate reasonably well (much better than in Kentucky Derby) and was in good early position under Irad Ortiz, Jr. just outside pacesetter #3 Medina Spirit. He hounded the Derby winner throughout the race and took the lead from him off the final turn. In the stretch, he battled #3 Medina Spirit into submission but wasn’t nearly strong enough to hold off Rombauer’s closing kick. 6. ROMBAUER (McCarthy/Prat) // 1st at 11/1 The winner of the 146th Preakness Stakes at a juicy 11.80-1 didn’t pop directly away from the gate but wasn’t away last, either. He didn’t figure to show early speed, but jockey Flavian Prat did a wonderful job of getting the colt into the race early without ‘sending’ him away from the gate. Around the first turn he was one off the rail, between #1 Ram on the inside and #9 Risk Taking on the outside, and about three lengths from the leaders. Down the backside, he moved forward into a position previously held by #7 France Go de Ina, between #4 Crowded Trade, inside, and #10 Concert Tour, outside. Into the far turn, he began to gain ground on the leading pair, leaving sidekicks behind. He was in full stride off the turn, reeling in the leaders. Through the stretch he leveled out and roared to the front with a commanding score in solid time.  7. FRANCE GO DE INA (Mori/Rosario) // 7th at 24/1 He hopped in the air a bit at the start and didn’t figure to show any speed at 24.60-1. It was a way better start than he had last out in the UAE Derby. He was between horses early and just behind the leaders into the first turn. Down the backside, this colt made an early run at the leaders with his head cocked sideways. On the turn he couldn’t keep pace with the leaders as they drew clear and eventual winner #6 Rombauer left him behind. 8. UNBRIDLED HONOR (Pletcher/Saez) // 6th at 13/1  Broke alertly from the gate at more than double his morning line at 13.70-1. He had no early speed and was in the rear early outside of #2 Keepmeinmind. Couldn’t keep up down the backside, as #2 Keepmeinmind left him alone in last. He mustered some late courage to pass four tuckered out runners to finish sixth. 9. RISK TAKING (Brown/Ortiz) // 8th at 14/1 No issues leaving the gate for the ‘other’ Chad Brown runner at 14.30-1. He was three-wide into the first turn in about eighth place, more than three lengths from the leaders. He never really roused himself and just went around the track to beat two home. 10. CONCERT TOUR (Bafert/Smith) // 9th at 7/2 No excuse out of the gate for the ‘other Baffert’ and third choice at 3.70-1. He really didn’t show the kind of early speed we expected, and he was caught four-wide into the first turn. At this early point in the race, backers began rip mutuel tickets and they continued shredding throughout the remainder of the race. He never ran a step and checked in next to last. Anyone looking forward to a full field and an interesting Belmont Stakes? Yeah, me too. Race On!

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5.20.2021:

Friday, May 21: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Picks

LEG A (4:49PM ET) // PIMLICO, RACE 9 // ALLOWANCE // 5 FURLONGS (TURF) FORCED tries the turf for a dangerous barn after an eventful return from a 16-month layoff. He rushed up after an awkward break, shook a challenge on the turn and tired in the stretch on a muddy track. NOTHING BETTER returns to grass to begin his 4-year-old season. He dueled inside the favorite when third at 5-1/2F, then set the pace and gave way in a 6F race won by Duress (9/3-3-0, $149k). GODLOVESASINNER will need all the pace flow he can get for a trainer-jockey combo that shows a +2.57 ROI in the last year.     LEG B (4:57PM ET) // GULFSTREAM, RACE 9 // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 7 1/2 FURLONGS (TURF)  LEG B:(Race 9, Gulfstream Park, 4:57 EST) -- Going 5-deep in the leg of the Stronach 5, with a lean toward MARICOPA, who lacked room until mid-turn, swung 5-wide with run but couldn't reach the sharp, front-end winner. UPTOWN QUEEN rallied widest into a fast pace to get beat 2 lengths in a 12-horse field. Not using JAZZY T, who got to the rail early and back-pedaled off a perfect stalking trip against MARICOPA. LEG C (5:06PM ET) // SANTA ANITA, RACE 3 // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 6 1/2 FURLONGS (TURF)  ACAI, winless since her debut in May 2019, lands in a dream spot to carry her speed the distance. She beat the 2-to-5 favorite to the lead despite a bumpy start but couldn't hold off the 2-1 winner at 6F on turf last out.   LEG D (5:21PM ET) // GOLDEN GATE, RACE 3 // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (ALL WEATHER)      UJUSTDON'TGET IT set a rated pace, offered some resistance when challenged on the final turn and faded in the stretch. He's worth a price shot in a field of suspect favorites. FINE RED RESERVE was the beaten choice on the stretch-out to one mile but can't be discounted in his second try at the bottom level. MATTAWA N THAT was no match in the stretch for the troubled favorite, settling for his fourth runner-up finish in five starts. LEG E (537PM ET) // SANTA ANITA, RACE 4 // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)  The nine runners entered in this race lost by a combined 179 lengths last out. Trying to beat possible favorite CARELESS KITTEN, who benefited from a 3-way duel when second two starts ago and offered only mild response in a race that came back weak. Use MSW droppers CATFISH CHARLIE and MARKSMAN ON TARGET and throw in longshot CALL NINE ONE ONE, who raced wide after a tardy start against Careless Kitten and finsihed willingly.SUGGESTED $1 STRONACH 5 TICKET Leg A: 1, 5, 8Leg B: 1, 2, 6, 11, 12Leg C: 3Leg D: 1, 5, 7Leg E: 2, 3, 7COST: $135

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5.19.2021:

Rombauer Wins Preakness; Trainer, McCarthy Paid His Dues

Trainer Michael McCarthy sent out Rombauer for an upset victory in last Saturday’s $1 million Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. While Rombauer’s triumph in the Grade I event took many bettors by surprise, it really was not an upset for his 50-year-old conditioner to win a Kentucky Derby, Preakness or Belmont. His background indicated such a victory probably was only a matter of time. Early in 2014, McCarthy was training only one horse -- that’s right, his entire “stable” consisted of just a single Thoroughbred -- after he had struck out on his own following a long stint as an assistant to Todd Pletcher. Prior to hanging out his own shingle, McCarthy soaked up much knowledge about training Thoroughbreds from Pletcher, who earlier this year was voted into racing’s Hall of Fame. You might say McCarthy graduated from the University of Pletcher. Pletcher? You might say he graduated from the University of Lukas. Before Pletcher went out on his own toward the end of 1995, he spent many years as an assistant to D. Wayne Lukas, who has six Preakness victories to his credit (Codex in 1980, Tank’s Prospect in 1985, Tabasco Cat in 1994, Timber Country in 1995, Charistmatic in 1999 and Oxbow in 2013). Lukas is a member of both the Thoroughbred Hall of Fame and Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. Just how tough is Lukas? At the age of 85, there he was at this year’s Preakness despite becoming seriously ill last August with COVID-19. “It was closest you can come to dying,” Lukas said in an April 26 story on WDRB.com written by Rick Bozich. While McCarthy, Pletcher and Lukas each ran a horse in this year’s Preakness, another former Lukas assistant, Mike Maker, did not. However, Maker did enjoy a terrific Friday and Saturday at Pimlico. Maker won four graded stakes races during the two days at Pimlico with non-favorites (Friday’s Grade III Pimlico Special with Last Judgment, Friday’s Grade II Black-Eyed Susan Stakes with Army Wife, Saturday’s Grade III Maryland Sprint Stakes with Special Reserve and Saturday’s Grade II Dinner Party Stakes with Somelikeithotbrown). McCarthy won the Preakness with 11-1 Rombauer. Pletcher saddled 13-1 Unbridled Honor. Lukas was represented by 15-1 Ram. When these three trainers were interviewed on NBCSN prior to the 1 3/16-mile classic, they were asked, as a group, which one of them was going to win the Preakness. Pletcher spoke first, saying, “I hope one of us does.” That prompted Lukas to say, “I’ll beat both of them.” And then it was McCarthy’s turn. “I don’t usually say much, but I’ve got a surprise for both of them,” McCarthy said. “Good for you,” Lukas said to McCarthy. While that brief conversation among the three trainers was taking place, they all were chuckling. As it turned out, McCarthy had the last laugh. A STRONG KICK IN THE LANE Sixth early in the field of 10, Rombauer surged to the front a little more than a sixteenth from the finish and powered away to snag the middle jewel of the Triple Crown by 3 1/2 lengths. Midnight Bourbon finished second as the 3-1 second choice in the wagering. Medina Spirit ended up third as the 2-1 favorite. Pletcher, who has yet to win a Preakness, watched Unbridled Honor come in sixth. Ram ran last for Lukas. Pletcher said after the Preakness that if he couldn’t win it, he was “very happy” that his former assistant did. As for McCarthy, what was it like to win a Preakness? “It was like an out-of-body experience,” said the graduate of Arcadia High School, which is located just a few furlongs from Santa Anita. MEDINA SPIRIT ONCE AGAIN THE EARLY LEADER As Medina Spirit had done when he won the Grade I, 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier, he scooted immediately to the front in the Preakness. Medina Spirit was pushed in the early furlongs last Saturday by Midnight Bourbon. These were the early fractional times set by Medina Spirit in the Kentucky Derby: :23.09, :46.70, 1:11.21 These were the early fractional times set by Medina Spirit in the Preakness: :23.77, :46.93, 1:10.97 It would seem running the first six furlongs as fast as he did off just a two-week layoff understandably took something of a toll on Medina Spirit in the final stages of the Preakness. He weakened and lost by 5 1/2 lengths. It was the first time in seven lifetime starts that Medina Spirit did not finish first or second. In the Kentucky Derby, Midnight Bourbon broke a step slowly and immediately encountered traffic woes. He found himself much farther back early than he had ever been before. This time in the Preakness, Midnight Bourbon was “away in good order,” as noted in the race chart. The good start allowed him to show the early zip many had expected to see from him in Louisville. Approaching the eighth pole during the stretch drive of the Preakness, Midnight Bourbon opened a clear lead when he edged away from Medina Spirit. With a furlong left to run Midnight Bourbon had a 1 1/2-length advantage. But Midnight Bourbon then was overtaken by Rombauer in the final furlong. After Midnight Bourbon relinquished command, he did continue on well enough to finish second, two lengths in front of Medina Spirit. TIME OF RACE RANKS HIGH Rombauer’s final time of 1:53.62 tied for the sixth-fastest in Preakness history when adjusted to fifths of a second. 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 Rombauer (2021)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) TRAINER JOINS CLUB, ALSO WINS ANOTHER GRADE I McCarthy became just the third trainer in the last 40 years to win a Preakness when running a horse in a Triple Crown race for the first time. The other two were John Lenzini with Aloma’s Ruler in 1992 and Joe Orseno with Red Bullet in 2000. According to Equibase, these are McCarthy's Grade I victories: Year Grade I Race (Winner) 2021 Preakness Stakes (Rombauer)2020 Apple Blossom Handicap (Ce Ce)2020 Ashland Stakes (Speech)2020 Beholder Mile (Ce Ce)2019 Pegasus World Cup (City of Light)2019 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (Ohio)2018 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (City of Light)2018 Triple Bend Stakes (Grade I)2017 Malibu Stakes (City of Light)2016 Gamely Stakes (Illuminent)2007 Las Virgenes Stakes (Rags to Riches) When Rags to Riches won the Las Virgenes, McCarthy had not yet gone out on his own as a trainer. He was an assistant to Pletcher at that time. McCarthy was listed as the trainer of record for Rags to Riches’ Las Virgenes victory because it came when Pletcher was serving a suspension for a medication violation. McCarthy’s Preakness win with Rombauer is not even close to the trainer’s biggest victory with respect to a race’s purse. When City of Light won the Pegasus World Cup, the race had a $9 million purse. BloodHorse’s Evan Hammonds wrote glowingly of McCarthy this week. “Starting in racing in 1990, McCarthy began working for trainer Todd Pletcher in 2002, and it didn’t take long to work his way up to assistant trainer, calling himself the ‘organizer’ in a 2006 interview,” Hammonds wrote. “Based at Churchill Downs for a good part of his apprenticeship, he worked with several of Pletcher’s Derby hopefuls, and nobody has sent out more Derby starters than Pletcher. And that number, 59 starters in the Run for the Roses, doesn’t include back-to-back morning-line favorites Eskendereya and Uncle Mo, who were scratched ahead of the first Saturday in May in 2010 and 2011, respectively. “We met McCarthy some 15 years ago at Churchill Downs. With a busy Pletcher not only tending to his top 3-year-olds but also managing several barns around the country, we found McCarthy to be an approachable, straight-up horseman. He was the kind of guy you knew would make it big when he decided to carve his own path.” I certainly can vouch for McCarthy being an “approachable, straight-up horseman.” When I was at Churchill Downs for HRTV at the 2006 Breeders’ Cup, I stopped by the Pletcher barn one morning. McCarthy gave me a horse-by-horse tour of the entire Pletcher string. Considering how many horses resided at the Pletcher barn, it took a lot more than just a few minutes out of McCarthy’s busy day. I will never forget McCarthy’s kindness that morning. One of the horses I saw during the barn tour was The Green Monkey -- yep, the world-record $16 million auction purchase. At the time, The Green Money was an unraced 2-year-old. He had fetched his final bid of $16 million (equal to $21.2 million today) at a Fasig-Tipton sale of 2-year-olds early in 2006 at Calder. I was especially interested in what McCarthy had to say about The Green Monkey. Why? Because my fantasy league draft for 2007 was coming up soon after the Breeders’ Cup. If McCarthy really talked up the colt, I would seriously consider using one of my eight draft picks to get him. I pointed to The Green Monkey and asked McCarthy, “What do you think of him?” I can’t recall exactly what McCarthy said. But I do remember that, in a very diplomatic way, McCarthy in so many words told me this was not someone I should be thinking of drafting. To this day, I appreciate McCarthy steering me away from The Green Monkey. The Green Monkey’s entire racing career consisted of three starts, all in 2007. The Florida-bred son of Forestry was sent off as the favorite all three times. He finished third at 2-5 when unveiled at Belmont Park on Sept. 15, ran fourth at even money at Belmont on Oct. 13, then ran fourth at 6-5 on the turf Nov. 21 at Hollywood Park. Despite The Green Monkey’s lack of success as a racehorse, he has his own Wikipedia page, obviously because of the huge sum he brought at public auction. According to Wikipedia, The Green Monkey “was not a success as a stallion,” either. “His best progeny include 2015 Panama Triple Crown winner Monkey Business, and North American black-type winners Kinz Funky Monkey and Green Doctor,” Wikipedia states. Also according to Wikipedia, The Green Monkey was euthanized in May 2018 due to laminitis. A SPLENDID RIDE BY PRAT (AS USUAL) Rombauer was helped in the Preakness by a typical flawless ride on the part of Flavien Prat. Such rides are seen all the time from him these days at the Southern California tracks. At the age of 28, he has established himself as the top jockey on the SoCal circuit. Prat’s first win in a Triple Crown event came when he rode Country House in the 2019 Kentucky Derby. Country House finished second, but was moved up to first when the stewards disqualified Maximum Security and placed him 17th for committing a foul when he veered out nearing the five-sixteenths pole, causing interference to War of Will, Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress. It was the first time in the history of the Kentucky Derby that a winner had been disqualified for an incident during the running of the race. In a gigantic upset, Country House returned $132.40 for each $2 win wager. Rombauer returned $25.60 for each $2 win wager (nearly identical to Swiss Skydiver’s $25.40 win mutuel when in 2020 she became the sixth filly to capture the Preakness). Prat understandably cherishes his Kentucky Derby victory despite it coming through an opponent’s disqualification. He also understandably was thrilled to be aboard the 3-year-old who crossed the finish line first in the Preakness, as evidenced by the talented rider thrusting his right fist in the air several times in a display of jubilation once the victory had been accomplished. Prat was asked at the post-Preakness press conference to compare his feelings of actually winning the Preakness versus what happened in the Kentucky Derby when being elevated by disqualification. Prat answered by saying “of course, it’s a lot different, but when you cross the wire first, you get that feeling where it’s a lot of joy. It was a lot different in the Derby, but I’m very proud of both races.” SIRE A SANTA ANITA TRACK RECORD HOLDER John and Diane Fradkin own and bred Rombauer, a son of Twirling Candy and Cashmere. Twirling Candy holds the Santa Anita track record of 1:19.70 for seven furlongs, a mark he set when he won the Grade I Malibu Stakes in 2010. Santa Anita’s main track was lightning fast that day, as they say. On the same card, The Factor ran six furlongs in a sizzling 1:06.98 to break that Santa Anita track record. The track records set on Dec 26, 2010, by The Factor and Twirling Candy both still stand. The Factor broke the track record of 1:07.20 established by Sunny Blossom on Dec. 30, 1989. Twirling Candy broke the track record of 1:20.00 set by the great Spectacular Bid when he won the Malibu -- a Grade II race at that time -- with Bill Shoemaker in the saddle. Spectacular Bid lowered the seven-furlong track record by three-fifths of a second. The 1:20 3/5 record had been set by Imbros in 1954, then tied by Jacinto in 1965, Lightning Mandate in 1975 and Beat Inflation in 1977. I was at Santa Anita the day Spectacular Bid won the Malibu. I was working for the Daily Racing Form at tracks in the Pacific Northwest back then. Since Yakima Meadows had not started its 1980 meeting yet, I decided to fly down to Los Angeles in order to see Spectacular Bid run in the Malibu. I stayed with an uncle in Buena Park. The Malibu was the first win in the Bid’s perfect nine-for-nine campaign in 1980. He literally ran out of competition that year. The final start of his career was a walkover in the 1980 Woodward Stakes. Rombauer’s dam (by Cowboy Cal, a multiple Grade II winner trained by Pletcher) never raced. But she is a half-sister to a pair of California-bred multiple graded stakes winners, millionaire California Flag and Cambiocorsa. California Flag ran in five editions of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, finishing 10th in 2008 at Santa Anita, first in 2009 at Santa Anita, eighth in 2010 at Churchill, 12th in 2011 at Churchill, then 13th in 2012 at Santa Anita. When the exceedingly swift California Flag won the 2009 BC Turf Sprint, the race was run down Santa Anita’s unique and popular hillside turf course. During Cambiocorsa’s racing career, she became a “queen of the hill” at the Great Race Place. The first seven times she sprinted down the hill, she won every time. When she retired from racing to become a broodmare, Cambiocorsa’s record down the hill was 10 starts, eight wins and a third. “As a broodmare, Cambiocorsa has produced graded stakes winners Moulin de Mougin and Schiaparelli, as well as stakes winners Alexis Tangier and Bronson,” Daily Racing Form’s Nicole Russo wrote. “Her stakes-placed daughter Vionnet produced four-time Group I winner Roaring Lion, the 2018 European Horse of the Year.” VERSATILITY IN TERMS OF RACING SURFACE Thanks to Rombauer’s latest victory, he now has managed to win on dirt, synthetic and turf. Earlier this year on Feb. 13, Rombauer won the 1 1/8-mile El Camino Real Derby on the synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields. In his career debut last year on July 25 at Del Mar, Rombauer won a one-mile maiden race on turf. MY PREAKNESS PICK WAS DREADFUL I picked Concert Tour to win the Preakness. He finished ninth. I thought Concert Tour might go right to the front. Wrong. He bumped with Risk Taking leaving the gate. Sure, that didn’t help Concert Tour. But I’m not going to blame Concert Tour’s loss on that. It was not as if he got creamed at the start. Fourth in the early going, Concert Tour was all done before going six furlongs. When Concert Tour finished third as the 3-10 favorite in the Grade I Arkansas Derby, I have heard it said that he ran “a stinker” and that his performance was “awful.” I felt that many had judged Concert Tour too harshly for his Arkansas Derby defeat. “Did he disappoint as an overwhelming favorite? Yes. But did he run a stinker? No,” I recently wrote. “He lost by 2 1/2 lengths, not 12 1/2 or 22 1/2 lengths.” Well, folks, Concert Tour did run a “stinker” in the Preakness. Yes, he was just plain “awful.” He lost by 34 1/4 length and recorded a 54 Beyer Speed Figure. NEW TOP BEYER FOR PREAKNESS VICTOR Going into the Preakness, Rombauer’s highest Beyer Speed Figure had been an 88 when he ran third in Keeneland’s Grade II Blue Grass Stakes on April 3. Essential Quality was credited with a 97 Beyer for his neck victory in the Blue Grass. Runner-up Highly Motivated likewise received a 97 Beyer. Rombauer finished 5 3/4 lengths behind Essential Quality on that occasion. Rombauer’s 102 Beyer in the Preakness matches the figure posted by Medina Spirit in the Kentucky Derby. It is interesting that Rombauer’s 102 Beyer also equals American Pharoah’s Preakness figure of 102, plus it is higher than Justify’s Preakness figure of 97. American Pharoah and Justify both were Triple Crown winners. Below are the Beyers for Preakness winners going back to 1991 (the figures prior to this year are listed in the 2021 American Racing Manual, which is now digital only and available for free on The Jockey Club’s website): 2021 Rombauer (102)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) THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS No newcomers in the Top 10 of the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll this week: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 350 Mystic Guide (31)2. 283 Charlatan (5)3. 224 Colonel Liam4. 220 Knicks Go (1)5. 199 Monomoy Girl6. 153 Letruska7. 145 Gamine8. 139 Maxfield (1)9. 91 Shedaresthedevil10. 64 Domestic Spending Following Rombauer’s win in the Preakness, he took over the top spot in this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll. He had ranked No. 30 last week. The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 311 Rombauer (7)2. 298 Essential Quality (13)3. 281 Mandaloun (7)4. 236 Hot Rod Charlie5. 221 Medina Spirit (8)6. 204 Midnight Bourbon7. 202 Malathaat (2)8. 74 Jackie’s Warrior9. 55 Life Is Good (1)10. 54 Rock Your World

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5.19.2021:

Wednesday, May 19: AI Picks for Canterbury $91K Pick 5 Carryover

Canterbury Park in Minnesota opened its 2021 season Tuesday night, and no one solved the 10% Takeout Pick 5. That’s resulted in a $91,333 carryover into Wednesday night’s sequence, which runs Races 5-9. If you’re not a regular follower of Canterbury Park, the 1/ST BET app can help you bridge the handicapping 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. The Wednesday card begins at 6:10 pm ET and the pick five starts at approximately 8:10 pm ET. RACE 5 (8:10PM ET) // $50K 10,000 LAKES STAKES // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)  5 – Drop of Golden Sun (32%W // 49%P // 61%S) 7 – Cinco Star (19%W // 40%P // 51%S) 6 – Mr. Jagermeister (14%W // 47%P // 66%S) 1 – Hot Shot Kid (12%W // 25%P // 46%S) Jeremy Plonk’s Comments: The 32% win projection for Drop of Golden Sun, a 2-time stakes winner at Canterbury in 2020, is highest of any pick five race tonight. The 13-point spread between the top two choices is second-largest in the sequence. Hot Shot Kid has won this stakes race in 2019 and 2020 (and was second in 2018). Mr. Jagermeister was second in this race last year as the 1-9 favorite. Fireman Oscar goes for a David Van Winkle barn that went 2-for-3 opening night and Tampa shippers came out firing to start the meet. RACE 6 (8:40PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)  7 – Drama Chorus (28%W // 46%P // 64%S) 3 – Twirling Roses (19%W // 35%P // 54%S) 2 – Flimflam Man (13%W // 30%P // 44%S) 5 – Hpnotiq Rhythm (10%W // 19%P // 32%S) Jeremy Plonk’s Comments: The 28% win projection is second-highest among the pick five races. Drama Chorus goes for a Tim Padilla barn that went 6: 2-1-1 opening night and hot-riding Alonso Quinonez. He’s the horse to beat, but has been second 4 times in 10 maiden tries. Fallen Empire adds blinkers and goes for a David Van Winkle barn that went 2-for-3 opening night, and the Tampa shippers have had immediate success here. He could be a price horse to watch. First-time starter Well Read is under-supported by the algorithm due to lack of data, but trainer Mac Robertson far and away leads local trainers in debut wins at this meet in recent years. RACE 7 (9:10PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)  1 – North of Eden (25%W // 37%P // 47%S) 5 – Sierrita (13%W // 28%P // 43%S) 3 – Double Bee Sting (12%W // 24%P // 34%S) 11 – Lila’s Lucky Lady (12%W // 20%P // 28%S) Jeremy Plonk’s Comments: North of Eden’s trainer Miguel Silva had 2 starters opening night, a 6-1 winner and 45-1 shot that finished third. This is his only starter today. Given the even win projections below the top pick, this could be a good place to take a bold stand and single, otherwise the ticket jumps 4 times in price to use all 4. Housemaker (15-1 ML) goes for a David Van Winkle barn that went 2-for-3 opening night and the Turf Paradise crew did very well here Wednesday. RACE 8 (9:40PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)  7 – Knight’s Honor (24%W // 26%P // 41%S) 14 – Pretti Ta Kela (14%W // 25%P // 34%S) 8 – Midnight Current (13%W // 25%P // 36%S) 4 – Binding Time (8%W // 13%P // 28%S) Jeremy Plonk’s Comments: One of the tighter races, according to 1/ST BET, though still a solid 24% win projection and 10-point spread for Knight’s Honor – especially with the second choice on the also-eligible list and drawn widest if in. At 15-1 in the morning line, Knight’s Honor would be an awfully gutsy lean. Look for some extra protection. Molly’s Angel goes for a Tim Padilla barn that went 6: 2-1-1 opening night. RACE 9 (10:10PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 MILE (DIRT)  2 – Minnesota Miracle (26%W // 45%P // 55%S) 1 – Twoko Bay (11%W // 21%P // 33%S) 9 – Candy Cove (9%W // 20%P // 30%S) 11 – Tashkent (9%W // 18%P // 38%S) Jeremy Plonk’s Comments: The 15-point spread between the top two choices is the widest among the pick five races. Minnesota Miracle is a juicy 12-1 price while making his first start of the year, as is Twoko Bay, a local stakes-placed runner who should fit nicely here on class. Candy Cove goes for a Tim Padilla barn that went 6: 2-1-1 opening night.

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5.18.2021:

Scioto Downs Late Pick 4 Analysis

Scioto Downs has a 14-race card set to start their week. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 10 and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 104-Pc's Alleyway (8/5)-Not loving the 8/5 morning line but hasn't been in this cheap in a long time. This should be wake-up time but is just 1-14 in 2021 and has only 1 win in 20 races at ScD.6-Master Malin (5-1)-Was claimed for $20k on 4-14 and then faced better than this in the next 2 starts. Hasn't looked the same since the claim but this will be the 3rd start for the new barn and should like the company. Using at a square price in an ugly race.Race 113-Crafty Ace (3-1)-Beaten chalk at this class now makes 1st start for new connections off a claim. Noble steers again and is back in at the same class. Should be in the hunt but has only 1 win in 12 tries at ScD and is just 3 for the last 48 starts.4-Seen Before Heard (9/2)-Will toss last from the 10-hole and was in good form in the previous 2 starts. T. Smith will need to work a smooth trip and if so figures to be a player especially if there is an honest pace. Best to respect winner in 6 of 17 starts this year.8-Montano Pablo A (2-1)-Morning line chalk just missed in last which was the 2nd start for the Morgan barn. Should be a big threat with a good steer and would probably go off as an odds-on favorite again with a better post draw.Race 122-Wildfire Flasher (4-1)-Broke stride last week in 1st Scioto start. Has had physical issues and at times breaking problems. But has been staked, so should fit with this crew if minds manners.3-Good Ole Ethin (3-1)-Miami Valley invader makes 1st ScD start and has the speed to be a player. Sutton could get a close-up seat and work a cozy trip.7-Gotafoolishdesire (7-1)-Was far off the pace at the half in 1st career start but raced willingly to the wire to cash a check. There isn't a true standout in this field and could take a picture if within striking range at the top of the lane.9-Perpetual Rock (20-1)-Had an even effort from post 4 in 1st try at ScD. The price should be better with this post draw and Page sticks. Was coming off a sick scratch before the last start and may show improvement tonight.Race 134-Barley Nation (2-1)-Scored a gate to wire win last week in 1st start at ScD this year. Noble should be out and rolling with the same type of trip in mind. Comes right back after racing on 5/11 and won here after missing a start.7-Astrofficial (7/2)-Makes 1st start off a Virgil Morgan claim and he has raced this mare before. Started in the 2nd tier last week and kept coming although the trip wasn't smooth. If #4 doesn't bring her "A" game this gal has a good chance to get to the winner's circle.0.50 Late Pick 44,6/3,4,8/2,3,7,9/4,7Total Bet=$24Check me out on Twitter!

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5.17.2021:

Monday Myths: Better Bets as Day Progresses?

Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities.Assumption:The best betting races on a card are later in the day.Background:How a racing office puts together a day’s card is most often the best way to maximize betting handle. Races with smaller fields and heavy favorites tend to draw less handle, and often are placed early in the racing day. At the same time, betting handle tends to increase as the day progresses as crowds increase and interest peaks toward more important races. The fuller fields most often are placed on the back half of the card in the late pick four, pick five and/or pick six.Data Points:I dialed up the Betmix database to track every race winner over the past 5 years based on their position on that day’s card. The races surveyed were 1 through 12, while typical card today ranges from 8 to 10 races on average. Fuller Saturday cards at some tracks and elite racing days expand the card beyond 10 races, so I included Races 11 and 12, though obviously a smaller sampling.Race 1 winners averaged 4.19–1 odds, and saw 39.1% winning favorites.Race 2 winners averaged 4.52–1 odds, and saw 38.6% winning favorites.Race 3 winners averaged 4.06–1 odds, and saw 38.0% winning favorites.Race 4 winners averaged 4.28–1 odds, and saw 38.5% winning favorites.Race 5 winners averaged 4.54–1 odds, and saw 37.7% winning favorites.Race 6 winners averaged 4.62–1 odds, and saw 37.6% winning favorites.Race 7 winners averaged 4.68–1 odds, and saw 36.3% winning favorites.Race 8 winners averaged 5.21–1 odds, and saw 35.5% winning favorites.Race 9 winners averaged 5.42–1 odds, and saw 35.2% winning favorites.Race 10 winners averaged 5.59–1 odds, and saw 35.6% winning favorites.Race 11 winners averaged 6.09–1 odds, and saw 34.0% winning favorites.Race 12 winners averaged 5.68–1 odds, and saw 35.5% winning favorites.Overall Findings:The lowest-paying average returns are among the first few races and the highest returns by as much as 1.5 odds points come in the last half of the day. The percentage of winning favorites also declines almost by every race as the card progresses.Bottom line:The proof is clear that the best payoffs and more attractive betting races by lower percent of winning favorites come later in the card. That can help you decide when to strike, and when to choose between early and late pick four/pick five sequences (also measure against the takeout of those wagers, which can differ at some tracks).Additional Details:You can go into Betmix and run your own queries for a deeper dive into this theory and any that you can create. For instance, take a look at the race sequences for the tracks you follow specifically. Also, you could compare these returns and percentages based on field sizes.

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5.17.2021:

Monday, May 17: Yonkers Raceway Late Pick 4 Analysis

Yonkers Raceway begins the week with an 11-race card. The $1 Late Pick 4 starts in Race 7 and it will be my focus. Race 7 is also the headliner on the night, an Open Handicap Pace with a $37,000 purse.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 75-Leonidas A (2-1)-Hasn't raced since the Borgata Final on 4-19 and had no shot leaving from post 7. Looking for a big try coming off the bench and this barn is batting 32% over the past 30 days.6-Rollwithpapajoe (7/2)-Comes off a win at this class in gate to wire fashion. That score came from post 3 but has the gate speed to follow the same script tonight. This won't be as easy but it's best to respect this consistent performer.Race 83-Tyga Hanover (7-1)-Fits with this group and both starts for the Harris barn have been sharp. Looking for the same type of effort and could get a cozy trip with this post draw.4-Caviart Luca (4-1)-Steps-up and will need a trip and a top effort but this race could set up for Luca. Brennan could duck and then pull, fractions might be hot so that plan may work well.6-Lets Have Another (6-1)-Just missed in last after a winning effort in the previous start. It looks like Stratton can use the big gate speed this 5-year-old has to get on the point. Could be a square price and seal the deal this time.Race 91-Shadow Cat (3-1)-Tossing last against better from the 8-hole and now gets class and post relief. Likes to race on the engine and that that plan could play out for a picture.2-I'm Some Graduate (7/2)-Makes 2nd start off the bench for the Burke barn at its favorite track. Brennan could work a stalking trip and be the 1st to cross the wire at a fair price.4-Groovy Joe (5/2)-Has been cashing checks versus better. Now returns to YR and has hit the board in 4 of 5 starts with 2 wins there. This barn has been cold but should be a player at this class.Race 101-The Real One (7/2)-Drops to a spot to shine and should have a big shot at picking up the 3rd win in 13 starts this year. Won at this level on 4-5 from the rail.2-Fine Diamond (5/2)-Stafford trainee has been in fine form over the last 3 starts and should do well versus this kind. Holland could look to get the top and control the pace.$1 Late Pick 4 Race 7) 5,6 Race 8) 3,4,6 Race 9) 1,2,4 Race 10) 1,2Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $1.00Check me out on Twitter!

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5.16.2021:

Sunday, May 16: Hawthorne Pick 4 Analysis-$25,000 Guaranteed Pool

Three and four year olds are the headliners on the 10-race card at Hawthorne Racecourse. The Tony Salvaro Final with a $17,100 purse and the Phil Georgeff Final with a $18,600 purse are the features and are carded in Race 7 and Race 8 respectively. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 starts in Race 7. The sequence has a $25,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.On Saturday, the leading drivers with two wins each were Casey Leonard, Kyle Wilfong and Juan Franco. The top conditioner on the card was Terry Leonard with two pictures. Every winner was on top or within three lengths of the leader at the head of the stretch.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 71-Always B Mimi (3-1)-Beat 4 from this field last week and took advantage of an efficient trip from post 7. Will respect chances of following the same script tonight.5-Martha Max (4-1)-First try on Lasix was in last and showed good improvement over previous races. Max has hit the board in all 3 starts in Stickney with 2 wins. Leonard steers, he will have in play and is a threat if upswing continues.6-Shameful Eyes (7/5)-Made it look easy in last at 0.40 on a buck and is difficult to leave off the ticket as the Dillon barn has come out swinging. Using, but looking to others to press the pace when a big payday is on the line.Race 82-Rock This Town (9/2)-Comes off a gate to wire score and rolled the 2nd half in .57. Leonard takes the lines from the trainer, that won't hurt. Could be overlooked at the windows because the 2 below went faster in their last wins.3-Fox Valley Sampson (5/2)-Comes off a sharp win with a 55.2 back half and Wilfong steers as Bender chose #10. The post edge over the 2nd chalk is significant.10-Southern Road Trip (7/2)-Went off at .30 on a $1 and drew off by over 3 lengths. The post makes the price butposes issues. It will be up to Bender to get into striking range at the top of the lane and could win again if the pace is honest.Race 92-Mudville (1/1)-Didn't break a sweat in last and took a picture. Could do the same if gets the top and goes to the half in 58.2. Brink trainee will likely be a single on many tickets and was the choice of Ridge Warren over #4.4-Reverend Scott (5-1)-Makes 2nd start since 10-14 and tuned-up last week with a 57.1 back half. Might be a trip-out candidate here. Will take a swing at a square price that Todd Warren leaves and lands in the pocket behind the morning line choice.Race 107-Fox Valley Liza (3/2)-Was facing tough 2-year-olds at Wbsb and M1 in 2020. Banked over $120k with a Gold Division Final win up north and thus the 3/2 morning line. Could roll over this field but recent form has been dull. Using but not overly confident and will look for some value.8-Justa Hintof Spice (9/2)-Cashed checks versus top 2-year-olds at Hoosier and makes 1st start this year after a decent qualifier at Haw on 5-8. Warren could find some live cover and may like the long stretch.9-World On Fire (9-1)-Appears to have the gate speed to get a good early seat and makes 1st start as a camera shy 5-year-old. Last week's qualifier was decent and this is a big oval horse. My thinking is the price will be much better than the morning line and is worth a swing.My Ticket Race 7) 1,5,6 Race 8) 2,3,10 Race 9) 2,4 Race 10) 7,8,9Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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5.16.2021:

Sunday, May 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 Here to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: BUse: 3-Fowler Blue; 5-Aspen ShadeForecast: Fowler Blue has shown enough in the morning to expect a big effort for a barn that sends its babies out fit and ready. The Cal-bred son of Curlin to Mischief is a good mover with plenty of quickness and from our vantage point deserves his 2-1 morning line favorite’s role. Aspen Shade also has trained like a precocious type and will be dangerous if our top pick fails to live up to expectations. Both should be included in rolling exotics with the main push going to Fowler Blue.RACE 2: Post: 1:38 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Five Pics Please; 5-RakassahForecast: Rakassah has two excellent recent races over the local lawn, continues to train in sharp fashion and should be set to produce another forward move in this second-level grass sprint for fillies and mares. She may be most effective when she has a target to run at, and she’ll have one here with the blazingly quick Five Pics Please having only one way to go from her inside draw. We’re expecting this pair to exert their superiority over the rest of the field when the pressure is turned on. Both should be included in rolling exotic play we’ll give a very slight edge on top to Rakassah.RACE 3: Post: 2:10 PT Grade: BUse: 4-Joe Don Looney; 5-TheluteismineForecast: The top two choices in this mid-level claiming sprint restricted to 3-year-olds exit the same race and both are dropping for the money run in a six-runner affair that came up shallow in contention. Theluteismine finished more than five lengths behind Joe Don Looney in a starter optional claimer last month but we like the way he’s worked since that race and expect the P. Miller-trained gelding to produce a significant forward move. ‘Looney was the 9/5 favorite in that race, was worn down late, and today must cope with a negative 11 pound shift in the weights compared to his chief rival. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics but then press with extra tickets keying Theluteismine on top.RACE 4: Post: 2:43 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Bellize; 5-Golden Journey; 7-Predictable TullyForecast: The mandatory Pick-6 sequence begins here in a difficult maiden claiming turf miler for fillies and mares. Bellize is listed at 15-1 on the morning line and may offer good long shot value at that price. She continues to work well, lands the rail, and could easily inherit the role as the controlling speed. The five-year-old mare certainly isn’t trustworthy – none of these are – but if she can shake loose early she could get very brave late. Golden Journey has the blinkers-off angle that always catches the eye and she’s another that may be a bit better than her form suggests, at least according to her workouts. Given the patient ride that would probably bring out her best, the daughter of Goldencents has a strong look off her good runner-up effort over this course and distance two runs back. Predictable Lady is the 7/5 morning line favorite and is a “must use” as well, though we doubt she deserves to be that short of a price. A 12-race maiden that for some reason has been single digits on the tote board in every one of her nine U.S. starts, the J. Mullins-trained Irish-bred filly is a one-paced grinder but has numbers that fit and should have every chance in a race that certainly lacks quality and depth.RACE 5: Post: 3:18 PT Grade: C+Use: 4-By Moonlight; 5-Big WellForecast: Here’s another modest affair, this one for bottom-rung maiden claimers over a distance of ground on the main track. Big Well, second while more than three lengths clear of the rest in a similar affair here last month, won’t need much more to earn his diploma as the 9/5 morning line favorite. The lightly-raced gelding isn’t particularly fast on speed figures but at least they’re moving in the right direction, so with another bit of improvement today the T. Yakteen-trained son of Mr. Big will be the one beat. By Moonlight stretches out again, adds blinkers for the first time, gets a huge break in the weights with the switch to good bug girl J. Pyfer and could find himself as the controlling speed. If he can clear early he may never look back. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Big Well.RACE 6: Post: 3:50 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Mr. Impossible; 5-Beyond BrilliantForecast: Mr. Impossible has numbers that have gradually dropped since a very promising debut runner-up effort to Concert Tour in January but today he stretches out for the first time, removes blinkers, and catches a field that that doesn’t have a whole lot in it. His pedigree suggests he should stay at least a mile, so the son of Munnings really should have no excuse. U. Rispoli stays aboard and knows him well. That said, our top selection is Beyond Brilliant, who somehow managed to get himself beat at 10 cents on the dollar when a no-excuse third in a four-runner turf sprint in late March. The son of Twirling Candy stretches out and tries the main track for the first time and, if his natural early speed is utilized properly, could find himself as the controlling speed. This one-time $200,000 Timonium purchase still has a chance to develop into a decent sort of colt; today would be a good time to jump start the process. We’ll sink or swim with just these two in our rolling exotics and then key the slightly less-exposed Beyond Brilliant on a few extra tickets.RACE 7: Post: 4:22 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Fantail; 6-Ellerslie Lace; 7-LoftyForecast: This appears to be a stronger-than-par first-level allowance extended grass sprint for fillies and mares, requiring a spread in our rolling exotics. Ellerslie Lace, stakes-placed overseas last year and training quite well for her U.S. debut, may hold a bit of a class edge and is a first-time Lasix user for an outfit that is quite capable with imports. Based on what we’ve seen of her in the morning, the French-bred filly has a very good turn of foot which should allow her to settle early and then take hold late under top turf rider U. Rispoli. Lofty is clearly the speed of the speed and will take some catching if she can clear the field early without being used. She was scratched out of the four-runner Fran’s Valentine Stakes last Sunday but worked the next day, so we assume she’s okay. Fantail, a minor handicapper in England last year and with Timeform Ratings that are okay but not great, is another making her U.S. debut and could easily be better than her form indicates. The R. Baltas-trained import gets Lasix and F. Prat and has shown enough in her morning drills to indicate she’s fit.RACE 8: Post: 4:49 PT Grade: CUse: 1-Studly Perfection; 2-Jan’s Reserve; 4-Indy Jones; 5-Tobacco RoadForecast: This extended sprint for $10,000 older claimers is borderline inscrutable. The speed types are inconsistent, and the closers can’t be trusted, so nothing would surprise us. Go as deeply as your budget allows. Jan’s Reserve exits a hot race, gets an extra half furlong to work with and should be running on late. With some help up front the veteran R. Trela-trained gelding might be able to tag the speed. Indy Jones is another with a closing style that could be very effective if the pace types do each other in. He’s just 2-for-23 during his career but at least one of those wins was accomplished over the Santa Anita main track, a restricted claiming victory just two races back. On pure numbers he’s competitive. Tobacco Road beat a tougher $12,500 field last time out but hasn’t been out in two months and drops a notch of that win, not exactly an encouraging sign. But if he can turn in two alike, he’ll be right there. Studly Perfection backs up in trip, has been first or second in six of nine starts over the local main track, and may find himself on the front end. Sprint speed and route speed are two different things, but he can only win on the lead, so there will be no turning back.RACE 9: Post: 5:26 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Consider Me Gone; 4-Sweet Devil; 5-Irish Aura; 8-RattrapanteForecast: The finale is another maiden claimer with all kinds of tote-busting possibilities. Rattrapante has displayed early speed vs. much tougher foes before fading badly in both of her starts to date, but against this group – and with the switch to turf – the daughter of Flat Out may stick around a very long time at a huge price (15-1 morning line). She continues to train well for J. Sadler so maybe against this group on this surface the once very expensive ($370,000) auction purchase will have found her friends. If not, there are others that have a right to run better than the form might indicate. Consider Me Gone, freshened for two months, has rising numbers, a couple of good recent workouts, including a bullet :47 4/5 half mile drill on the training track last week, and a closing style that could be effective in a race in which the front speed may collapse. She’s 12-1 on the morning line and probably is better than that. Sweet Devil and Irish Aura are both dropping into a claimer for the first time and have decent enough form vs. tougher to suggest they’ll be major players against this type of competition. Both fall into the “must use” category.

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5.16.2021:

Sunday, May 16: My Rainbow 6 ticket Sunday at Santa Anita

Sunday at Santa Anita is a mandatory payout day for the Rainbow 6 Jackpot, and there’s no shortage of challenges in the sequence that runs from races 4-9.Included are four maiden races, a claiming race and an optional claiming headliner. Lots of issues with horses changing distances, courses and class level.The Rainbow 6 is a 20-cent proposition, and proposed today is a $97.20 ticket.Here’s a look at who’s on the ticket:Race 4 (5:30 p.m. ET, maiden claiming)ROYALLY COMMAND held on for second at 78-1. The two turns helped her game, as did the turf. GOLDEN JOURNEY was second two races back under Juan Hernandez and gets him back after faltering last time.Race 5 (6 p.m. ET, maiden claiming)BIG WELL just missed after setting the pace under Alexis Centeno and can take to these from the outset. It’ll likely be a chore to catch him. SALAH will be a decent price and gets the chance to stretch out to two turns after a couple of dull sprint performances. Was third going two turns in February. MOUNT PELLIAR was third last time in his first on dirt after eight tries on turf. Fits here and is ‘blinkers off’ today.Race 6 (6:30 p.m. ET, starter optional claiming)AMERICAN ADMIRAL and MYOPIC are a couple of Bob Baffert trainees and should be used. AMERICAN ADMIRAL is a $1.3 million son of American Pharoah and has drilled well for his career debut, which comes midway through his 3-year-old season. Stablemate MYOPIC didn’t fire in his debut, adds blinkers and gets two turns, which should help his cause. BEYOND BRILLIANT is a potential spoiler to the Baffert stable. BEYOND BRILLIANT is the odd man out of the Baffert entrants, but this John Shirreffs charge should not be discarded. He was second and third in turf sprints and gets his chances to stretch out and probably sets the pace going longer on dirt.Race 7 (7:00 p.m. ET, allowance optional claiming)FANTAIL ended 2020 with a second at Newcastle (GB) and is set to run here under Richard Baltas tutelage. ELLERSLIE LACE is another European invader, this one from France and for trainer Leonard Powell. Has trailed well for her first since November and has been in group races. It's not out of line to expect some class. LUCKY PERIDOT was third two back and has tried a few tough spots. Looks like the best of those that have raced locally.Race 8 (7:30 p.m. ET, claiming)STUDLY PERFECTION blew a long lead last time but that was going a mile around two turns and he gets seven furlongs today. Strong player all the way in this one. JAN’S RESERVE closed well for second two back and will get some fast pacesetters to pursue. Should be rolling in the stretch. BIG BAD GARY closed strongly going 5.5 furlongs and can close a lot of ground here.Race 9 (8:00 p.m. ET, maiden claiming)CONSIDER ME GONE has good stalking abilities and moves over to the turf. She should be able to make the transition and veteran Abel Cedillo gets the pickup mount. SWEET DEVIL was third sprinting two back and most recently faltered going longer. Could have a strong late move today. IRISH AURA has outstanding speed and is a legit threat to get away.My TicketRace 4) #3 Royally Command, #5 Golden Journey.Race 5) #5 Big Well, #7 Salah, #9 Mount Pelliar.Race 6) #3 American Admiral, #4 Myopic, #5 Beyond Brilliant.Race 7) #2 Fantail, #6 Ellerslie Lace, #8 Lucky Peridot.Race 8) #1 Studly Perfection, #2 Jan’s Reserve, #7 Big Bad Gary.Race 9) #2 Consider Me Gone, #4 Sweet Devil, #5 Irish Aura.Total Ticket Cost) 3,5/5,7,9/3,4,5/2,6,8/1,2,7/2,4,5 = $97.20 for $0.20

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5.15.2021:

Saturday, May 15: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has a competitive 14-race card ready to roll with the feature coming in Race 9, the Arthur Cutler Memorial Trot with a $141,250 purse. The 0.50 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.On Friday, the drivers with the hottest hands with two wins each were Ake Svanstedt, Doug McNair and Trevor Miller. Ake Svanstedt was the leading trainer with three trips to the winner's circle. The front end was the place to be as speed held throughout the program.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Rocknificent (8-1)-Toscano trainee makes its 4-year-old debut coming off a very sharp qualifier. Zeron should have her forwardly placed and hasn't missed the board in 9 Big M starts with 4 wins. This is a tough test but offers some value, the post fits her style and will expect a big try coming off the bench.5-Soho Burning Love A (5/2)-The King barn sends out 2 formidable entries (4-5) and this gal was Tetrick's choice. Seven-year-old comes off 2 sharp wins on smaller ovals, draws well and has 2 pictures in 6 starts in East Rutherford.Race 71-Amigo Volo (7/2)-Winner of >$900K as a 3-year old makes its season debut coming off a good qualifier on 5-8 at M1. Expecting a big effort and for Dunn to benefit from starting on the rail. But not liking the winless record at the Big M in 6 starts.2-Get Legs (4-1)-Team Miller trainee has been super consistent hitting the board in all 9 starts this year with 7 wins. Hasn't faced this type of company so there is cause to pause. But will use at a square price and not sell short. There is no telling how good this 4-year-old could be.5-Rich And Miserable (10-1)-Buter trainee has taken pictures in 35% of starts and can compete with this crew from this post. Came close to beating #7 back in February from the 8-hole. Mark Mac can provide a good steer and could be overlooked at the windows.7-Scirocco Rob (3-1)-Rob has been off since 4-24 and he has shown the ability to come up with a big try after a rest. Has the gate speed to fire out and get on the engine or in the pocket behind #1. Looks like a player in a tough race.Race 81-No Lou Zing (3-1)-Made a sparkling 4-year-old debut with a 149.3 gate to wire score with a 26.4 last quarter. This is a sterner task and Lou will need to bring his A-game but best to not overlook.5-Warrawee Vital (4-1)-Closed in 25.3 in season debut and it wasn't enough to catch a strong winner. That was also the 1st time at Big M and this will be the 2nd race for the Coyne barn. Could be sitting on a big try and Tetrick should have in play from the start.6-Captain Barbossa (7/2)-Dunn steered in last but now he drives #1 and regular pilot Joe B is back between the pipes. Has a perfect 2-2 start as a 4-year-old and that streak could continue. The fractions should be lively which could help the Captain stalk and roll by down the lane.Race 93-Guardian Angel As (5-1)-Tossing last at ScD from the 8-hole but it could serve as a nice tune-up. This looks like a great spot for Tetrick to blast out. Seven-year-old has big gate speed and should get on the engine or find a close-up seat. Looks like a threat to take a picture in the 2nd start this year.7-Lindy The Great (3-1)-Not sure this Team Miller trainee will make it a 3-peat to start his 4-year-old season but it's possible. Even though this field is far better than the last two starts it's best to not overlook. The big names start outside and are coming off qualifiers. Lindy hasn't banked over $1,000,000 without being very talented.My Ticket Race 6) 2,5 Race 7) 1,2,5,7 Race 8) 1,5,6 Race 9) 3,7Total Ticket Cost) $24 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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5.15.2021:

Saturday, May 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 Here Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: C+Use: 2-Back Ring Luck; 4-Barraza; 7-Man FridayForecast: Back Ring Luck was out of his element in the Santa Anita Derby-G1 but fits well with this allowance optional claiming band of 3-year-olds, and in a race begging to be won from off the pace the Malibu Moon gelding should be capable of sitting off the leaders and then producing a late run. Barraza, first off the claim for V. Cerin, stretches out for the first time and will take them as far he can. There are a few others who could try similar front-running tactics but if he can shake loose early he might get brave late. Man Friday, third in the Singletary Stakes over this course and distance last month, doesn’t have any real style other than as a front-runner and with the lead likely to be taken today the D. O’Neill-trained colt may have to try something different. Perhaps against this group he can settle early and rally late, so we’ll include him in our rolling exotics but only as a saver or a back-up.RACE 2: Post: 12:59 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Synthesis; 3-House LimitForecast: Synthesis, freshened since late February, returns protected in this starter allowance main track middle distance event and in his current form should be good enough to win again. The J. Mullins-trained gelding is guaranteed a ground-saving, pace-stalking trip from his good rail post position and warrants his role as the 8/5 morning line favorite. House Limit is worth including as well. First off the $25,000 claim at Keeneland by R. Hess, Jr., the lightly-raced six-year-old gelding makes his first start since October but has trained like he’s fit and ready. He can be tough as a pace-presser or a mid-pack closer, so U. Rispoli can assess the pace flow and then choose his strategy. The First Defence gelding is a bit slower on pure numbers than Synthesis but with his best effort he’ll be right there.RACE 3: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: XUse: 2-Laurel River; 3-The Chosen VronForecast: We’ll pass the four-runner Laz Barrera S.-G3 for 3-year-olds while using the two favorites in our rolling exotics. Laurel River earned a huge figure breaking his maiden and has come back to work sharply, so a forward move is likely. His main foe, The Chosen Vron, handled a state-bred stakes field in good style when last seen in early April and has trained sharply since. He’s not as quick as Laurel River but this extended sprint distance works in his favor. It should be a good race – to watch.RACE 4: Post: 2:03 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Shell Shock; 4-Fi Fi PharoahForecast Fi Fi Pharoah had a poor trip when failing at 90 cents on the dollar in a maiden state-bred sprint last month. She stumbled at the start, lost early position, produced a mid-race rally but then paid the price late. The W. Solis-trained filly certainly can do better today while stretching out for the first time, removing blinkers, and switching to U. Rispoli. The connections don’t inspire confidence but this daughter of American Pharoah is good enough to beat this field. Shell Shock likely will make the running and if not policed early could take this field a very long way. She exits a hot sprint and has back numbers that can win. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 5: Post: 2:48 PT Grade: B+Use: 3-Bold Endeavor; 4-Heywoods BeachForecast: Heywoods Beach lost more ground than he was beaten by when a close third in a similar event last month and with better racing luck today at this 10-furlong trip the J. Sadler-trained colt seems primed for a major effort. Bold Endeavor, second in the same race that ‘Beach just finished third in, is a genuine and consistent performer with three prior wins over the local main track. He may be the controlling speed, but certainly doesn’t need the lead to win. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll have extra tickets keying Heywoods Beach on top.RACE 6: Post: 3:18 PT Grade: XSingle: 1-Liar LiarForecast: Liar Liar was nosed out in a tougher starter’s allowance event over this course and distance last month and nothing more will be needed to beat this $50,000 optional claiming field. He’ll enjoy a ground-saving trip from the rail and should be along in time. However, at 6/5 on the morning line, the Irish-bred colt won’t offer any wagering value other than as a short price rolling exotic single.RACE 7: Post: 4:17 PT Grade: C+Use: 4-Big Andy; 5-Pistachio Princess; 10-Half HopingForecast: This maiden claiming state-bred extended sprint for fillies and mares requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll go three-deep and hope that’s enough. Half Hoping is nicely drawn outside in her first outing in more than two months, and this cut back in trip combined with the addition of blinkers should provide her with every opportunity to earn her diploma. She has numbers that have risen with each start and are better than par for this level, so we’ll put her on top. Big Andy, stakes placed twice as a 2-year-old, returns in a realistic spot, will race without blinkers and as a first-time Lasix user so there’s no reason she shouldn’t fire a good shot. Pistachio Princess suffered a nose defeat three runs back at this level charts and then was pitched too high in her two most recent starts. She’s 12-1 on the morning line and probably is better than that.RACE 8: Post: 4:49 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Wedding Groom; 6-GoldiniForecast: Goldini is a first-time gelding adding blinkers and shortening up from a series of two-turn grass races. The son of Goldencents has rising speed figures and projects to draft into a good stalking position and then have his chance to seal the deal in the final furlong. With a good couple of recent workouts to sharpen him up, the D. O’Neill-trained sophomore seems the solid top pick. Wedding Groom is worth including somewhere on your ticket at 8-1 on the morning line. A first-off-the-claim for D. Blacker, the son of Hard Spun is bred to improve on turf and gets his first chance while also sporting the route-to-sprint angle. The son of Hard Spun has worked well for his new connections, so a career top effort is a possibility.RACE 9: Post: 5:20 PT Grade: BUse: 1-I Will Not; 4-Howbeit; 8-Good With PeopleForecast: Good With People is cozily drawn outside and should enjoy an ideal pace-pressing trip in this first-level allowance optional claiming sprint. A very good second to The Chosen Vron in the Echo Eddie S. in early April, the son of Curlin to Mischief is fast on figures and has finished first or second in six of nine career starts. I Will Not needs to overcome the rail but if he can avoid trouble the son of Square Eddie should be the one to fear most. He’s a not a need-the-lead type but has enough speed to secure a good stalking position and make his presence felt late. Howbeit, runner-up under these conditions last month and a two-time winner over the Santa Anita main track, should at least get a piece of it and is worth including as a back-up on your rolling exotic ticket.RACE 10: Post: 5:51 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Harbored Memories; 3-Lincoln HawkForecast: Harbored Memories shortens to a sprint and has the perfect style for this six and one-half furlong grass course. The M. Puype-trained colt, runner-up to subsequent Santa Anita Derby-G1 winner Rock Your World under these conditions on New Year’s Day, won’t need anything better than that performance today to graduate. Lincoln Hawk is an intriguing Irish invader making his U.S. debut for R. Baltas. The work tab is relatively light but should have him fit enough to fire a good shot for a barn that does very well with these European imports. The main push goes to Harbored Memories, but we’ll use both in our rolling exotics.

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5.14.2021:

Friday, May 14: 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.View Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportsRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Cleopatra’s Strike; 5-Irish HeatwaveForecast: Irish Heatwave catches a field without any speed, so a front-running trip should be his for the asking. The P. Miller-trained horse remains well above his claim level in a sign of confidence, has recent speed figures that are good enough to beat this field, and is a two-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course. Cleopatra’s Strike hasn’t won since capturing the John Henry S.-G2 over the local lawn in September of 2019 but drops to his lowest level ever, shows a healthy series of good workouts and is reunited with “win rider” A. Cedillo. Despite what projects to be a slowly run affair, the veteran son of Smart Strike can really kick it when he’s on his game and represents the most dangerous of the closing types. We will include both in our rolling exotics while preferring Irish Heatwave on top.RACE 2: Post: 1:33 PT Grade: BSingle: 4-Your Royal CoilForecast: Your Royal Coil, a solid runner-up vs. similar last month in her first outing since August, has trained well since and should produce enough of a forward move to handle this restricted (nw-3) $20,000 claiming field of older fillies and mares. In the frame in five of six career starts over the Santa Anita main track that includes two wins, the A. Lerner-trained mare switches to T. Pereira, who was aboard for both of her victories, and should find herself either on the lead or in a comfortable pace stalking early position. In a five-runner field lacking depth, let’s make her a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 3: Post: 2:03 PT Grade: BUse: 3-One Flew South; 4-Rager; 5-ExultationForecast>: This starter’s allowance turf sprint drew six entrants, three of which appear to be legitimate contenders. Rager has produced rising speed figures in each of his last four starts and seems prepared for another forward move after beating a first-level allowance field over this turf course last month despite encountering some early trouble. The Into Mischief gelding should draft into a comfortable second flight, stalking position and then have dead aim and every chance from the quarter pole home. Exultation, in the frame in 11 of 13 career starts and a game winner over this course and distance vs. optional claiming foes in late March, should fire another big shot today for the powerful trainer/jockey combo of P. Eurton and U. Rispoli. The Paynter gelding has good tactical speed and can adjust to any type of race flow. He’s not quite as fast on pure numbers as are top pick, but he’s close. One Flew South didn’t offer a threat in a dirt track sprint two weeks ago but he’s back on grass today and should return to good form. His starter’s allowance score three races back charts quite well with this group and his overall record over the local lawn (in the money in four of five career starts) makes him usable in rolling exotic play.RACE 4: Post: 2:35 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Measureofdevotion; 4-Feeling Grazeful; 6-Omg It’s JessicaForecast: Feeling Grazeful is bred to win early and has done some very nice work in the a.m. to indicate she can score at first asking in this maiden state-bred filly and mare sprint. With a healthy, steady work tab for W. Spawr that includes a sharp :47 2/5 gate work in late March (see our Santa Anita Workout Report above), the daughter of Grazen looks live and extremely well meant first crack out of the box. Omg It’s Jessica, the best of the known element, adds blinkers and is certain to display good early speed. The daughter of Smiling Tiger gets a break in the weights with the switch to good bug girl J. Pyfer and is the one to fear most. Measureofdevotion, away since the fall of 2019, returns for I. Kruljac with a nice series of drills that includes a bullet five furlong move on the training track in late April that caught the eye (see Workout Report). The daughter of Violence didn’t show a whole lot as a 2-year-old but could easily be a better type this time around.RACE 5: Post: 3:15 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Enough Nonsense; 4-Epidemic; 6-K P Silver BulletForecast: K P Silver Bullet rallied with interest to finish a respectable second in his debut last month and today returns on the raise for new trainer J. Sadler. The son of Secret Circle has a right to improve with that effort behind him for a barn that excels with the first-off-the-claim angle (18% with a massive ROI). With the change to V. Espinoza and the switch to turf, the son of Secret Circle seems primed for a major effort. Enough Nonsense shows up in a seller for the first time and seems certain to improve against this much softer crew. He has back numbers that are better than par for the level and projects to settle into the second flight and then have his chance to make some noise late. We’ll also toss in Epidemic, far back in his last two starts when facing stakes quality maidens. The son of Orb has enough speed to be worrisome at this maiden $50,000 level.RACE 6: Post: 3:50 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Itsthattime; 4-California StreetForecast: California Street hasn’t won since the spring of 2019 but this long overdue drop to the restricted (nw-3) $20,000 claiming level should wake him up. The P. Gallagher-trained gelding switches to U. Rispoli, is a strong fit on speed figures, and shows a prior win over the Santa Anita main track. Itsthattime ran well when second over this track and distance at this level two runs back but then was overmatched in his most recent outing when switched to grass. Back on the main track today and back where he belongs with regards to class, the Strong Mandate gelding gets a slight break in the weights with the switch to bug boy A. Centeno and is guaranteed a good ground-saving trip from the rail. Both of his career victories were accomplished two-turning on this dirt track.RACE 7: Post: 4:21 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Found My Ball; 6-Standing OForecast: Found My Ball was in too tough when a respectable fourth behind The Chosen Vron in the Echo Eddie S. sprinting on the main track last month but today the son of Square Eddie drops to the first-level allowance races, stretches out, and returns to turf. This will be his first try around two turns and we’re expecting that he will handle the extra ground just fine. Standing O is improving racing, and while he didn’t have much behind him when graduating in gate-to-wire fashion last time out the son of Acclamation has trained very well since and seems likely to produce a significant forward move. If he can make the running without pressure, he may prove difficult to catch. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics while preferring Found My Ball on top.RACE 8: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: B-Use: 4-Brilliant Bird; 5-ChollimaForecast: Chollima just trounced a restricted (nw-3) $20,000 field here last month and is realistically spotted in open $10,000 company while seeking a repeat for a capable Los Alamitos-based outfit. The daughter of Paddy O’Prado projects to be on or near the lead throughout and can score again if she can turn in two alike. Brilliant Bird, in the money in all four of her starts since being claimed by R. Trela, should fire another good shot today. First or second in 15 of 31 career starts including nine wins, the veteran mare can be tough on the lead or when using stalk and pounce tactics. We’ll try to get by using just these two in rolling exotic play with Chollima – based on speed figures – the logical top pick.

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5.14.2021:

Saturday, May 15: Jeff Siegel's Preakness Day Full-Card Picks

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play. RACE 1: Post: 10:30AM ET // Grade: BUse: 1-The King Cheek; 4-Hozier Forecast: Hozier is listed as the 2/5 morning line favorite in this year’s edition of the Sir Barton S., a listed affair around two turns for sophomores. Based on pure form he’s a stick out but if truth be told, the B. Baffert-trained colt really isn’t all that, his clunk-up runner-up effort in the Rebel S.-G2 flattering his true form. Sure, he can win, and against this group he probably will, but for those trying to beat the favorite The King Cheek is a viable alternative. This will be his first try around two-turns (bred for it) and from the rail he’s capable of inheriting the role as the controlling speed, assuming such a strategy is employed. The barn hits at 35% with a massive ROI with the sprint-to-route angle and one of this trainer’s “go-to” riders takes the call. The son of Laoban certainly offers better wagering value that the odds-on chalk, so while we’ll include both in rolling exotic play, we’ll press with The King Cheek in the win pool. RACE 2: Post: 11:05AM ET // Grade: C+Use: 10-Oceans Map; 5-Tapwood; 12-Daddy’s Cozy Forecast: Ocean’s Map looks more than good enough on resume to win this first-level allowance middle distance turf event but all three of his victories were accomplished in gate-to-wire fashion and based on the projected pace flow of this race the son of Liam’s Map may have to settle off the leaders and produce a run. That type off strategy has never been his thing, so while he’s a major contender and a “must use” in rolling exotic play we’ll also include on our ticket a couple of others for protection. Tapwood, freshened since early March, makes his first start as a gelding for the M. Stidham barn (a strong 21% with layoffs) and should settle into a comfortable second flight stalking position. Overmatched in the Columbia Stakes last time out but properly spotted today, the son of Tapit offers reasonable value at 6-1 on the morning line. Daddy’s Cozy is hung out in the 12-hole for his first start since last October but is a perfect one-for-one over the Pimlico turf course and has several back numbers that are good enough to win. The work tab at Fair Hill is brief so it’s anybody’s guess as to his condition but on the chance that he’s fit and ready we’ll toss him in. RACE 3: Post: 11:41AM ET // Grade: BUse: 4-Jaxon Traveler; 6-Willy Boi Forecast: Jaxon Traveler is a photo away from being unbeaten in five starts and returned to winning form last month at Oaklawn Park with a sharp tally in the Bachelor Stakes that produced a career top speed figure. The son of Munnings switches to I. Ortiz. Jr. and is listed as the 4/5 morning line favorite to continue his winning ways. He’ll be tough to beat. Willy Boi should enjoy an ideal stalking trip outside and worth including on a ticket or two as a saver. Winner of the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park two runs back and then a runner-up in the Sophomore Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in late March, the son of Uncaptured returns to his preferred six furlong trip (unbeaten in three starts) and shows rapidly rising recent speed figures. With another forward move, he’ll be right there. RACE 4: Post: 12:16PM ET // Grade: BSingle: 6-Judi Blue Eyes Forecast: We will single Judi Blue Eyes in this first-level allowance grass router for fillies and mares. It’s either do that or spread deeply, so for budget concerns let’s simply try to be right. The veteran mare, first or second in 12 of 24 career starts and a perfect one-for-one over the Pimlico lawn (a win in her most recent start), she has an ideal second flight, stalking style that should keep her free of trouble, and while she’s not particularly fast on speed figures she does produce consistent numbers that can win at this level. This jockey/trainer combo hits at a remarkable 38% with a massive flat bet profit, so let’s hope the daughter of Cal Nation fires her usual good shot at or near her morning line of 9/2. RACE 5: Post: 12:51PM ET // Grade: C+Use: 2-Breaking News; 4-Fire Sword; 6-Baptize the Boy Forecast: We’ll try to survive and advance using three in this first-level allowance sprint but not with a high degree of confidence. Spread as deeply as your budget allows. The W. Ward-trained Fire Sword has had only three career starts (winning twice) so he may have more upside that most of the others. A 3-year-old tackling older, the son of First Samurai picks up Johnny V. for his first start since late February and will need to improve based on speed figures, but he’s a quick sort with a good recent series of workouts so we’re expecting a career top performance at 9/2 on the morning line. Breaking News attracts J. Rosario and arguably is the one to fear most, though his record of one win from 17 starts with nine seconds/thirds certainly makes him untrustworthy. On pure numbers he’s a strong fit but his lack of tactical speed always seems to result in some type of troubled trip. Baptize the Boy gets back on dry land today and picks up I. Ortiz, Jr. so the veteran gelding should be set for another good effort. Look for this son of Bandbox to settle in the second flight and then produce his best challenge from the quarter pole home. RACE 6: Post: 1:28PM ET // Grade: B+Use: 5-Mean Mary; 6-Feel Glorious Forecast: Though she hasn’t been out since finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf in November and certainly has bigger fish to fry than what she’s facing in this year’s Gallorette S.-G3, Mean Mary really should out class this group. The work tab indicates that she is plenty fit, she’s run well off layoffs in the past, and the barn has excellent stats with off-the-bench performers. The 5-year-old Scat Daddy mare is genuine, consistent, and adaptable at any distance, though at 6/5 on the morning line she won’t be offering much in the way of wagering value. As a saver or a back-up, we’ll consider Feel Glorious on a ticket or two. She’s the most dangerous of the closers and with some help up front could make her presence felt in the final furlong. RACE 7: Post: 2:07PM ET // Grade: B-Use: 5-McElmore Avenue; 9-Hanalei’s Houdini; 10-Mischief Afoot Forecast: McElmore Avenue and Hanalei’s Houdini were scheduled to be scratched out of a grass race on Friday’s program for this similar middle distance main track allowance affair. Both charted as second-level contenders in yesterday’s race but today they are major players over a surface that better suits them. ‘Avenue, freshened since late February, picks up L. Saez, is strong in the speed figure department, and is quite capable of winning on the front end or from well off the pace. Before finishing a close second in his most recent start, the M. Eppler-trained gelding had reeled off four straight wins, and a duplication of his best effort could easily get him back on winning track today while offering a touch of value at 4-1 on the morning line. Though winless in six starts this year, Hanalei’s Houdini can run with these and his recent speed figures place him directly in the fray. The Jersey Town gelding has a good stalking style and just missed when beaten a neck under these conditions (while four lengths clear of the rest) in his most recent outing three weeks ago. Mischief Afoot was disqualified from a win at Laurel Park at this condition in mid-March – a first place finish that produced a career top speed figure - so he’s back at the same level hoping this time to maintain a straight course. He picks up J. L. Ortiz and is the most dangerous of the closing types. RACE 8: Post: 2:45PM ET // Grade: B-Single: 2-Outadore Forecast: Outadore may be a tad less effective around two turns than he is sprinting but he’s a versatile colt that can handle dirt or turf and can win on the lead or from a second flight, stalking position. His only prior grass route race certainly was good – a third place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf-G1 last November at Keeneland – so against this level of competition the W. Ward-trained sophomore would appear to be a legitimate short price favorite at 7/5 on the morning line and a logical rolling exotic single. RACE 9: Post: 3:25PM ET // Grade: BUse: 5-Chub Wagon; 8-French Empire Forecast: Parx form is sometimes hard to trust but there’s no denying that unbeaten Chub Wagon is an extremely fast and genuine sprinting filly. The Pennsylvania-bred filly crushed a state-bred stakes group in late April to extend her perfect streak to five, and before that she invaded New York to toy with an allowance field by nearly five lengths. Never headed, extremely fast on speed figures, and reunited with I. Ortiz, Jr. (who won on her in New York), the daughter of Hey Chub is the deserving morning line favorite at 8/5. It will be interesting to see how much pace pressure Dontletsweetfollya can apply during the early stages. If Chub Wagon is pressed to her limit during the opening half mile, the race could set up for French Empire, who has excellent credentials as well and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. Herself a winner of four straight and five of her last six, the veteran daughter of Street Sense can really blast home but will need some help in order to catch the favorite. RACE 10: Post: 4:05PM ET // Grade: C+Use: 1-Bolder; 4-The Critical Way; 5-Hollis; 13-Completed Pass Forecast: There’s a ton of early speed in this year’s renewal of the Jim McKay Turf Sprint, but it’s quality speed, so there’s no guarantee of a pace meltdown. The Critical Way can take it as well as dish it out, and we see him as the most logical pace survivor and therefore the one that deserves the slight edge on top. Third in the Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland six weeks ago, the J. Delgado-trained gelding has been first or second in 12 of 23 career starts and is especially effective at this abbreviated five furlong trip. A bullet half-mile workout (:47 2/5, fastest of 28) at his home base at Monmouth Park last week should have him right on edge. Completed Pass is stuck way out in the 13-hole but he’s a not a particularly quick type and may be able to drop in somewhere in mid-pack, save some ground on the turn, and then commence his rally turning for home. With two wins and a second in three career starts over the local lawn, the son of Pass Rush has a bit of a home field advantage to work with and with good racing luck may be able to produce the last run. Bolder lands the rail and projects to enjoy a ground-saving trip from mid-pack. He’s another that is counting on a favorable race flow but if he can sneak through without being stopped the S. Asmussen-trained gelding has a chance to make some serious noise in the closing stages. Hollis should be included somewhere on your ticket as well. A stakes winner over this course and distance in his only prior outing at Old Hilltop, the veteran Street Sense gelding lands I. Ortiz, Jr. and may be able to make his presence felt at a decent price. RACE 11: Post: 4:41PM ET // Grade: B-Use: 2-Yodel E. A. Who; 5-Strike Power; 7-Breezy Gust Forecast: Top to bottom a chance in this deep and contentious renewal of the Maryland Sprint S.-G3. We’ll go three-deep in our rolling exotics, but additional coverage may very well be required if you can afford it. Strike Power got cooked in a speed jam when weakening to finish fourth in the Count Fleet Sprint H.-G3 at Oaklawn Park last month, but this is a softer group so the veteran S. Asmussen-trained sprinter should stick better. Two runs back he earned a triple-digit Beyer speed figure when trouncing a strong allowance field and if he can repeat that type of effort today the son of Speightstown certainly can win. Yodel E. A. Who is listed at 8-1 on the morning line and there may be some value at that price based on this tough gelding’s stalking style that will have him within striking range at the head of the lane. A close third in a strong allowance sprint at Belmont Park two weeks ago, the son of Creative Cause has numbers that fit and an admirable lifetime record of finishing first or second in 13 of 26 career starts. Breezy Gust ventures out of his Pennsylvania comfort zone to face his toughest test yet but the Great Notion gelding is a fit on figures and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Picking up J. Rosario certainly won’t hurt his chances. The winner of this race may be somewhere else but these three should fire big shots and with good racing luck figure to be in the picture in the final furlong. RACE 12: Post: 5:38PM ET // Grade: BUse: 1-Somelikeitbrown; 5-Sacred Life Forecast: Sacred Life, a willing third in the Maker’s Mark Mile-G1 at Keeneland last month, drops into a Grade-2 event today and in his second start off a layoff the C. Brown-trained horse looks capable of producing a winning late kick. First or second in 12 of 17 career outings, the lightly-raced French-bred 6-year-old retains regular pilot J. Castellano and seems likely to enjoy an ideal second-flight, stalking trip. The projected pace scenario looks muddled, which is why we’ll also include on our ticket the front-runner Somelikeitbrown. Always most effective when he’s the controlling speed, the son of Big was chewed up battling for the lead in his seasonal debut in the same race Sacred Life exits and hopefully won’t have to deal with 22 2/5 and 45 3/5 early splits this time, though Flying Scotsman may have something to say about that. Given the volatility of the pace flow, we’ll include both in our rolling exotic play with preference on top to Sacred Life. RACE 13: Post: 5:47PM ET // Grade: XUse: 3-Medina Spirit; 5-Midnight Bourbon; 10-Concert Tour Forecast: The week’s controversy notwithstanding, trainer B. Baffert seems set to saddle the first two finishers of the Preakness S.-G1, with Kentucky Derby winner (for now) Medina Spirit appearing more than capable of winning right back, though this time he won’t be 12-1. He’ll like draft in behind his committed front-running stable mate Concert Tour and then have every chance to go on by when the pressure is turned on. ‘Spirit has raced six times, and only has finished by two horses, his undefeated stablemate Life Is Good (twice) and Rock Your World, who beat him in the Santa Anita Derby-G1 with a gate-to-wire performance that earned the highest speed figure in any of the Derby spring prep races. ‘Spirit won’t have the luxury of a front-running trip in Maryland but given the quality (or lack thereof) of the competition we doubt he’ll need the front end to win. As for Concert Tour, he was visually quite impressive when taking the Rebel S.-G2 gate to wire two runs back, but less so on paper when you realize it was Hozier who finished second. Rating tactics didn’t work in the Arkansas Derby-G2 (he was never happy and lost his punch late) but with M. Smith taking the mount there will be no messing around with the son of Street Sense this time. Something of a case can be made for Midnight Bourbon, who was too far back in Kentucky to have any say in the Derby outcome and likely will be within striking range throughout today. The way we see it, he’s the only one the Baffert pair have to be concerned with. RACE 14: Post: 7:33 PT Grade: XUse: Pass/No play Forecast: The Preakness day nightcap is a race for Arabians. We will pass the race.

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5.14.2021:

Friday, May 14: Jeff Siegel's Black-Eyed Susan Day Pimlico Full-Card Picks

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play. RACE 1: Post: 11:30AM ET // Grade: B-Use: 2-Golden Spear; 6-Projected; 11-Apreciado Forecast: Black-Eyed Susan day opens with wide-open grass grab bag for older $10,000 claimers. We’ll try to survive and advance using just three, but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead. Golden Spear, freshened since November but sporting a sharp recent series of workouts that should have him fit and ready, has fired fresh in the past and seems likely to enjoy a good second flight, ground-saving trip. He has several back numbers that are better than par for this level, so at 8-1 on the morning line there’s good wagering value to be found. Projected won a similar affair at Gulfstream Park last month in what already has proven to be a productive race and he’s always been a pro’s pro, having finished first or second in 23 of 44 career outings. He’s another that should be within striking range throughout and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. Ex-classer Apreciado was a winner two runs back at Gulfstream Park with a competitive speed figure and drops to his lowest level ever for new trainer J. J. Toner. If he’s feeling good, the veteran gelding will be heard from late. RACE 2: Post: 12:01PM ET // Grade: BUse: 7-Dr Jack; 8-Royal Number; 10-Johnny Sack Forecast: Dr Jack was a first-out winner at Gulfstream Park last month, doing so with a pace-pressing trip and with something left at the finish to indicate today’s stretch-out in trip should be within his capabilities. Bred to run long (Pioneerof the Nile from a mare by A. P. Indy), the 3-year-old colt can handle this one-level raise in class under the assumption that he vans down from his home based at Belmont Park, where he is also entered to run today in the eighth race that carries a purse of $92,000 compared to the $52.000 that is being offered at Pimlico. But if he remains up north, Dr Jack will have to face the highly-regarded Stage Raider, who is certain to be odds-on owning to 22-point edge on Beyer figures. As of this writing, we’re not sure which race trainer T. Pletcher will opt for. If Dr. Jack fails to show up, top billing in this race should go to Royal Number, a respectable third in the Federico Tesio Stakes here three weeks ago. The son of Palace Music is a one-paced grinder but has speed figures that are gradually rising and actually won at this level fourth races back before being pitched too high in three subsequent stakes. Johnny Sack stretches out after a pair of solid sprints and has the bloodlines to handle the extra ground, though it’s possible he’s just a late-running sprinter. We’ll find out today. RACE 3: Post: 12:33PM ET // Grade: B+Use: 3-Digital Dream; 7-Response Time; 8-Miranda’s Desmond Forecast: Unless there is a hot-shot first-time starter in the field (and there very well could be), Response Time should be hard to beat in this five furlong turf sprint for older fillies and mares. The daughter of Mosler was extremely well-meant in her debut when finishing fast to be second after severe traffic trouble on the turf severely compromised her chances, but with better luck today the H. Smith-trained sophomore should be along in time. The shortening in trip and switch to grass shouldn’t be an issue but a pair of promising first-timers in the field have to included as well in rolling exotic play. Miranda’s Desmond, a first-timer from the B. Perkins, Jr., stable (superior stats with debut runners) is another daughter of Mosler and attracts F. Geroux, so the evidence suggests she can run some, while Digital Dream, a daughter of Lemon Drop Kid, shows an intriguing series of workouts at Fair Hill for M. Trombetta. RACE 4: Post: 1:03PM ET // Grade: BUse: 3-Dinosaur Ben; 5-Benandjoe; 8-Prodigious Bay Forecast: Dinosaur Ben shows a unique pattern in his past performance charts. In each of his seven starts, the son of Blame has achieved a career speed figure, most recently when easily handling a starter optional claiming field at Laurel Park with a thoroughly convincing performance over seven furlongs in mid-April. The versatile gelding stretches out to a middle distance today but has run very well in the past around two turns, so the added distance and the raise to a first-level allowance event should be well within his capabilities. The A. Aguirre-trained sophomore is listed at 3-1 on the morning line and we’ll take that if we can get it. Prodigious Bay earned a strong figure when second in an overnight race Oaklawn Park last month and with another forward move today will be right there. The son of Bayern attracts J. Rosario and from his outside draw should be able to drop in and secure a comfortable pace stalking position. We’ll also include Benandjoe on a ticket or two in rolling exotic play. A clever winner on grass vs. state-bred foes two weeks ago, the son of El Padrino is quite capable on dirt as well and has back numbers that put him in the picture. In a race that projects to be slowly run early, the H. McMahon-trained gelding could inherit the role as the controlling speed and be tough to catch if not respected. RACE 5: Post: 1:34PM ET // Grade: XUse: 1-Pretty Lori; 8-Beantown Baby Forecast: Beantown Baby is listed as the 6/5 morning line favorite in this first-level allowance turf sprint and on paper looks it. The Artie Schiller mare crushed a starter’s optional claiming field last summer at Laurel Park while earning a career top speed figure but then was turned out. She returns with a steady, healthy work pattern for a barn that shows superb stats with layoff runners, and with J. Rosario taking the call the lightly-raced 5-year-old gives every indicating of being fit and ready. Pretty Lori might be worth including on a ticket as a saver in rolling exotic play. She’s extremely quick, draws the rail, and is trying grass for the first time. She should be in front early and on grass may be able to carry her speed a bit farther. RACE 6: Post: 2:05PM ET Grade: B-Use: 1-Jeopardy James; 2-Belle Tapisserie; 10-Stroll Smokin Forecast: Let’s go for a bit of a price in this difficult allowance optional claiming sprint that offers several legitimate contenders. Jeopardy James earned a career top speed figure when winning his first start off a nine month layoff at Tampa Bay Downs in late March, doing so in game fashion from a next-out winner while pressing a hot pace throughout. He’s been given sufficient time in between races to recover from what had to be a hard, taxing race, and if he can improve just a bit and enjoy a trouble-free journey from the rail the A. Delacour-trained son of Speightstown may be able to repeat on the raise at 8-1 on the morning line. D. Centeno stays aboard and knows him well. Win machine Belle Tapisserie is the likely choice and one to beat. Winner of five of his last six starts including his most recent four, the Tapizar gelding goes for new connections today following a $25,000 claim just two weeks ago and pure speed figures certainly appears capable of winning once again. He’s always been most effective on the lead but can stalk and pounce if the pace flow dictates. Stroll Smokin, first or second in 15 of 33 career starts, is comfortably drawn outside and should be prominent throughout, perhaps even on the lead. This is a slightly easier group that he’s been used to seeing of late, so at 10-1 on the morning line the Stroll gelding might be worth including somewhere as a saver. RACE 7: Post: 2:37PM ET // Grade: B-Use: 1-Lucky Ramsey; 7-On a Spree; 12-Street Copper Forecast: Here’s another challenging turf race, a second-level allowance middle distance affair with possibilities up and down. Lucky Ramsey has been rested since January and shows just two easy breezes since then, but the veteran Lookin At Lucky gelding is a perfect one-for-one over the Pimlico turf course and goes for the red-hot K. Magee barn while drawing the good rail post. First or second in 26 of 52 career starts, he’s an old pro that always can be counted on, especially following a freshening. Street Copper, listed at 8-1 on the morning line and attracting J. L. Ortiz, is a Gulfstream Park invader that has finished second in his last pair with strong numbers for the level. He can drop over from his outside draw, secure some cover and then be produced late. On a Spree is winless in three starts this and was overmatched at Keeneland last time out, but this group is within his range, especially with a repeat of his sharp runner-up effort at Fair Grounds to races back. RACE 8: Post: 3:07PM ET // Grade: B Use: 5-Horologist; 6-Mrs. Danvers Forecast: Horologist just beat Mrs. Danvers on the square in the Top Flight Invitational Aqueduct last month and there’s little reason to believe she won’t do it again over this same nine furlong trip in the DuPont Distaff at Pimlico. It’s possible that Mrs. Danvers can turn the tables – she’s reunited with “win rider J. Rosario and is likely to be the controlling speed once again – but Horologist has the good stalking style that allows J. Alvarado to place her wherever he wants and then have dead aim on her rival from the quarter pole home. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics and then have an extra ticket or two keying Neurologist on top. RACE 9: Post: 3:38PM ET // Grade: B-Use: 3-Caravel; 5-Victory Kingdom; 12-Gotta Go Mo Forecast: Gotta Go Mo gets the worst of the draw – she’s hung up in the 12-hole in the five furlong sprint – but if the daughter of Uncle Mo can secure any type of trip she can win this highly competitive turf stakes sprint for fillies and mares. Improving with each outing and fresh from a career top win in a state-bred allowance dash at Aqueduct lats month, the J. Kimmel-trained four-year-old seeks her fourth straight win while moving into added money company for the first time. We’re hoping she can be quick enough to get over and into a pace prompting position before the far turn and then have her chance from there. Caravel, away since October when finishing third in the License Fee stakes at Belmont Park two weeks ago, returns off short rest while switching to F. Geroux. She fast enough on numbers to win if she produces a forward move and was third in last year’s Hilltop Stakes over a mile in her only previous outing over the Pimlico lawn. We suspect Victory Kingdom prefers patient handling and with the switch to F. Prat should get just that. The Australian-bred mare is a fit on figures and though sparingly raced shows a good recent work tab that should have her primed for a major effort. RACE 10: Post: 4:09PM ET // Grade: BUse: 2-Red Ghost; 4-Paradise Song; 5-Street Lute Forecast: This is a very difficult edition of the Miss Preakness S.-G2 for nine 3-year-old fillies who are at various stages of development and improvement. Red Ghost made her sophomore debut at Keeneland last month and was a visually pleasing winner of a first-level allowance race when rallying from mid-pack to drew clear in the final furlong without being knocked about. The daughter of Ghostzapper can build on that performance today for the W. Ward/J. Velasquez team and perhaps settle in the second flight and then produce another winning late kick. Street Lute won seven of her first eight races before failing at 3/5 in a mile stakes at Laurel Park in mid-March. Freshened, training sharply and backing up to six furlongs, the J. Robb-trained filly seems likely to rebound with her best effort and be in the thick of things every step of the way. Paradise Song obliterated a much softer allowance field last time out with a career top speed figure. These are considerably tougher, but the Frosted offers good price value at 10-1 on the morning under the assumption that her improving pattern will continue in what will be just her fifth career outing. RACE 11: Post: 4:40PM ET Grade: B+Use: 1-Tracy Flick; 5-Bubbles On Ice Forecast: Tracy Flick technically is still a maiden, but she can run, and we suspect the addition of blinkers will really move her up. Disqualified out of a winning debut race at Gulfstream Park in February, the daughter of War Front returned at Keeneland last month and ran quite well in a hot race to miss by a nose, only to get taken down again for racing greenly and causing interference in mid-stretch. She’s worked well since, draws the rail, is a fit on speed figures and retains J. Rosario, so if she performs mistake free she can pull off a mild surprise at 6-1 on the morning line in this year’s edition of the Hilltop S. Bubbles On Ice won the Memories of Silver S. at the Big A in her U.S. debut with a last-to-first rally from the top of the lane to mid-stretch last month and today gets Lasix while seeking a repeat victory. She was a bit headstrong early in the race but finally settled and then accelerated impressively when turned loose. Similar tactics will be employed today by J. Castellano, so if she switches off early, gets cover, and is produced late the C. Clement-trained filly should be hard to contain. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with slight preference on top to Tracy Flick. RACE 12: Post: 5:12PM ET // Grade: B+Single: 2-Fearless Forecast: Fearless, even in defeat, performed admirably when finishing second in the Oaklawn H.-G2 last time out, earning a career top speed figure despite going down by a half-length to Silver State in a race that verified his sharp 2021 debut when winning the Gulfstream Park Mile-G2 in February. Today the son of Ghostzapper stretches out to nine furlongs, a distance that should be well within his range though his two previous outings at this trip have been sub-par. In a race that should have reasonable early splits, the T. Pletcher-trained gelding should be able to secure an ideal second flight, stalking position and then go on with it when asked. At 9/5 on the morning line, he’s a win play and rolling exotic single in this year’s edition of the Pimlico Special-G3. RACE 13: Post: 5:44PM ET // Grade: BUse: 9-Adventuring; 10-Beautiful Gift Forecast: The Black-Eyed Susan S.-G2 should boil down to the two fillies drawn on the far outside. Adventuring is improving with every start, breaking her maiden in sharp style two runs back and then a listed stakes race over the all-weather surface at Turfway Park. Her numbers have risen with each outing, though she’ll need another big of improvement to handle the West Coast shipper Beautiful Gift, winner of the Santa Ysabel S.-G3 two runs back and then going down by a half length to Soothsay in the Santa Anita Oaks-G2. The B. Baffert-trained filly had every chance in that race but missed but against this group she deserves the favorite’s role. Will go with Adventuring on top – she’s sure to be the better price – but include both in our rolling exotics. RACE 14: Post: 6:25PM ET // Grade: B-Use: 4-My Dream Girl; 6-No Down Days; 7-Fred’s Sheila Forecast: The finale is a messy maiden claiming turf miler for older fillies and mares with price chances galore. Fred’s Sheila, in the frame in both starts and a closing second (nearly five lengths clear of the rest) in her comeback last month following a less-than-ideal trip, has the pedigree to improve going long and switches to the barn’s “go-to” rider H. Karamanos while being raised from maiden $16,000 to maiden $25,00 in what we’ll take as a sign of confidence. She’s a fit on speed figures and likely capable of better, so at 6-1 on the morning line we’ll put her on top. My Dream Girl has a similar pattern. The daughter of Congrats makes her third career start (but just her second this year) while adding blinkers in her first start off a $25,000 claim for a clever outfit. From where she’s drawn she should draft into a stalker’s position and be a strong factor throughout at 15-1 on the morning line. No Down Days is a sprinter-stretching-out class dropper with the kind of early speed that makes her dangerous in her first try on grass. As a daughter of Blame from a mare by Dixie Union, she’s bred to route and could easily make the most of the opportunity. At 5-1 on the morning line, she’s a “must use.”

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5.13.2021:

Friday, May 14: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Picks

LEG A // PIMLICO, RACE 12 (5:12PM ET) // G3 PIMLICO SPECIAL STAKES // 1 3/16 MILES (DIRT) FEARLESS, far back in a pair of Grade II route races last year, returned from a long layoff and raced closer to the pace in winning the G-II Gulfstream Park Mile and running second in the G-II Oaklawn Handicap. He is the one to beat as Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher seeks his third Pimlico Special victory in the last eight years. HARPERS FIRST RIDE returns in a new barn for his Pimlico Special title defense. He should sit just off the pace and could spring another upset if trainer Robertino Diodoro's assessment holds true that "he is a completely different horse" after battling recent foot issues.  LEG B // GOLDEN GATE, RACE 3 (5:20PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 1 1/16 MILES (TURF) BATUKAHN projects a dream stalking trip after he lacked room on the final turn and ran second at one mile on the main track last out. He earned a competitive speed figure in MSW company at Santa Anita while no threat to a next-out, stakes-placed turf rival two starts ago. WHISKEY TALK raced evenly against 2-to-5 winner Cargo two back, then pressed a faster pace before tiring in a follow-up try at this distance.   LEG C // SANTA ANITA, RACE 4 (5:35PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT) MEASUREOFDEVOTION meets mostly 3-year-old rivals in her seasonal debut and her solid work tab includes a 1:01.3 breeze in company with $1.8 million earner Next Shares. She is today's solo play in the Stronach 5.    LEG D // GULFSTREAM, RACE 10 (5:38PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF) With morning-line favorite ROYAL ASSET making his first start of the year and the rest of the field a combined 22/1-2-0 on grass this year, spread deep in this leg of the ticket.LEG E // PIMLICO, RACE 13 (5:44PM ET) // G2 BLACK-EYED SUSAN STAKES // 1 1/8 MILES (DIRT) Will BEAUTIFUL GIFT negotiate post 10, get more pace flow than in recent starts and remain the only graded stakes winner in the field? Will ADVENTURING draw away for her third win in a row after none of her first four starts were scheduled on conventional dirt? Will ICED LATTE control the pace and carry her speed farther after she repelled the favorite and got caught in a 1-1/16-mile allowance? Will SPRITZ carry over her much improved form from Turfway Park's Polytrack surface? Will WILLFUL WOMAN prove more than an off-track specialist who romped in both starts with Lasix? Take all five horses in hopes of finding the correct answer.SUGGESTED $1 STRONACH 5 TICKET  Leg A: 2, 7 Leg B: 5, 6 Leg C: 1 Leg D: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11 Leg E: 2, 3, 6, 9, 10 COST: $160    

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5.13.2021:

Free Preakness 146 Wager Guide Now Available

Our Preakness 146 Wager Guide is the definitive resource that you have to read while preparing for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. Our FREE, 16-page Guide is loaded with free picks from your favorite 1/ST personalities, as well as betting strategies from Eddie Olczyk, Brent Musburger, Jeff Siegel and Jeremy Plonk.   Have a 1/ST Account? Get the Guide here. Not a 1/ST Customer? Download the Guide here. In addition to Picks & Betting Strategies, our 2021 Preakness Wager Guide also features: Preakness Post Position Draw + Field Silks 'Handicap the Preakness Like Eddie Olczyk' Section Preakness Trends, Facts & Stats 'Meet the Contenders' from Johnny D. Join us Saturday, May 15, 2021 for Preakness 146 at Pimlico Race Course. First post is 10:30AM ET and the Preakness is Race 13, at 6:47PM ET.

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5.13.2021:

Preakness 146 Horse-by-Horse Analysis + Betting Strategy

Nearly two weeks ago, official race results for the 147th Kentucky Derby were etched into history books. Not so fast, my four-hooved friend! To say that a lot has transpired since would be an open-lengths understatement. Derby winner Medina Spirit’s initial post-race drug tests revealed an apparent rules infraction based on the presence of a legal medication above a zero-level tolerance. Assorted theories and allegations about how the drug may have made it into the Derby winner’s bloodstream have been proffered but, currently, we’re not even 100% sure it was even present in the post-race test until split sample results return. FYI, it’s rare that split samples don’t match original findings.  Chances are that by the time you read this, and, even by the time horses load into the starting gate Saturday for Preakness, the official ‘official’ Run for the Roses result won’t be any clearer, as Medina Spirit’s connections anxiously await the other shoe to drop in the form of DNA and split sample test results. Therefore, as the field loads into the Preakness starting gate, we won’t really know if Medina Spirit is attempting to clear the second hurdle of the Triple Crown--one of the most difficult achievements in all of sport—or is merely racing for redemption.  And what about Hall-of-Fame trainer Bob Baffert--the man who two Saturday’s ago appeared to have earned his seventh and record-setting Kentucky Derby victory? He’s entered 9-5 Preakness morning line favorite Medina Spirit and 5/2 second choice Concert Tour in Preakness. The popular trainer won’t attend the race in person. Probably best. Following a hurried Churchill Downs backstretch press conference, presumably organized to announce the original test results and ‘to get ahead of the story,’ Baffert has, subsequently, appeared on television just about everywhere from CNN to Fox News to present his version. While the drama plays out offstage, a pressing Preakness production requires immediate presentation. The show must go on! Tens of millions of dollars will be wagered on Preakness and, according to what transpires at Pimlico, that ancient and tired emporium that will once more prove she’s still ‘got it,’ a year before she is scheduled to finally surrender to bulldozers for a revitalization that will serve both racing fans and community citizens. NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL franchises move into new homes about every 20-30 years. That’s extravagance. They’ve been picking ‘em up and laying ‘em down at Old Hilltop since 1870. For non-history buffs, that’s about four years after Lee cried ‘uncle’ to Grant at Appomattox! Through the years her grit and determination have been remarkable. Millions have partied on her infield belly, she’s out-lived decades of assorted death sentences, a gambling ban, and TWO every-100-years pandemics! As Alfred G. Vanderbilt, apparently, once told Wikipedia, “Pimlico is more than a dirt track bounded by four streets. It is an accepted American institution, devoted to the best interests of a great sport, graced by time, respected for its honorable past.” Word, Al. Obviously, a COVID-restricted 2021 crowd won’t inhabit the original late-1800s grandstand. However, they will tread the same grounds. Recently, Pimlico came to the rescue of sister track Laurel when the latter experienced surface issues. The equine circus moved to Pimlico earlier and for longer than anticipated and she has provided a suitable emergency big top.  It will be impossible to completely eliminate post-Derby drama from Saturday’s happenings. Still, we would be mistaken to not try. There will be a 146th Preakness at Pimlico and the event shapes up as an interesting renewal--as both sport and wagering proposition. It’s the weekend’s surest bet that patrons wearing hats and masks will cheer, groan, cash and mutilate mutuel tickets while consuming mass quantities of food and drink. And once more, like clockwork for the 146th time, in that ancient and determined Pimlico edifice, fashionable shoes will create an afternoon’s worth of assorted painful blisters.  On track or at home, we should embrace the moment and enjoy the show. If our existence over the last year-plus has taught us anything, it’s that we should savor life’s major moments. The journey’s awfully empty without them. Below is one man’s horse-by-horse opinion of the Preakness Stakes, including a suggested wagering strategy.   1. RAM (LUKAS/SANTANA JR.) - 30/1 What’s Preakness without ‘Coach?’ Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has pulled off some major upsets at Old Hilltop, but this shouldn’t be one of them. This son of American Pharoah has distinguished himself in his last two races, winning a maiden $50k claiming heat and a first-level allowance test. Before and including those, there’s nothing in his past performance lines to suggest he can threaten in here. Love ya, Coach, but we’ll pass. 2. KEEPMEINMIND (DIODORO/COHEN) - 15/1 At two this guy displayed a world of talent. He finished in the money in a maiden race, the Gr. 1 Breeders Futurity and the Gr. 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He also finally won the Gr. 2 Kentucky Jockey Club as a maiden! That’s a strong resume. Heading into his 3-year-old season he was reportedly knocked off schedule by poor weather in Arkansas and hasn’t regained his best form. The big question with this one is: Was he a precocious 2-year-old that didn’t develop much at three or did the missed training really affect him? This son of low-profile sire Laoban ran well in the Kentucky Derby. After blowing the start and racing in last of 19, he was one of the few in the field to close ground in the stretch while about 10 lanes wide. Ultimately, he finished seventh, less than nine lengths behind winner and 9-5 Preakness favorite #3 Medina Spirit and just a neck behind 5-1 Preakness foe #5 Midnight Bourbon. This guy has the look of a Preakness exotics price play. He will need to show more speed than he did in Louisville, but he seems prepared to run a big race at a big price. Use him where you can, especially underneath in exotics. 3. MEDINA SPIRIT (BAFFERT/VELAZQUEZ) - 9/5 At this writing, he’s still the Kentucky Derby winner, pending additional testing, a possible official disqualification and possible subsequent lawsuits. What he did on the racetrack Derby Day was impressive. He went to the front under Hall-of-Fame jockey John Velazquez, rationed his speed over a mile and one-quarter, and fought like hell when threatened by a quartet of capable challengers. In six starts, he hasn’t permitted a horse to pass him when it counts. On the reverse side, the once $1,000 yearling and $35,000 2-year-old by Protonico hasn’t passed a foe when it counts, either. He’s never been worse than second and only been defeated by top-class foes. He doesn’t figure to have an easy lead in this race, though. Stablemate Concert Tour should see to that. Also, the Kentucky Derby effort probably will have taken something out of him. We expect him to run well, but not nearly as well as he did in Kentucky and he won’t be much price. Use him if you must. Bold players expecting a reaction from the Derby effort will toss him and swing for the fences. 4. CROWDED TRADE (BROWN/CASTELLANO) - 10/1 Eligible to start in the Kentucky Derby based on Points, trainer Chad Brown (like Baffert with #10 Concert Tour) elected to skip a Roses try and aimed for Preakness with this one instead. The extended Derby mile and one-quarter distance was offered as part of the reason for the move. The colt has had just three career races and his last performance in the Gr. 2 Wood wasn’t electrifying as he was third to Derby also-rans Bourbonic and Dynamic One. This son of More than Ready ran well but was caught late in the Gr. 3 Gotham to be second by a nose. He’s liable to be racing from off of what could be a decent early Preakness pace. He seems to have talent but may be in a bit deep based on his abbreviated experience. Exotics only. 5. MIDNIGHT BOURBON (ASMUSSEN/I. ORTIZ JR.) - 5/1 He’s the most experienced runner in the field with eight starts. In those appearances, at five different tracks, he’s managed a pair of wins—a maiden race and the Gr. 3 Lecomte--two seconds and three thirds. His only off-the-board finish came last out when sixth, beaten less than nine lengths in the Kentucky Derby. In Louisville, under Mike Smith, he didn’t show his usual early speed but did well to finish with interest. His Thoro-Graph speed figure pattern is interesting because he’s never taken a backward step and his races are fast enough to fit in here. That’s a great sign for a 3-year-old colt. One drawback is that he hasn’t really shown a fighting spirit at the conclusion of races. Derby aside, the only times he’s ever passed a horse or gained ground in the stretch were in his maiden win and in the Lecomte—both virtual wire-to-wire efforts. With an even break, he’s not fast enough to outrun #10 Concert Tour early and doesn’t appear swift enough to comfortably clear #3 Medina Spirit either. However, we expect him to run well and the price could be right. Include him in your plays, especially in exotics. 6. ROMBAUER (MCCARTHY/PRAT) - 12/1 Connections of this son of Twirling Candy enjoy a bit of a free roll in Preakness based on an El Camino Real victory going one mile and one-eighth on synthetics at Golden Gate. That tally earned the colt a no-fees berth in the run for the crab cakes. Last out, the colt showed some spunk by finishing third behind Derby favorite Essential Quality and Derby also-ran Highly Motivated. This colt is another that was eligible to start in the Derby but passed for Preakness. Trainer Michael McCarthy does good work and jockey Prat is one of the nation’s best. Overall, this guy is moving in the right direction and could be included on the bottom of superfectas at a big price. He has no early speed and, if things get heated up front, he’ll be finishing with interest. Bottom of Exotics at best. 7. FRANCE GO DE INA (MORI/ROSARIO) - 20/1 This guy last started in the Gr. 2 UAE Derby in Dubai in March. He’s no stranger to travel; bred and born in Kentucky, raced in Japan, Dubai and, soon, the United States. A more than four-length winner of two of three starts at Hanshin in Japan at one mile and one-eighth, he and Preakness jockey Joel Rosario broke slowly in the Dubai field of 14 and pretty much lost all chance. They closed ground to be sixth, beaten more than 10 lengths. It’s difficult to gauge how much talent this son of Will Take Charge might have but we’ll have to watch this Japan-by-way-of-Dubai import beat us. During a Pimlico breeze Wednesday, he stumbled and lost his rider. Horse and rider were reportedly ‘fine.’ There are too many other known factors that look good. Pass. 8. UNBRIDLED HONOR (PLETCHER/SAEZ) - 15/1 Newly minted Hall-of-Fame trainer Todd Pletcher’s not known for running horses in Preakness. This one finished second last out in the Lexington Stakes behind Derby also-ran King Fury. It was a decent effort, but he’ll need a bit better to threaten in here. He broke maiden going two turns at Tampa Bay Downs in his third start. He has no early speed and has a win and a second to his credit in five starts. Pass. 9. RISK TAKING (BROWN/J. ORTIZ) - 15/1 After some careful consideration by trainer Chad Brown, this son of Medaglia d’Oro was added to the Preakness roster. Scratched, as morning-line favorite, from last Saturday’s Gr. 3 Peter Pan at Belmont, connections believe this colt will enjoy racing two turns and at the one mile and three-sixteenths Preakness distance. Risk Taking, a somewhat suitable name, has had just five starts—three at two and two at three—with a maiden mile one one-eighth win at Aqueduct in December and a Gr. 3 Withers tally over the same surface and distance in February. Last out he disappointed as favorite in the Gr. 2 Wood. Trainer Brown notes that if you draw a line through the colt’s last race, he fits in Preakness based on numbers. Brown’s not incorrect. If this colt were to return to his Withers Thoro-Graph figure in Preakness (a bit of an ask, but not impossible), he’d have a legitimate shot. Respect for the Wither’s Thoro-Graph figure and trainer Brown’s judgement force us to use this guy some. Sprinkle him in wagers at what should be a decent price. Exotics use. 10. CONCERT TOUR (BAFFERT/SMITH)  - 5/2 A top Kentucky Derby prospect until a disappointing third-place finish as heavy favorite in the Arkansas Derby caused trainer Bob Baffert to alter plans and to skip the Louisville party with him. May have been the best thing for the son of Street Sense’s Preakness chances. He’s looked fine training for the race and brings a sparking record of three wins in four starts into the race, including the Gr.2 San Vicente and Gr. 2 Rebel. He’s got speed and a Hall of Fame jockey in Mike Smith to dole it out. Count him in just about everything you do wager-wise in Preakness. He should have enough speed to get to the early lead by Pimlico’s first turn. He’s the ‘One to Beat’ but not unbeatable. BOTTOM LINE:  This is an intriguing race because Derby winner and morning line 9-5 favorite #3 Medina Spirit enters Preakness with a bullseye on his back and tornado-level drama whirling around him. We’re not against him in Preakness because of any of that. We think he may have fired his bests shot in the Derby. He’s been a steady performer with a fine resume, but he won’t make a comfortable lead in here and off that big effort in the Derby he could be vulnerable at a short price. Stablemate #10 Concert Tour should gain the early lead and ought to take this group a long way. He’s fast, fresh, lightly raced and talented. Jockey Mike Smith will need to get him running from the far outside and there’s a chance the colt could get too eager, too early. In that case, things would get interesting. #3 Medina Spirit probably will track that one in concert with #5 Midnight Bourbon. One to Beat: #10 Concert Tour Should Run Well: #2 Keepmeinmind, #5 Midnight Bourbon Against: #3 Medina Spirit Exotics at a Price: #4 Crowded Trade, #9 Risk Taking THE TICKETS:  $2 Trifecta ($16 Total)First: #10Second: #2, #5Third: #2, #3, #4 #5, #9 $1 Trifecta ($24 Total)First: #2, #5, #10Second: #2, #5, #10Third: #2, #4, #3, #5, #9, #10 Race On!

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5.12.2021:

Jon White's Preakness 146 Picks & Analysis

Before I get to my selections for this Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million Preakness Stakes, I can’t ignore the elephant -- or more specifically, the horse -- in the room. The horse, of course, is Medina Spirit. As of May 12, Medina Spirit is still the official winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby. But his status as such is in serious jeopardy. In a stunning announcement last Sunday that rocked Thoroughbred racing, Bob Baffert, Medina Spirit’s Hall of Fame trainer, said he received word that the colt had tested positive for 21 picograms of betamethasone. Betamethasone is a corticosteroid used to reduce inflammation. While Betamethasone is permitted for training in Kentucky, the state’s rule regarding this substance vis-a-vis racing is crystal clear. Whereas the allowable threshold for betamethasone in a post-race test in Kentucky previously had been 10 picograms, it was changed last year to disallow even a trace amount. Not surprisingly, Baffert’s announcement last Sunday caused an immediate uproar. Baffert, who has had a rash of positives over the past year or so, spent much of Sunday and Monday in a media blitz. Over and over, he stated categorically that Medina Spirit had “never” been administered betamethasone. But then Tuesday, Baffert released a statement through his attorney, Craig Robertson, stating that Medina Spirit had been treated with an anti-fungal ointment containing betamethasone. Baffert’s statement, as posted by the Paulick Report, is as follows: “On May 8, 2021, I was informed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission that Medina Spirit allegedly tested positive for 21 picograms of betamethasone. On May 9, 2021, I held a press conference in which I stated that I intended to thoroughly investigate how this could have happened and that I would be completely transparent throughout the process. I immediately began that investigation, which has resulted in me learning of a possible source for the betamethasone, and now, as promised, I want to be forthright about what I have learned. “Following the Santa Anita Derby, Medina Spirit developed dermatitis on his hind end. I had him checked out by my veterinarian who recommended the use of an anti-fungal ointment called Otomax. The veterinary recommendation was to apply this ointment daily to give the horse relief, help heal the dermatitis, and prevent it from spreading. My barn followed this recommendation and Medina Spirit was treated with Otomax once a day up until the day before the Kentucky Derby. Yesterday, I was informed that one of the substances in Otomax is betamethasone. “While we do not know definitively that this was the source of the alleged 21 picograms found in Medina Spirit’s post-race blood sample, and our investigation is continuing, I have been told by equine pharmacology experts that this could explain the test results. As such, I wanted to be forthright about this fact as soon as I learned of this information. “As I have stated, my investigation is continuing and we do not know for sure if this ointment was the cause of the test results, or if the test results are even accurate, as they have yet to be confirmed by the split sample. However, again, I have been told that a finding of a small amount, such as 21 picograms, could be consistent with application of this type of ointment. I intend to continue to investigate and I will continue to be transparent. “In the meantime, I want to reiterate two points I made when this matter initially came to light. First, I had no knowledge of how betamethasone could have possibly found its way into Medina Spirit (until now) and this has never been a case of attempting to game the system or get an unfair advantage. Second, horse racing must address its regulatory problem when it comes to substances which can innocuously find their way into a horse's system at the picogram (which is a trillionth of a gram) level. Medina Spirit earned his Kentucky Derby win and my pharmacologists have told me that 21 picograms of betamethasone would have had no effect on the outcome of the race. Medina Spirit is a deserved champion and I will continue to fight for him.” CHURCHILL DOWNS BANS BAFFERT ENTRIES Following Baffert’s revelation last Sunday of Medina Spirit’s positive test, Churchill Downs issued the following statement: “It is our understanding that Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit’s post-race blood sample indicated a violation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s equine medication protocols. The connections of Medina Spirit have the right to request a test of a split sample and we understand they intend to do so. To be clear, if the findings are upheld, Medina Spirit’s results in the Kentucky Derby will be invalidated and Mandaloun will be declared the winner. “Failure to comply with the rules and medication protocols jeopardizes the safety of the horses and jockeys, the integrity of our sport and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby and all who participate. Churchill Downs will not tolerate it. Given the seriousness of the alleged offense, Churchill Downs will immediately suspend Bob Baffert, the trainer of Medina Spirit, from entering any horses at Churchill Downs Racetrack. We will await the conclusion of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s investigation before taking further steps.” MEDINA SPIRIT ALLOWED TO ENTER PREAKNESS Post positions for the Preakness originally were to be drawn Monday. But the Maryland Jockey Club announced last Sunday that the draw for the May 15 card at Pimlico, highlighted by the Preakness, was going to be delayed until Tuesday because of the Medina Spirit situation. 1/ST Racing/The Stronach Group issued the following statement last Sunday: “Integrity in the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing is the ultimate priority for 1/ST Racing and the Maryland Jockey Club. 1/ST Racing has been an industry leader instituting processes and protocols that have led to nationwide medication reform and increased accountability. We are committed to achieving the highest level of horse care and safety standards, and we have a proven track record of pushing those standards forward. “1/ST Racing and MJC intend to review the relevant facts and information relating to the reported medication positive as a result of the post-race blood sample testing completed by Churchill Downs following the 147th Kentucky Derby involving Medina Spirit trained by Bob Baffert. We are consulting with the Maryland Racing Commission and any decision regarding the entry of Medina Spirit in the 146th Preakness Stakes will be made after review of the facts.” Whether or not Medina Spirit and/or Concert Tour, also trained by Baffert, would be permitted to be entered in the Preakness remained up in the air until Tuesday. Baffert’s attorney then stated Tuesday that an agreement had been reached to allow Medina Spirit and Concert Tour to be entered in the race. The Paulick Report posted the following letter sent by Robertson to Alan Rifkin, counsel for the Maryland Jockey Club, which discussed the conditions of the agreement: “Dear Mr. Rifkin, “In the best interest of horse racing, and the integrity of the sport, Mr. Baffert consents to blood testing, monitoring and medical record review by the Maryland Jockey Club (“MJC”) on the horse Medina Spirit, and two other horses trained by Mr. Baffert. Medina Spirit and Concert Tour are presently entered in the Preakness Stakes and Beautiful Gift is presently entered in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. “In addition to the testing and monitoring conducted by the Maryland Racing Commission (“MRC”) and/or in cooperation with the MRC, the horses were tested upon arrival at Pimlico and further blood samples will also be drawn today and as may be further determined by MJC from each of the horses. The MJC blood samples will be tested by a lab chosen by the MJC. “Consistent with the fair procedure process provided by The Stronach Group, Mr. Baffert consents to information regarding the results of the MRC and MJC tests, and other relevant medical and administrative records relating to the horses being disclosed to the MJC and Dr. Dionne Benson, The Stronach Group Chief Veterinary Officer. “If any of the three horses test positive for a banned substance, or at a level for a permitted therapeutic substance which is above the designated limit, or if reasonable conditions warrant after MJC’s review of the medical or administrative records, Mr. Baffert, or MJC on his behalf, will scratch that horse from the upcoming race in which that horse is entered this weekend at Pimlico. “Mr. Baffert has given these consents to further the interests of horse racing and the public. MJC may provide this letter and consents herein to the MRC and Mr. Baffert consents to the public release of this letter and all testing results. Mr. Baffert represents that he has authority to grant the consents represented herein on behalf of the owners of the aforementioned horses. “The integrity of the sport is of the upmost importance to Mr. Baffert and by consenting to this testing regimen and monitoring he reaffirms his commitment and dedication to the sport. Please let me know if you have any questions. “Sincerely yours, “Craig Robertson” After the draw for Preakness post positions Tuesday, Rifkin said: “TSG [The Stronach Group] and MJC [Maryland Jockey Club], as you all know, care deeply about the integrity of the sport. But that also includes the integrity of due process. So today we reached an agreement with Mr. Baffert and his lawyers that allows for additional testing, additionally monitoring, essentially a watch list, to ensure the integrity of the sport leading up to the race. So we are very pleased to have that. We appreciate Mr. Baffert’s participation and the way his lawyers went about it.” PAST KENTUCKY DERBY DISQUALIFICATIONS Two years ago, Maximum Security finished first in the Kentucky Derby by 1 3/4 lengths. But he was disqualified and placed 17th by the stewards for committing a foul when he veered out nearing the five-sixteenths pole and caused interference to War of Will, Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress. It was the first time in the history of the Kentucky Derby that a winner had been disqualified for an incident during the running of the race. In a gigantic upset, Country House was declared the official 2019 Kentucky Derby winner, returning $132.40 for each $2 win wager. Gate Dancer, who became known for racing with earmuffs, finished fourth in the 1984 Kentucky Derby. But he was disqualified and placed fifth for causing interference to Fali Time. Gate Dancer lugged in during the stretch run and bumped poor little Fali Time “several times,” as noted in the Daily Racing Form chart. Later in 1984, Gate Dancer finished second to Wild Again in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Classic at Hollywood Park. Slew o’ Gold ended up third. But the stewards ruled that Gate Dancer had caused interference during the stretch run. Gate Dancer was disqualified and placed third, behind Slew o’ Gold. Dancer’s Image rallied from last in a field of 14 to win the 1968 Kentucky Derby by 1 1/2 lengths over Forward Pass. However, the post-race urinalysis of Dancer’s Image showed the presence of Butazolidin, which at the time was a prohibited medication in Kentucky. Consequently, Forward Pass was declared to be the winner of the 1968 Kentucky Derby except for pari-mutuel payoffs. First purse money and the winning trophy were awarded to Forward Pass’ owner, Calumet Farm, by order of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Peter Fuller, who owned Dancer’s Image, fought the disqualification in court for years, but to no avail. Forward Pass won the subsequent Preakness by six lengths. Dancer’s Image finished third, then was disqualified and placed eighth for causing interference during the stretch run. In addition to becoming the first horse ever disqualified in the Kentucky Derby, Dancer’s Image became the first horse ever DQ’d in the Preakness. If Forward Pass had gone on to win the Belmont, he would have become a Triple Crown with an asterisk due to having won the Kentucky Derby through disqualification. But Forward Pass finished second in the Belmont, 1 1/2 lengths behind Stage Door Johnny (one of my all-time favorite broodmare sires). 2021 TRIPLE CROWN PICTURE As mentioned earlier, as of May 12, Medina Spirit is still the official winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby. As long as this is the case, if Medina Spirit is victorious in the Preakness, he would head to the Belmont with a chance to become this country’s 14th Triple Crown winner and Baffert’s third horse to sweep the three races, following American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018. But if Medina Spirit is, at some point, disqualified from the Kentucky Derby, then a possible Triple Crown sweep is out of the question for him, even should he win the Preakness. And it now seems highly likely that Medina Spirit is, at some point, going to be disqualified from his Kentucky Derby victory, especially after Baffert stated Tuesday that Medina Spirit had been treated with an ointment containing betamethasone. The Louisville Courier-Journal’s Tim Sullivan explained why it’s highly likely that Medina Spirit is, at some point, going to be disqualified from his Kentucky Derby victory. “Whether the 21 picograms of betamethasone detected in Medina Spirit’s blood sample could have made any difference in the outcome of the Derby is an interesting question, but ultimately irrelevant to the disqualification decision,” Sullivan wrote. “Kentucky regulations call for a mandatory disqualification and loss of purse if any verifiable amount of betamethasone is found in post-race testing and confirmed by a split sample.” In light of Baffert stating Tuesday that Medina Spirit had been treated with an ointment containing betamethasone, it now seems a slam-dunk that the split sample will confirm the presence of betamethasone in Medina Spirit’s system when he ran in the Kentucky Derby. Mandaloun finished second in the Kentucky Derby. If Mandaloun is declared the Kentucky Derby winner at some point through the disqualification of Medina Spirit, it will take the possibility of a Triple Crown sweep off the table this year prior to the June 5 Belmont even if Medina Spirit wins the Preakness. PREAKNESS SELECTIONS Medina Spirit “drew” post position 3 for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness. No, Medina Spirit was not “assigned” post 3, as Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee wrote. I watched the draw for Preakness post positions on TVG. You know what? I did not see anyone do any assigning. To say post positions were “assigned” for the Preakness is like saying someone “assigned” the winning lottery numbers. The Preakness post positions were, as usual, determined by a random draw. Look, I know that I keep harping on this. But wrong is wrong. Perhaps the day will come when McGee stops making this mistake over and over again. I really hope so. My Preakness selections are below: 1. Concert Tour 2. Medina Spirit 3. Midnight Bourbon 4. Crowded Trade It really was an extremely tough decision for me whether to make Concert Tour or Medina Spirit my top pick. But I am going to go with my gut. My gut is telling me to go with Concert Tour. I just can’t forget what Baffert said about Concert Tour after the Kentucky-bred Street Sense colt won Oaklawn Park’s Grade II Rebel Stakes in front-running fashion by 4 1/4 lengths on March 13. “To me, it was kind of an American Pharoah-type run,” Baffert said. “He was doing it with ease, with plenty left.” In 2015, American Pharoah won the Rebel and Arkansas Derby for Baffert, then swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont to end a 37-year Triple Crown drought. Prior to this year’s Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn on April 10, I think most people would have ranked Baffert’s 3-year-old colts this way: Life Is Good at No. 1, Concert Tour at No. 2, then Medina Spirit at No. 3. But then Concert Tour finished third as a 3-10 favorite for Baffert and owners Gary and Mary West in the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby. Super Stock won in a 12-1 upset. Caddo River finished third. Prior to the Arkansas Derby, Concert Tour had trounced both Super Stock and Caddo River in the 1 1/16-mile Rebel. Super Stock lost by 6 1/2 lengths. Caddo River finished 6 3/4 lengths behind Concert Tour. I’ve heard people say Concert Tour “ran a stinker” in the Arkansas Derby. Did he disappoint as an overwhelming favorite? Yes. But did he run a stinker? No. He lost by 2 1/2 lengths, not 12 1/2 or 22 1/2 lengths. With three weeks between the Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby, the decision was made by Baffert and Gary West for Concert Tour to skip the Run for the Roses. “Three weeks just wasn’t enough to really feel comfortable to go” to the Kentucky Derby, Baffert explained. “And Gary West really didn’t feel comfortable running in the Derby after a race like that” by Concert Tour in the Arkansas Derby.” Considering I, like so many others, ranked Concert Tour higher than Medina Spirit among Baffert’s 3-year-old colts prior to the Arkansas Derby, I am going to go ahead and rank Concert Tour higher than Medina Spirit going into the Preakness. Hence, Concert Tour is my top pick in the Preakness. I will say that one reason it is difficult for me to not make Medina Spirit my top pick Saturday is Baffert’s prowess in winning the Preakness with his Kentucky Derby winners. Indeed, when the two races have been run in May, all six of Baffert’s Kentucky Derby winners (Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, War Emblem in 2002, American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018) returned two weeks later to take the Preakness. Baffert once said that he believes one of the reasons for his success when starting a horse in the Preakness just two weeks after the Kentucky Derby is what he had to do for many years when running horses in futurities and derbies during his Quarter Horse days. For futurities and derbies during Baffert’s time as a Quarter Horse conditioner, qualifying trials generally would be held just one week earlier. Baffert learned to deal with what he called “the quick turnaround in the Quarter Horse world” by having a horse “run well enough” to qualify for the futurity or derby, but “not too well.” The goal was for the horse to come back a week after the trial and still be able to take a serious run at winning the futurity or derby. The only time a Kentucky Derby winner trained by Baffert has not subsequently won the Preakness was last year. That’s when the Kentucky Derby and Preakness were run later in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plus there were four weeks between the two races instead of the usual two weeks. The Kentucky Derby was held on Sept. 5. The Preakness was run on Oct. 3. Baffert won last year’s Kentucky Derby with Authentic, who then finished second in the Preakness, which he lost by a head to the filly Swiss Skydiver. Mindful of Baffert’s terrific Preakness record with his Kentucky Derby winners, I may regret not making Medina Spirit my top pick for Saturday’s race. But another reason I am choosing Concert Tour is I am going to take my own advice from 1973. DON’T OVERREACT TO A SINGLE DEFEAT As I recently wrote for Xpressbet.com, I was sky high on Secretariat in the spring of 1973. In my high school newspaper, the Lewis and Clark Journal, I wrote on March 22, 1973: “Going out on a limb and living dangerously I daresay that 1973 will be a historic year as Secretariat will become the first Triple Crown winner since the great Citation in 1948.” Two weeks before the Kentucky Derby, Secretariat finished third in the Wood Memorial. Angle Light won. Sham ran second. Lucien Laurin trained both Angle Light and Secretariat. Secretariat lost the Wood Memorial by four lengths. Yes, the great Secretariat lost that race by an even larger margin than Concert Tour’s 2 1/2-length margin of defeat in the Arkansas Derby. In the outstanding book “Big Red of Meadow Stable,” William Nack wrote of the 1973 Wood Memorial: “Later, trainer Lucien Laurin revealed that an abscess inside Secretariat’s mouth must have caused the horse serious discomfort, possibly accounting for the defeat.” Of course, as a high school student in Spokane, Wash., I had no inkling that an abscess inside Secretariat’s mouth might have accounted for his defeat in the Wood. But even without having any knowledge of the abscess, I steadfastly stuck with Secretariat in the Kentucky Derby. “You can’t throw out a horse because of one defeat. It takes more than that,” I wrote on April 25 in the Lewis and Clark Journal when explaining why I was still picking Secretariat to win the Kentucky Derby despite his defeat in the Wood. “A perfect example is last year when Riva Ridge lost the Everglades but came back strongly to take the Blue Grass Stakes, Kentucky Derby and grueling Belmont Stakes.” On April 25 (10 days before the race), these were my 1973 Kentucky Derby selections in the Lewis and Clark Journal: 1. Secretariat 2. Sham 3. Stop the Music 4. Angle Light Secretariat came charging from last to win the Kentucky Derby by 2 1/2 lengths. He completed 1 1/4 miles in 1:59 2/5, breaking the track record set by Northern Dancer in the 1964 Kentucky Derby by three-fifths of a second. All these years later, Secretariat’s record still stands. Sham ran fast enough to win most Kentucky Derbies, but he had to settle for second while finishing eight lengths clear of Our Native in third. Forego (a future three-time Horse of the Year) ran fourth in the field 13. MORE TIME BETWEEN RACES A PLUS? Even though Baffert has excelled when dealing with the two weeks between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, I like the fact that Concert Tour is fresher than Medina Spirit going into the Preakness. Medina Spirit ran a hard race in Louisville two weeks ago. It’s been five weeks between the Arkansas Derby and Preakness for Concert Tour, which is a time between starts that seems to be more preferable in the way Thoroughbreds are raced nowadays. HOW WILL THE PACE UNFOLD? Am I concerned that Concert Tour drew the outside post in the Preakness field of 10? No. Actually, I like it. If I’m right and Concert Tour is the horse I think he is, someone capable of an American Pharoah-type performance, I can picture him seizing the early lead and staying in front all the way to the end. If Concert Tour does get the early advantage, it might not be good for Medina Spirit. In Medina Spirit’s two wins this year, he took the early lead. In the three races this year in which he did not get the early lead, he finished second each time. On the other hand, if it’s Medina Spirit in front early Saturday, it might not be good for Concert Tour. Can Concert Tour win Saturday if he is second early, behind Medina Spirit? Maybe. Concert Tour did come from slightly off the pace to win Santa Anita’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Feb. 6. But a potential problem for Concert Tour if it turns out Medina Spirit does scoot to the early lead Saturday is how tenacious Medina Spirit can be when he is able to show the way early. Medina Spirit demonstrated that when he won Santa Anita’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Jan. 30 and again when victorious in the Kentucky Derby. Medina Spirit’s determination during the stretch drive of the Kentucky Derby “was sort of the same race he ran when he won the Robert Lewis,” Baffert said. In the Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit refused to relinquish the lead all the way down the lane while fending off Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie and Essential Quality, who finished 2-3-4 in that order. Medina Spirit prevailed by a half-length. There is another possible scenario this Saturday. What if Medina Spirit and Concert Tour chew themselves up because they both get involved in a fast early pace? This would be akin to what occurred in the Arkansas Derby. Caddo River set a fast pace while being pushed hard by Concert Tour at Oaklawn that day. They set it up for Super Stock, who ran past the weary pair late to win going away by 2 1/2 lengths. One should always remember that trying to forecast the pace in a horse race can be tricky. What occurs at the break can significantly affect how a race and its pace unfolds, as evidenced by what happened with potential pace factors Rock Your World, Essential Quality and Midnight Bourbon at the outside of the Kentucky Derby. BEST THORO-GRAPH NUMBER IN THE DERBY Still another reason I am not going with Medina Spirit as my top pick in the Preakness are the Thoro-Graph numbers from the Kentucky Derby. Medina Spirit was credited with a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure for his Kentucky Derby triumph. Essential Quality, the 5-2 favorite who as noted previously finished fourth, received a 100 Beyer for that race. Thoro-Graph takes many more factors into account than the Beyers. According to Thoro-Graph, “each number on a sheet represents a performance rating arrived at by using time of the race, beaten lengths, ground lost or saved on the turns, weight carried, and any effects wind conditions had on the time of the race.” “I’m guessing that Essential Quality will be the Kentucky Derby starter who quite possibly will emerge from the race with the best Thoro-Graph number,” I wrote last week. “When it comes to Thoro-Graph, a lower number is better than a higher one. This is the opposite of Beyer Speed Figures.” I was right in that Essential Quality’s Thoro-Graph number for the Kentucky Derby did turn out to be the best of anyone in the race. Medina Spirit? Three horses -- Essential Quality, Hot Rod Charlie and Mandaloun -- recorded a better Thoro-Graph number in the Kentucky Derby than Medina Spirit. It’s a lot easier for me to pick against Medina Spirit in the Preakness when, according to Thoro-Graph, not one, not two, but three horses ran a better race than the Florida-bred Protonico colt in the Kentucky Derby. Below are the Thoro-Graph numbers for the first seven finishers in the Kentucky Derby: Finish Horse (Thoro-Graph Number) 4. Essential Quality (negative 1/4) 3. Hot Rod Charlie (1/2) 2. Mandaloun (1 1/4) 1. Medina Spirit (1 1/2) 5. O Besos (3) 6. Midnight Bourbon (3) 7. Keepmeinmind (4) Below are the Beyer Speed Figures for the first seven finishers in the Kentucky Derby: Finish Horse (Beyer Speed Figure) 1. Medina Spirit (102) 2. Mandaloun (101) 3. Hot Rod Charlie (100) 4. Essential Quality (100) 5. O Besos (94) 6. Midnight Bourbon (90) 7. Keepmeinmind (90) Brad Cox trains Essential Quality, who took a five-for-five record and an Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male of 2020 into the Kentucky Derby. You may recall what Cox said when asked if he believed that Essential Quality might have been the best horse in the Kentucky Derby because of his wide trip, “I do,” Cox said. “I think he was the best horse. People can say what they want, but he was beaten a length and ran 68 feet further than the winner.” Some say that Essential Quality, who moved up to loom menacingly turning for home, had every chance to overtake Medina Spirit when coming down the long Churchill stretch. And that is true. But any way you slice it, it’s also very difficult for a horse to run 68 feet farther than someone and still beat them. WATCH OUT FOR MIDNIGHT BOURBON Prior to the Kentucky Derby for Xpressbet, I wrote: “Watch out for Bob Baffert” and Medina Spirit. For the Preakness, I am saying watch out for Midnight Bourbon. Much has been made (and rightfully so) concerning Rock Your World’s messy start in the Kentucky Derby as the 9-2 second favorite. It took him out of his game. He finished 17th in the field of 19 for his first career loss after winning the Grade I Santa Anita Derby by 4 1/4 lengths over none other than Medina Spirit. But Midnight Bourbon also was taken out of his game in the Kentucky Derby when he broke flat-footed and lost “valuable early position,” as Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman put it. Countdown to the Crown’s Jeremy Plonk wrote that Midnight Bourbon’s “instant tardiness got him entangled with Dynamic One and the hind end of Hot Rod Charlie, which took the potential front-runner out of his game and helped change the complexion up front for the eventual winner. “To his credit, Midnight Bourbon did not go thrashing and become overly aggressive in makeup mode,” Plonk continued. “That’s what you might have expected, so it was positive to see him settle into Plan B. He was pushed out into the three path around the clubhouse turn and tipped widest of all once straightened onto the backstretch. That kept him in the clear, while Mike Smith got him back in touch into the four path on the far turn. He ran on decently through the stretch in a better-than-looks effort, given where he was supposed to be in the running early.” As far back as 14th at one point, Midnight Bourbon improved his position in the final four furlongs to finish sixth. Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen trains Midnight Bourbon, a Kentucky-bred colt by Tiznow, the only two-time winner of the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic. Asmussen has won the Preakness twice, first with Curlin in 2007, then with the filly Rachel Alexandra in 2009. Don’t take Crowded Trade or Risk Taking lightly this Saturday. They are trained by Chad Brown, who won the 2017 Preakness with Cloud Computing. Crowded Trade is light on experience. He has just three career starts under his belt. But I think he has a fair amount of talent, which is why I’m picking him fourth in the Preakness. After finishing second in Aqueduct’s Grade III Gotham Stakes when he lost by a scant nose on March 6, Crowded Trade finished third in the Grade II Wood Memorial at the Big A on April 3. Risk Taking won Aqueduct’s Grade III Withers Stakes on Feb. 6, then never threatened and wound up seventh as the 2-1 favorite in the Wood. Brown has talked about how he believes the longer distance of the Preakness than Risk Taking’s previous races should suit him. Risk Taking was scratched from last Saturday’s Grade III Peter Pan Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile race around one turn, to run instead in the Preakness. I think Keepmeinmind is someone to keep in mind as someone capable of getting into the superfecta Saturday. Last in the field of 19 for the initial six furlongs of the Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky-bred Laoban colt then came on with a fine run to finish seventh for trainer Robertino Diodoro. It is true that Keepmeinmind, like Super Stock and Caddo River, was no match for Concert Tour in the Rebel. Keepmeinmind finished sixth in the Arkansas Derby, eight lengths behind Concert Tour. But in fairness to Keepmeinmind, the Rebel was his 2021 debut after he had missed some training prior to that when Oaklawn was hit by severe winter weather. I think it’s possible for Keepmeinmind to make some noise at Old Hilltop on Saturday. I also see Rombauer as a candidate to finish fourth or better this Saturday. Trained by Michael McCarthy and based at Santa Anita, the Kentucky-bred Twirling Candy colt won the El Camino Real Derby on synthetic footing Feb. 13 at Golden Gate Fields in his 2021 debut. Rombauer then ran third to Essential Quality and Highly Motivated in Keeneland’s Grade I Blue Grass Stakes on dirt April 3. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll consists of the same 10 horses as last week. The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 310 Mystic Guide (27) 2. 250 Charlatan (5) 3. 187 Knicks Go (1) 4. 184 Colonel Liam 5. 181 Monomoy Girl 6. 138 Gamine 7. 132 Letruska 8. 116 Maxfield (1) 9. 84 Shedaresthedevil 10. 51 Domestic Spending Medina Spirit’s time atop the NTRA Top 3-Year-old Poll was short-lived. As expected, he moved to No. 1 following his May 1 Kentucky Derby victory. But after the announcement last Sunday that he had not passed his post-race drug testing, he slides to No. 4 this week, replaced in the top spot by Mandaloun, who finished second in the Kentucky Derby. The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 277 Mandaloun (6) 2. 275 Essential Quality (8) 3. 250 Hot Rod Charlie 4. 215 Medina Spirit (18) 5. 184 Malathaat (1) 6. 99 Concert Tour 7. 80 Midnight Bourbon 8. 77 Jackie’s Warrior 8. 77 Rock Your World 10. 474 Life Is Good (1)

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5.12.2021:

1/ST BET AI Picks for Friday's Pimlico Co-Features

This Friday's 14-race card at Pimlico includes several important stakes races. To help you handicap the Pimilico Special and Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, the 1/ST BET app’s artificial intelligence provides its look at the data for both races.Selections provided by the 1/ST BET app measure each contender against the 10 leading factors for each race. The 1/ST BET app looks at 52 handicapping factors and more than 200,000 past races to determine its AI selections. You can use the automated handicapping factors, or create your own factor filters to incorporate angles you prefer.PIMLICO // RACE 12 (5:12PM ET) // G3 PIMLICO SPECIAL // 1 3/16 MILES (DIRT) 1 MODERNIST // 3%W // 9%P // 18%S2 FEARLESS // 26%W // 42%P // 53%S3 FOREWARNED // 3%W // 8%P // 11%S4 ENFORCEABLE // 5%W // 10%P // 16%S5 MAX PLAYER // 6%W // 12%P // 22%S6 PRIORITIZE // 7%W // 15%P // 30%S7 HARPERS FIRST RIDE // 13%W // 27%P // 37%S8 CORDMAKER // 6%W // 15%P // 25%S9 TREASURE TROVE // 19%W// 33%P // 43%S10 ALWAYSMINING // 3%W // 8%P // 11%S11 LAST JUDGMENT // 9%W // 21%P // 35%S//PIMLICO // RACE 13 (5:44PM ET) // G2 GEORGE E. MITCHELL BLACK-EYED SUSAN STAKES // 1 1/8 MILES (DIRT) 1 ARMY WIFE // 11%W // 22% // 33%S2 WILLFUL WOMAN // 4%W // 13%P // 21%S3 SPIRITZ // 4%W // 7%P // 11%S4 FOREVER BOSS // 5%W // 11% P // 19%S5 LADY TRAVELER // 4%W // 11%P // 16%S6 ICED LATTE // 9%W // 17%P // 31%S7 MISS LESLIE // 8%W // 11%P // 28%S8 THE GRASS IS BLUE // 12%W // 35%P // 44%S9 ADVENTURING // 15%W // 29%P // 42%S10 BEAUTIFUL GIFT // 28%W // 45%P // 55%S

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5.11.2021:

2021 Preakness Post Draw Rapid Reaction

One of the most anticipated Preakness Stakes draws in history included 10 entries today, led by controversial Kentucky Derby first-place finisher Medina Spirit. The Bob Baffert trainee starts from post 3 and will be joined in the starting gate by stablemate Concert Tour (post 10). The Preakness will be Race 13 of 14 on a card that begins at 10:30AM ET. The Preakness Stakes post time is slated for 6:47PM ET.Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app and Xpressbet.com will enjoy up to a $10 Money-Back Special on every race Friday and Saturday at if their Pimlico win bet in any race finishes second or third. Tournament players Friday can play an $80 Black-Eyed Susan Day live-money feeder contest into Saturday’s $1,500 live-bankroll Preakness Challenge. Visit Xpressbet.com/tournaments for details and to sign up.The Preakness pace almost certainly comes from the Baffert duo. With the farthest post, rest assured jockey Mike Smith will be hustling Concert Tour from the start and likely will make the front. Both horses are unbeaten when they race on the early lead. But John Velazquez on Medina Spirit likely won’t want Concert Tour pressing him to the outside, so it’s very likely he’ll concede the lead and let Concert Tour drop all the way over to the rail into the first turn.The other contender to be in the front force would be Midnight Bourbon, who drew post 5. Japan’s entrant, France Go de Ina, will begin from post 7. The bulk of the Preakness field is drop-back closers who will settle early, try to save ground where possible and make runs where space opens. With a field of 10 and about a quarter-mile run to the clubhouse turn, post positions should not be make or break.Baffert, who went public Sunday with news that Medina Spirit had tested positive for a prohibited raceday medication, will be aiming for a record-breaking eighth career Preakness victory. A score would pass R.W. Walden’s record in the race that has stood more than a century. On a similar note, D. Wayne Lukas sends out longshot Ram, who could give the 85-year-old trainer a record-tying seventh Woodlawn Vase trophy.Saturday’s 14-race lineup also includes the Grade 2 Dinner Party Stakes among 9 stakes races in all.146TH PREAKNESS STAKES // PIMLICO // RACE 13 (6:47PM ET) 1. Ram (Ricardo Santana Jr.) 30-12. Keepmeinmind (David Cohen) 15-13. Medina Spirit (John Velazquez) 9-54. Crowded Trade (Javier Castellano) 10-15. Midnight Bourbon (Irad Ortiz Jr.) 5-16. Rombauer (Flavien Prat) 12-17. France Go de Ina (Joel Rosario) 20-18. Unbridled Honor (Luis Saez) 15-19. Risk Taking (Jose Ortiz) 15-110. Concert Tour (Mike Smith) 5-2

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5.11.2021:

Scioto Downs Late Pick 4 Analysis

Scioto Downs has 14 races ready to roll with the 0.50 Pick 5 sequence starting in Race 5. It has a $25,000 guaranteed pool with a 14% takeout. My focus will be on the 0.50 Late Pick 4 sequence which begins in Race 10.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 101-Mapleleafs Design (7-1)-Appears to do best racing on the point and should not have a problem getting there with this post draw. Has faced stakes company and should be able to compete here at a square price.4-Jett (6/5)-Paced the back half in 56.2 in the 1st start at ScD and it was also the 1st time using Lasix. Looking for more improvement, the price will be short and should be a main threat.5-Cold Decked (5/2)-Faces easier and it would be difficult to leave out but hasn't been able to seal the deal. Might like to follow more than lead but has had only 4 career starts.Race 112-American Sweet Pea (9/2)-Makes the 1st start for new barn, comes off a decent effort and benefitted from a DQ to take top honors. Smith should work a good trip but may need to be leading coming into the lane to cash the top check.6-Barley Nation (5-1)-Noble steers as Sutton sticks with #7 and this gal has taken 2 pictures in 16 starts here. Could leave and might get a cozy trip to notch the 2nd win in 14 starts this year.7-Dont Mach Mia (5-1)-Was facing better at MVR and has been stuck with the 10-hole in the last 2 starts. Sutton could leave and put this mare in play. Looks like a player but is 0-11 at ScD.Race 123-Two Of Hardts (7/2)-Did win a couple of races at the Pomp and this will be the 3rd start in Ohio plus the 3rd different track. Fits with this crew and should be in the mix from start to finish.4-Call Him Rocky (9/5)-Drew off by over 9 lengths in gate to wire fashion on 5-4. Deserves the morning line favoritism but this probably won't be as easy as last time.5-Sidekick (7-1)-Broke in 1st start of the year at MVR and that hasn't been an issue in the past. Did qualify nicely here on 5-4 and will take a swing for some value. Smith could get the pocket behind the morning line choice.Race 133-Taco Tuesday (2-1)-Was used hard in last at Nfld and that was after breaking stride in the previous start. This will be the 1st time for Noble taking the lines and the 1st start at ScD. Looking for the new pilot to squeeze a bit more out of this 8-year-old and this is a beatable field.0.50 Late Pick 41,4,5/2,6,7/3,4,5/3Total Bet =$13.50

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5.10.2021:

Monday Myths: Are Fewer Derby Horses Showing Up for Preakness?

Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities.Assumption:Not as many Kentucky Derby horses are willing to race in the Preakness as there once was.Background:You've heard chatter in recent years about how the Derby, Preakness and Belmont need to be spaced out on the calendar, perhaps as much as a month apart, to better fit the modern training pattern of barns who demand 4-5 weeks between starts.Data Points:I dialed up the Betmix database to look at how many horses have come out of the Derby to run back in the Preakness over the past 8 years. I also consulted some official racecharts of Preakness races from yesterday to see how it “once was.”2013: 6 Derby horses came back to run in the Preakness.2014: 3 Derby horses came back to run in the Preakness.2015: 5 Derby horses came back to run in the Preakness.2016: 3 Derby horses came back to run in the Preakness.2017: 5 Derby horses came back to run in the Preakness.2018: 4 Derby horses came back to run in the Preakness.2019: 4 Derby horses came back to run in the Preakness.2020: 4 Derby horses came back to run in the Preakness.2000s: 3-5 Derby returnees were the norm except when 50-1 Giacomo won in 2005 and 10 Derby horses took a shot at Old Hilltop, and 8 re-matched in 2009 after 50-1 Derby winner Mine That Bird.1990s: While 10 showed up in Charismatic’s 1999 repeat victory, 5-8 were the consistent norm for the 10-year run.1980s: 5-8 Derby returnees were the consistent norm throughout the decade.1970s: Secretariat ran against 2 Derby rivals, the same for Seattle Slew and Affirmed. In other years, 5-8 total Derby holdovers were the norm.Overall Findings:The number of Derby to Preakness starters in recent years has held consistent over the past 7 years. The decade of the 2000s began the downturn in number of returnees in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown after the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s were pretty similar in Derby alumni.Bottom line:Superstar horses over the decades have caused fewer to re-match at Pimlico on occasion, which makes sense. But it’s absolutely true in the numbers that the modern Preakness is drawing consistently fewer Derby returnees than past decades. But that number has been leveled off for two decades and does not appear to be making any continued down-trend.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, you can measure the records of Derby holdovers to new faces in the Preakness.

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5.10.2021:

2021 Black-Eyed Susan & Pimlico Special Draw Rapid Reaction

Friday’s 14-race Black-Eyed Susan Day program was drawn today at Pimlico, host of Saturday’s 146th running of the Preakness Stakes. Six stakes races are on the Friday docket, led by 10 three-year-old fillies in the Grade 2 George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan (Race 13). The mile and one-eighth Black-Eyed Susan will be co-featured Friday along with the Grade 3 Pimlico Special (Race 12).Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app and Xpressbet.com will enjoy up to a $10 Money-Back Special on every race Friday and Saturday at if their Pimlico win bet in any race finishes second or third. Tournament players Friday can play an $80 feeder contest into Saturday’s $1,500 live bankroll Preakness Challenge. Visit Xpressbet.com/tournaments for details and to sign up.The Black-Eyed Susan field is topped by Bourbonette Oaks 1-2 finishers Adventuring (post 9) and Spiritz (post 3), as well as Santa Anita Oaks runner-up Beautiful Gift. Spiritz and Beautiful Gift are expected to be part of the early pace and the former certainly won’t the draw in that regard. Local Win & You’re In qualifier Miss Leslie will leave from post 7.The Pimlico Special lured 11 runners over its traditional mile and three-sixteenths trip. Major graded stakes winners Modernist and Fearless drew alongside on the fence. Defending champion Harpers First Ride (post 7) represents Maryland’s home team.Friday’s undercard also includes the Grade 3 Allaire duPont Distaff, Grade 3 Miss Preakness, The Very One Stakes and the Hilltop Stakes. First post Friday will be 11:30 am ET and feature a Black-Eyed Susan / Preakness two-day daily double wager as well as advance wagering on the Preakness.The post position draw for Saturday’s Preakness will be held Tuesday at 4 pm ET.GRADE 3 PIMLICO SPECIAL // RACE 12 (5:12PM ET) 1. Modernist (Junior Alvarado)2. Fearless (Irad Ortiz Jr.)3. Forewarned (Alexander Crispin)4. Enforceable (Tyler Gaffalione)5. Max Player (Ricardo Santana Jr.)6. Prioritize (Joel Rosario)7. Harpers First Ride (David Cohen)8. Cordmaker (Victor Cassasco)9. Treasure Trove (Luis Saez)10. Alwaysmining (Sheldon Russell)11. Last Judgment (Jose Ortiz)GRADE 2 GEORGE E. MITCHELL BLACK-EYED SUSAN // RACE 13 (5:44PM ET) 1. Army Wife (Joel Rosario)2. Willful Woman (Ricardo Santana Jr.)3. Spiritz (Flavien Prat)4. Forever Boss (Jose Ortiz)5. Lady Traveler (Javier Castellano)6. Iced Latte (Luis Saez)7. Miss Leslie (J.D. Acosta)8. The Grass is Blue (Irad Ortiz Jr.)9. Adventuring (Florent Geroux)10. Beautiful Gift (John Velazquez)

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5.10.2021:

Monday, May 10: Yonkers Raceway Late Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight's headliner at Yonkers Raceway goes in Race 7, an Open Handicap with a $37,000 purse. That race also begins the $1.00 Late Pick 4 sequence and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 71-Micky Gee N (3-1)-Comes off a win and now steps-up and is assigned the rail. Got a sharp steer but what shouldn't be overlooked was the 55.2 back half when leading the charge to the wire. Best to respect, can stay good for a while.3-Rollwithpapajoe (9/2)-Tossing last from the 8-hole and from this post should be no worse than in the pocket when the dust settles. Winner of 11 in 26 starts at Yonkers looks like a major player.8-Raukapuka Ruler N (7/2)-Defeated 3 from this group in last by wiring the field from post 5. This won't be as easy but still has the gate speed to get the top or a close-up seat. The post helps the price and Stratton could provide a good steer.Race 82-Heisman Player (2-1)-Drops to a spot to shine and Zeron should have this 5-year-old forwardly placed. Could make the most of the post draw with the return of its regular pilot.5-Tin Roof Raider A (5/2)-Steps-up after rolling a 55.2 back half and has hit the board in 8 of 14 starts at Yonkers with 4 wins. Bartlett has choices from this post and the Harris trainee should be within striking range at the 3/4's pole.Race 92-Caviart Luca (9/2)-Veteran class horse was in tough in the last 2 starts at Phl and now drops to a more comfortable spot. Burke trainee has won over 26% of Yonkers starts and now returns to the level of last picture on 4-20.3-Can B Perfect (5/2)-Last start was in the slop and the 4-year-old has an off-track record of 1 win in 8 starts. Did race okay but couldn't close fast enough after a .57 opening half. Siegelman should have this 4-year-old in the hunt turning for home.Race 102-Walkinshaw N (3-1)-The last 2 starts at this class have been in the slop and from the 8-hole. Fits with this group, should have no excuses as Zeron could be aggressive from the post and might be bet down. Maybe gets a pocket ride behind #5.5-Fine Diamond (5/2)-Does face tougher but has cashed checks here versus better. Slight morning line favorite could fire out to get the top and may not look back.My Ticket Race 7) 1,3,8 Race 8) 2,5 Race 9) 2,3 Race 10) 2,5Total Ticket Cost) $24 for $1.00Check me out on Twitter!

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5.9.2021:

Sunday, May 09: Hawthorne Pick 4 Analysis-$25,000 Guaranteed Pool

Hawthorne Racecourse completes its first weekend of 2021 with a 12-race card. The feature goes in Race 8, an Open Trot with a $12,000 purse. The headliner from a betting standpoint is the 0.50 Late Pick 4 which starts in Race 9. The challenging sequence has a $25,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 92-Moment To Shine (10-1)-Comes off an even try at HoP on 5-4 and raced from the back. That could serve as a nice tune-up for tonight. Likes to race near the top of the stack and the Warren-Simmons combo could connect at a nice price.3-Pretty Boy Shooter (12-1)-Price shot qualified at Springfield and went to the half in 56.1 and has 1 win 4 tries here. Stewart could work a stalking trip from this post and save some juice for the final quarter.4-Reverend Scott (7-1)-Purchased for $8,500 in November and makes its 1st start for a smaller barn. Can pass horses down the lane and the 5-3 qualifier was fine. Should offer a solid price in race that looks like a coin toss.7-Alwaysshowfaith (4-1)-Was only 1-9 last year at HoP but hit the board 5 times. Qualified staying in the 2-hole in 1.58 over a sloppy track and could be ready for a picture. Husted might leave some to get a good seat and then roll by off cover.Race 102-Bombay Bobby (6-1)-Bobby is 1-4 at Haw, gets a good post draw for his style and may find this field to his liking. Should offer a square price plus this is the 1st time Seekman is between the pipes and that may help.5-Burnin Rubber (7-1)-Was purchased for a modest $2,600 in the fall by Rutherford who owns and trains. Qualified here on 5-3 with a 56.2 back half and could contend if Sheehan does his part.8-Mudville (5-1)-This is the 1st start for the Brink barn and he can send them out ready. Qualified with Leonard in the bike at Spr in a snappy 156.4. Ridge Warren gets the call as Leonard drives #9 for his dad.Race 113-My Moriah (10-1)-First time starter qualified here on 5-3 and rolled the 2nd half 56.4 with a 27.2 last panel. Could be sitting on a big try and the price could be right.7-Always B Mimi (4-1)-Another from the Brink barn, R Warren is between the pipes and has hit the board in 6 of 10 in Stickney with 1 picture. This post shouldn't hurt, can come off cover and does pass foes down the lane.9-Dome With Kisses (5-1)-The 1st start for the Dillon barn came on 5-1 at MVR, went off at 6-1 in a 3-year-old stake race and suffered an interference break. From Indiana, to Ohio, now at Haw for a barn that has been rolling the past 30 days and the post makes the price. Lifetime record is not inspiring but should be able to compete with this crew and Wilfong can provide a smooth steer.Race 122-Rock This Town (7/2)-Team Knox 3-year-old had breaking issues last year but stayed flat in a recent tune-up at Spr. Makes Haw debut and if it minds manners, has the speed to put this bunch away.8-JK Newera (9/2)-Has hit the board in 3 of 4 starts at Haw in 2020 and this will be the 1st time Leonard takes a spin. Springfield qualifier on 4-27 was fine and could break its maiden if the pace is honest.My Ticket Race 9) 2,3,4,7 Race 10) 2,5,8 Race 11) 3,7,9 Race 12) 2,8Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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5.9.2021:

Sunday, May 09: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click Here to View Today's Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B-Use: 4-Sunshine Babe; 5-Keep DancingForecast: Keep Dancing improved dramatically in her first start since joining the K. Mulhall barn when finishing a good second in a similar maiden turf event last month. She gets an extra furlong to work with and won’t have impressive next-out winner Ultimate Hy to contend with today. She’s 7/5 on the morning line and may go lower. Sunshine Babe is another that will enjoy today’s nine furlong trip and with another forward move should at least be capable of completing the exacta. Toss in her in on a back-up ticket.RACE 2: Post: 1:38 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Finneus; 4-Street Art; 6-BochomboForecast: This appears to be a stronger than par maiden special weight sprint for juvenile colts. We’ll pass the race while going three-deep in our rolling exotics. Bochombo has trained like a good colt for a barn that excels with two-year-old first-timers, and from his outside draw he should have clear sailing and every chance to perform up to expectations. Street Art, listed as the 9/5 morning line favorite, is another that has impressed in his a.m. trials. He hasn’t been asked to show his true speed yet but acts like a colt with plenty of zip. Today we’ll find out how much. Finneus has done all of his important work off the grid at San Luis Rey Downs so we’re flying blind, but with the presence of F. Prat in the saddle the son of Stay Thirsty must be well regarded. His works are quick and indicate he has at least some amount of speed.RACE 3: Post: 2:10 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Li’l Grazen; 3-Respectfully; 4-Eddie’s DreamForecast: Eddie’s Dream tackles seasoned foes in her first start since finishing a close third in the Golden State Juveniles Fillies Stakes last November, so this is a tough assignment for the daughter of Square Eddie. However, she has been impressive in the morning, is competitive on speed figures, gets Lasix for the first time, and certainly has shown some quality in three career outings. At 3-1 on the morning line, the B. Cecil-trained filly could very well out class this group. Respectfully, fastest on pure numbers and improving with every outing, is strictly the one to beat. She’s effective on any surface and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Li’l Grazen just won from a similar Cal-bred optional claiming field in her first start since being claimed by P. Miller and is the logical morning line favorite at 6/5. The rail shouldn’t be an issue and if she runs back to her last start she’ll be difficult to beat. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics and then press with Eddie’s Dream - the best price of the three – with a few extra tickets on top.RACE 4: Post: 2:43 PT Grade: CUse: 2-You Wanna Ear Rip; 3-Tiz Wonderfully; 5-Mongolian WindowForecast: Tiz Wonderfully just annihilated a similar field over this track and distance last month and is listed as the 6/5 morning line favorite to come back and do it again. If she can turn in two alike, she’ll probably repeat, but will offer little wagering value even if she does. You Wanna Ear Rip, third (beaten six lengths) by ‘Wonderfully last time out, today receives a nine pound break in the weights for her new connections so she certainly could close the gap while Mongolian Window, fourth in that same race, drops seven pounds and is another that could make a serious run for it. All three should be included in rolling exotic play in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.RACE 5: Post: 3:18 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Commander; 5-Kandarel; 7-Speedy JusticeForecast: Speedy Justice, unbeaten in two turf sprints at Del Mar, the first one in November of 2019 and the most recent last summer, launches yet another comeback but according to his workouts the son of Dominus hasn’t lost a step. The B. Baffert-trained colt is listed as the 4/5 morning line favorite and will extend his winning streak to three if he runs back to either one of his first two outings. Commander was below his best when fifth as the favorite in a similar turf sprint here in late March, but the P. Miller-trained gelding has a legitimate look off his highly-rated score over this course and distance two runs back. He’ll be running on late. Kandarel has looked sharp in recent drills and probably is a bit better than his morning line of 8-1 would indicate. Toss him in on a ticket or two as a back-up or a saver.RACE 6: Post: 3:50 PT Grade: B-Use: 5-Defense Wins; 7-Took ChargeForecast: Took Charge, a first-time gelding, weakened after leading the way into the stretch when facing a tougher group in his local bow last month but with that race behind him combined with a class drop the P. Miller-trained son of Take Charge Indy should be tough to run down. The switch to F. Prat is another positive sign; this trainer/jockey combo hits at 35% with a massive ROI. Defense Wins, runner-up in his last three, is faster on numbers than our top pick and is the morning line favorite at 8/5. He’s just 1-for-14 in his career but at least that victory was accomplished over the local lawn. Both should be used in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Took Charge.RACE 7: Post: 4:22 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Leggs Galore; 5-Warren’s ShowtimeForecast: There’s more than enough early pace in this race to set things up for the best closer and Warren’s Showtime certainly is that. The late-running daughter of Clubhouse Ride exits a series of graded stakes races and today drops into state-bred company, so with the projected pace flow in her favor the C. Lewis-trained filly, listed at 6/5 on the morning line, should be along in plenty of time. Leggs Galore stretches out for the first time and lands the rail, so gate-to-wire strategy surely will be employed. She is probably the quickest of the quick, so if she can clear early without undue pressure the daughter of Bayern may be able take this field a long way.RACE 8: Post: 4:54 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Contagion; 3-Law Professor; 8-WaspirantForecast: Contagion, nosed out when claimed for $20,000 by P. Miller last time out, is protected today in a sign of confidence by a barn that hits with 25% (along with powerful ROI) with this angle. The switch to F. Prat is massive and the Fed Biz gelding, a two-time winner over the Santa Anita main track, should be capable of a career top effort from his favorable inside draw. Law Professor, a 3-year-old tackling older and making just his fourth career start, has looked especially sharp in the a.m. since being overmatched in the Santa Anita Derby and could be set for a significant forward move today even though he’s being asked to tackle older rivals. The son of Constitution projects to settle in the second flight and then have dead aim into the lane. Waspirant is another sophomore facing older foes but is a first-time gelding with a sharp recent workout and could easily be better than his recent races indicate. After trying stakes company in his last three starts, the son of Union Rags has been freshened since February and will appreciate this drop to a first level allowance event.RACE 9: Post: 5:26 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Adare; 3-Uncle Addouma; 10-City RageForecast: Here’s a wide-open grass grab bag to close out the Sunday program. We’ll go three-deep in our rolling exotics but if you’d feel more comfortable using a few more, go right ahead. Uncle Addouma improved dramatically in his first start on grass when graduating in sharp style with a strong speed figure and if he can build on that performance today the son of Uncle Mo should have a chance to spring another upset. At 12-1 on the morning line, he’s worth a gamble. City Rage seems likely to fold into a comfortable pace-stalking position from his outside draw and then have every chance to register his fourth career victory over the Santa Anita turf course. Regular rider F. Prat stays aboard and knows him well. Adare is back sprinting and trying grass for the first time. He’s fast on figures, exits a productive race, and offers good value at or near his morning line of 8-1. Toss him in.

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5.9.2021:

Sunday, May 09: My Late Pick 4 Ticket Sunday at Santa Anita

The spotlight is one Warren’s Showtime in the Fran’s Valentine Stakes, the headliner on Santa Anita’s Sunday card and the seventh race on the program. It's the second leg of the late Pick 4.Warren’s Showtime is back with California-breds after two thirds in the G2 Bueva Vista and G2 Royal Heroine in her last two. She’s lost to state-breds before but is moving into peak form.Pulpit Rider, who does her best going long, looms as the best upset chance after rallying to mid-pack in a six-furlong stakes race.The suggested Late Pick 4 ticket is for $72 and the sequence runs from races six through nine. Here’s a look at those on the ticket:Race 6 (6:30 p.m. ET, starter optional claiming)HOLDEN THE LUTE came out of a longer race last time and lacked speed in a sprint. Goes without blinkers and has had some impressive works since his last appearance.DEFENSE WINS closed with a run and just missed, making it two straight losses via photo finish. Well spotted and could get his first win since November.TOOK CHARGE ran in good Aqueduct dirt races and he set the pace on turf in his only Santa Anita start. Back to the dirt and can be a strong player from the outset.I GOT NO MUNNY ran evenly last out and can get some pace help. Late mover with a chance.Race 7 (7:00 p.m. ET, Fran’s Valentine Stakes)WARREN’S SHOWTIME was third in a pair of Grade 2 races in the Royal Heroine and Buena Vista in her last two and should be difficult to handle. PULPIT RIDER didn’t fire going short last time but is more competitive in longer races and poses a late threat.Race 8 (7:30 p.m. ET, allowance optional claiming)TIZHOTNDUSTY was along too late going seven furlongs and is more effective going two turns. Won’t have as much work to do in the last part of it.LAW PROFESSOR was mid-pack in the Santa Anita Derby, and that’s good enough to make him an important entrant here. Only win in three starts came at this distance.WASPIRANT ran an even fifth in the El Camino Real and his best can put him right into the mix of this one.Race 9 (8:00 p.m. ET, allowance)KA’NAH closed in both turf attempts and will welcome the 6.5 furlongs.UNCLE ADDOUMA made a huge improvement on turf and likely will be one to deal with in the late going.BEST CHANCE was fourth going shorter and could appreciate the distance.SOUTHERN HORSE never got involved in his first U.S. start after racing in Ireland and Argentina. Can improve after a series off decent works.FRATELLI won his last two including his latest on the turf. Will hustle to get the lead and can be tough with it early.COAST OF ROAN drops out of a route race and has won his first start of the year going this distance. Capable of a strong finish.My Ticket Race 6) #2 Holden the Lute, #5 Defense Wins, #7 Took Charge, #8 I Got No Munny.Race 7) #5 Warren’s Showtime, #6 Pulpit RiderRace 8) #2 Tizhotndusty, #3 Law Professor, #8 Waspirant.Race 9) #1 Ka’nah, #3 Uncle Addouma, #4 Best Chance, #6 Southern Horse, #7 Fratelli, #8 Coast of Roan.Total Ticket Cost) 2,5,7,8/5,6/2,3,8/1,3,4,6,7,8 = $72 for $0.50

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5.8.2021:

Saturday, May 08: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, the Meadowlands has a competitive 13-race card set to go with the 0.50 Early Pick 4 starting in Race 6. That sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout and it will be my focus.On Friday, the driver with the hottest hands at the Big M was Andrew McCarthy with four wins. Andrew Harris was the leading conditioner with two trips to the winner's circle.In eight of the 13 races the winner was on the lead at the top of the stretch. In the other five contests the winner was within three lengths of the leader at the top of the lane.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Seriously Hanover (3-1)-Odds-on chalk didn't disappoint beating 3 from this field in last and now Dave Miller takes over for Dunn who steers #7. Looked the best last week and there should be no reason to discount chances now.5-Island Of The Sea (5-1)-Has been stuck with post 9 and 8 in the last 2 starts and should benefit from the move inside. This is a tough group but TMac should be able to find a live cover flow and looks like a player at a fair price.7-No Lou Zing (5/2)-Sweet Lou 4-year-old comes off a pair of qualifiers and battled the best 3-year-olds last year. Takter trainee could fire hot off the bench. Can win on any size track but is really tough to beat on smaller ovals. Could handle this crew if dialed on high but may not offer any value.Race 72-Heza Real Diamond (9/2)-Missed a start before last week's race and was in too tough. Drops to the level of a big try on 4-17. Should get the top rather easily and if so could make every call a winning one.4-Covered Bridge (7/2)-Tried Lasix for the 1st time and scooted the 2nd half in 53.4. If Gingras works the same trip it could be picture time again.6-Lyons King (6-1)-Makes 3rd start for the Jen B barn, will look for more improvement and just missed from the 9-hole in last. Lost to #4 and they both could be there at the wire once again. Will use looking for a solid price and could offer more value than the 2 above. The 0-11 record this year and 1-15 at the Big M may help the price.Race 81-Respect Our Flag (7/2)-Comes off a .55 last half and and a 26.3 final quarter while facing better in a needed start. Could be a player at this class and Joe B should have this 5-year-old forwardly placed.2-Sundown Kid (5-1)-Was used off the gate last week to get the top versus better and had missed a start. Stayed inside and didn't get a clear path until late in the mile which cost a better finish. Now gets some needed class relief. Miller takes the lines and he should be able to work a smooth trip.Race 95-Wheels On Fire (12-1)-Comes off a decent effort last week after shipping in from Wbsb and had been off since3-27. This will be the 2nd start for Burke and Gingras could leave to get the top or take a pocket ride. Tough race, but is worth a swing at the morning line price.7-Colossal Stride A (4-1)-Has finished 2nd in the last 3 starts, just missed in the 2 latest tries at this class and those winners aren't in this field. Dunn can work a stalking trip and may have enough to seal the deal tonight at a square price.9-Sintra (7/2)-This will be the 3rd start at M1 and for the Pelling barn that is batting 36% over the past 30 days. My take is TMac won't try to wire this field but will get a good early seat and then rally. The pace should be hot and the race could set-up nicely for this classy 8-year-old.My Ticket Race 6) 2,5,7 Race 7) 2,4,6 Race 8) 1,2 Race 9) 5,7,9Total Ticket Cost) = $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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5.8.2021:

Saturday May 8: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6. Selections are listed in chronological order.BELMONT PARK // RACE 9 (5:12PM ET) PETER PAN S. // 1 1/8 MILES (DIRT)JEFF'S TOP PICK // #3 PROMISE KEEPER (7/2) Lightly-raced and rapidly developing 3-year-old colt demolished a first-level allowance field at Keeneland last month by more than five lengths while earning a career top speed figure in a performance that stamps him as the one to beat in this year’s renewal of the Peter Pan S.-G3. The T. Pletcher-trained son of Constitution should love this nine furlong distance, retains regular jockey L. Saez, and projects to settle in the second flight and then blast home. He’s a play in the win pool and as a rolling exotic single.SANTA ANITA PARK // RACE 5 (6:15PM)OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 1 1/8 MILES (TURF)JEFF'S TOP PICK // #2 PYTHAGOREAN (5/2) Daughter of Medaglia d’Oro makes her West Coast debut for new trainer P. D’Amato (terrific stats with this angle) and has trained like she’s fit and ready in her first start since breaking her maiden at Aqueduct with a career-top speed figure last November. We are expecting an even better performance today, even though she might be better suited for a longer trip. At her morning line of 5/2, she offers value in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.

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5.8.2021:

Saturday, May 08: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click Here to View Today's Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B+Single: 3-Dancing DanaForecast: Dancing Dana returns to grass and it is significant that her best race came over the local lawn when she finished a sharp third vs. a similar starter optional claiming company three runs back. She stretches out again, is drawn comfortably inside, and projects to enjoy and ideal pace-stalking trip in a field without much early speed. At 9/5 on the morning line the daughter of Clubhouse Ride looks solid in the win pool and as a rolling exotic single.RACE 2: Post: 1:35 PT Grade: CUse: 1-Life’s Emotions; 4-Mamma Rama; 7-Sense to RememberForecast: Mamma Ramma is listed as the even money morning line favorite, which says more about the opposition in this maiden claiming sprint than anything she has accomplished in a three-race career. This monumental class drop from straight maiden to the maiden $20,000 level is hard to ignore and so is the presence of F. Prat in the saddle, so despite the layoff from last September and an average-at-best work tab the A. Lerner-trained daughter of California Chrome is the top pick by default. Life’s Emotions flashed good early speed in her debut before quickly fading out of the picture when facing tougher maiden $50,000 company last month. Perhaps with that race behind her coupled with the class drop she’ll stick better today and be competitive. Another that is worth including somewhere on your ticket is Season to Remember, a second-time starter adding blinkers while drawing the cozy outside post. Sher also gets a considerable break in the weights, so if the C. Lewis-trained filly can run at all, this would be a good place to show it.RACE 3: Post: 2:09 PT Grade: BUse: 4-Real News; 5-The Black AlbumForecast: Trainer P. Miller saddles the two main players in this five-runner $40,000 claiming turf sprint for older horses. Real News returns to his purchase level after finishing a respectable fourth in the much tougher Clocker’s Corner Stakes over the local lawn earlier this meeting. Freshened for more than three months, the 5-year-old gelding has speed figures good enough to win and shows a work tab at San Luis Rey Downs that should have him primed and ready. The Black Album turns back to a sprint after a solid performance when second up north against a lesser group last month. He will need some help up front to be effective as the deep closer he’s projected to be in this spot, but the former stakes winner is re-equipped with blinkers and picks up F. Prat, so he looks very much on paper like a live item.RACE 4: Post: 2:42 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Curvette; 5-Miss FiaForecast: Curvette won at first asking like a very nice prospect and has trained very sharply in the interim for B. Baffert. We suspect she will step forward considerably off that win, and at this extended sprint distance the daughter of Curlin looks well-placed to score right back in a competitive first-level allowance affair. Miss Fia, a two-time winner over the Santa Anita main track with recent speed figures that are strong for the level, should enjoy an ideal pace-stalking trip outside and have every chance when asked to quicken. She turns back from a two-turn miler and appears spot on for a major effort. We’ll prefer Curvette on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 5: Post: 3:15 PT Grade: B+Use: 2-Pythagorean; 4-Sapphire KidForecast: Pythagorean makes her West Coast debut for new trainer P. D’Amato (terrific stats with this angle) and has trained like she’s fit and ready in her first start since breaking her maiden at Aqueduct with a career-top speed figure. We are expecting an even better performance today, one that should be good enough to handle this tougher assignment. Sapphire Kid catches a field without much pace and seems likely to inherit the role as the controlling speed. A four-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course, the California-bred daughter of Richard’s Kid stretches out again and can handle this trip, especially under the pristine conditions that she’ll likely enjoy today. We will prefer Pythagorean on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 6: Post: 3:47 PT Grade: C+Use: 5-Queen of Arendell; 6-Sweet SonnyForecast: This is a split of the second race, and it may be the stronger of the two, but that really isn’t saying much. We will try to get by using just two in our rolling exotics. Sweet Sonny, a decent runner-up in a similar affair last month, probably won’t need to improve much to graduate in this, her 10th career start. We are expecting the B. Koriner-trained filly to be on or near the lead throughout. Queen of Arendell flashed early speed before packing it in when facing a much stronger maiden claiming field here last time out, and against this group the daughter of Frosted seems certain to stick around a lot longer. She has worked well since raced, retains T. Baze, and is competitive on speed figures.RACE 7: Post: 4:19 PT Grade: B+Use: 3-Tapwater; 6-Neige BlancheForecast: Neige Blanche is a proven marathoner, exits a series of much tougher races and continues to train in sharp fashion. This 12-furlong trip is made to order for the French-bred filly, who was a group stakes winner at a mile and three-eighths last year in Europe. She lacks a true turn of foot but at 4-1 on the morning she should simply out class this field. Tapwater is questionable at this mile and one half journey – she’s primarily been a miler throughout her career – but in her present form the daughter of Tapit must be considered dangerous, especially if she can switch off and relax as the likely controlling speed. A two-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course and back with “win rider” F. Prat, the R. Mandella-trained filly is the one to fear most. We will have tickets using both in rolling exotic play and then press keying Neige Blanch on top.RACE 8: Post: 4:52 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Betito; 4-DeuceForecast: Deuce stretches out for the first time and the son of Into Mischief should enjoy the extra distance as well as the class drop to this restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming level. The D. Hofmans-trained gelding is technically still a maiden – he did win a mixed breed race at Los Alamitos in February – but on pure numbers he’s a fit and his recent workouts indicate he is ready for a big effort. Betito, in the frame in his last five starts and a maiden claiming winner over this main track last month, is a strong fit on numbers and is back with A. Cedillo, who was aboard in the gelding’s victory two races back. The K. Mulhall-trained gelding should draft into a comfortable pace-stalking position and have every chance to wear down the leaders late.RACE 9: Post: 5:26 PT Grade: C+Use: 1-Power Source; 5-Twirling Derby; 6-Blue Star; 9-On Easy StreetForecast: The finale is a wide-open maiden claiming turf miler with all kinds of possibilities and price chances. We will go four-deep, but you should include as many as your budget allows. Power Source, away since last July for a stable that has terrific stats with comebackers, shows up in a seller for the first time, lands the good rail, and sports a heathy work tab at San Luis Rey Downs that should have him fit enough for a major effort off the bench. The lightly-raced Irish-bred colt could easily be much better this time around. On Easy Street surfaces for a tag for the first time in his ninth career start while also for the first time adding blinkers, so there are at least two legitimate angles that could lead to improvement. The son of Street Boss also switches to good grass rider U. Rispoli and is more than fast enough on speed figures to win, making the P. Gallagher-trained horse strictly the one to beat. Twirling Derby is a 14-race maiden and clearly not one to trust, but this will be his first career start on grass for new trainer M. Glatt following a $20,000 claim so it would hardly be surprising to see a significant forward move. Blue Star is re-equipped with blinkers while dropping out of much tougher straight maiden events, and a repeat of his race before last will put him right there. At 10-1 on the morning line, he has to be used somewhere.

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5.7.2021:

Saturday, May 8: Eddie Olczyk's Belmont Spot Plays

1/ST and NBC handicapper Eddie Olczyk turns his attention to a pair of Belmont bets this Saturday. Follow Edzo’s plays each week – only with 1/ST and Xpressbet!Belmont ParkRACE 3 (2:02PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 6 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT)EDZO'S PICK: #6 OB LA DI (10/1) Drops back in class to maiden claiming $25,000 after trying $40,000 last out. Her race two starts back puts her right in the mix. Adds blinkers and hustling rider Kendrick Carmouche stays aboard – good enough for me. Win bet.RACE 5 (3:04PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 FURLONGS (TURF)EDZO'S PICK: #12 NOBLE HOURNEY (10/1)  Races first time since being gelded and first time with Lasix. Raced on grass for the first time in his most recent start in November, and showed nice improvement. He’s working very well for the return and the price will be right. Win bet.

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5.7.2021:

Friday, May 07: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6. Selections are listed in chronological order.Belmont Park Race 2 - Post time: 1:31 ET2-Prime Time Player (3-1)Displayed promise in his debut at Fair Grounds in February when closing strongly to finish fourth but then disappointed when well-backed in his second outing while stretching out and failing to produce any type of rally. Freshened, working well for new trainer R. Moquett, backing up in trip and switching to J. Rosario, the son of Ghostzapper gets a chance to show his best form, so in a moderate maiden special weight dash we’ll give him another chance in the win pool and in rolling exotic play at or near his morning line of 3-1.Santa Anita Race 2 - Post: 1:34 PT5-At the Spa (2-1)Juvenile filly debuts in what appears to be a modest field and based on what she has shown in the morning seems very likely to outrun her competition. A sharp half mile gate work (47 2/5 seconds, second fastest of 42) a couple of weeks ago points her out, and though the barn hasn’t won a race this year we’re expecting the daughter of Outwork to gain control early and keep on going. Listed at 2-1 on the morning line, she’s a win play logical rolling exotic single.

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5.7.2021:

Friday, May 07: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click Here to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: XSingle: 4-GootingscominpinkForecast: Goodtingscominpink is listed as the 4/5 morning line favorite in this five-runner starter optional claimer and that’s a difficult price to accept on a mare that has only one win from 16 career starts to go along with12 seconds/thirds. However, other than her apparent lack of a winning spirit, the daughter of Clubhouse Ride looks very much like a logical winner at an unplayable price in a race that is far below par for the level. You can use her as a no-value rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.RACE 2: Post: 1:34 PT Grade: XSingle: 5-At the SpaForecast: At the Spa debuts in what appears to be a modest field of juvenile fillies and based on what she has shown in the morning she seems very likely to outrun her competition. A sharp half mile gate work (47 2/5 seconds, second fastest of 42) a couple of weeks ago points her out and though the barn hasn’t won a race this year we’re expecting the daughter of Outwork to gain control early and keep on going. Listed at 2-1 on the morning line but likely to go lower on the tote, she’s a logical short-priced rolling exotic single.RACE 3: Post: 2:06 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Sugary; 4-ZubavaForecast: Sugary looks pretty solid in this $25,000 claiming turf mile for fillies and mares. A three-time winner over the local lawn, she is drawn nicely inside, switches to J. J. Hernandez, and can really turn it on late when she’s on her game. A repeat of her race before last buries this group. For protection, you may want to include Zubava on a ticket or two as a back-up. The Fair Grounds invader attracts top rider F. Prat and has seven wins on her resume, though on pure speed figures she’s not up to Sugary’s level.RACE 4: Post: 2:37 PT Grade: XUse: 2-Phantom Dance; 3-Club Cal; 4-OnenightstandardsForecast: This starter optional claimer drew just five entrants, three of which we could legitimately see winning, so we will pass the race and go three-deep in our rolling exotics. Phantom Dance crushed a maiden optional claiming field over this track and distance last month after strolling on the front end through easy splits in a performance that produced a career top speed figure. He catches a field without speed right back, so we are expecting similar strategy to be employed, though today he may have to go a bit quicker in the early stages. Onenightstandards, a $20,000 claim at Keeneland last month, lands F. Prat for his local debut and likely has a forward move or two in him for a clever outfit. He projects to draft into a pace pressing position and then have every chance from there. Club Cal is lightly-raced and improving and should be doing his best work from the second flight.RACE 5: Post: 3:08 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Ultimate Hy; 2-Harper’s GallopForecast: Ultimate Hy finished a good second in her debut earlier this meeting and then stepped forward nicely to graduate nicely over this course and distance in her next outing last month. There is no reason her improving pattern can’t continue today from an ideal inside draw and with U. Rispoli staying aboard. She packs a good late kick in a race that is likely to set up nicely up front for her. Harper’s Gallop, away since September and now in the L. Powell barn, has a prior win over the local lawn and has finished first or second in seven of 12 career outings. The work tab should have her fit enough off the bench and if she can shake loose early and become the controlling speed, the daughter of Suances may get very brave. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Ultimate Hay.RACE 6: Post: 3:40 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Starship Sky; 7-RowangoeshollywoodForecast: Rowangoeshollywood had a decent tune-up when a willing third in a similar low-level maiden claimer sprint in her comeback and today stretches out as the projected controlling speed in a modest main track miler that will more than likely be slowly run early. She is good enough on pure numbers to beat this field, so we’ll put the daughter of Bayern on top. Starship Sky is a 14-race maiden and certainly not one to count on, but she has hit the board in two of her last three outings and probably will be in the fray once again. Failing at 6/5 last time out vs. similar hardly inspires confidence but a little will go a long way in this weak affair.RACE 7: Post: 4:12 PT Grade: XSingle: 3-Brickyard RideForecast: Brickyard Ride went way too fast for his own good in the Kona Gold S.-G3 as the 3/5 favorite and paid the price when fading to finish a distant and weary runner-up to Cezanne last time out. This is a much easier assignment – and at a shorter, more favorable trip – so we are expecting the C. Lewis-trained colt to make amends, though probably at an unplayable price. We can use him as a rolling exotic single or better yet simply pass the race.RACE 8: Post: 4:44 PT Grade: B-Use: 4-Bad Beat; 6-Bedrock; 8-CastleForecast: Bedrock was a clever winner at this distance over this turf course two runs back but was in too tough when a non-threatening fifth in his most recent outing. Back at his proper level today, the P. Miller-trained gelding switches to F. Prat, and with good racing luck and a little help up front projects to be a long in time. Castle, second as the favorite behind Bedrock in that common race in late February, is a two-time winner over the local lawn and could easily turn the tables on his main rival today. The son of Slew’s Tiznow should be prominent throughout. Bad Beat has plenty of speed – he may be the quickest in the field – and gets a significant break in the weights with the switch to good bug girl J. Pyfer. The son of Danza has a prior win over the course, so he is worth including on your ticket, at least as a saver.

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5.7.2021:

Saturday, May 8: AI Picks for Gulfstream Rainbow 6 Mandatory Payout

Gulfstream Park’s Saturday card features a mandatory payout in the Rainbow 6 jackpot wager. The Rainbow 6 will be on the final 6 races of the dozen-race card, going as Races 7-12, and beginning at approximately 3:27 pm ET. The pool’s carryover has topped more than $370,000 going into Friday’s action and new money bet into Saturday’s pool with another carryover could reach $2 Million. RACE 7 (3:27PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)  #10 Maddy’s Dream // 24%W // 42%P // 59%S #2 Cajun Moon // 13%W // 28%P // 43%S #8 Candy Fury // 10%W // 20%P // 30%S #9 Billy Yank // 9%W // 23%P // 33%S Comments: The 11-point spread between the top two picks is most in the Rainbow 6 sequence. This is one of the potential singles, according to the 1/ST BET data. First-time starter Splashtown, the half-brother to champion sprint filly Gamine, is not a top-4 choice in large part due to the lack of data for the algorithm to assess. Horseplayers may want to consider that one. RACE 8 (3:57PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (DIRT) #11 Aycapote // 26%W // 38%P // 49%S #6 Long Gray Line // 17%W // 30%P // 44%S #7 Swing West // 13%W // 31%P // 37%S #1 Candy Crushem // 9%W // 21%P // 34%S Comments: Top pick’s 26% win projection matches the highest in the Rainbow 6, and the 9-point spread between the top two choices is second-highest. Similar to Race 7, this is a potential single based on the algorithm. Class-dropping 3-1 morning line favorite All Good does not get any love from the 1/ST BET. RACE 9 (4:30PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)   #4 Appointed // 22%W // 36%P // 46%S #3 Hot Babe // 14%W // 31%P // 42%S #7 Crystal Coast // 13%W // 24%P // 38%S #8 Pretty Rachel // 11%W // 23%P // 36%S Comments: 5-2 morning line favorite Setting the Mood doesn’t impress the algorithm, but could improve changing barns to Saffie Joseph Jr. Top AI pick Appointed is 12-1 in the morning line and also make a positive barn change. RACE 10 (5:04PM ET) // CLAIMING // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT)   #8 Sassy Beast // 22%W // 43%P // 60%S #6 You’re the Best // 17%W // 33%P // 46%S #2 Bionic Bottle // 17%W // 30%P // 43%S #4 The Biggest One // 13%W // 30%P // 41%S Comments: The morning line leading contenders are listed here in a race that might be well-covered with 3 or 4 runners. Red-hot trainer Victor Barboza sends out You’re the Best, 1 of 4 last-out winners in this 9-horse field. RACE 11 (5:38PM ET) // ENGLISH CHANNEL STAKES // 1 1/16 MILES (TURF)   #8 Hyperfocus // 17%W // 30%P // 42%S #11 Hot Blooded // 14%W // 26%P // 36%S #3 Hercules // 14%W // 24%P // 35%S #10 Yes This Time // 13%W // 29%P // 35%S Comments: The 17% win projection is lowest in today’s Rainbow 6, and the top-4 choices within only 4 points is by far the tightest of the sequence’s races. This is a good race to spread with some coverage, but note Hercules is entered for main-track only. Using the other 3 might do. RACE 12 (6:12PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 1/16 MILES (TURF)   #9 Zero Gravity // 26%W // 37%P // 41%S #4 Keep Quiet // 25%W // 40%P // 50%S #1 Pretendant // 12%W // 18%P // 25%S #8 Dover Cliffs // 7%W // 14%P // 25%S Comments: The 26% win projection matches the highest on the card, while the second choice at 25% is higher than all but 1 other top pick in today’s Rainbow 6. Rare to see 2 win projections as high in the same race, clearly a 2-horse race by the 1/ST BET data.

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5.6.2021:

Friday, May 7: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Picks

LEG A // PIMLICO, RACE 8 (4:15PM ET) // ALLOWANCE // 1 1/16 MILES (TURF) SWEET TALKING GIRL awakened on turf to break her maiden off a 5-month layoff, hasn't been since in the 10 months since then, but gets plenty of pace to run at for a barn that can get 'em ready. LOOKIN DYNAMIC rallied for a win, three seconds and two thirds in her last six starts, mostly in allowance company, and can handle fast or soft turf footing. I LOVE YOU, 2-4 on the grass, goes from one good barn to another and turned heads with a :47.1 workout in Delaware to get ready for her first start in 10 weeks. LEG B // PIMLICO, RACE 9 (4:49PM ET) // MAIDEN SPECIAL WEIGHT // 6 FURLONGS (DIRT) VANHOOFER has been working up a storm for his debut. His sire, Vancouver, was a Group 1 winner in Australia, and his dam, Winslet, was a second-out MSW winner at Pimlico. GRANDEUR shows a much better work tab than a 3-year-old filly from the Motion barn that closed fast to just miss at first asking on Thursday's card. LEG C // GULFSTREAM, RACE 9 (5:00PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF) INCLUDE THE BEAST enters a 33-percent off-the-claim barn for her first grass try. Her dam, Spring Included, sprung a 29-1 upset in a turf allowance at Kentucky Downs in her first turf attempt and ran second in a Grade III turf test a few starts later. MISSING LINK went wire-to-wire in 3 of her last 4 starts on the Gulfstream turf and stands a good chance to do it again for a 25 percent 'repeat' barn.  LEG D // SANTA ANITA, RACE 3 (5:06PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF) ZABAVA rallied for three photo-finish victories and two seconds in her last seven turf starts at various out-of-town venues. SUGARY romped at this level two starts back but was out-kicked while 5-wide in the stretch in a slower-paced follow-up. The top 2 finishers in that race finished a troubled second and third, respectively, for $32,000 next out. WIND TARTARE, winless in 16 route attempts, is usable nonetheless if some pace flow develops. LEG E // GOLDEN GATE, RACE 2 (5:21PM ET) // CLAIMING // 1 MILE (ALL WEATHER)  Going 3-deep in a field of unproven, bottom-level milers. AROUSE N GO rallied in time to win a sprint for a 29-percent barn, has plenty of route experience and projects an ideal trip. FELONY ONE failed at 1-to-5 odds on the class drop but can't be discounted with $95k in main-track earnings. LIZZY'S INTHEGAME raced evenly in a slow-paced route for twice today's claiming price. SUGGESTED $1 STRONACH 5 TICKET Leg A: 1, 5, 8Leg B: 1, 5Leg C: 1, 5Leg D: 1, 2, 4Leg E: 3, 4, 7 Cost: $108

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5.6.2021:

2021 Kentucky Derby Horse-by-Horse Review

The 147th Kentucky Derby is in the books. Hats off to winner Medina Spirit and to his connections, including trainer Bob Baffert, who became the winningest Kentucky Derby conditioner in history. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez won his fourth Derby and second consecutive Run for the Roses at the age of 49 and cemented an already prevalent opinion that he’s riding as well as ever. Medina Spirit’s meager beginnings struck a blow for everyone who’s ever dreamed of owning a Kentucky Derby winner. He was purchased as a yearling for just $1,000 and as a 2-year-old for $35,000, a pittance in today’s racing world. He’s proof that it can happen to you, me or our Uber driver, with some cash, a bit of luck and help from Bob Baffert and John Velazquez. In the last few decades, what’s changed about this nearly 150-year-old race is that, since sprinters don’t qualify for entry anymore, the early pace isn’t as contentious. Riders used to be able to take hold early and save a bit for the end. Not the case as much anymore. Based on results, it appears Derby runners with designs on winning must be prominent early.  Below is a complete rundown of all Derby starters with trip notes and comments for each. The Derby’s over and we didn’t cash. But the game’s not over. Derby’s like one inning of a very long game. What we learned about each Derby horse will help us cash tickets later in the Triple Crown and throughout the remainder of the year. 1. KNOWN AGENDA (Pletcher/I. Ortiz Jr.) // Finished 9th @ 11/1 Thought this one would get a decent trip from the rail out of the new starting gate. Also, he appeared to have little speed beside him in the gate until #7 Mandaloun. That meant he wouldn’t have to be rushed out of there or else be covered by a wall of horses. He broke perfectly and jockey Irad Ortiz shook the reins and gave him a few backhanded taps with the whip to get him going. The colt did not take advantage of his early position and, before you knew it, was in 10th being maneuvered off the rail. By the first turn, he had just two horses beat. It was not the start we had hoped for. After that he just ran around the track. Perhaps, this horse had peaked in the Florida Derby? And maybe the Hallandale 3-year-old race wasn’t that deep to begin with. Anyway, a disappointing effort from this guy who seems to be an in-and-out type that will be difficult to rely upon in the future. 2. LIKE THE KING (Ward/Van Dyke) // Finished 12th @ 50/1 Didn’t give this guy much chance and he lived up to that expectation. He’s probably headed for turf or back to a synthetic surface near you. He broke well, was shuffled in between horses inside and taken back a bit. He began jumping to avoid the dirt hitting him in the face and had about four horses outrun into the first turn. Once clear of the dirt, he settled down, made a decent move to about 7th, tipped outside off the turn for the stretch run but couldn’t follow through and was passed by several closers. 3. BROOKLYN STRONG (Velazquez/Rispoli) // Finished 15th @ 43/1 Did not give him a chance before the race and he did not disappoint. He broke slowly and was bumped solidly in the initial strides. He was ducking and diving (probably from kickback) by the wire the first time and into the turn he had four horses outrun. He raced along evenly until the stretch when he passed some horses to be 13th and then faded to 16th. He’s probably best aimed for New York-bred stakes races. 4. KEEMEINMIND (Diodoro/Cohen) // Finished 7th @ 49/1 Thought this one had a shot to hit the board. He has outstanding 2-year-old form but hasn’t followed through at three. Blinkers were removed, probably in reaction to him being too close to the early pace and flattening out in the Arkansas Derby. Unfortunately, he absolutely walked out of the gate and was last of 19 until he began to make a move on the turn. Searching for room to run, he travelled 10-wide into the stretch. He closed well to pass many foes but couldn’t get by #10 Midnight Bourbon late and was a well-beaten 7th by a neck. This was not a bad race for him as he was one of the few in the field to close ground. He could be putting it all together again and is currently headed for Preakness. Keep an eye on him in the near future. 5. SAINTHOOD (Pletcher/Lanerie) // Finished 11th @ 43/1 Didn’t care much for him going in. He broke Ok and then drifted right toward the space cleared by #4 Keepmeinmind’s tardy break. He bumped a bit with #3 Brooklyn Strong, righted himself and raced clear of the inside pack. He backed off a bit approaching the wire when pressured by #7 Mandaloun. Into the first turn, he had solid position on the rail in 6th. In a glorious, rail-skimming, trouble-free journey this colt and jockey Corey Lanerie made it to the stretch unscathed. Off the turn, they were outrun by #6 O Besos and through the stretch had no answer as they faded. Absolutely no excuse. 6. O BESOS (Foley/Pedroza) // Finished 5th @ 42/1 Thought he would run well and included him in our ‘Exotic Bombs’ Derby preview section. He finished a clear 5th, four and one-half lengths behind favored #14 Essential Quality. He broke well enough, gained room when #5 Sainthood shifted right a few strides out of the gate. Was squeezed a bit when #7 Mandaloun angled down toward the rail. Found the rail just behind the early leaders. Was inside and had about half the field outrun into the first turn. Maintained his mid-pack position, inside, clear, in the two-path down the backside and approaching the far turn. On the turn he moved around and by rail-runner #5 Sainthood to mount his stretch run. Under strenuous urging, he did his best in the lane but couldn’t gain on the leaders. He finished 5th, about five and one-lengths behind. A fine effort, for sure. He’s a real trier. 7. MANDALOUN (Cox/Geroux) // Finished 2nd @ 27/1 We thought he might run well and included him along with winner #8 Medina Spirit and 6th-place finisher #10 Midnight Bourbon in the ‘Also Could Run Well’ section of our Derby preview. Going in, his main drawback was a puzzling effort (or non-effort) in the Louisiana Derby. Trainer, jockey and horse seemed unfazed by the poor performance as the colt worked very well leading up to the Kentucky Derby. In the Derby, he broke cleanly and jockey Geroux hustled him to establish a fine early position. Under the wire for the first time, Mandaloun was sitting fourth on the rail in a perfect spot.  Down the backside, the colt followed #8 Medina Spirit, while comfortably in hand. The two Casse runners #19 Soup and Sandwich and #12 Helium also were in close attendance. Into the turn, he split a tiring #19 Soup and Sandwich and leader #8 Medina Spirit and launched his attack. He appears to have drawn even with #8 Medina Spirit at the top of the stretch but couldn’t maintain any advantage. Overall, a nice trip and a solid effort. 8. MEDINA SPIRIT (Baffert/Velazquez) // Finished 1st @ 12/1 Sometimes it’s better to be ‘lucky’ than ‘good.’ Medina Spirit’s 2021 Kentucky Derby victory is what happens when ‘lucky’ meets ‘good’ with a dash of Baffert magic. When #15 Rock Your World was eliminated at the start of the 147th Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit took control of the race without serious pressure, responded to jockey John Velazquez’s expert handling and once again refused to be passed by anyone when it counts. It’s on to the Preakness, where he might find front-end pressure more intense and that will challenge him more than his relatively comfortable Derby flight. 9. HOT ROD CHARLIE (O'Neill/Prat) // Finished 3rd @ 6/1 We ranked this colt as one of the ones that could win this race. He didn’t disappoint. He broke cleanly and was asked a bit by jockey Flavien Pratt to show speed. Following #8 Medina Spirit and positioned just between #7 Mandaloun and #12 Helium, the colt drifted from the nine-hole down to two paths from the rail. Under the wire the first time he was comfortably positioned in fifth-place, one path off the rail. Down the backside he remained in that position, comfortably cruising along in fifth behind the leaders and just in front of a wide #14 Essential Quality. Into the turn, #14 Essential Quality began his move on the far outside and Hot Rod Charlie began his run on the inside. Neither had a straw in their paths and they continued from there into the stretch as a team. ‘Charlie, grudgingly, never let the favorite by. 10. MIDNIGHT BOURBON (Asmussen/Smith) // Finished 6th @ 13/1 Pre-Derby opinion of this one was tempered by the fact that he had lost ground in the late stages of both of his recent races. However, we thought he might run well enough to hit the exotics. The addition of Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith seemed a positive sign from the connections. In the Derby he broke cleanly, but soon was jostled by #11 Dynamic One and #9 Hot Rod Charlie. He also was squeezed some between #12 Helium and #9 Hot Rod Charlie. All that was minor, and Smith seemed comfortable with his early position in the clear, leading the second flight of runners. On the first turn Smith permitted his mount to move to the outside about four paths wide. Down the backside he held that position in 12th while traveling wide. Into the turn, when the real running began, Midnight Bourbon gradually improved so that by the end of the turn he split horses and angled out for the drive. From there he was able to make little gain against the leaders but held closing #4 Keepmeinmind safe for 6th place. It seems as if Smith’s plan was to allow his mount to relax on his own early and to ask him to run late. He responded, but the leaders weren’t coming back to the field and he wasn’t quite good enough. 11. DYNAMIC ONE (Pletcher/J. Ortiz) // Finished 18th @ 45/1 We listed Dynamic One as part of our ‘Exotic Bombs’ section. He was a ‘bomb’ all right, finishing ahead of only the grossly overmatched #19 Soup and Sandwich. He broke well in the Derby, bumped with #10 Midnight Bourbon, was rank and had to be wrangled off heels while in 13th place.  Under the wire the first time he still was anxious to run but had settled down a bit. He entered the first turn widest of all while losing position. Approaching the far turn, he was asked to ‘go’ but responded ‘no’ and that was the end of his afternoon. 12. HELIUM (Casse/Leparoux) // Finished 8th @ 38/1 Didn’t like this one’s chances going into the race. He broke well and showed speed to angle over from his outside post position. He was outrun by #8 Medina Spirit from the inside and was quick enough to establish a position between and among a trio of early leaders. By the wire first time, jockey Leparoux had eased his mount back off the leaders into third place. Two-wide into the first turn in fourth, alongside #7 Mandaloun, Helium raced in a perfect spot. Out of the final turn, Helium was unable to keep pace with #9 Hot Rod Charlie and #4 Essential Quality and they both pulled past him. In the lane, jockey Leparoux did not abuse his vanqiuished mount and settled for 8th place. This was the colt’s fourth lifetime race. He’s got speed and talent, but he’ll likely require shorter distances for his best. 13. HIDDEN STASH (Oliver/Bejarano) // Finished 14th @ 39/1 #13 Hidden Stash  Oliver/Bejarano Finished: 14th   39-1Had a flawless early beginning under jockey Bejarano but had to be steadied off heels beside #3 Brooklyn Strong near the finish first time around. That left him in front of just three runners. He travelled wide into and around the first turn. Down the backside and into the far turn, Bejarano was able to move inside to the two path. Out of the turn ‘Stash briefly had to avoid a fading #19 Soup and Sandwich, but he was unable to gain ground. 14. ESSENTIAL QUALITY (Cox/Saez) // Finished 4th @ 3/1 We thought he was the ‘One to Beat’ in this race but that he was not invincible. Out of the Louisville gate he broke well but in a few strides was hammered by #15 Rock Your World who, in turn, had been bothered by #17 Highly Motivated. The bumping caused this one to lose both focus and early position. Jockey Saez moved his colt to the outside and gradually improved position to be sixth under the wire the first time. Around the first turn he travelled well, but about four to five paths wide. Into the far turn Saez asked this one to move and the colt responded affirmatively. They cruised to within about two lengths of the leader while about six-wide. Coming out of the turn #9 Hot Rod Charlie moved alongside the favorite and gained an advantage. Through the stretch that pair dueled for third place, Essential Quality never passing that foe and never gaining ground on the first two finishers. All things considered; he ran pretty much as advertised. A solid horse but not a superstar. Things didn’t go his way in the race and his advantage wasn’t great enough to overcome the adversity. 15. ROCK YOUR WORLD (Sadler/Rosario) // Finished 17th @ 5/1 What happened to Rock Your World just after the break for the 147th Kentucky Derby affected not only him but the entire race result. A few jumps after the start, Rock Your World was molested mainly by #17 Highly Motivated and a bit by #14 Essential Quality when they created a ‘Rock Your World’ sandwich. That Rock Your World wasn’t quick enough to be up inside the pair was his fault, but the entire incident can be blamed mostly on #17 Highly Motivated. It was the end of the race for Rock Your World, who we were ‘Against’ going in because of his inexperience. The elimination of Rock Your World effectively negated the only other ‘quality speed’ horse in the race. Eventual winner #8 Medina Spirit made a comfortable lead he never relinquished. Had Rock Your World enjoyed a fair start, he definitely would have applied pace pressure to #8 Medina Spirit early, possibly enabling others to close ground. When that didn’t happen, the entire race complexion changed.  16. KING FURY (McPeek/Hernanez Jr.) // Scratched   17. HIGHLY MOTIVATED (Brown/Castellano) // Finished 10th @ 11/1 We thought this guy had a chance to win the race. Well, not only did he not win, but he could be considered the race’s villain for his part in an early collision that occurred several strides out of the gate when he sideswiped #15 Rock Your World and ended his afternoon. Following the bumping incident, Highly Motivated found a comfortable spot two off the rail in ninth under the wire the first time. Eighth down the backside, about seven lengths from the leader, Highly Motivated was moving well. Asked to advance on the turn, he moved to within about a length behind #14 Essential Quality and #9 Hot Rod Charlie as they turned into the stretch. However, from that point home he could not follow through and faded in the stretch. 18. SUPER STOCK (Asmussen/Santana Jr.) // Finished 16th @ 34/1 Broke cleanly, showed good speed to find a comfortable position in seventh, in the three-path, under the wire the first time—a real accomplishment from the 18 hole! He maintained a comfortable speed down the backside and into the far turn. At that point the real running began, and he didn’t quicken with the best of his foes. He just wasn’t good enough. 19. SOUP AND SANDWICH (Casse/Gaffalione) // Finished 19th @ 27/1 Away alertly, he moved up to chase the early pace from the outside in third. He hung with the big boys until the real running started and then hit the brakes and dropped back. Rumor is that he bled in the race. 20. BOURBONIC (Pletcher/Carmouche) // Finished 13th @ 30/1 He broke well and darted toward the inside while in the back of the pack where he had only #4 Keepmeinmind outrun under the wire the first time. He maintained that lagging position until approaching the far turn when jockey Caramouche attempted to move up along the rail but was stymied by #1 Known Agenda and #13 Hidden Stash. Bourbonic steadied briefly and dropped back to last. He then stayed on the rail and closed well enough to pass some horses late. CONCLUSION Go ahead and chisel this on my tombstone: He had ‘em all…but in the wrong order. Again. That’s how this 147th Kentucky Derby felt to me—that we mostly were correct in our assessment of the competitors, predicted how the race would be run and who would finish in the money. Unfortunately, in our final analysis, we didn’t anticipate a scenario where #15 Rock Your World would be hampered at the start, permitting #8 Medina Spirit to enjoy an uncontested lead. Had we considered that development you can be certain #8 Medina Spirit would have appeared ‘on top’ of more than a few tickets. The question is whether or not we would have relegated favorite #14 Essential Quality to fourth? Probably not. Ultimately, we were correct more often than we were wrong. Just not ‘correct’ enough. We ranked #14 Essential Quality as the ‘One to Beat.’ He was and he ran well. We listed #1 Known Agenda, #9 Hot Rod Charlie and #17 Highly Motivated as ‘Ones That Might Do It.’ We were incorrect on two of them that didn’t fire as well as we had predicted. The ‘Also Could Run Well’ grouping proved an understatement as #7 Mandaloun was second, #8 Medina Spirit the winner and #10 Midnight Bourbon sixth. We were ‘Against’ #15 Rock Your World and still believe he wouldn’t have run well even if he hadn’t been mugged coming out of the gate. ‘Exotic Bombs’ didn’t explode because closers had no impact on the race but #6 O Besos did manage fifth at 42-1. #11 Dynamic One was a big mistake and didn’t fire and King Fury scratched. Now, we head to Pimlico for the second leg of the Triple Crown. It’s a rapid turnaround for horses and humans alike. In this space next week, we will deliver our annual horse-by-horse Preakness analysis and, hopefully, this time we’ll have ‘em all in the correct order! Race On! 

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5.5.2021:

Bob Baffert Wins 7th Kentucky Derby with Medina Spirit

One-hundred years ago, Herbert J. Thompson won the Kentucky Derby with Behave Yourself. That 1921 triumph was just the beginning for Thompson, who went on to also win the Run for the Roses with Bubbling Over in 1926, Burgoo King in 1932 and Brokers Tip in 1933. Those four victories earned Thompson the nickname “Derby Dick.” In the Kentucky Derby media guide, he actually is listed as Herbert J. “Derby Dick” Thompson. Thompson’s record of four Kentucky Derby wins was broken when “Plain Ben” Jones, as he was known, won it six times. Jones’ winners were Lawrin in 1938, Whirlaway in 1941, Pensive in 1944, Citation in 1948, Ponder in 1949 and Hill Gail in 1952. Last Saturday, Jones’ longstanding record fell when Medina Spirit got the job done beneath Churchill Downs’ iconic twin spires to become trainer Bob Baffert’s seventh Kentucky Derby winner. A century ago, there was “Derby Dick.” Now we have “Derby Bob.” Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby with Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, War Emblem in 2002, American Pharoah in 2015, Justify in 2018, Authentic in 2020 and Medina Spirit in 2021. Thompson became the first trainer to win the Kentucky Derby in back-to-back years when he did so with Burgoo King and Brokers Tip. Brokers Tip won the famous “Fighting Derby” by a nose over Head Play. Don Meade rode Brokers Tip. Herb Fisher piloted Head Play. In “The History of Thoroughbred Racing in America,” William H.P. Robertson wrote that Meade and Fisher “engaged in a violent fight” as Brokers Tip and Head Play were battling furiously for the lead while coming down the stretch toward the finish line. “Meade and Fisher could be seen tugging and pushing at one another, although who was doing what to whom wasn’t clear, and immediately after they crossed the finish, Fisher slashed Meade across the face with his bat,” Robertson wrote. Brokers Tip, who was a maiden going into the race, won that controversial Kentucky Derby by a nose. It would be his only victory in 14 lifetime starts. For being naughty during the stretch run, Meade and Fisher were each handed a 30-day suspension. The stewards tacked on an additional five days to Fisher’s penalty for attacking Meade when he entered the jockeys’ room. In yet more history made by Baffert last Saturday, he became the first trainer in Kentucky Derby history to win the race in back-to-back years twice. In addition to Thompson, Jones and Baffert, the only other three trainers to have achieved the feat were Jimmy Jones (Iron Liege in 1957 and Tim Tam in 1958), Lucien Laurin (Riva Ridge in 1972 and Secretariat in 1973) and D. Wayne Lukas (Thunder Gulch in 1995 and Grindstone in 1996). It was Lukas who just barely kept Baffert from winning the 1996 Kentucky Derby with Baffert’s first-ever starter in the race, Cavonnier, who lost by a scant nose to Grindstone. That nose is how close Baffert is to having eight Kentucky Derby victories. SHOWING HEART TO FEND THEM ALL OFF Despite Baffert’s considerable Kentucky Derby success prior to this year, Medina Spirit was allowed to get away at odds of 12-1 in the field of 19 last Saturday. The Kentucky-bred Protonico colt departed the gate in alert fashion and then proceeded to lead past every pole. He steadfastly refused to relinquish the lead all the way down the stretch while staving off Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie and 5-2 favorite Essential Quality, with those three finishing 2-3-4 in that order. “Turning for home, they came to him and he just dug in,” Baffert said of Medina Spirit at the barn Sunday morning. “I still didn’t know if he was going to do it. But he just dug in and fought hard. It was sort of the same race as he ran at Santa Anita when he won the Robert Lewis. They came to him and he just fended them all off. He’s a blue-collar horse, but he has a huge heart.” MOST TRIPLE CROWN RACE VICTORIES Thanks to Medina Spirit, Baffert increased his record total number of wins in Triple Crown races to 17. The trainers with seven or more such wins are listed below: Total (Ky. Derby, Preakness, Belmont wins) Trainer 17 (7-7-3) Bob Baffert14 (4-6-4) D. Wayne Lukas13 (3-4-6) “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons11 (2-1-8) James Rowe11 (0-7-4) R. Wyndam Walden9 (3-2-4) Max Hirsch9 (6-2-1) “Plain Ben” Jones8 (2-1-5) Woody Stephens7 (0-0-7) Sam Hildreth7 (2-4-1) Jimmy Jones If Baffert wins the Preakness at Pimlico on May 15, he will break the record for most victories by a trainer in that race. Baffert and R. Wyndam Walden currently share the record with seven wins apiece. BAFFERT ALSO SETS RECORD FOR GRADE I WINS Baffert won a pair of Grade I events at Churchill Downs last Saturday. Prior to Medina Spirit, overwhelming 1-5 favorite Gamine was victorious in the Grade I Derby City Distaff for Baffert. According to Equibase, Gamine was former Quarter Horse trainer Baffert’s 220th Grade I win in Thoroughbred racing. This broke the record for most Grade I victories by a trainer that had been held by Lukas (another ex-Quarter Horse conditioner), who gave the call for riders up at the paddock prior to this year’s Kentucky Derby. Lukas, by the way, trains Ram, a $20.80 upset winner in the first race on last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby card. When Medina Spirit won the Kentucky Derby, he raised Baffert’s number of Grade I Thoroughbred victories to 221. What Baffert has accomplished as a trainer is truly astounding. “Nobody has more manifest gifts as a horse whisperer than Baffert,” multiple Eclipse Award-winner Bill Nack wrote in GQ magazine back in 2003. For Baffert to nearly win two Triple Crowns with Silver Charm and Real Quiet, “who were purchased for $102,000 combined, was one of the most startling training feats of the last half century,” as Nack put it. Silver Charm brought $85,000 at auction. Real Quiet was a $17,000 buy. Baffert said the determination that Medina Spirit showed coming down the stretch to win the Kentucky Derby reminded him of the gritty Silver Charm. Of course, as you no doubt know, after Baffert came so close to Triple Crown glory with Silver Charm and Real Quiet in the 1990s, he did sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont with American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018. And now, as a consequence of last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby victory by Medina Spirit, Baffert is the only trainer who has a chance for a Triple Crown sweep this year. Think of just how far Baffert has come since winning his first Thoroughbred race with Flipping Star at Rillito in Arizona on Jan. 28, 1979. The purse was $600. The purse in last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby was $3 million. By not having one of the Kentucky Derby favorites this year, Baffert said he enjoyed himself during the week leading up to the race. “It was nice to be under the radar,” Baffert said. “I thought it’d be nice that, if he’s good enough, maybe he’ll hit the board…I came in here, like, ‘We’re going to have fun.’ You know, I’ve been doing this for so long now I didn’t want to come in here and start bragging about my horse. Everybody was talking about their horse, but I wanted to come in here and have a good time and let the horse do the bragging, let him run the race. Usually when we come in here, we come in here with a heavy-hitter or a favorite, which is a lot of pressure. This wasn’t pressure. It was fun.” Having fun is something that has been important to Baffert throughout his extraordinary training career. Fun is something he talked about in a 1987 article written by Diane Ciarloni Simmons for Speedhorse magazine when Baffert was training Gold Coast Express, a World Champion Quarter Horse. “I’ll quit training the day it’s no longer fun, the day I have to drag myself to the barn,” Baffert was quoted as saying. THIS YEAR’S DERBY WINNER A HUGE BARGAIN While adding his name to the illustrious list of Kentucky Derby winners, Medina Spirit increased his earnings thus far to $2,175,200. Bred in Florida by Gail Rice, Medina Spirit brought a final bid of only $1,000 from Christy Whitman at the 2019 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Winter Mixed Sale. Bloodstock agent and private clocker Gary Young, acting on behalf of Amr F. Zedan, purchased the dark-hued colt for $35,000 from the Ocala Breeders’ Sales 2020 July 2-Year-Olds & Horses of Racing Age sale. The 1971 Kentucky Derby winner Canonero II sold for $1,200 as a yearling. The 2021 Kentucky Derby winner sold for $1,000 as a yearling. Perhaps it will turn out that the 2071 Kentucky Derby winner likewise will have been sold as a yearling for $1,000 or so. FLORIDA DROUGHT COMES TO AN END Medina Spirit is the seventh Florida-bred to capture the Kentucky Derby. He’s the first since Silver Charm in 1997. The first Florida-bred Kentucky Derby winner was Needles in 1956, followed by Carry Back in 1961, Foolish Pleasure in 1975, Affirmed in 1978, Unbridled in 1990, Silver Charm and Medina Spirit. Speaking of Unbridled, he is the maternal grandsire of Medina Spirit’s dam, Mongolian Changa. Mongolian Changa made six starts, all in 2016, winning once, a one-mile maiden race on Presque Isle Downs’ synthetic surface. CAN’T SAY YOU WERE NOT WARNED I wrote this for Xpressbet last week: “Watch out for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Oh, sure, Baffert is not running the brilliant Life Is Good or the talented Concert Tour. Life Is Good is on the shelf while recuperating from a left-hind ankle issue that required surgery. Concert Tour, who worked a crisp four furlongs in :47.80 at Churchill on Monday, is being prepared for the Grade I Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 15 after not coming out of the Arkansas Derby to Baffert’s satisfaction. Concert Tour finished third as the 3-10 favorite in the Arkansas Derby, his first loss in four career starts. “But even though Life is Good and Concert Tour are not participating, it’s not hard for me to envision Baffert still winning the Kentucky Derby with Medina Spirit, who finished second in the Santa Anita Derby as the 9-10 favorite.” ANOTHER SANTA ANITA DERBY RUNNER-UP GETS ROSES Medina Spirit was the 9-10 favorite in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 3. He finished second, 4 1/4 lengths behind Rock Your World, who was racing on dirt for the first time following grass victories in his first two career starts. It’s interesting that Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby more often with a 3-year-old who ran second in the Santa Anita Derby than those who won it. Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Authentic and Medina Spirit finished second in the Santa Anita Derby for Baffert, then won the Kentucky Derby. Cavonnier, Indian Charlie, Dortmund, and Pioneerof the Nile were Santa Anita Derby winners for Baffert who then ran second or third in the Kentucky Derby. Following Rock Your World’s sparkling Santa Anita Derby victory, he was the 9-2 second favorite in the Kentucky Derby. But his race last Saturday essentially was over just about as quickly as you can say his name. Rock Your World, with Joel Rosario in the saddle, broke a step slowly, which many times can spell doom in a large field unless your name is Seattle Slew. And then in the opening strides, Rock Your World became the cheese in the sandwich when bumped hard from both sides (by Highly Motivated on the right and Essential Quality on the left). Rosario’s foot even momentarily slipped out of his left stirrup before he got his foot back in it. In Rock Your World’s Santa Anita Derby victory, he set the pace. But he never came close to the front end in the Kentucky Derby after the adversity he encountered at the outset. Instead of setting or forcing the pace, Rock Your World found himself 10th through the early stages. He would finish 17th. Medina Spirit won by a half-length. He completed 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.02. Mandaloun ran second. Hot Rod Charlie finished third, a half-length behind Medina Spirit. Essential Quality ended up fourth while losing for the first time in six career starts. Brad Cox trains Mandaloun and Essential Quality. While Cox understandably was disappointed that neither colt won, he was pleased that they ran as well as they did. “They went swift up front,” Cox said. “You can’t take anything away from the winner. He did all the dirty work [early] and kept on rolling. Listen, he ran a big race. He ran huge.” Cox said he respects Medina Spirit, calling it a “huge, huge performance” on his part to “lay down those fractions and keep going.” When Cox was asked if he believed that Essential Quality might have been the best horse in the race because of his wide trip, the trainer was quick to respond. “I do,” Cox said. “I think he was the best horse. People can say what they want, but he was beaten a length and ran 68 feet further than the winner [according to Trakus].” Some say Essential Quality, who moved up to loom boldly approaching the top of the long Churchill stretch, had every chance to run down Medina Spirit in the lane. And that is true. Nevertheless, it’s awfully difficult for a horse to run 68 feet (approximately seven to eight lengths) farther than someone and still beat them. I’m guessing that Essential Quality will be the Kentucky Derby starter who quite possibly will emerge from the race with the best Thoro-Graph number. When it comes to Thoro-Graph, a lower number is better than a higher one. This is the opposite of Beyer Speed Figures. Thoro-Graph takes many more factors into account than the Beyers. According to Thoro-Graph, “each number on a sheet represents a performance rating arrived at by using time of the race, beaten lengths, ground lost or saved on the turns, weight carried, and any effects wind conditions had on the time of the race.” Medina Spirit received a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure for his Kentucky Derby win. It was his first triple-digit Beyer. His previous top figure had been a 99 when he ran second to Life Is Good in Santa Anita’s Grade III Sham Stakes on Jan. 2. Authentic, last year’s Kentucky Derby winner for Baffert, won the Sham (a race named after the 1973 Santa Anita Derby winner and runner-up to the great Secretariat in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness). Below are the Beyers for Kentucky Derby winners going back to 1989 (the figures prior to 2020 are listed in the American Racing Manual, which is now digital only): 2021 Medina Spirit (102)2020 Authentic (105)2019 Country House (99)+2018 Justify (103)2017 Always Dreaming (102)2016 Nyquist (103)2015 American Pharoah (105)2014 California Chrome (97)2013 Orb (104)2012 I’ll Have Another (101)2011 Animal Kingdom (103)2010 Super Saver (104)2009 Mine That Bird (105)2008 Big Brown (109)2007 Street Sense (110)2006 Barbaro (111)2005 Giacomo (100)2004 Smarty Jones (107)2003 Funny Cide (109)2002 War Emblem (114)2001 Monarchos (116)2000 Fusaichi Pegasus (108)1999 Charismatic (108)1998 Real Quiet (107)1997 Silver Charm (115)1996 Grindstone (112)1995 Thunder Gulch (108)1994 Go for Gin (112)1993 Sea Hero (105)1992 Lil E. Tee (107)1991 Strike the Gold*1990 Unbridled*1989 Sunday Silence (102) +Country House finished second but was placed first through the disqualification of Maximum Security *No Beyer Speed Figure listed FRACTIONAL TIMES FOR THIS YEAR’S DERBY Medina Spirit recorded fractional times of :23.09, :46.70, 1:11.20 and 1:35.98 en route to his Kentucky Derby triumph. Below is a comparison of the time for each quarter-mile posted by Medina Spirit in this year’s Kentucky Derby and Authentic in the 2020 renewal: Medina Spirit:23.09, :23.61, :24.51, :24.77 and :25.04 Authentic:23.20, :23.49, :23.82, :24.79 and :25.59 ANOTHER DERBY FOR JOHNNY V. As was the case last year when John Velazquez won the Kentucky Derby aboard Authentic for Baffert, the trainer with the distinctive white hair raved about the Hall of Famer’s ride astride Medina Spirit last Saturday. For Velazquez, this was his fourth Kentucky Derby victory. He previously had won it with Animal Kingdom in 2011, Always Dreaming in 2017 and Authentic last year. Velazquez now is tied with Bill Shoemaker for the second-most Kentucky Derby wins. The record of five is shared by Eddie Arcaro and Bill Hartack. Johnny V. became the eighth jockey to win the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks in the same year. He guided Malathaat to a neck victory in Friday’s Grade I Oaks as the 5-2 favorite. The Kentucky-bred Curlin filly, trained by Todd Pletcher, now is five for five. This was the sixth Kentucky Derby win for Velazquez’s agent, Ron Anderson, one of the best of all time. Prior to this year, Anderson’s client won this race with Thunder Gulch (Gary Stevens in 1995), Silver Charm (Gary Stevens in 1997), Charismatic (Chris Antley in 1999), Orb (Joel Rosario in 2013) and Authentic (John Velazquez in 2020). By the way, Daily Racing Form’s David Grening came up with a good tidbit. “Exactly six years to the day that John Velazquez won the Kentucky Derby on Medina Spirit, he won the Grade II Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs aboard Protonico, the sire of Medina Spirit,” Grening wrote. “It was the only time Velazquez rode Protonico, who was trained by Todd Pletcher.” STRENGTH IN CALIFORNIA Seven of the last 10 Kentucky Derby winners have been based in California (I’ll Have Another in 2012, California Chrome in 2014, American Pharoah in 2015, Nyquist in 2016, Justify in 2017, Authentic in 2020 and Medina Spirit in 2021). DERBY FINISH HAS SIMILARITY TO LEWIS STAKES Baffert said Medina Spirit’s Kentucky Derby victory reminded him of how the colt had won Santa Anita’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Jan. 30 by showing so much heart in the stretch. In the 1 1/16-mile Lewis, Medina Spirit and Hot Rod Charlie finished 1-3 at the end of a three-way stretch battle with Roman Centurian. Roman Centurian came in second. In the Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit and Hot Rod Charlie again finished 1-3. This time it was Mandaloun who ran second. CONGRATULATIONS TO ANDY BEYER Medina Spirit officially carried 126 pounds in the Kentucky Derby. In a way, though, he packed considerably more weight than 126. That’s because he was Andy Beyer’s top pick to win the race. In terms of picking the winner of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont, Beyer’s record has been dreadful. Considering I have mentioned that from time to time, I think it’s only fair that I congratulate Beyer for picking the Kentucky Derby winner this year. Beyer himself admits that his record in this regard is woeful. He even recently said, with a chuckle, that it might be another 20 years before he picks the winner of the Kentucky Derby again. WHERE HAVE THE 99-1 LONGSHOTS GONE? Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee pointed out recently that “horses sent off in the Kentucky Derby at 99-1 or higher have seemingly become extinct despite an expansion from 14 to 20 betting interests in 2001 -- which also happened to be the last time any horse was sent away at triple-digit odds. Startact was 10th at 102-1 and Arctic Boy was 12th at 101-1 behind the victorious Monarchos that year.” Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia listed six horses at 50-1 on his Kentucky Derby morning line this year: Brooklyn Strong, Helium, Hidden Stash, Like the King, Keepmeinmind and Sainthood. McGee also listed five of those horses at 50-1 in his odds for the DRF. McGee had Helium at 30-1. While Battaglia and McGee had a plethora of horses at 50-1, nobody in this year’s Kentucky Derby started at 50-1 or higher, though one of the starters did come close to 50-1. Keepmeinmind was sent off at 49-1 (and actually ran a sneaky-good race in that he rallied to finish seventh after being 19th for the first six furlongs). ZERO STRIKES FOR MEDINA SPIRIT Medina Spirit had zero strikes in my Derby Strikes System (DSS). I came up with the DSS years ago to try and determine a horse’s chances to win the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May from both tactical and historical perspectives. The DSS consists of eight categories. When a horse does not qualify in one of the categories, the horse gets a strike. The eight categories are listed at the end of this column/blog/article. A number of the categories in the DSS are associated with the Kentucky Derby being run in May. Consequently, when the race was switched from May 2 to Sept. 5 last year due to the pandemic, it rendered the DSS unworkable. Because the Kentucky Derby again was run on the first Saturday in May this year, the DSS returned. Since 1973 and again excluding 2020 when the race was run in September, now 40 out of the 48 Kentucky Derby winners have had zero strikes or one strike, while seven have had two strikes and only one has had more than two strikes. The seven Kentucky Derby winners with two strikes were: Cannonade (1974) Categories 3 and 4Ferdinand (1986) Categories 2 and 4Sea Hero (1993) Categories 3 and 5Funny Cide (2003) Categories 2 and 8Giacomo (2015) Categories 2 and 5Justify (2018) Categories 1 and 8Country House (2019) Categories 2 and 3 The only Kentucky Derby winner with more than two strikes was: Mine That Bird (2009) Categories 1, 4, 5 and 8 In the 2019 Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security had zero strikes and finished first by 1 1/4 lengths. However, the stewards disqualified Maximum Security and placed him 17th when ruling that he had committed a foul by veering out sharply nearing the five-sixteenths marker to cause interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy. WINNER WAS LEADING A FURLONG FROM FINISH Thanks to the DSS, I have come to the conclusion that it behooves one to try and figure out who appears to have a good chance of being first or second with a furlong to go in the Kentucky Derby. With a furlong left to run last Saturday, Medina Spirit led by a head. Mandaloun was second. That now means 53 of the last 56 winners of the Kentucky Derby were either first or second at that point. Interestingly, Medina Spirit, Mandaloun, Hot Rod Charlie and Essential Quality were 1-2-3-4 in that order a quarter of a mile from the finish and again a furlong from the finish. And they were 1-2-3-4 in that same order at the finish. NUMBER OF STRIKES FOR DERBY WINNERS SINCE 1973 These are the number of strikes for each Kentucky Derby winner going back to 1973 (again, the eight categories in the Derby Strikes System are listed at the end of this column/blog/article): 2021 Medina Spirit (0 strikes)2020 race run in September2019 Country House (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 3*2018 Justify (2 strikes) Categories 1 and 72017 Always Dreaming (1 strike) Category 12016 Nyquist (0 strikes)2015 American Pharoah (0 strikes)2014 California Chrome (0 strikes)2013 Orb (0 strikes)2012 I’ll Have Another (0 strikes)2011 Animal Kingdom (0 strikes)2010 Super Saver (1 strike) Category 42009 Mine That Bird (4 strikes) Categories 1, 4, 5 and 92008 Big Brown (0 strikes)2007 Street Sense (0 strikes)2006 Barbaro (0 strikes)2005 Giacomo (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 52004 Smarty Jones (0 strikes)2003 Funny Cide (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 82002 War Emblem (0 strikes)2001 Monarchos (0 strikes)2000 Fusaichi Pegasus (1 strike) Category 61999 Charismatic (1 strike) Category 51998 Real Quiet (0 strikes)1997 Silver Charm (1 strike) Category 41996 Grindstone (0 strikes)1995 Thunder Gulch (0 strikes)1994 Go for Gin (0 strikes)1993 Sea Hero (2 strikes) Categories 3 and 51992 Lil E. Tee (0 strikes)1991 Strike the Gold (0 strikes)1990 Unbridled (1 strike) Category 31989 Sunday Silence (0 strikes)1988 Winning Colors (0 strikes)1987 Alysheba (1 strike) Category 21986 Ferdinand (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 41985 Spend a Buck (0 strikes)1984 Swale (0 strikes)1983 Sunny’s Halo (1 strike) Category 11982 Gato Del Sol (1 strike) Category 31981 Genuine Risk (1 strike) Category 11980 Pleasant Colony (0 strikes)1979 Spectacular Bid (0 strikes)1978 Affirmed (0 strikes)1977 Seattle Slew (0 strikes)1976 Bold Forbes (0 strikes)1975 Foolish Pleasure (0 strikes)1974 Cannonade (2 strikes) Categories 3 and 41973 Secretariat (0 strikes) *Maximum Security (0 strikes) finished first, disqualified and placed 17th THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS Mystic Guide, who won the Dubai World Cup in March for trainer Michael Stidham, continues to hold the top position in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll this week. The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 350 Mystic Guide (31)2. 322 Charlatan 6)3. 199 Monomoy Girl4. 199 Colonel Liam5. 184 Knicks Go6. 161 Gamine7. 141 Letruska8. 133 Maxfield (1)9. 84 Shedaresthedevil10. 55 Domestic Spending As expected, after winning last Saturday’s 144th running of the Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit takes over the top spot in this week’s NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll. He ranked No. 7 last week. Undefeated Kentucky Oaks winner Malathaat debuts on the Top 10 this week at No. 5. According to Pletcher, two races under consideration for Malathaat’s next start are the Grade I Belmont Stakes on June 19 and Grade II Mother Goose Stakes on June 26. Pletcher has won the Belmont with a filly, having done so in 2007 with Rags to Riches. The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 374 Medina Spirit (34)2. 315 Essential Quality (2)3. 284 Mandaloun4. 266 Hot Rod Charlie5. 179 Malathaat (1)6. 95 Concert Tour7. 94 Life Is Good (1)8. 82 Jackie’s Warrior9. 69 Rock Your World10. 65 Midnight Bourbon MY DERBY STRIKES SYSTEM’S CATEGORIES What are the eight categories in my Derby Strikes System? They are listed below: 1. THE GRADED STAKES CATEGORY. (The horse ran in a graded stakes race before March 31.) This points out horses who have competed against tough competition prior to March 31 rather than at the last minute in April, enabling the horse to be properly battle-tested. (Exceptions: Since the introduction of graded stakes races in the U.S. in 1973, only Genuine Risk in 1980, Sunny’s Halo in 1983, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Always Dreaming in 2017 have won the Kentucky Derby without running in a graded stakes race at 2 or early at 3 before March 31.) 2. THE WIN IN A GRADED STAKES CATEGORY. (The horse has won a graded stakes race.) This points out horses who have shown they have the class to win a graded stakes race. (Exceptions: Ferdinand in 1986, Alysheba in 1987, Funny Cide in 2003 and Giacomo in 2005 are the only exceptions since the introduction of U.S. graded stakes races in 1973; Alysheba in 1987 did finish first in the Blue Grass, only to be disqualified and placed third.) 3. THE EIGHTH POLE CATEGORY. (In either of his or her last two starts before the Kentucky Derby, the horse was either first or second with a furlong to go.) This points out horses who were running strongly at the eighth pole, usually in races at 1 1/16 or 1 1/8 miles. By running strongly at the same point in the Kentucky Derby, a horse would be in a prime position to win the roses. Keep in mind that 53 of the last 56 Kentucky Derby winners through 2021 have been first or second with a furlong to run. Since Decidedly won the Derby in 1962 when he was third with a furlong to go, the only three Kentucky Derby winners who were not first or second with a furlong to run were Animal Kingdom, third with a furlong remaining in 2011 when only a half-length from being second; Giacomo, sixth with a furlong to go in 2005; and Grindstone, fourth with a furlong to run in 1996. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the Kentucky Derby winners who weren’t either first or second a furlong from the finish in his or her last two starts have been Tim Tam in 1958, Carry Back in 1961, Cannonade in 1974, Gato Del Sol in 1982, Unbridled in 1990 and Sea Hero in 1993, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.) 4. THE GAMENESS CATEGORY. (The horse’s finish position in both of his or her last two races before the Kentucky Derby was no worse than his or her running position at the eighth pole.) This points out horses who don’t like to get passed in the final furlong. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the exceptions have been Venetian Way in 1960, Cannonade in 1974, Foolish Pleasure in 1975, Ferdinand in 1986, Silver Charm in 1997, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Super Saver in 2010, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.) 5. THE DISTANCE FOUNDATION CATEGORY. (The horse has finished at least third in a 1 1/8-mile race or longer before the Kentucky Derby.) This points out horses who have the proper foundation and/or stamina for the Kentucky Derby distance. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the only exceptions have been Kauai King in 1966, Sea Hero in 1993, Charismatic in 1999, Giacomo in 2005 and Mine That Bird in 2009.) 6. THE NO ADDING OR REMOVING BLINKERS CATEGORY. (The horse has not added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her final start at 3 before the Kentucky Derby.) This seems to point out that, if a horse is good enough to win the Kentucky Derby, the trainer is not searching for answers so late in the game. (Since Daily Racing Form began including blinkers in its past performances in 1987, no horse has added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her last start at 3 before winning the Kentucky Derby.) 7. THE RACED AS A 2-YEAR-OLD CATEGORY. (The horse made at least one start as a 2-year-old.) (Exceptions: Apollo in 1882 and Justify in 2018. Since 1937, horses unraced as a 2-year-old now are a combined 1 for 65 in the Kentucky Derby through 2021. During this period, the only horses to finish second or third in the Kentucky Derby without having raced at 2 were Hampden, who finished third in 1946; Coaltown, second in 1948; Agitate, third in 1974; Reinvested, third in 1982; Strodes Creek, second in 1994; Curlin, third in 2007; Bodemeister, second in 2012; and Battle of Midway, third in 2017.) 8. THE NOT A GELDING CATEGORY. (The horse is not a gelding.) (Exceptions: Funny Cide in 2003 and Mine That Bird in 2009 are the only geldings to win the Kentucky Derby since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929.)

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5.4.2021:

1/ST Look Golden Gate Fields Stats: Call on Couton

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Golden Gate Fields. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Northern California. And be sure to support GGF by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Golden Gate Fields.HeadlinesThe Rainbow 6 carryover for Thursday’s weekly kickoff will be $28,652 … El Camino Real Derby winner and Preakness contender Rombauer worked 5 furlongs at Santa Anita on April 30 in :59.20 for Michael McCarthy … Thursday’s Race 2 and Friday’s Race 4 mark the debut of 2-year-old racing at Golden Gate for 2021 … Recent GGF stakes winners Stalking Shadow and Keeper Ofthe Stars have circled dates on the calendar for their reappearances: the former in the May 23 Alcatraz at GGF and the latter in the May 31 Grade 1 Gamely at Santa Anita … Evin Roman earned The Jockey Guild’s national Jockey of the Week honor for April 19-25.Stronach 5Stronach 5 races this Friday, May 7, will be:Leg A – Pimlico Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:15 pm ETLeg B – Pimlico Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:49 pm ETLeg C – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:00 pm ETLeg D – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:06 pm ETLeg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 2 with an approximate post time of 5:21 pm ET1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Golden Gate Fields, each posting at least 36% winners.Best Speed Last 3Trainer 1 Year Win %Speed Last RaceTrends Last Week-- Jockey Julien Couton had precision appearances, going 7: 4-3-0 with $9, $12 and $44 winners producing a whopping $4.10 ROI for every $1 bet. For good measure, he added a 21-1 runner-up.-- Jockey Kyle Frey led the colony with a 26: 8-8-3 mark. That’s 31% wins and 62% in the exacta, but 6 of his winners paid $5 or less (topped at $10).-- Trainer Reid France had a 6: 3-0-2 record, mostly with short prices. Five of his runners were 9-5 or less, but he did light the board third with a 14-1 shot. He’s winning 41% since March 26 at GGF.-- Trainer McLean went 5: 2-0-1 behind juicy $9 and $11 winners. That turned around a cold 1-18 run for the barn to open April.-- Trainer Jose Bautista posted a 4: 1-0-2 record, topped by his second $20-plus winner in the past 2 weeks. Both came in turf routes.

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5.4.2021:

1/ST Look Santa Anita Stats: Speed Last Race Fiery Factor

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Santa Anita Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in Southern California. And be sure to support “The Great Race Place” by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Santa Anita Park.HeadlinesA $314,702 Rainbow 6 carryover welcomes players back Friday for a 3-day racing week … Santa Anita basked in a 1-3 finish in the Kentucky Derby by Medina Spirit and Hot Rod Charlie, locally based alumni of the Santa Anita Derby series … This week’s headline races will be the Grade 3 Santa Barbara on turf Saturday and Sunday’s grassy Fran’s Valentine for Cal-breds … Preakness contender Rombauer worked 5 furlongs at Santa Anita on April 30 in :59.20 for Michael McCarthy … Santa Anita announced its 2021 Autumn Meet stakes schedule, 21 races featured between Oct. 1-31, including 7 stakes with Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In provisions.Stronach 5Stronach 5 races this Friday, May 7, will be:Leg A – Pimlico Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:15 pm ETLeg B – Pimlico Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:49 pm ETLeg C – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:00 pm ETLeg D – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:06 pm ETLeg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 2 with an approximate post time of 5:21 pm ET1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Santa Anita Park last week, each winning at a 35% or greater win rate. Speed Last Race was a top-3 factor for the fourth straight week.Jockey Current MeetSpeed Last RaceAvg. Late PaceTrends Last Week-- Jockeys Juan Hernandez (5-19) and Tyler Baze (5-19) filled the void at the top of the rider’s standings with Flavien Prat and Umberto Rispoli in Kentucky. Prat went 7: 4-0-2 before departing for Churchill.-- Trainer John Sadler had a second solid week in a row and now is 14: 4-2-4 during that streak.-- Trainer Mark Glatt’s runners were on point with a 5: 2-2-0 record that included a $9 winner and 9-1 runner-up.-- Trainer Mike Puype continued a quiet roll with a 4: 1-2-0 mark making the barn is a strong 24: 8-4-2 at SA since March 20.-- Trainer Luis Mendez had a 3: 1-2-0 record, all with the 2-year-old babies, maintaining the momentum he had here in 2020 with his juveniles.-- Favorites were 22 for 27 in the exacta last week, clicking at more than 81% (11 wins, 41%).

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5.4.2021:

1/ST Look Gulfstream Stats: Blazing Barboza

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Gulfstream Park. Check back weekly for statistical trends and tidbits for premier racing in South Florida. And be sure to support Gulfstream by betting with 1/ST BET, the official betting app of Gulfstream Park.HeadlinesThe Rainbow 6 carryover will be $342,508 (guaranteed pool $500,000) heading into Thursday’s kickoff to the 4-day racing week … The Super High 5 also packs a $12,010 carryover for Thursday … This week’s feature race will be Saturday’s English Channel Stakes for 3-year-olds on turf … Con Lima earned her third stakes victory of 2021 at Gulfstream when capturing the May 1 Honey Ryder, adding to victories in the Ginger Brew and Grade 3 Herecomesthebride during the Championship Meet.Stronach 5Stronach 5 races this Friday, May 7, will be:Leg A – Pimlico Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:15 pm ETLeg B – Pimlico Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:49 pm ETLeg C – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:00 pm ETLeg D – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:06 pm ETLeg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 2 with an approximate post time of 5:21 pm ET1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Gulfstream Park last week, each winning at a 30% or greater win rate and showing a flat-bet profit.Earnings at DistanceSpeed Last RaceBest Speed Last 3Trends Last Week-- Trainer Victor Barboza continued his groove with a 7: 3-1-1 week that makes his GP runners 12: 6-2-1 since April 18.-- Trainer Robert Dibona posted a 6: 3-0-1 mark that boasted $7, $12 and $41 winners. That made for a smooth $5.13 ROI for every $1 bet. He was 2-for-2 with Leonel Reyes in the saddle.-- Trainer Gilberto Zerpa won with his only starter on the week and is now 9: 5-3-0 locally the past 2 weeks.-- Jockey Paco Lopez dominated the rider’s standings with a 32: 11-7-7 record that included 7 winning favorites and all 11 winners at $9 or less mutuels. Lopez won twice for Ruben Gracida and Carlos David.-- Favorites went 8-17 on dirt last week (47%) and 7-22 on turf (32%). Jockey Emisael Jaramillo was 7: 4-1-0 on the chalk.

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5.4.2021:

1/ST Look Pimlico Stats: Hi Ho Cedeno

We canvass the 1/ST BET statistical database each week to bring you up to speed with racing at Pimlico. 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.HeadlinesKentucky Derby champ Medina Spirit and stablemate Concert Tour are expected in Baltimore for the May 15 Preakness, and either could give trainer Bob Baffert a record-breaking 8th victory in the race (passing R.W. Walden’s 7) … Limited ticketing remains available for the Preakness; visit Preakness.com/tickets … The Rainbow 6 has a $10,067 carryover into Thursday’s opener to the 4-day racing week … Conniver Stakes winner Kiss the Girl returns to action Friday in a Race 6 allowance … Nominations for all Preakness Weekend stakes closed May 4 with post position draws for the May 14 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes Day card this Sunday, while the May 15 Preakness Day lineups will be drawn Monday, May 10.Stronach 5Stronach 5 races this Friday, May 7, will be:Leg A – Pimlico Race 8 with an approximate post time of 4:15 pm ETLeg B – Pimlico Race 9 with an approximate post time of 4:49 pm ETLeg C – Gulfstream Park Race 9 with an approximate post time of 5:00 pm ETLeg D – Santa Anita Park Race 3 with an approximate post time of 5:06 pm ETLeg E – Golden Gate Fields Race 2 with an approximate post time of 5:21 pm ET1/ST BET Top Factors Last Week:Horseplayers using the 1/ST BET app saw the most success with these 3 of the 52 handicapping filters for Pimlico, each posting at least 26% wins and showed a flat-bet profit. Speed Last Race was a top-3 factor for the second straight week.Speed Last RaceLast Late PaceBest Lifetime SpeedTrends Last Week-- Jockey Carol Cedeno continued her Pimlico roll, going 12: 5-0-5. She’s now 26: 10-4-5 through 2 weeks of the stand at Old Hilltop.-- Jockey Jevian Toledo was on the money with a 17: 6-1-1 mark-- Trainer Keiron Magee also continued a blazing Pimlico Meet start with a 6: 4-1-0 record. That makes him 16: 7-4-0 through 2 weeks.- Sire Imagining has a superb 6: 4-0-1 record at the meet with his offspring on the dirt. Sire Golden Lad has 3 wins and 2 seconds from his first 11 dirt starters at the Pimlico Meet.-- Favorites were 30: 13-6-2 for 43% wins and 63% in the exacta. The public dialed in Week 2 after a 29% effort for favorites during opening week.

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5.4.2021:

Northfield Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Northfield Park has a 15-race card slated for tonight. 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 111-Romping Rodeo (5-1)-Just broke its maiden and it was a sharp effort after going 0-20. Did race on the engine for most of the miles and the fractions were lively for this kind. Looks like a player at a square price.2-Willy's Last Wish (9-1)-Ships in from Northville after a winning effort and makes 1st Nfld start. Did hit the board in 13 of 15 last year and the connections must feel this 3-year-old fits with this crew. Looks worthy of a swing at the morning line price.4-Virgina Cruiser (7-1)-Here's another price shot who did improve in last but loses Wrenn to #5. Stahl should be able to work an efficient trip and could surprise if upswing continues in the 4th start for the new barn.5-Backseat Joker (9/5)-This will be the 1st start since 9-11 and qualifier over a sloppy track was fine. This is the winner if fires hot off the bench based on past competition. It could happen at a short price and is difficult to toss. But hasn't shown much gate speed and could be a follower, so will look to others to spice up the Pick 4 payout.Race 121-Son Of Sona (7/5)-Doesn't win often (3-31) over the past 2 years but now would be the time to take a picture. Drops to a soft spot, draws the rail which hasn't happened in a while and Wrenn sticks. Should be on top or in the pocket looking to win for the 1st time since 2-16.6-Finish Line (5-1)-This is a risky play because of recent breaking issues. But does come off a sharp qualifier on a sloppy track. Got on the engine and didn't look back, winning in 158.4. Looks like an upset possibility if minds manners behind the gate.Race 131-Hunter AM (5/2)-Winner of 2 straight steps-up a notch after a dominant win from the 7-hole. Wrenn sticks and this 4-year-old may make it a 3-peat with a smooth journey.4-Worthabuck (8/5)-Miami Valley invader should fit nicely with this crew and has the gate speed to control the pace. But Stahl needs a good start and to probably steal a quarter to notch the 1st win of 2021.Race 142-Chiseler (6-1)-Every now and then this 4-year-old passes a horse or 2 down the lane and this is a suspect group. Davis could be more aggressive in this spot and land in the pocket. Might get sucked around and then roll by down the lane for the 1st picture of 2021.5-Mcarter (8-1)-Steps-up after a sharp steer from the 2nd tier to take top honors. Merriman isn't driving so Thompson will need to work a clean trip, and if so could pop at a nice price.$1.00 Pick 41,2,4,5/1,6/1,4/2,5Total Bet=$32Check me out on Twitter!

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5.3.2021:

Monday Myths: Bet-Against Derby Alumni Next Out?

Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities.Assumption:Horses don’t come out of the Kentucky Derby as well as they went into it.Background:The taxing nature of the Kentucky Derby, its mile and one-quarter distance under 126 pounds and uniquely large field size, are reasons why many handicappers openly look to beat those runners in their next starts. You’ll often here of a ‘bounce’ or ‘regression’ that goes with a hard effort; and an ode to the grinder that is the race’s chaos for those who were well-beaten. The reputation of Derby horses also is considered over-inflated, and produces overlays of familiarity down the line.Data Points:I dialed up the Betmix database to look at all Kentucky Derby alumni from 2013-2020 and tracked their performance in their next start. We measured not only their overall record, but record in next-out races of varying class levels and time away from the races for recovery. We studied not only the Derby’s successful runners, but also the grouping that did not perform as well.//All Kentucky Derby alumni 2013-’20 had a combined record in all return races of 140: 33-21-17, netting 24% wins and a $0.89 ROI for every $1 bet. They won races from the next Triple Crown steps, of course, to 7 allowance races.//All Kentucky Derby alumni 2013-’20 bet to favoritism next out had a 42: 22-10-5 record, netting 53% wins and a $0.87 ROI for every $1 bet.//Kentucky Derby alumni 2013-’20 had a combined record in Grade 1 stakes races of 77: 9-9-7, netting 12% wins and a $0.92 ROI – winning the Preakness 6 times and the Belmont 3 times in that 8-year span (Belmont prior to Derby last year only).Kentucky Derby alumni 2013-’20 had a combined record in all races EXCEPT Grade 1 stakes races of 63: 24-11-10, netting 38% wins and a $0.86 ROI for every $1 bet.//Kentucky Derby alumni 2013-’20 who ran back on 60 days or shorter rest had a 104: 22-16-12 record, netting 21% wins and a $0.95 ROI for every $1 bet. The majority of these re-matched in the Triple Crown.Kentucky Derby alumni 2013-’20 who ran back on 180 days or longer rest had a 15: 7-2-1 record, netting 47% wins and a $1.11 ROI for every $1 bet. Among these long-awaited return winners were notable names like Whitmore, Vekoma, Audible and By My Standards.//Horses Who Finished 1st-through-9th in the Derby 2013-’20 had a combined next-start record of 27% wins and a $0.88 ROI for every $1 bet.Horses Who Finished 10th through last in the Derby 2013-’20 had a combined next-start record of 21% wins and a $0.89 ROI for every $1 bet.Overall Findings:Derby alumni won 24% next out and converted more than 50% when expected to deliver as favorites. Of those who returned from the Derby into Grade 1 stakes, 72 of the 77 were re-matched in either the Preakness or Belmont, meaning only 1 could win and pushed percentages down. The same Preakness/Belmont factor also drove down percentages for those returning from 60 days or fewer rest, but that number still held strong. Non-Grade 1 returnees delivered at a higher win rate as they spread out into different spots with fewer rematches. More than 10% of the Derby alumni did not race again for 6 months or more (180 days minimum), but those who returned were well-spotted and prepared by their connections with an exceptional record. Horses who ran top half of the Derby and bottom half of the Derby both returned with solid marks, the top-half faring better next out, but the bottom-half not embarrassed and a near-equal ROI.Bottom line:Perhaps the Derby once was a grinder that wore down its entrants, but since 2013, that’s absolutely not been the case. The start of the Betmix database coincidentally coincides with the first year of the Kentucky Derby points system, which has almost universally removed sprinters from the run from the roses. That lack of substantial pace has been theorized to create a run on favorites and horses with tactical, if not front-running, route speed. Perhaps it also may have something to do with not burning up the rest of the field behind it, and, thus, creating positive next-out results like we see in this study.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, the percentages and ROIs for next-out dirt races was far superior to those who came out of the Derby and then tried the turf next, which dragged down the overall numbers some.

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5.3.2021:

Monday, May 03: Yonkers Raceway Pick 4 Analysis

Yonkers Raceway has a 10-race card ready to go at 7:15 EST. The headliner comes in Race 7, an Open Handicap Pace with a $37,000 purse. That race also starts the $1.00 Pick 4 sequence, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 75-Raukapuka Ruler N (5/2)-Draws well and should like the company. Stratton could be leaving and may find a close-up seat as there isn't much gate speed inside. Winner in 7 of 28 at YR should be a player but has been camera shy this year (1-11).6-Twin B Tuffenuff (7-1)-Comes off a good effort from the rail after being used to hold position. Brennan got the pocket ride but was caught between going inside and finally pulled to go outside and lost by less than a length. Beaten by #8 who came up big at 4/5. Could look to fire out and may not look back.Race 83-Herrickroosevelt N (6-1)-Faced straight Open company in last and took the long way around but did roll the back half in .55. Stratton takes over from Joe B and he knows well. Looking for a more aggressive steer and an efficient trip at a square price.4-Bettor Memories (6-1)-Will need a top effort at this class but the same could be said for the entire field. This Burke trainee ships back from PcD and should be a threat from this post. Likes YR, has taken 16 pictures in 65 starts. Brennan could leave and land on the point or fall in right behind #3. Will take a swing for some value and look to beat #1 the 2-1 morning line chalk.Race 91-Mighty Santana N (7/2)-Has been starting slowly, racing towards the back of the pack and then rallying in the 2nd half. Should be able to get away in good shape off the gate and then come hard later in the mile. Buter needs to work the right trip and could take top honors with a smooth journey.2-Micky Gee N (3-1)-Comes off an even effort at this class in the 1st start off the bench. Did pace the back half in .56 but was caught outside in a race without much pace. Has taken pictures in 20 of 51 YR starts but has only received top honors in 6 of 26 races at other tracks. Posted wins versus better from the outside at YR and looks like a major threat tonight.Race 105-Shadow Cat (5/2)-Steps-up after a gate to wire 151.3 win and that was a lifetime best at Yonkers. May try to follow an identical script, and get on the engine and not look back. That could work or might be able to get a pocket ride behind #1, then pull and roll by.6-Walkinshaw N (6-1)-Had a nice try from the 8-hole when dropped to this level last week. Does have enough gate speed to get a good seat so Zeron should have options. Has beaten better back in March with the same pilot and looks like a player versus this crew at a square price.My Ticket Race 7) 5,6 Race 8) 3,4 Race 9) 1,2 Race 10) 5,6Total Ticket Cost) $16 for $1.00Check me out on Twitter!

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5.2.2021:

Pompano Pick 5 Analysis $100,000 Guaranteed Pool

Pompano Park enters its final night of the meet with a 13-race card. Due to a $23,759 carryover the Pick 5 pool is guaranteed at $100,000 and there will be a mandatory payout. My focus will be on that sequence which starts in Race 1.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 12-MIttnage A Trois (5-1)-Will need a trip, doesn't have much gate speed and is only 1-17 this year. But this is a suspect group and is in a spot to get a decent trip to find some live cover. Posted a win 3 back and did beat 3 from this field that day.4-O'Sundland (5-1)-Couldn't get a worse trip today than last week when was basically parked the mile. Does have some gate speed to be forwardly placed and drops to a better spot to cash the top check.6-Buddha Beach (7-1)-This 3-year-old was the pick of Wallis and was knocked out of last with broken equipment. Before that took a picture, and then had a few excuses in the next two tries. Should be worth a swing at the program odds.9-Bionic (3-1)-Won last as the odds-on chalk now steps-up and loses Boyd as Ingraham steers. Double Digit Dave has awoken the last couple of weeks and if he does his part this Always B Miki three-year-old has a shot for an encore. Raced the back half in 56.4 and seems to have more to give.Race 24-TT Conway (5/2)-Wallis chose this 7-year-old, who is the morning line chalk over the #8. Should be forwardly placed, can roll a quick back-half and should relish the company.6-Invincible (4-1)-Here is another who drops and the Paver barn has won 4 of 8 starts in the last 30 days. Meittinis needs to get a good seat and then use one big move down the lane. Trip dependent 7-year-old has been trying hard.7-Iam What I Am (9-1)-Has good speed and can come off cover to win but needs to be handled carefully behind the gate. Should offer a nice price and could surprise if minds manners.Race 31-Pick Six (9/2)-Likes to get on the engine and this post draw will help chances plus faces a beatable group. If Wengerd steals a quarter it could be picture time.3-Hard Rock Hulk (3-1)-Has the gate speed to get on the engine or a pocket ride behind #1. Wallis can work either trip into the 2nd straight win for this 4-year-old.Race 45-Manceiver (5/2)-Comes off a sharp score with a 54.4 opening half on the engine and now steps-up but best to respect. Will need to be dialed on high again and almost everyone in this field is facing better.7-ER Room (5-1)-Wallis takes over from Hennessey who usually fires this 12-year-old up to blast out and take control. Expecting a similar script to be followed and could upset if gets the lead without burning up much gas.Race 51-Play To The Crowd (6-1)-Comes off a decent effort in last and was claimed. Joins the Kreiser barn again and had success for him in the past. Did win the 1st start for that stable off a claim on 4-5 and it's best to not overlook tonight.4-Rock N Roll Rosie (8/5)-Has faced tougher fields and drops to a spot to shine. Ingraham could leave and get the point or drop into the 2-hole. Either trip could result in the 3rd win in 18 starts this year.0.50 Pick 52,4,6,9/4,6,7/1,3/5,7/1,4Total Bet=$48Check me out on Twitter!

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5.1.2021:

Saturday, May 01: Hoosier Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hoosier Park has 13-races ready to roll this evening with the first post coming at 7:20 EST. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 starts in Race 10 and it will be my focus.Last night, the drivers with the hottest hands were John De Long and Trace Tetrick with three wins each. The top trainers on the card with two pictures were Britney Diilon, Charles Stewart and Jeff Culipher.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 101-Highmoon Sunshine (10-1)-Missed a start before racing at HoP on 4/24 and now drops. Should fit with this crew. Has some gate speed, so Roy can work a cozy trip from this post and could offer some value.2-JB's Shooting Star (5/2)-Here is another that should relish the class relief. Tetrick should have this mare forwardly placed in the 4th start off the bench.6-Cult Icon (2-1)-This is a fast mare who usually pays her way on smaller ovals. Ships in from Ohio and has faced better there. Not loving the morning line but did have a 152 mark here as a 3-year-old.Race 116-All Wrapped Up (4-1)-Lightly raced 5-year-old had an even effort versus Open company in the 1st start after arriving from Wbsb. Has raced once since 3/29 but Roy could blast out and get a close-up seat. Best to respect at a square price.8-Swan In Motion (5/2)-Qualified at RcR and then beat the Open 3 kind in 1st local start. Swan For All 4-year-old has banked >$403k in 23 starts at HoP and looks like a player with a sharp steer.Race 122-Anthem (10-1)-Rolled the back half in 54.1 last week at this class in the 2nd local start and should be a solid price. Widger steered last time and he might be more aggressive off the gate tonight.6-Checks On The Way (4-1)-Miami Valley invader finds a good spot and has hit the board in 11 of 13 starts at HoP with 7 wins. Tetrick drives and he knows well.8-Grace Rocks (3-1)-Comes off an even effort in the 1st start off the bench versus straight Open company. Has won 10 of 21 at HoP and should be a threat versus these. There is not much gate speed inside, if dialed on high Putnam could get on the engine and not look back.Race 132-Hedges Avenue A (12-1)-De Long takes over for Miller who steers his own. Steps-up after a gate to wire win at 36-1. This is a tougher group but much of this field is facing better. Won't be 36-1 but should offer a solid price.6-Cheek Please (3-1)-Pulled on the backside in last and worked hard to get the lead from the 3/2 chalk who came out of the pocket and won. Did race gamely to the wire and was just nipped for 2nd place. Looking for a more efficient trip this time.9-Mack My Kiss 9 (8-1)-Needed last start after being idle almost a month and should be tighter tonight. This post helps the price and Roy could leave to get a good seat. Best to respect, has faced better at Wbsb and the post draw gods haven't been kind.My Ticket Race 10) 1,2,6 Race 11) 6,8 Race 12) 2,6,8 Race 13) 2,6,9Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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5.1.2021:

Saturday, May 01: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click Here to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 12:30 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Little Jewel; 5-Red Diamond; 7-Lady Macarena; 9-Xmas SurpriseForecast: The Saturday opener is loaded with suspect speed, so in a spread affair let’s put the late-running Red Diamond on top. Away since last July, the daughter of Afleet Alex displayed some talent in two previous starts and has trained well for her comeback. With some heat up front and room to rally in the stretch she will have a chance to pull off a surprise at 8-1 on the morning line. Xmas Surprise was 48-1 when finishing a good second in a similar turf sprint here in March and if she produces a forward mover today the L. Powell-trained daughter of More Than Ready will be in the picture once again. Lady Macarena has plenty of speed and may stick around for awhile if she can clear the field during the early stages. Her first race was solid, her second not so much, but we expect the M. McCarthy-trained filly to bounce back today. Little Jewel flashed a bit of ability in her debut sprinting on grass at Churchill Downs last June but then was stopped on. She has worked okay for her comeback and could be a better type this time around, so at 8-1 on the morning line she’s worth including as well.RACE 2: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: C+Use: 1-Kenzou’s Rhythm; 5-Studly PerfectionForecast: This race looks treacherous – even with just five entrants – so our strategy is to tread lightly. Studly Perfection is a three-time winner over the Santa Anita main track and drops to a realistic level after fading to finish fourth vs. tougher foes going long on the lawn at Golden Gate Fields. He should stick better with this group, especially with the weight break he gets due to J. Pyfer taking the call. Kenzou’s Rhythm, first off the claim for R. Hanson (20%) likely will settle off the pace and then try to tag the leaders. In a race in which the race flow may promote his style, the veteran Algorithms gelding is a “must use.”RACE 3: Post: 1:34 PT Grade: XUse: 1-Eel Point; 5-Two Thirty Five; 6-Shadow SphinxForecast: Here is another race that might be best left alone. We will go three-deep in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass. Two Thirty Five is listed as the 4/5 morning line favorite and, yes, he can win, but that’s a shorter number than he probably should be. The good news is that he remains at his ($50,000) claim level so the barn must still like him and if the son of Stay Thirsty, a winner of four races over the local main track, shows up with his “A” game he will most likely justify the short price. Shadow Sphinx is fast on speed figures based on his recent grass races, but he’s not nearly as accomplished on the main track. The veteran gelding knows how to win (nine career victories) so he has to be somewhat respected. Eel Point had a brutal trip up north sprinting last time out and today stretches out a distance that should suit him. He can handle the dirt, as his runaway maiden win at Keeneland shows, and with a nice recent workout the Into Mischief gelding may be capable of producing a significant forward move.RACE 4: Post: 2:15 PT Grade: BUse: 3-Memo Daddy; 7-Keystone FieldForecast: Keystone Field has an improving pattern and looks ready to regain his winning form in this entry-level turf miler for older horses. The R. Mandella-trained gelding can be effective on the front end or from off the pace, so V. Espinoza can assess the early race flow and then choose a spot. Memo Daddy has looked decent in the a.m. for M. McCarthy and should be able to fit in this league in his U.S. debut. The Chilean-bred horse has been away for more than a year and his South American form isn’t great, but he could easily be better than his resume indicates. The son of Scat Daddy is a first-time Lasix user, and we suspect will turn up a live item.RACE 5: Post: 2:46 PT Grade: XSingle: 4-Missy PForecast: Missy P. won off by herself in her debut and earned a stakes-quality speed figure without ever really taking a deep breath. She faces considerably tougher company today, but we doubt the class hike will have much affect on her. Drawn outside of her three rivals, including her talented R. Mandella-trained stable mate Astute, the daughter of Into Mischief has the option of popping and going or stalking and pouncing. In either case, she’ll likely win but will be too short to play, so let’s just make her a no-value value rolling exotic single while otherwise sitting out the race.RACE 6: Post: 3:22 PT Grade: BSingle: 8-TitrateForecast: This is the kind of race that you can spread deeply and still might not have enough coverage, or simply take a stand and hope to be right. We will opt for the latter strategy. Titrate, claimed by M. Puype out of a runner-up effort for $50,000 sprinting on grass last month in what was just his second career start, stretches out today to a distance he should enjoy, and with another forward move should be capable of graduating from a lackluster bunch. The son of Violence doesn’t have a whole lot of early speed, but if he can secure a mid-pack position and finish like he did in his most recent sprint the 3-year-old gelding could produce a sufficient late kick to be along in time. At 4-1 on the morning line, he’s a win play and an aggressive rolling exotic single.RACE 7: Post: 4:37 PT Grade: B-Use: 2-Shotgun Ruler; 3-Luck is GoldenForecast: Shotgun Ruler, a first-time gelding from the J. Bonde barn, should improve enough to be a major player in this soft maiden $50,000 sprint for sophomores. It would help matters if he could leave cleanly and be part of what projects to be a modest pace. Luck Is Golden, listed as the morning line favorite at 8/5, has the always-significant class drop from maiden special weight to maiden claiming along with the route-to-sprint angle and the switch back from grass to dirt. He is hardly a trustworthy sort but is the one to beat by default. We will include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 8: Post: 5:10 PT Grade: B-Use: 6-No Foolery Here; 8-Hudson Ridge; 10-AirmanForecast: No Foolery Here seems to be an improving sort, both in the afternoon and in his recent workouts, so let’s try this 3-year-old colt on top in a wide open affair in which no result would be considered too surprising. With the just two career outings under his belt, the R. Baltas-trained colt may have some upside that most of the others don’t. Hudson Ridge continues to impress in the a.m., most recently registering a bullet five furlong drill on the training track while lengthening out nicely in the final furlong. Perhaps the son of American Pharoah is starting to figure things out. He has some early speed, and we’d like to see A. Cedillo allow him to use it today. Airman was a bit unlucky when finishing a fast-closing second in a similar maiden special weight turf miler last time out. With better luck today the son of Tonalist may be able to tag the speed. He doesn’t really have a good turn of foot – we would have liked him better if this race were at nine furlongs – but in an open fray he has to be used.RACE 9: Post: 5:40 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Notre Dame; 3-OctopusForecast: Stable mates in the D. O’Neill barn appear to hold the aces in this starter’s allowance sprint, with Notre Dame seeking his third straight win after earning a career top score in late March and Octopus, a winner for $16,000 last time out and protected off the claim in a sign of confidence, both appearing capable of firing big shots in their present form. Notre Dame probably is the quicker of the two and could find himself as the controlling speed, while Octopus can stalk and pounce if the situation dictates and should have the likely leader within range throughout. Let’s give Notre Dame a very slight edge on top but include both in rolling exotic play.RACE 10: Post: 6:10 PT Grade: B+Single: 4-Closing RemarksForecast: We’re going to single Closing Remarks in the Saturday finale, the Senorita S.-G3 for sophomore fillies over a mile on turf. Madone could be included as a saver or a backup on a ticket, but we are operating under the assumption that she is a race away from being in winning form in what is her first outing since November. ‘Remarks earned a career top speed figure when an excellent second in the Providencia S.-G3 last month and this turn back to a one mile distance might actually suit her better. The daughter of Vronsky has excellent tactical speed and projects to enjoy an ideal stalking trip and then have every chance from the quarter pole home.

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5.1.2021:

Saturday, May 1: Jeff Siegel's Kentucky Derby Day 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. This race-by-race analysis zeroes in on the Saturday, May 1 2021 14-race card on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs. 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. RACE 1: Post: 10:30 ET Grade: B-Use: 4-Cool Bobby; 5-Soros; 6-Sounion Forecast: The opener is a challenging one-turn mile first-level allowance event for older horses that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We will try to get by using just three. Soros, a former stakes winner at this distance but away for more than a year, returns as a first-time gelding and is protected in a sign of confidence. If the lightly-raced son of Commissioner returns with his best stuff he can act with these. The work tab looks pretty decent for new trainer M. McCarthy, whose record with layoff runners is quite good (20% with a massive ROI). Sounion, another making his first start since being gelded, has never been worse than second in three prior starts over the Churchill Downs main track, and in a race that projects to have a comfortable early pace the son of Liam’s Map should find himself favorably placed while on or near the lead. He is fast enough on speed figures to handle this assignment and is reunited with “win rider” J. Leparoux. Cool Bobby was a 10 length winner over this track and distance (albeit on a sloppy surface) last fall and could inherit the role as the controlling speed if aggressively sent from the bell. He is another with recent speed figures that make him dangerous. RACE 2: Post: 11:01 ET Grade: B-Use: 1-Cadencia; 7-Cerulean; 10-Elle Est Forte; 11-Anthropology Forecast: This grass grab bag for older maiden fillies and mares is another that offers several possibilities, some at very good prices. The strategy is to spread deeply and hope for a blowout payoff. First-time starter Cerulean is listed at 15-1 on the morning line but we suspect she is much better than that. A $180,000 OBS March sale purchase last year after breezing a furlong in 10 1/5 seconds, she finally makes it to the post and is bred to do her best work going long on the lawn. From a capable outfit and with L. Saez in the saddle, the daughter of Air Force Blue recorded a bullet gate drill at Keeneland (47 2/5 seconds, fastest of 101 for the distance) two weeks ago that should have her fit and ready. Anthropology, pegged at 30-1 on the morning line, has the two-sprints-and-stretch-out angle on her resume, and after a couple of runs over the all-weather surface at Turfway Park finally gets a chance to perform on the surface for which she was bred (Karakontie). On pure speed figures she is fairly competitive, so we will definitely include her. The morning line favorite at 2-1 is Cadencia, second vs. similar foes in her last three starts, two of which came as a strongly backed favorite. She lacks tactical speed and therefore may not be able to take full advantage of her inside draw, but with good racing luck and some help up front the T. Pletcher-trained filly will be heard from late. Elle Est Forte likewise has good recent from under these conditions and her speed figures are improving with every start. With another forward move today, the daughter of Flintshire will be right there. RACE 3: Post: 11:31 ET Grade: B+Use: 5-Koolhaus; 7-Alejandro Forecast: We will double this race in rolling exotic play, but the main push will be reserved for Koolhaus, a developing 3-year-old from the B. Cox barn. With two good sprints under his belt in stronger-the-par races for the level, the son of Nyquist should be much more comfortable with an extra furlong to work with today, and from a stable that hits at a remarkable 32% with stretch-out runners this 3-year-old colt projects to settle in the second flight before being turned loose from the quarter pole home. There is plenty of value to be found at or near his morning line of 9/2. Alejandro finished first in a maiden router at Fair Grounds last month and earned a good figure in doing so, but had his number taken down for causing interference, so he is back with maidens again today. He is a son of Curlin from a daughter of Rachel Alexandra, so much is expected, and this S. Asmussen-trained sophomore certainly appears headed in the right direction. RACE 4: Post: 12:04 ET Grade: BUse: 4-Salvator Mundi; 6-Hay Dakota; 9-Gun It Forecast: This messy turf mile for second-level allowance older horses is another affair that offers several price chances. Gun It is listed at 10-1 on the morning line and offers a good gamble at that price. He has been winless since the fall of 2019 but has raced on grass only once in his career (a good third place finish in a similar allowance event at Kentucky Downs last September) and today picks up J. Rosario. The S. Asmussen-trained horse is solid on numbers and projects to enjoy a comfortable second flight trip. Hay Dakota, at 8-1 on the morning line, is another “must use.” A two=time winner over the local lawn, the veteran gelding does his best work from off the pace and should have plenty of pace today to set compliment his style. Salvator Mundi is a shipper from California with credentials to be competitive off his best race. The son of Artie Schiller goes for the always-potent P. D’Amato/F. Prat combo (31%) and will have every chance from a mid-pack early position to wear down the leaders in the final furlong. RACE 5: Post: 12:36 ET Grade: BUse: 2-Who Took the Money; 5-Ghazaaly Forecast: Ghazaaly is a progressive Ghostzapper colt with improving speed figures and is fresh from a nice maiden score at Keeneland last month. This is not a particularly strong first-level allowance event so with continued progression the T. Pletcher-trained colt should be capable of winning right back. Who Took the Money is undefeated in three starts – each of his wins have come against Louisiana-bred competition - and today he gets tested in open company. The speed figure he earned two races back at Fair Grounds will make him a very strong fit and arguably the potential favorite and one to beat. We should be able to survive and advance just using these two in our rolling exotics. RACE 6: Post: 1:14 ET Grade: BUse: 5-Got Stormy; 6-Blowout Forecast: Blowout has a history of firing fresh and the C. Brown barn hits at 27% with layoff runners so we are expecting this English-bred mare to fire a big shot in her first outing since being nosed out in the Matriarch S.-G1 last November. She has generally been a front-running type but can stalk and pounce if the pace flow dictates, so F. Prat has the option of taking her back early if he so chooses. Got Stormy made hard work of it to win the Honey Fox S.-G3 in her most recent appearance in February and at age six with 27 races behind her she is probably not quite as good as she once was. Still, the M. Casse-trained mare always has to be respected. The pace should be quick and perhaps contested so her projected second flight, stalking position should have her in the proper position when called upon in the final furlong. We will use both in our rolling exotics and then press a bit keying Blowout on top. RACE 7: Post: 1:56 ET Grade: XSingle: 4-Gamine Forecast: Gamine is listed as the 1/5 morning line favorite, and it will take something unforeseen for her to be upset in the Derby City Distaff S.-G1 at her preferred distance of seven furlongs. The B. Baffert-trained filly did not have to be anywhere near her best to win the Las Flores S.-G3 in her seasonal bow at Santa Anita last month by five lengths and should be expected to be even sharper and fitter today. She can easily establish the pace in a field that lacks another front-running type and then do what she pleases from there as a no value free bingo square for rolling exotic players. RACE 8: Post: 2:48 ET Grade: BUse: 4-Defunded; 5-Prevalence; 8-Dream Shake Forecast: We are going to try to beat the 3-1 morning line favorite Jackie’s Warrior, who may not quite be the same colt that was so impressive and precocious last year. If you would feel more comfortable including him on your rolling exotic ticket, go ahead. Instead, we will focus on three talented 3-year-olds who are turning back from route races to a one-turn mile, a distance that they should be ideally suited for. Dream Shake should enjoy this shortened distance after finishing a willing but weakening third in the Santa Anita Derby. His debut sprint win was spectacular, so if he can duplicate that type of performance today he will be tough to beat. Recent workouts indicate the P. Eurton-trained colt is ready to bounce back in a big way. Defunded was highly impressive breaking his maiden two runs back and then wound up a distant fourth in the Santa Anita Derby-G1 in a race that he probably was not quite ready for. Back around one turn today, removing blinkers, and switching to I. Ortiz, Jr., the gelded son of Dialed In sports a bullet five furlong workout (:59 flat) since raced and looks capable of settling off the pace and then blasting home. Prevalence failed to stay nine furlongs when unplaced in the Wood Memorial S.-G2 last time out and was victimized by traffic most of the way, so we will toss that race out. If he can run back to either of his first two races, the B. Walsh-trained colt can act with these. He is 6-1 on the morning line and that seems about right. RACE 9: Post: 3:40 ET Grade: BUse: 4-Annex; 5-Du Jour; 13-Scarlett Sky Forecast: Annex and Scarlett Sky know each other well – they were heads apart when Annex won the Cutler Bay S. at Gulfstream Park - and then ‘Sky returned to frank the form when winning the Transylvania S.-G3 at Keeneland last month. Both deserve to be well-backed again in this middle distance turf event restricted to 3-year-olds, with Scarlett Sky deserving a very slight nod on top in a race that has sufficient speed signed on to compliment his closing style. We will also toss in the B. Baffert-trained California invader Du Jour, a Temple City colt with rising numbers in each of four outings that include two recent dominating scores against lesser foes. Today we will find out what he is made of. RACE 10: Post: 4:31 ET Grade: B+Use: 2-Mind Control; 5-Tap It to Win; 4-Flagstaff Forecast: We are going to approach this race under the assumption that Whitmore has lost a step or two at age eight with 40 races of wear and tear behind him. The popular gelding may vulnerable again after failing as the favorite when twice beaten by C Z Rocket at Oaklawn Park in his two most recent outings. The son of Pleasantly Perfect is listed at 7/2 in this year’s renewal of the Churchill Downs S.-G1, and while that seems like a square price if you can get it, we will look elsewhere. Tap It to Win got a confidence-building win at Tampa Bay Downs in his comeback in late March and should be able to build on that effort today. In a field without intense early speed, the M. Casse-trained colt should be close up throughout and have every chance from a stalker’s position or maybe even on the front end if the situation presents itself. He is reunited with regular pilot J. Velasquez and appears primed for a career top performance. Flagstaff, pegged as the morning line favorite at 3-1, always is most effective in extended sprints, and after winning the Commonwealth S.-G3 last month at Keeneland he should be a live item right back, though it is puzzling that J. Rosario jumps off to ride Endorsed (listed at 12-1). Mind Control offers good middle-price value at 6-1 and is worth including as well. Four of his seven career wins have been accomplished over this seven furlong distance and with the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. the veteran son of Stay Thirsty projects to settle in the second flight and then be troublesome from the furlong pole to the wire. RACE 11: Post: 5:27 ET Grade: BUse: 3-Colonial Liam; 4-Ivar Forecast: This year’s Turf Classic-G1 is highly contentious, but two appear to stick out in the field of nine. Colonial Liam seeks his fourth straight stakes win and this lightly-raced 4-year-old, with just seven career starts, has room for further improvement as he develops and matures. The T. Pletcher-trained colt prefers to settle in the second flight and then blast home, and with regular jockey I. Ortiz, Jr. remaining aboard – he could have opted for Hollywood Derby-G1 winner Domestic Spending - the son of Colonel Liam looks capable of continuing his winning ways. Ivar, highly-impressive winning the Shadwell Turf Mile-G1 at Keeneland last fall and then a respectable fourth (beaten two lengths) in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile-G1 in November, returns off the bench for low percentage connections at a distance (nine furlongs) that he has never tried before. However, the Brazilian import was bred on Southern Hemisphere time and will not actually turn five until October, so we suspect this winner of five races from eight starts has plenty of improvement still in him. There are others on paper look dangerous, but we will try to survive and advance using just these two, with preference on top to Colonial Liam. RACE 12: Post: 6:57 PT Grade: B+Use: 14-Essential Quality; 15-Rock Your World; 12-Helium Forecast: Here is the bottom line. We very much like Rock Your World to win this year’s Kentucky Derby and this undefeated son of Candy Ride will receive the bulk of our play both in the win pool and in our rolling exotics. Perfect in three starts and the earner of a triple-digit Beyer speed figure when winning the Santa Anita Derby-G1 in his first try on dirt, the J. Sadler-trained colt should be prominent throughout and perhaps even on the lead, just as he was in his most recent victory. However, ‘World was victorious from slightly off the pace in both his maiden win and in the Pasadena S., so the options are there for jockey J. Rosario to adjust to whatever race flow comes his way. Rock Your World is listed at 5-1 on the morning line and we see sufficient wagering value at or near that price. There are two other undefeated colts in the race, and they are at opposite ends of the wagering spectrum. Essential Quality, the 2-1 morning line favorite, is genuine, dependable, versatile, and must be respected, though he is not particularly imposing on speed figures. Helium (50-1) is considerably more dangerous than what the bare form shows in his Tampa Bay Derby-G2 win in a race in which he was forced to lose a considerable amount of ground throughout yet found the type of reserve energy when challenged in the final furlong that only good colts have. You can use all three in exactas and trifectas if you would like, along with other reasonable contenders such as Known Agenda, Hot Rod Charlie, and perhaps even Dynamic One, who at 20-1 should run a career top and may be able sneak in for at least a piece of it. RACE 13: Post: 7:55 PT Grade: B+Use: 4-Prime Factor; 7-One Fast Cat Forecast: This first-level allowance extended sprint for 3-year-olds looks very much like a stakes race and in fact most of these will be competing in added money events in the near future. Prime Factor broke his maiden like a future star sprinting in his debut but then disappointed in a pair subsequent graded stakes races around two turns. Freshened, backing up in trip and adding Lasix for the first time, the son of Quality Road still has a chance to be a decent sort and this race may confirm out suspicion that he is best suited to sprint at this stage of his career. If so, the T. Pletcher-trained colt will be tough to beat. One Fast Cat is progressing nicely for W. Ward, winning his debut over the all-weather surface at Turfway Park in good style and then finishing a close third (beaten less than a length) in a strong allowance sprint at Keeneland last month. The son of Fast Anna switches to J. Rosario, shows a bullet workout since raced, and seems likely to continue his improving pattern. At 5-1 on the morning line, he is a major player. These are the two we will be including in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Prime Factor. RACE 14: Post: 4:25 PT Grade: B+Single: 5-Happy Hepo Forecast: Happy Hepo did not make it the races until June of his 3-year-old season, and after flashing excellent speed before fading to wind up a distant fourth the son of American Pharoah has taken almost a year to make it back to the post. His recent workouts at Santa Anita have been superb – he has been showing superior speed while proving best over some talented workmates - so whatever the issue he had in his debut at Los Alamitos appears to have been corrected. F. Prat taking the call (38% when he hooks up with this barn) and we highly doubt that the B. Baffert-trained colt was put on a plane to Kentucky to be given a race. At 6-1 on the morning line, he is a win play and rolling exotic single to close out a glorious afternoon of racing.

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4.30.2021:

Friday, April 30: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click Here to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Warrens Candy Man; 3-Atomic Drop; 6-Rocks and SaltForecast: State-bred maidens meet over nine furlongs on grass in the Friday opener with at least half the field having a legitimate look. Atomic Drops shows the two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern for a barn that has good stats with this angle, and in a race without much pace he could find himself as the controlling speed. The P. D’Amato-trained gelding has the pedigree to handle the trip and a gets a considerable break in the weights with the switch to bug girl J. Pyfer. Based on his sprint speed figures the son of Mucho Macho Man is a strong fit. Warrens Candy Man is reequipped with blinkers, but we doubt the change will have much effect on his form. The son of Clubhouse Ride projects to enjoy a good ground-saving trip and his one-paced grinding style should be more effective at this longer trip. Rocks and Salt has trained well for his comeback and may be a bit better type this time around. He will race without blinkers for the first time, so we will toss him in on a ticket or two as a back-up or a saver.RACE 2: Post: 1:30 PT Grade: B+Use: 3-Big Treat; 5-DrizellaForecast: Big Treat has trained like a nice filly and appears fit and ready to win the first baby race of the season. The R. Hanson-trained daughter of Mr. Big has displayed sharp speed but also has shown the ability to finish, so with good racing luck we are expecting her to perform to expectations. Drizella also has shown good zip in her a.m. preps and hails from a barn that does very well with 2-year-olds. This daughter of the first crop stallion Stanford breezed smartly at the OBS March Sale (10 seconds flat) and her recent gate work (:47.1hg) on April 19 was good although second best with a stable mate. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we will have extra tickets keying Big Treat on top.RACE 3: Post: 2:08 PT Grade: C+Use: 4-Paynter’s Love; 5-Flag Salute; 7-Circle of HonorForecast: This bottom-rung maiden claiming main track miler for sophomore fillies does not offer much to work with. Circle of Honor and Paynter’s Love, two-three finishers in a similar affair earlier this month, are major players again and both are lightly-raced with room to improve. You can also toss in the class-dropping Flag Salute on your ticket as well though this will be her first start on dirt and her pedigree suggests she should be much more comfortable on grass. Tread lightly here.RACE 4: Post: 2:41 PT Grade: B+Single: 4-Casse BelleForecast: Cassie Belle has so far in her career preferred to finish second or third (eight times) than win (twice), but she appears to have found a field she should be able to handle. Always partial to the Santa Anita turf course, the daughter of Lucky Pulpit has enough tactical speed to always be within range and will have every chance to exert her superiority when the pressure is turned on. J. J. Hernandez stays aboard and knows her well, so at 2-1 on the morning line she is a win play and rolling exotic single in this starter’s allowance turf mile for fillies and mares.RACE 5: Post: 3:15 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Theultimatepraise; 6-Sir FlatterForecast: In a below par race for the level, we will take a shot with the Bay Area shipper Theultimatepraise on top. He is a first-time-blinkers play with steadily rising speed figures and a good inside post, and if sent from the bell could inherit the role as the controlling speed. You should also toss in Sir Flatter, who has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern and a pedigree that suggests he will improve at this longer trip.RACE 6: Post: 3:47 PT Grade: BSingle: 3-BeaudaciousForecast: Beaudacious is a six-race maiden with three runner-up performances on his resume. Today may be his day to graduate in a soft state-bred affair over nine furlongs on grass. With speed figures that are better than par for the level and with enough tactical speed to ensure a good stalking, trouble-free trip, the son of Karakontie picks up “in form” rider K. Desormeaux and should have no difficulties handling this longer trip. We will make him a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 7: Post: 4:19 PT Grade: BUse: 2-She’s a Dime; 3-Midnight JamboreeForecast: She’s a Dime stretches out in her 18th career start and if she is ever going to be successful two-turning it will be in her first attempt. Clearly the controlling speed if she wants to be, the daughter of Eskendereya is a prior winner over the Santa Anita main track and will be tough to catch if front-running tactics are employed under bug boy A. Centeno, who knows her well. Midnight Jamboree projects to enjoy an ideal stalking trip and will have every chance given the likely race flow. Nosed out vs. similar in her most recent outing when more than eight lengths clear of the others, the W. Spawr-trained mare just earned (by far) a career top speed figure and not much morel will be needed today. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 8: Post: 4:51 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Armour Plate; 4-Midnight MysteryForecast: Midnight Mystery did not break well and was always outrun vs. tougher foes last month but today drops for the money run following a couple of extra sharp recent workouts and should be primed for a top effort over a course he has proven he can win on. The lightly-raced gelding projects to part of the pace throughout and at this level should be able to produce a winning punch when called upon. Armour Plate is just 1-for-23 in his career but at least the win was accomplished over the local turf course. He will enjoy a ground-saving, second flight trip and with clear sailing through the lane figures to be heard from late. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we will have extra tickets keying Midnight Mystery on top.

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4.29.2021:

Friday, April 30: Jeff Siegel's Kentucky Oaks Day 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. This race-by-race analysis zeroes in on the Friday, April 30, 2021 13-race card on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs. 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. RACE 1: Post: 10:30AM ET Grade: BUse: 1-Favorite Sin; 2-Pop a Choc Forecast: The Oaks Day card opener is a one-turn mile affair for first-level allowance fillies and mares that finds the main contention drawn inside. Favorite Sin has run well on the lead or from a second-flight stalking position so if she breaks cleanly regular rider C. Lanerie can assess the early pace flow and formulate a strategy. Fresh from earning a career top Beyer speed figure (and one that is par for this level), the daughter of Awesome Again likely has further improvement in her, and after a six week break that features a healthy work pattern in the interim the I. Wilkes-trained filly should fire her best shot. Pop a Choc makes her third start off a layoff and seems to be rounding back to her best form. The daughter of Bernardini has numbers from last summer that are good enough to win this condition and her stalking style seems ideally suited for this trip. RACE 2: Post: 11:00AM ET Grade: B-Use: 2-Front Street; 3-Kizzy B; 6-Seaside Retreat Forecast: Here is another one-turn mile event, this one for maiden fillies and mares. Seaside Retreat, in the frame in all four starts and making her first start since early January, has trained steadily in recent weeks for Shug (solid stats with layoff runners) and will race with blinkers for the first time. She is not particularly fast on speed figures – none of these are - but could easily be better than shown and may have a higher ceiling than most of these. We will give her a slight edge on top. Kizzy B is a nine-race maiden and therefore not one to trust, but for whatever reason she has been routing most of her career despite evidence that suggests she is more comfortable around one turn. She makes a significant jockey change to I. Ortiz, Jr. and projects to be forwardly placed throughout and have every chance. Front Street may wind up being the controlling speed, and if not policed she could get brave and take her foes a long way. She earned a number three races back at this distance that, if repeated, is good enough to win. All three should be included in rolling exotic play. RACE 3: Post: 11:30AM ET Grade: BUse: 4-Australasia; 5-Zainalarab; 7-Amalfi Princess Forecast: Australasia is an unbeaten Louisiana-bred filly tackling open company today for the first time, so we will find out just how good she is. Based strictly on speed figures. The daughter of Sky Kingdom is talented and versatile, having won sprinting and routing and on the lead or from a stalking position. The B. Cox-trained filly catches a field without too much early heat, so we suspect she will draft into a good pace-stalking position and then take on all challengers from the quarter pole home. Zainalarab won her only start last summer at Belmont Park in good style but then was stopped on. She returns for C. Brown (superb stats with layoff runners) with a work tab that should have her fit enough, so the daughter of War Front – a $1 million yearling purchase – is the likely choice and the one to beat. Amalfi Princess ran well to be third in the Beaumont S.-G3 at Keeneland earlier this month while earning a career top speed figure, and with another forward move today should at least hit the board and maybe do better than just that. She is a perfect one-for-one over the Churchill Downs main track and most likely will settle just behind the leaders and then have dead aim when it counts. In a tough, competitive race for the level, these are the three we will be using in our rolling exotics with a slight edge on top to Australasia. RACE 4: Post: 12:05PM ET Grade: BUse: 2-American West; 3-Illiogami; 10-Another Woman Forecast: American West won her debut last fall, so we know she can fire fresh, and then in her second start she finished a good but distant second to the high-quality filly Malathaat in the Tempted Stakes before being given the remainder of the year off. She makes her 3-year-old debut in this allowance optional claimer for C. Brown (a spectacular 29% with layoffs) while adding Lasix and drawing nicely inside in this middle distance main track affair for 3-year-old fillies. Most of her sire’s get improve with age and distance, so we suspect this $925,000 yearling purchase by Curlin will do just that. Illiogami earned a strong speed figure – tops in this field – when breaking her maiden from off the pace over this trip at Keeneland last time out and if she can build on that effort today she will be the one to fear most. Another Woman is drawn a bit farther outside in post position 10 than we would prefer, but after breaking her maiden in her second career start at Gulfstream Park over seven furlongs last month she stretches out and adds blinkers while picking up J. Rosario. The daughter of Broken Vow is a strong fit based on her sprint figures so if she can negotiate a decent trip the W. Mott-trained filly certainly could be capable of winning on the one-level raise. RACE 5: Post: 12:43PM ET Grade: B-Use: 1-Temple; 5-Ramsey Solution; 10-Spooky Channel Forecast: Temple has faced graded stakes competition in each of his last three starts and today tries easier company with a class drop to the third level allowance ranks. He is also shortening to a middle distance after a series off marathon events, and we suspect this turn back in trip (along with class drop) will bring out his best. Drawn comfortably inside and switching to J. Rosario, the M. Maker-trained colt will have every chance to regain his winning form. Ramsey Solution, unbeaten in two prior starts over the sand-based Churchill Downs grass course, does not necessarily need the lead to win but is especially difficult to beat when he is able to make the running. Successful in five of nine career starts, the son of Real Solution is eligible for this race only because he was entered for the $80,000 tag, so with recent numbers that are both fast and consistent the W. Ward-trained gelding is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. Spooky Channel also is eligible due to his entry for the listed claiming price and always has been thoroughly genuine and consistent in various stakes races. He has been primarily a marathoner but can act at this shorter nine furlong trip, and it must be noted that he was victorious in his only prior outing over the local turf course in a middle distance affair that produced a career top speed figure. We will use all three in our rolling exotics with a slight preference to Temple, but in a highly-contentious affair you may find the need to spread a little deeper. RACE 6: Post: 1:26PM ET Grade: XSingle: 6-Maxfield Forecast: Maxfield had his five-race unbeaten winning streak snapped when he finished third without mishap at even money in the Santa Anita Handicap-G1 in early March, but he did equal his career top Beyer speed figure when going down by two lengths to Idol, so we must conclude that he simply got outrun. This year’s edition of the Alysheba S.-G2 is a considerably easier assignment over a main track we know he likes (he is perfect in two starts), and the switch back to his original regular jockey J. Ortiz, Jr. won hurt, either. There will be no value to be found at or near his morning line of 4/5, so our strategy is to use him a short-priced rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race. RACE 7: Post: 2:09PM ET Grade: XSingle: 6-Aunt Pearl Forecast: Aunt Pearl makes her sophomore debut in her first outing since concluding her unbeaten 2-year-old season with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf-G1 at Keeneland last November. Victorious in all three of her starts in gate-to-wire fashion, the daughter of Lope de Vegas appears to have trained well enough to be fit and ready for a barn that excels with comebackers (25%), and with a projected race flow that should allow her to easily gain her preferred trip the Irish-bred filly will be an extremely short price to pick up where she left off. She is another odds-on favorite that probably will win but will be too short to play, so we will use her as rolling exotic single and then simply enjoy the show. RACE 8: Post: 3:03PM ET Grade: BUse: 1-Envoutante; 2-Shedaresthedevil; 3-Dunbar Road Forecast: We are hoping for a mild upset in the 2021 edition of the La Troienne S.-G1, an outstanding middle distance main track event for top class fillies and mares. Envoutante, fourth in the Azeri S.-G2 at Oaklawn Park last time out but beaten less than three lengths, is perfect in two prior outings at Churchill Downs, including a six-length romp in the Fall City S.-G2 last fall that earned a career top Beyer figure (one that equals the best produced by race-favorite Shedaresthedevil). She is daughter of Uncle Mo listed at 6-1 on the morning line, and from the rail she is guaranteed an ideal ground-saving, pace-stalking trip. If she is ever going to be good enough to win a race of this quality, today will be the day. Shedaresthedevil, winner of last year’s Kentucky Oaks and a perfect three-for-three over the Churchill Downs main track, returned off a five month layoff and held off Letruska to win the Azeri S.-G2 at Oaklawn Park last month, and then saw the form franked when Letruska returned to beat Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver in the Apple Blossom S.-G1 earlier this month. Clearly, she is the one to beat. Though subjected to hard, taxing effort in the Azeri, the daughter of Daredevil has been given ample time to recover (more than six weeks) and her recent workouts indicate she spot on for another big effort. Dunbar Road, a closing third in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff G1 when last seen last fall, has a history of firing fresh and is a prior stakes winner over this track and distance in her only previous appearance. You have to use her somewhere. RACE 9: Post: 4:04PM ET Grade: B+Use: 8-Kalypso; 10-Dayoutoftheoffice; 12-Caramel Swirl Forecast: Dayoutoftheoffice won her first three starts last year as a potential champion but could not quite see out the trip when weakening late to finish third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies-G1 in her first try around two-turns. She returns sprinting – this is what she wants to do – and if ready seems likely to outclass this field in an excellent renewal of the Eight Bells S.-G2 for sophomore fillies. The recent workouts – including a :58 flat five furlong drill at Keeneland last Friday - would appear to indicate that the daughter of Into Mischief has retained all of her speed and is ready to use it. The B. Baffert California shipper Kalypso is not nearly as fast on pure numbers as the favorite but like Dayoutoftheoffice is back sprinting where she belongs and was a graded stakes winner this winter at Santa Anita at this exact seven furlong distance. We are expecting the daughter of Brody’s Cause to run a career top today, but it remains to be seen if that will be good enough. Caramel Swirl is listed at 12-1 on the morning line and at that price is worth tossing in as saver or a backup in rolling exotic play. A big figure maiden winner at Keeneland earlier this month over seven furlongs, the W. Mott-trained daughter of Union Rags will have clear sailing outside and could be dangerous if held up early and allowed to run late. It has taken some good fillies to beat her and perhaps she is ready to finally beat a few good ones herself. RACE 10: Post: 4:55PM ET Grade: BUse: 3-Fiya; 9-Diamond Oops; 10-Sombeyay Forecast: Fiya is a perfect five-for-five sprinting on grass during his brief but brilliant career and the Maryland-bred gelding can pick up where he left off in December when winning a Claiming Crown turf dash in his typical gate-to-wire fashion. This is his toughest assignment to date – for the first time he will be facing non-restricted company – but based purely on speed figures the son of Friesan Fire is quick enough to make the lead and keep on going. His recent work tab should have him plenty fit enough. Sombeyay is a California shipper trained by P. Miller – is there anybody more skilled than this trainer with sprinters, turf or dirt? – and seems to represent the most dangerous of the stalkers/closers contingent. The son of Into Mischief missed by a neck to Gregorian Chant in the San Simeon S.-G3 last time out and then saw that one come back to win again over the weekend in a good overnight affair. Diamond Oops won this race when it was staged last September, doing so with a furious late kick over a course with give in the ground that may be quite like what he will encounter in this race. Reunited with “win rider” F. Geroux, the P. Biancone-trained gelding often rises to the occasion when the stakes are high, so it would not be surprising to see the son of Lookin At Lucky make some serious noise at 5-1 on the morning line. RACE 11: Post: 5:51PM ET Grade: BUse: 6-Travel Column; 10-Malathaat; 12-Search Results Forecast: Travel Column, victorious in the Fair Grounds Oaks in visually pleasing style last month, has the type of tactical speed that usually ensures a trouble-free, pace-stalking trip in this year’s renewal of the Kentucky Oaks-G1. The B. Cox-trained daughter of Frosted is fast on numbers and has the pedigree to excel at today’s nine furlong trip, plus she is unbeaten in two starts over the Churchill Downs main track, including a win last fall in the Golden Rod S.-G2. We will give her a very slight edge on top. Malathaat probably was not completely cranked up when winning the recent Ashland S.-G1 in her first start since December but with that effort to tighten her up the daughter of Curlin should be primed and ready for a career top performance. She does not own an exceptional turn of foot but can grind away forever and as such should continue to develop as the distances increase. She is back with Johnny V., who won the Demoiselle S.-G2 on her at this nine furlong distance last December for trainer T. Pletcher. Search Results has not yet beaten anything close to the level of either Travel Column or Malathaat so far in her perfect three race career but did run two fifths of a second faster at the same distance on the same day as the colts did in the Wood Memorial S.-G2, so that alone makes her dangerous. The C. Brown-trained filly projects to be in a good pace-stalking position outside and have her chance to show she belongs with the big girls in the division. RACE 12: Post: 6:25 PT Grade: BUse: 2-Mintd; 8-More Than Usual; 9-Woke Up to Aces Forecast: More Than Usual is fast on figures and good enough to win this second-level allowance turf miler for fillies and mares with anything close to her highly impressive score two runs back at Fair Grounds. She wants to settle, get cover, and then produce a late kick and with that type of rider from F. Geroux the daughter of More Than Ready should be along in plenty of time. Mintd, away since July, returns for a stable that boasts superior stats with comebackers and this Irish-bred filly won her U.S. debut last year in her first start in 20 months so, yes, she can fire fresh. The B. Walsh-trained mare has done some good work leading up to this event, so we suspect she is extremely live and well-meant, especially with I. Ortiz, Jr. picking up the mount. Woke Up to Aces does not have the form to worry our top two picks but she will be lone speed and, for whatever it is worth, looked quite good demolishing a lesser field over the synthetic surface at Turfway Park last month. Two recent bullet workouts since that race catch the eye, so we will toss her in on a ticket or two for protection in rolling exotic play. RACE 13: Post: 7:00 ET Grade: B-Use: 3-Magic Quest; 10-Played Hard; 11-Callen’s Charisma Forecast: Callen’s Charisma was five lengths clear of the rest when a willing runner-up in her debut at Gulfstream Park last month and seems sure to improve for W. Mott with that effort behind her combined with the major jockey switch to J. Rosario. The daughter of Munnings is comfortably drawn outside and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Played Hard also was second in her only prior outing and is another that has every right to produce a forward move. She earned a bit better speed figure that on our top in her race Fair Grounds and maidens making their second start from this stable almost always step forward. Magic Quest missed by a neck in her debut at Keeneland earlier this month and is yet another that should be fitter and tighter today. The daughter of Nyquist exits a productive race and seems sure to flash the type of early speed that could make her the quickest in the field. These are the three we will be using equally in our rolling exotics.

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4.29.2021:

2021 Kentucky Derby Horse-by-Horse Analysis & Selections

This Blog has Been UPDATED due to the Scratch of #16 KING FURYLast week, in this space, we outlined pros and cons for each probable Kentucky Derby starter. Some has changed since then. Horses have moved in and out of the lineup and we know post positions. We’ve also had additional time to further review races, workouts, gallops, past performances, speed figs and selections from fellow analysts. The most critical change from last week is that Caddo River was withdrawn from the Derby. He was expected to be part of the early Derby pace. With him out of the lineup, it figures to promote the chances of frontrunners, especially Rock Your World, winner of the Santa Anita Derby. More on the pace picture later. Favorite Essential Quality is versatile and will need to work out a trip without losing too much ground. Trainer Brad Cox, obviously, would some appreciate additional early speed up front. Such an early blast could come from the Bob Baffert trained Medina Spirit. He couldn’t keep pace with Rock Your World in Arcadia but presumably will be sent more aggressively from the gate this time.  Despite the fact that Medina Spirit isn’t the traditional Bob Baffert speedy Derby winner with a high cruising speed, the Hall of Fame trainer knows he and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez know their best chance to defeat Rock Your World is to outrun him early, if possible. Big picture, for yours truly, handicapping this 147th Kentucky Derby comes down to three decisions: How strong to bank on favorite Essential Quality? What to do with Rock Your World? Which longshots are liable to hit the exotics, if any? Answers to those questions will be based on a variety of factors and governed by the weight of the almighty dollar. Each bankroll is different, but no player can use the entire field. When it comes to constructing Kentucky Derby exotic tickets, you gotta break some eggs! Toss some horses. Cut costs. And the only way for that to happen is for you to make some executive decisions regarding which horses you can live without. Below is a complete Horse-by-Horse Analysis of the Kentucky Derby starters with Pro and Con comments followed by a Bottom Line assessment for each. In conclusion, we wrapped things up with a neat bow for you in the Suggested Wager section. Hopefully, that bow is tightly wound around some valuable information. Otherwise, when the dust clears Saturday night after the 147th Kentucky Derby, we’ll have to settle for ‘losing intelligently.’ Not nearly as much fun as ‘foolishly winning.’1. KNOWN AGENDA (Pletcher/Ortiz Jr.) // 6/1  Pro: He upset Florida Derby favorite Greatest Honour and powered to a nearly three-length triumph at 9/2 odds for certain Hall-of-Fame trainer and two-time Kentucky Derby winner Todd Pletcher. That was his fourth one mile and one-eighth race with three wins. The Florida Derby is a sterling proving ground for KY Derby winners. In the last 15 years, six Florida Derby winners have triumphed in Louisville (including Maximum Security, who was disqualified). Three-time Eclipse Award winning jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. is 2-for-2 aboard Essential Quality. The colt woke up when blinkers were added in an 11-length Gulfstream allowance victory, the race before the Florida Derby. Both the allowance race and Florida Derby were one mile and one-eighth races. Con: Florida Derby was colt’s first race with a Beyer Speed Figure over 90 at 94 and that’s a bit below what’s needed in here. Didn’t fire at all as favorite in the Gr. 3 Sam F. Davis. Has been training so-so at Churchill, but he’s known as an inferior work horse. Bore out a bit in the stretch of the Florida Derby. Expect him to race in the second flight and that’s not where most recent Derby winners have come from. The rail draw isn’t the best place to start but it may not be as bad as in previous years because of a new 20 stall starting gate that provides more room to maneuver along the rail. Bottom Line: The Pletcher/Ortiz, Jr. combination is enough to make this one a strong exotics contender and a slight win threat. A Florida Derby win and an unbeaten record going one mile and one-eighth with blinkers headline plenty to like. The Sam Davis dud is a drawback. He’s another runner in the field that resides in the ‘can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em’ camp. If the rail isn’t as big a hindrance as in the past, this colt could ride it and save ground much of the way and, perhaps, turn the post into an advantage. No jock in the world rides better than Irad Ortiz, Jr.  2. LIKE THE KING (Ward/Van Dyke) // 50/1  Pro: Overcame trouble to win the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway last out. Has three wins from six starts. Beyer and Thoro-Graph figs have improved recently. Con: Two dirt tries are not good. Best races are on synthetic surfaces and turf. While improved, overall figures are slow.  Bottom Line: Figures are improving but still far from what’s needed in here. Moving from a synthetic to dirt surface is often a challenge and no horse needs additional challenges in the Kentucky Derby. This guy already has two dirt races that are unimpressive with minor excuses. In a 20-horse field, from the two-hole, he should eat plenty of dirt and that won’t be fun. We’ll pass.3. BROOKLYN STRONG (Velazquez/Rispoli) // 50/1 Pro: He had a strong 2-year-old season with three wins in four races, including the Gr. 2 Remsen where he defeated Derby contender Known Agenda. Sick earlier this year, he got a late start and finished fifth in the Wood behind Bourbonic and Dynamic One. Con: Gr. 2 Remsen was nice victory, but he hasn’t done anything at three and the Derby is a difficult place to move forward. He has one race (Remsen) out of five that fits well. Bottom Line: He got a late start on his 3-year-old season with just one race. It’s asking way too much for him to be ready for his best going a mile and one-quarter against 19 foes in just his second start of 2021. Pass.4. KEEPMEINMIND (Diodoro/Cohen) // 50/1 Pro: At two, he finished less than four lengths behind Derby favorite Essential Quality twice—once in the Gr. 1 Breeders’ Futurity and then in the Gr. 1 BC Juvenile. Derby contender Hot Rod Charlie split Keepmeinmind and Essential Quality in the BC Juvenile and this horse out finished Derby foe Super Stock in the Futurity. Based on those company lines, he fits. He also won the Gr. 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs to close out the year. Con: His 3-year-old season was compromised by poor weather in Arkansas and he’s never fully recovered. He was well-beaten in his only two races this year, beaten double digit lengths in the Blue Grass by Derby foes Essential Quality and Highly Motivated. Bottom Line: For him to turn his 3-year-old form around in the blink of an eye and in the Kentucky Derby would be a real surprise. Some horses are precocious at two and just don’t mature as much at three. Seems the case here.5. SAINTHOOD (Pletcher/Lanerie) // 50/1  Pro: He’s run just three times and never been worse than second, including a runner-up effort last out at Turfway Park in the Gr. 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks behind Derby foe Like the King. He ran into plenty of trouble in that race that probably cost him the victory—was stopped cold in the stretch and then re-rallied. Con: He’s just not fast enough on speed figures. Plus, he didn’t race at two and he’s no Justify (the only horse since 1915 to have won the Kentucky Derby without starting as a 2-year-old). Bottom Line: He’s shown ability in just three career races over two surfaces at three different tracks. With any luck at all, he could have entered this race unbeaten. Did not make his first start until Jan. 8, so no race at two. He’s got talent, the right trainer and jockey Corey Lanerie knows his way around Churchill Downs. All considered, it’s a big ask to hit the board in here.6. O BESOS (Foley/Pedroza) // 20/1 Pro: His Beyer Speed Figures and Thoro-Graph numbers have improved with each race, always a great sign, and his last-out figures fit in here. He finished third, just two lengths behind Hot Rod Charlie and a head behind Midnight Bourbon in the Gr. 2 Louisiana Derby. He comes from off the pace and ought to appreciate the added distance of the Derby. He hasn’t missed a beat since his first start November 22--raced at least once every month and has thrived. His father Orb won the Kentucky Derby. Con: He hasn’t raced since March 20, a bit longer layoff than is ideal. His bloodlines have scattered: Sire Orb has been sold to South American interests and damsire Soto has been shipped to Saudi Arabia. He did not run well at Churchill first time out in a ‘sloppy’ sprint. Bottom Line: He’s clearly sound, tries and is playing a ‘home game’ at Churchill Downs. He’s worked well for this race and trainer Greg Foley is a Louisville native, along with Brad Cox, trainer of Essential Quality and Mandaloun. This colt made a big leap forward in his last race when he rode the rail to be a fast-closing third, just a head behind Derby foe Midnight Bourbon. Was that too much of an effort for him? Doubt he can win this race but, if you’re looking for a price horse that’s going to try to hit the superfecta, you could do worse than O Besos.7. MANDALOUN (Cox/Geroux) // 15/1 Pro: He’s always been highly regarded—favored in all five races--and won the Gr. 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds two races back while first-time blinkers. He’s often just behind the leaders early and that will find him among a group of runners with a similar stalking style. He won a seven-furlong allowance race at Churchill Downs, so you know he likes the track. Trainer Brad Cox also has Derby favorite Essential Quality in the race. Con: Ran a no-excuse, absolute stinker as favorite in the Louisiana Derby and horses entering the Derby off poor preps rarely win Louisville’s main event-- since 1940, horses that finished fourth or worse in their final prep have won Derby just twice. Has been away from the races since March 20 and that’s a bit longer than is ideal. His pedigree is a bit ‘speed over stamina.’ If you like him, you almost have to like Midnight Bourbon and vice-versa. Bottom Line: He’s been working well at Churchill and looks great. His Beyer and Thoro-Graph figs were forward moving nicely before he wet the bed in the Louisiana Derby. Trainer Brad Cox genuinely seems confused by the poor effort. If one is of a forgiving nature, and if the price is right, this guy easily could be used in exotics but not to win. No matter the excuse, the Kentucky Derby is not the place to attempt to ‘bounce back’ from a crushing defeat.8. MEDINA SPIRIT (Baffert/Velazquez) // 15/1 Pro: Hails from the Bob Baffert stable, as the trainer seeks his record-setting seventh Kentucky Derby triumph. This colt’s been a steady performer this season and never worse than second in five career starts on the tough SoCal circuit. Three defeats--two to the outstanding Life is Good and one to Kentucky Derby probable second choice Rock Your World in the SA Derby--are the only blemishes on his resume. He’s got speed and may use it to lead or force the Derby pace under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. Con: He was soundly defeated as favorite by Kentucky Derby foe Rock Your World last out in the Gr. 1 Santa Anita Derby. Medina Spirit has made 4 starts already this year and that’s not ideal, according to J. Keeler Johnson at AmericasBestRacing.net, “Between 2005 and 2018, every Kentucky Derby winner competed in just two or three races between January and April of their 3-year-old season.” Country House, 2019 Derby winner via disqualification had 4 starts in the timeframe, as did Authentic who won the COVID delayed 2020 Derby in September. While Medina Spirit’s speed figures haven’t gone backward, they haven’t improved, either. At this time of year, sophomore runners should be getting faster. Had minor throat surgery in 2021. Bottom Line: Caddo River’s Derby defection helps this guy’s chances of being part of what seems like a reasonable early pace. That’s good news because Medina Spirit doesn’t quit. In five races, he’s never been passed by another horse when it counts. He ran a 99 Beyer figure in his second lifetime start in January and has broken the 90 mark in each race since. The drawback with him is that he hasn’t passed a horse when it counts, either. He looks like a solid exotics player with a tiny sliver of a ‘win’ chance.    9. HOT ROD CHARLIE (O'Neill/Prat) // 8/1  Pro: Went virtually wire-to-wire to win the Gr. 2 Louisiana Derby and earn the Kentucky Derby’s second highest Beyer Speed Figure at 99—his previous two races were 94s. Has not been off the board in his last four starts--all on dirt and around two turns with blinkers (third by a neck was the worst finish). Was just three-quarters of a length behind eventual 2-year-old champion and Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality in BC Juvenile at 94-1 in November, when he was still learning how to run. Was in a desperate photo finish with fellow Derby starter Medina Spirit in January’s Robert B. Lewis, his first start since November. Expect him to be just behind the early leaders in the Kentucky Derby. Will be ridden by SoCal top jock Flavien Prat. Worked splendidly at Santa Anita before shipping to Kentucky. Con: Since 1956, only two KY Derby winners had layoffs of six weeks or more between their final prep races and the Kentucky Derby—Animal Kingdom 2011 and Authentic 2020. Jockey Joel Rosario, who rode this colt to win the Louisiana Derby and eventually ended up on Rock Your World, initially chose Baffert-trained Concert Tour over this colt. That might have been more out of allegiance to the powerful Baffert stable than anything else, but it’s worth noting. Bottom Line: This colt’s improving and, if he fires like he did in the BC Juvenile, he’s got a real chance to win. His best was six weeks ago, a bit longer of a layoff than has been most successful, although the Louisiana Derby was at a mile and three-sixteenths this year instead of one mile and one-eighth. He’s worked very well at Santa Anita since. He’s fast enough overall to have a say in here and deserves much respect for two-time Kentucky Derby trainer Doug O’Neill.10. MIDNIGHT BOURBON (Asmussen/Smith) // 20/1  Pro: Is very consistent—7 for 7 in the money, with two wins. His recent Beyer Speed Figures are steady and competitive—two 96s and a 93. All winter, he’s acted with the best sophs in Louisiana. Won the Gr. 3 Lecomte, was a close third in Gr. 2 Risen Star to Mandaloun and was a close second to Hot Rod Charlie in Gr. 2 Louisiana Derby. Has enough speed to be in contention from the start. He worked well at Churchill Downs the week before the Derby. Con: Doesn’t have enough speed to make the lead and hasn’t shown that he can close with authority—he’s lost ground on the winner in the stretch of his last two races. He’s been away from the races since March 20 and that’s a bit longer than is ideal. After a bit rank and quick workout at Churchill, over a week before the Derby, he briefly got loose from handlers on the backside while bathing. The incident appears to have had no bearing on subsequent training. He’s looked great. Bottom Line: He’s looked great at Churchill in pre-Derby gallops and drills. A saddle switch to Hall-of-Fame jockey Mike Smith is an interesting move. Jockey Joe Talamo had ridden him to in-the-money finishes in all three Louisiana soph starts. Why the change? Probably because connections feel the colt is progressing well and they want to take their best shot in the Kentucky Derby. He’s improved steadily as a 3-year-old but needs one more step forward to be considered a strong threat in here. Based on his lack of much late punch (one more jump in the Louisiana Derby and Derby longshot O Besos would have nailed him for second) the Derby distance is a question. A win would surpise; an in-the-money finish would not.11. DYNAMIC ONE (Pletcher/Ortiz) // 20/1 Pro: He’s one of four in this race trained by certain Hall of Fame resident Todd Pletcher, a two-time Derby winning conditioner. He just missed winning the Gr. 2 Wood Memorial when he was gunned down in the final strides by stablemate Bourbonic. He’s started three times this year, including twice at one mile and one-eighth. His last race Thoro-Graph figure fits fairly well in here. At two, in his second start, he finished a close second to Greatest Honour, the then top 2-year-old colt in the east. Con: The 2021 Gr. 2 Wood was the slowest renewal ever. It took this colt four starts to break maiden. He hasn’t run a Beyer Speed Figure over 90 and no horse has gone from the Wood to success in the Derby since Funny Cide in 2003. Bottom Line: It would be easy to react to the slow Wood result by summarily dismissing any runners advancing from there to the Kentucky Derby. We’ve followed that exact path for years and the move’s usually been advantageous. This year, however, several respected analysts, including Jerry Brown of Thoro-Graph, give this horse a serious chance to win the race. It would be difficult for us to reach that far, but this colt, to be ridden again by Jose Ortiz, has trained well at Churchill and has Thoro-Graph number power to be competitive at a huge number.12. HELIUM (Casse/Leparoux) // 50/1 Pro: He’s unbeaten in three starts and won the Gr. 2 Tampa Bay Derby last out. He’s won on both synthetic and dirt. Trainer Mark Casse has recruited one of his favorite jockeys Julien Leparoux to ride this colt for the first time in the Derby. Casse also has Soup and Sandwich in the race. Con: This colt’s been away from the races for eight weeks and, historically, that’s too long. He’s also raced just once at three and the only Derby runner to do well off that pattern is Challendon who finished second in 1937. Helium has never raced longer than one mile and one-sixteenth. Bottom Line: Unbeaten runners should always be respected. However, this guy’s tackling too many hills in one climb for our tastes. Inexperience, layoff, distance…too much.13. HIDDEN STASH (Oliver/Bejarano) // 50/1 Pro: He’s likely to be running on at the end of the Derby. In a race with a few speed horses and plenty of ‘pressers,’ this guy will come running late. He just missed winning the Gr. 2 Tampa Bay Derby and the Gr. 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa, so he fits in graded stakes. Plus, his Beyer Speed Figures are steadily improving—from a pair of 64s in his first two starts to a 74 & 78 next, to a trio of figures in the low 80s. He also has a win and a third at Churchill Downs. Con: In seven starts he hasn’t posted a Beyer or Thoro-Graph figure that makes him really competitive in here. True, he’s a closer. But he had dead-aim on Helium in the Tampa Bay Derby and couldn’t run him down. He sometimes doesn’t change leads in the stretch. Bottom Line: He’s an improving sort that isn’t quite fast enough to be a major threat in here. He runs on late, so, if you want to use him in the bottom of a superfecta, OK, but even then he’s a bit of a reach. He will be a large price in here. For larger tickets only.    14. ESSENTIAL QUALITY (Cox/Saez) // 2/1 Pro: Unbeaten in 5 starts and the 2-year-old Champ, his versatile running style is handy in a large field. He has a win over the Churchill Downs strip. Trainer Brad Cox won 2020 Eclipse Award as best in the nation. Jockey Luis Saez seeks redemption for disqualification of Derby first-across-the-finish mount Maximum Security in 2019. Beyer Speed Figures have increased with each race, a great sign in a 3-year-old. Has the two fastest Thoro-Graph figures of any horse in the field. 49 Champion 2-year-olds have raced in the Derby with 12 wins, 11 seconds and three thirds. Con: Hasn’t ever posted a triple digit Beyer Speed figure. Took a slight backward step in the Blue Grass, according to Thoro-Graph figures, but it remains the fastest in the race. Blue Grass winning margin was his smallest ever. Last Blue Grass winner to win Derby was Strike the Gold 1991. Since 1984, just 2 BC Juvenile winners have won the Derby (Street Sense 2006 and Nyquist 2016). Wings his left front leg outward when he runs. Poor mechanics ultimately might affect performance, especially at longer distances. He’s posted unimpressive workouts at Churchill, but insiders say, ‘that’s just him.’ Most importantly (wink, wink), according to T. D. Thornton in TDN, grays (or roans) are 0-31 in the Derby since Giacomo in 2005 (and he was 50-1!). Bottom Line: He’s the favorite and the one to beat…but he doesn’t appear unbeatable. While he doesn’t inspire visions of the all-time greats, he hasn’t tasted defeat. His versatile running style is an advantage and, coupled with his will to win, make him a formidable but not unbeatable Derby runner. There’s little reason to think that he won’t fire a solid effort Saturday, but he can’t afford to take too much of a backward step. His edge isn’t massive. 15. ROCK YOUR WORLD (Sadler/Rosario) // 5/1 Pro: Went wire-to-wire to win the Gr. 1 Santa Anita Derby--one of the top all-time producing Kentucky Derby prep races—and all seven of the most recent KY Derby winners set or tracked the pace from no farther back than third (that includes Maximum Security who was disqualified). The Gr. 1 Santa Anita Derby was this colt’s first start on dirt after two wins on turf. In the GR. 1 Santa Anita Derby he earned the highest Beyer Speed Figure of anyone in the KY Derby field—100. Six of last 10 Kentucky Derby winners wintered in CA. Con: Since 1882, only two horses have won the Derby without starting at age two. The drought is called the ‘Apollo Jinx’ but since Justify did it in 2018 everyone’s pretty much forgotten about it. We haven’t. This colt began his career Jan. 1, so it’s really a matter of just 24-hours between 2-year-old and 3-year-old seasons. Still, the theory remains that a horse must be incredibly special to win the Kentucky Derby without first racing at two. Rock Your World has speed and should make the lead in the Derby. If he doesn’t make the lead, it will be a new experience for him taking kickback. He finished the final three-eighths of a mile in the SA Derby in more than :38 seconds. 18 of the last 23 KY Derby winners were at :38 or less coming home in final preps.  Bottom Line: When it was announced that Caddo River would pass the Kentucky Derby you could hear champagne corks popping from Arcadia to Louisville. Rock Your World’s connections have to be pleased that the early pace under the Spires figures to be quite less frenetic. The wire-to-wire winner of the Santa Anita Derby may try similar tactics Saturday. He’s bred to get the distance. The only fly in his ointment is his inexperience. Just three races lifetime and just one on the dirt. That previously has not been a recipe for Derby success, but times have changed. Have they changed that drastically? Probably not, but this guy’s too talented to completely ignore. On the other hand, if you’re believe that three lifetime races (and one on dirt) is not enough, hold your breath and leave him completely off your tickets.16. KING FURY (McPeek/Hernandez Jr.) // 20/1   *SCRATCHED* Pro: Has a great 2-year-old base with five starts in 2020. He roared past all foes over a sloppy track to win the Lexington Stakes. He’s looked great on the track Derby week. Trainer Ken McPeek, known to upset a few apple carts over the years, has been outspoken about this one’s talent. He was fortunate to get into the race because of a few defections and it could be his lucky year. He loves Churchill Downs with two wins in three starts there. Con: He may have used up all his luck drawing into the race. The 2-year-old base is solid, but just one race at three is not a traditionally successful approach to the Kentucky Derby. He comes back fairly quickly from an April 10 Lexington score at Keeneland. His two previous Grade 1 races turned were disasters. Bottom Line: Great base with five races in three months at two and a powerful score in the Lexington slop. He’s looked great at Churchill Derby week and has two wins in three starts. He’s going to come from off the pace and his outside draw could force him to go wide. He’s not a win candidate here, but he’s a possible lower-end exotic player at a huge price.17. HIGHLY MOTIVATED (Brown/Castellano) // 10/1 Pro: Nearly went wire-to-wire to defeat Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality in the Gr. 2 Blue Grass but came up a neck short. It was this colt’s first try around two turns and only his second race since early November, so he could improve in the Derby. His Beyer and Thoro-Graph figures are very competitive, and he’s had just five career starts, so there could be more in the tank for patient trainer Chad Brown.  Con: Late in the Gr. 2 Blue Grass he drifted out and jumped back over to his left lead. That shifting around may have cost him the race…or not. Either way, Essential Quality was pulling clear in the final strides. How is the Derby going to be any different going one mile and one-quarter without Highly Motivated on an easy early lead? Trainer Chad Brown suggests that this colt wants to stalk instead of lead and that that style will carry him the distance. Bottom Line: Second a neck to the Derby favorite last time out, he fits on paper. Especially when you consider that that race was his first career two-turn race. A bit of improvement puts him in the picture. He ought to be able to stalk the early pace and be in a good position to fire. There is some concern about his ability to do his best at the distance. He’s a slight win contender and a definite in-the-money player.18. SUPER STOCK (Asmussen/Santana Jr.) // 30/1 Pro: Exploded to win the Arkansas Derby, a traditionally strong Derby prep race, at 12-1. Finished third, less than five lengths behind Derby favorite Essential Quality in Breeders Futurity. Has the most experience of any horse in the race with eight starts. Con: Has just one Beyer Figure over 90 at 92. Has just one race that’s even remotely fast enough to compete in here, according to Thoro-Graph figures. Finished second to Lexington Stakes upset winner and probable Kentucky Derby also-eligible King Fury in the Street Sense at Churchill. Only other win came in a five and one-half furlong restricted race at Lone Star. Bottom Line: Based on his previous races, we’re going to consider his Arkansas Derby triumph as a ‘king-for-a-day’ performance. It was nine Beyer points higher than anything else he’s produced in seven previous starts and four Thoro-Graph points better than his earlier work. Great story with this horse and Hall-of-Fame trainer Steve Asmussen’s family but don’t see a ‘Hollywood ending’ summoning tears in the Louisville winner’s circle.19. SOUP AND SANDWICH (Casse/Gaffalione) // 30/1 Pro: Great name for colt owned by Charlotte Webber, granddaughter of founder of Campbell’s Soup company. Colt has a big stride and has two wins out of three races—a state-bred maiden at Gulfstream and a first-level allowance race at Tampa. He finished second to Known Agenda in the Gr. 1 Florida Derby last out. Trainer Mark Casse has recruited favorite rider Tyler Gaffalione to pilot. Con: His Florida Derby effort was OK but once favorite Greatest Honour failed to show up the race was fairly empty. He was green in his lowly-rated Tampa win and didn’t change leads in the Florida Derby. He races close to the pace and he will find the early Derby scrum a bit more challenging than anything he’s ever experienced. Bottom Line: Reports from Louisville suggest that this guy isn’t the smoothest morning mover. He’s also been headstrong in the morning. His last race was a huge performance based on Thoro-Graph figures and that effort will be difficult to repeat. His early running style should add some pace to the race before he retires toward the back of the field.20. BOURBONIC (Pletcher/Carmouche) // 30/1  Pro: As a representative of the red-hot Todd Pletcher stable, he upended the Gr. 2 Wood Memorial at 72-1 over stablemate and fellow Kentucky Derby starter Dynamic One. It was easily the best race of his career and was his third win in just six starts. Con: His Wood victory came in the slowest renewal ever and the only Wood winner to also win the Derby in 40 years is Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000. Those aren’t encouraging items. Bourbonic hasn’t cracked the 90 Beyer Speed Figure mark in six starts. He has no early speed and that’s not the best recent Derby-winning style. His Churchill Downs works haven’t been notable. He once raced for a $50k maiden claiming tag and the number 20 post position will be a challenge. Bottom Line: Didn’t attend the Wood ‘wedding’ at 72-1 and don’t plan on making it to the funeral. Slowest Wood ever should not translate to Kentucky Derby success. We’ll pass on this one while rooting for fan-friendly jockey Kendrick Carmouche.HOW THE RACE WILL BE RUN Early: #8 Medina Spirit is asked to show speed from the inside and #15 Rock Your World goes to the front from the outside. #19 Soup and Sandwich also has early speed and will use it to get over from the far outside but won’t be able to match the inside two. How much energy either #8 Medina Spirit or #15 Rock Your World uses to gain the lead could decide what happens later. #1 Known Agenda should be able to leave the rail without much issue. He has no speed horses next to him for at least six spots until the trio of #7 Mandaloun, #9 Hot Rod Charlie and #10 Midnight Bourbon. #1 Known Agenda will get a comfortable spot inside and behind those second flight runners. From the outside, #17 Highly Motivated will look to find a spot alongside or just behind the second flight. Down the Backside: How they sort out early…with either #8 Medina Spirit or #15 Rock Your World in front… will be the position they head down the backside. #19 Soup and Sandwich should be in third at this point, closely joined by #7 Mandaloun inside, #9 Hot Rod Charlie and #10 Midnight Bourbon. Riding the rail down the backside will be #1 Known Agenda. Favorite #17 Highly Motivated will either have gained position alongside or just behind the second flight trio. Jockey Saez is not known for waiting around for things to happen, so he may attempt to get a closer early position before this point. He will want to be outside of horses and in reasonable proximity to the leaders. Those racing behind the above-mentioned runners will be attempting to save as much ground as possible while hoping the boys up front are moving along at a rapid pace. On the Turn: This is where Derby moves are made. As much as the mile and one-quarter distance and length of the Churchill stretch are discussed, jockeys and trainers know that it’s best, turning for home, to be on or near the lead. How much starch will #8 Medina Spirit and #15 Rock Your World take out of each other? Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez on the former and current superstar Joel Rosario aren’t fools. They’re also friends. They share an agent. They know not to go too fast, too early. It’s possible they could race 1-2 around the track. However, this is the Kentucky Derby and friends or no friends both riders will do their best to win. And #8 Medina Spirit’s best chance is to dog #15 Rock Your World early, force him to crack and then hold off all closers. Is #15 Rock Your World good enough to handle more early pressure than he got in the Santa Anita Derby? The favorite will make his move toward contention on the turn, probably three or four paths wide. Expect #9 Hot Rod Charlie to be moving, too. #1 Known Agenda will be gaining on the inside under Irad Ortiz, Jr., trying to pick his way through the cavalry charge a la Calvin Borel. If they save ground on the turn to reach contention, look out in the lane. Whatever has gone on mid-pack between #7 Mandaloun, #10 Midnight Bourbon and #17 Highly Motivated will leave some firing and some looking for a soft spot to land. Difficult to say which will be which but we’re guessing the latter pair might have more to say off the turn. Closers will begin to move in and it will be apparent on the turn if anyone has enough kick to crack the exotics or upset the applecart. Our best guess is that the closers are not of high enough quality to upset the race, but the turn is where we will see if we are incorrect. In the Stretch: #15 Rock Your World and #8 Medina Spirit will have given their best and will be tiring. #9 Hot Rod Charlie and #14 Essential Quality will be moving toward the lead with #17 Highly Motivated also there. #1 Known Agenda will be a threat down inside if he was able to have a clean trip. Longshot closers will be picking off tired foes through the stretch and may or may not hit the Tri or Super. Check out suggested plays for those opinions. The Finish: #14 Essential Quality seems the most likely winner, but give legit chances to #1 Known Agenda, #9 Hot Rod Charlie and #17 Highly Motivated.   THE ONE TO BEAT #14 Essential Quality is unbeaten in five starts has run the fastest races. Those accomplishments count for something. Is he vulnerable? Yes, perhaps a bit. His last two wins were fast, and he hasn’t had much time to recover. He hasn’t wowed clockers since the Blue Grass either. We’ll lean on him in first and second place.THE ONES THAT MIGHT DO IT #1 Known Agenda is the Florida Derby winner and feels like a horse that trainer Todd Pletcher has figured out. The rail is a concern but jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. may find the new gate configuration less of a hindrance and might save ground throughout. #9 Hot Rod Charlie ran a strong race at two, missing to Essential Quality by less than one length. He’s looked good since he won the Louisiana Derby, especially in two works at Santa Anita. If He needs to improve a bit but it could happen. #17 Highly Motivated has developed beautifully for this Kentucky Derby try for multiple Eclipse Award winning trainer Chad Brown. He finished second to favored #14 Essential Quality in the Blue Grass Stakes and that was his first try around two turns. Improvement puts him in the win photo.ALSO COULD RUN WELL #7 Mandaloun laid an egg in the Gr. 2 Louisiana Derby but trainer, jockey and horse—he’s been training well—are not concerned about it. History has had an issue with poor performances leading to Derby victories, but exotics may be fine. #8 Medina Spirit couldn’t handle Rock Your World in California, let’s see how he fares in Kentucky. Like the rest in this section, this guy may not figure to win but he’s got a solid chance for the exotics. #10 Midnight Bourbon has been sparkling at Churchill Downs and almost on the aggressive side. Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen handled the beast during a paddock schooling session and had his hands full keeping the boy on the ground. Keep an eye on him in the paddock Derby Day to make sure he doesn’t leave his race there.HORSE I'M AGAINST #15 Rock Your World is 5-1 on the morning line and attempting to clear several hurdles in one gigantic leap. We’re going to take a stand against him winning because he’s had just three lifetime races, only one on dirt. Seems like he’s spotting talented foes too much seasoning. On the other hand, he has speed, is bred for the distance and looks the part.   EXOTIC BOMBS  #6 O Besos is an improving sort that might be able to crack the superfecta at a big number. Both his Beyer and Thoro-Graph last race figs are much better than anything else he’s posted but, if he doesn’t react, he fits in here at a big price. He worked well at Churchill. #11 Dynamic One comes out of the slowest Wood Memorial in history and was nailed on the money. After that effort why in the world would we like his chances in here? He showed ability at two and has worked well for this. He should be more than 20-1 at post time and could hit the superfecta.   #16 King Fury has a solid 2-year-old base and a stakes win over an ‘off’ track at three just three weeks ago. He’s a long striding colt that has trained forwardly in Louisville. Trainer Ken McPeek is good at sneaking bombs into exotics in big races. The colt also has two wins in three starts at Churchill Downs.MY 2021 KENTUCKY DERBY BETTING STRATEGY  $2 Trifecta ($90 Total) 1st: 142nd: 1, 8, 9, 10, 173rd: 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 17 $1 Trifecta ($135 Total) 1st: 1, 9, 172nd: 1, 8, 9, 10, 14, 173rd: 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17   $1 Superfecta ($144 Total) 1st: 142nd: 1, 8, 9, 10, 173rd: 1, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 174th: 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 17   $1 Superfecta ($144 Total) 1st: 1, 9, 17 2nd: 143rd: 1, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 174th: 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 17   Race On!

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4.28.2021:

Jon White's 2021 Kentucky Derby Picks

Undefeated champion Essential Quality heads a field of 20 entered in Saturday’s 147th running of the Grade I, $3 million Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. This means barring any scratches, the track’s special 20-stall starting gate will be filled to capacity for the 1 1/4-mile classic. The first Kentucky Derby in which the 20-stall gate was used was the 2020 renewal, which Authentic won while defeating 14 foes. Prior to that, Churchill utilized a 14-stall gate and a six-stall auxiliary gate, with space between the two gates. Getting right to it, my selections for this year’s Run for the Roses are below: 1. Essential Quality (2-1 morning-line favorite) 2. Rock Your World (5-1) 3. Known Agenda (6-1) 4. Hot Rod Charlie (8-1) My expectation is it is going to be either Essential Quality or Rock Your World draped in the garland of roses. Is it clever, bold or cool to pick the favorite on top? No, absolutely not. Actually, it’s rather boring. I do get the impression that a lot of people are going to pick and bet against Essential Quality. They will go shopping for a horse at a better price. They will be looking for so-called “value.” While Essential Quality’s odds were never going to have much appeal, his price now will be even more negatively affected due to what Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale has vowed to do. McIngvale has said he plans to make a bet of at least $2 million to win on “the Derby favorite,” which is almost certainly going to be Essential Quality. McIngvale will be placing the wager as a hedge on a mattress promotion that is tied to “the Derby favorite.” McIngvale’s Gallery Furniture stores are promising customers who buy a mattress for $3,000 or more will receive a complete refund on the purchase price, up to $5,000, if the favorite wins the Derby “on the first Saturday of May.” The promotion will also give those same customers a 150% store credit, up to $7,500, if they choose to decline the mattress refund, McIngvale has said. The mattress promotion was made “on the Derby favorite [rather than a single horse] because the favorite has won six out of the last eight years,” Daily Racing Form’s Matt Hegarty quoted McIngvale as saying. “So we thought that was best for the customers.” The exact size of McIngvale’s bet will be determined by the total amount of liability the company is facing from its mattress sales in the days leading up to the Derby, according to McIngvale. That liability currently is projected to be $2 million, but it could go higher. McIngvale has made similar huge “hedge wagers” in the past. Earlier this year, he bet $3.2 million on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win the Super Bowl. Tampa Bay won by a score of 31-9. “He cashed the bet, but it only covered the store’s liability, so it was a wash,” Hegarty wrote. While the Derby win pool is expected to be $35 million or more, “a $2 million win bet will obviously make a significant impact on a horse’s odds,” Hegarty wrote. McIngvale, who is behind the bombardment of advertising for the sire Runhappy, said the Derby bet will be “by far” the largest wager he has ever placed on a horse race. Bill Finley of the Thoroughbred Daily News noted that it’s believed that McIngvale’s bet will be the largest placed on any U.S. horse race. Keep in mind, if Essential Quality does get the job done at relatively low odds, those who elect to put their money on someone else to win the race will not be cashing. A concept “value shoppers” sometimes just don’t get is a void mutuel ticket has absolutely no “value.” MY FINAL KENTUCKY DERBY TOP 10 Back on Dec. 2, Essential Quality was No. 1 on my earliest Kentucky Derby Top 10 for Xpressbet. And it’s none other than Essential Quality who is No. 1 on my final Kentucky Derby Top 10. Much can change in horse racing from month to month, week to week and even day to day. Charlie Whittingham was, in my opinion, the greatest trainer of all time. He used to say “horses are like strawberries. They can go bad overnight.” With that in mind, it’s rather surprising four horses from my Top 10 on Dec. 2 made it all the way to be entered in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. My final Top 10 is below: 1. Essential Quality 2. Rock Your World 3. Known Agenda 4. Hot Rod Charlie 5. Medina Spirit 6. Mandaloun 7. Highly Motivated 8. Midnight Bourbon 9. Super Stock 10. O Besos These are the Kentucky Derby entrants who were on my Top 10 in early December: Essential Quality (who was No. 1 at that time), Highly Motivated (No. 3), Hot Rod Charlie (No. 4), Keepmeinmind (No. 5) and Mandaloun (No. 9). These are the horses not entered Saturday who were on my earliest Top 10: Life Is Good (who was No. 2 on Dec. 2), Fire At Will (No. 6), Jackie’s Warrior (No. 7), Caddo River (No. 8) and Dr. Schivel (No. 10). Going beyond my final Top 10, this is how I rank the remaining Kentucky Derby entrants: 11. Keepmeinmind 12. Dynamic One 13. King Fury 14. Helium 15. Soup and Sandwich 16. Sainthood 17. Bourbonic 18. Brooklyn Strong 19. Like the King 20. Hidden Stash THE IMPORTANCE OF A CERTAIN POLE When it comes to the Kentucky Derby, which pole among those spaced at various points inside Churchill’s main track is the most important? Well, that’s easy. It’s the pole located right at the finish line, aka the finish post. Whoever’s nose reaches that post first is the winner (unless, of course, there is a disqualification, as with Maximum Security in 2019 and Dancer’s Image in 1968). To me, the second-most important pole is the green and white one located 220 yards up the stretch from the finish line. That’s the eighth pole, aka the furlong marker, aka the furlong pole. Horses competing in the Kentucky Derby pass the eighth pole twice. They go by it for the first time early in the race, a furlong after the start. It’s what happens when the horses pass the eighth pole the second time that’s extremely significant to me. It’s been proven over a long period of time that there is a high probability the eventual winner of the race almost certainly will be either first or second at the eighth pole, at which point there is one furlong left to run in the 10-furlong race. Since I developed my Derby Strikes System (DSS) many years ago, I have found that it behooves one to try and figure out who appears to have the capability of being first or second with a furlong to go. That’s because 52 of the last 55 Kentucky Derby winners found themselves in what I term “the prime position to win the race” by being either first or second at that point. This emphasis on the eighth pole was a major reason why my top Kentucky Derby pick in 2005 was Closing Argument. As I wrote for Xpressbet before that race, I thought Closing Argument had a very good chance to be first or second a furlong from the finish. Closing Argument was virtually ignored by bettors, going off at 71-1. It turned out that Closing Argument did, in fact, have the lead a furlong from the finish. But Giacomo, a 50-1 longshot, ran down Closing Argument in the shadow of the wire. Giacomo won by a half-length. Afleet Alex finished third at odds of 9-2. The 5-2 favorite, Bellamy Road, wound up seventh in the field of 20. Giacomo paid $102.60, $45.80 and $19.80 across the board. Closing Argument paid $70.00 to place and $24.80 to show. Afleet Alex returned $4.60 to show. Though my top pick did not win the 2005 Kentucky Derby, no horse in the long history of the race has ever paid more for a $2 place wager than Closing Argument. FOUR EIGHTH-POLE CANDIDATES One of the reasons I regard Essential Quality, Rock Your World, Known Agenda and Hot Rod Charlie as major players Saturday is I see each of them as a candidate to be first or second a furlong from the finish. Only once in Essential Quality’s five races has he not been one-two with a furlong to go. That’s when he was fourth at the eighth pole in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland last Nov. 6. Essential Quality won the BC Juvenile by three-quarters of a length at odds of 7-2. He overtook Hot Rod Charlie in the last sixteenth that day. Hot Rod Charlie, who gave it a splendid try, finished second at a humongous 94-1. Rock Your World has been in front with a furlong to in two of his three career starts. Known Agenda probably will be racing well off the early pace Saturday. But he’s shown that he is capable of being either first or second a furlong from the finish. In his two starts since adding blinkers, not only did Known Agenda win both times, he was in front with a furlong to go on in both races. Hot Rod Charlie has been first or second with a furlong to run in all four of his starts since having blinkers added to his equipment. A CLOSER LOOK AT MY TOP FOUR Why is Essential Quality my top pick? The main reason is he has not done a thing wrong so far. The Kentucky-bred Tapit colt brings an unblemished record of five wins from five starts into Saturday’s race. Has Essential Quality been dazzling? No. But it takes a special equine athlete to do what he’s done in terms of being victorious regardless of whatever type of pace he has encountered. Essential Quality has demonstrated an ability to win whether the pace is fast, moderate or slow. Would it be better if Essential Quality had exhibited a little more of a sparkle in his two most recent workouts at Churchill for trainer Brad Cox (who is attempting to become the first Louisville native to win the city’s famed race)? Yes, that’s probably true. And perhaps after Saturday’s race has been run, Essential Quality’s less-than-snazzy Churchill drills will have been a clue as to why he tasted defeat for the first time. There will be those taking a stand against Essential Quality primarily because they feel his two Churchill works coming up to the race left something to be desired. But taking such a dogmatically negative view of those drills just might be making a mountain out of a molehill. As recently as Tuesday, Daily Racing Form’s Mike Welsch, who has a keen eye when it comes to such matters, observed that Essential Quality was giving off “positive vibes” when training Tuesday. The gray colt “looked as good as he has all week, relaxed and a picture of health, while galloping a mile and a half,” Welsch wrote. While Essential Quality is my top pick, he certainly is no slam-dunk. Heck, there’s probably no better example of an undefeated horse getting beat in the Kentucky Derby than Native Dancer in 1953. After winning his first 11 races, Native Dancer experienced early traffic trouble in the Kentucky Derby and finished second. Dark Star won by a head. It was the lone defeat in Native Dancer’s 22-race career. How about Mister Frisky? He was my top pick in the 1990 Kentucky Derby. Mister Frisky went into the race undefeated in 16 career starts. It’s the longest unbeaten winning streak by any starter in Kentucky Derby history. Like Rock Your World, Mister Frisky won the Grade I Santa Anita Derby. But Mister Frisky could finish no better than eighth in the Kentucky Derby as the 9-5 favorite. But I do believe it matters that Essential Quality has managed to win all of his races so far. Think of some of the outstanding horses who were not undefeated before winning the Kentucky Derby, such as Secretariat (who went into the race with three losses), Affirmed (two losses), Spectacular Bid (two losses), Alysheba (nine losses), Winning Colors (one loss), Sunday Silence (two losses), Silver Charm (three losses), Street Sense (four losses), California Chrome (four losses) and American Pharoah (one loss). While Essential Quality does not have the best Beyer Speed Figure going into Saturday’s race, it is more meaningful to me that he does own the two best Thoro-Graph numbers in the field. When it comes to Thoro-Graph, a lower number is better than a higher one. This is the opposite of Beyer Speed Figures. Thoro-Graph takes many more factors into account than the Beyers. According to Thoro-Graph, “each number on a sheet represents a performance rating arrived at by using time of the race, beaten lengths, ground lost or saved on the turns, weight carried, and any effects wind conditions had on the time of the race.” As I wrote for Xpressbet, I thought Greatest Honour did not run as well as the Thoro-Graph numbers indicated when he won Gulfstream Park’s Grade III Holy Bull Stakes and Gulfstream’s Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes. His Thoro-Graph number was a 1 for each race. I thought the Beyers of 89 for both races were a far truer reflection of those performances by Greatest Honour. As I’ve said before, I think Beyer Speed Figures are a helpful tool. If I didn’t, I would not quote them as often as I do. But in the vast majority of cases, I give more credence to Thoro-Graph than Beyer Speed Figures. The best Thoro-Graph number recorded by anyone in this year’s Kentucky Derby is Essential Quality’s negative 1/2 for when he won Oaklawn Park’s Grade III Southwest Stakes on a sloppy track in his first 2021 start on Feb. 27. The second-best Thoro-Graph number posted by any of this year’s Kentucky Derby entrants is Essential Quality’s 0 when he won Keeneland’s Grade II Blue Grass Stakes by a neck on April 3. Though Essential Quality did have a close call in the Blue Grass, it should be noted that he did travel 29 feet farther than runner-up Highly Motivated, according to Trakus. Speaking of Highly Motivated, he owns the third-best Thoro-Graph number in this year’s Kentucky Derby field. He received a 1 1/4 for finishing second in the Blue Grass. Known Agenda and Soup and Sandwich have the only other two Thoro-Graph numbers lower than a 2 going into this year’s Kentucky Derby. Known Agenda’s Thoro-Graph number was a 1 1/2 for his victory in Gulfstream Park’s Grade I Florida Derby on March 27. He won that race by 2 3/4 lengths. Soup and Sandwich finished second in the Florida Derby. He came away from that race with a 1 3/4 from the Thoro-Graph folks. All in all, can Essential Quality become the first Blue Grass Stakes winner to capture the famed Kentucky Derby since Strike the Gold took the two races 30 years ago? I think he can. ROCK YOUR WORLD: HIGH CRUISING SPEED Rock Your World, like Essential Quality, is undefeated going into the Kentucky Derby. He’s three for three. Whether he wins or loses Saturday, it’s clear that Rock Your World is an exceptional colt. In Santa Anita’s Pasadena Stakes at one mile on turf Feb. 27, Rock Your World raced just off the early pace. When he was asked by the rider during the stretch run, Rock Your World’s explosive acceleration was impressive, to say the least. Not only that, after crossing the finishing line, the Kentucky-bred Candy Ride colt continued on strongly, galloping out far in front. When asked to race on dirt for the first time in the Santa Anita Derby on April 3, Rock Your World won in front-running fashion. He drew away in the stretch to prevail by 4 1/4 lengths, then again continued on strongly after the finish when galloping out far in front. “He has a high cruising speed,” trainer John Sadler said of Rock Your World in a recent interview. Sadler has expressed confidence that Rock Your World can carry his high cruising speed a classic distance, which is to say 1 1/4 miles. The colt’s super gallop-outs certainly have done nothing to dispel that notion. I also think it helps Rock Your World that he’s being reunited Saturday with jockey Joel Rosario, who was aboard for the colt’s debut victory. Rosario won the Louisiana Derby on Hot Rod Charlie. Yet who is Rosario riding in the Kentucky Derby? Hot Rod Charlie? Nope. Rosario will be aboard Rock Your World. That’s one of the reasons I like Rock Your World better than Hot Rod Charlie in Saturday’s race. Another thing I like about Rock Your World is he’s similar to Justify in a number of ways. Both did not race at 2. Both were three for three going into the Kentucky Derby. Both won the Santa Anita Derby by daylight (Justify by three lengths, Rock Your World by 4 1/4 lengths). Justify won the Kentucky Derby while on his way to becoming the 13th horse to sweep this country’s Triple Crown. In terms of speed figures, Rock Your World boasts the best Beyer of anyone in this year’s Kentucky Derby, a 100 in the Santa Anita Derby. His Thoro-Graph figure for that race was a 2 3/4. Rock Your World must race farther than 1 1/8 miles for the first time Saturday. How will he do at the longer trip? Not only are his strong gallop-outs after the finish of the Pasadena Stakes and Santa Anita Derby encouraging in this regard, his sire certainly had no problem succeeding when asked to go 1 1/4 miles on dirt in Del Mar’s Grade I Pacific Classic in 2003. Candy Ride set a track record of 1:59.11 that day, a mark that still stands all these years later. Additionally, Rock Your World’s dam, Charm the Maker, is a daughter of 2003 Kentucky Derby runner-up Empire Maker, who possessed the stamina to win the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes. Rock Your World, Sainthood and Soup and Sandwich are the three entrants in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby who will be trying to join Apollo in 1882 and Justify in 2018 as the only winners of the race who did not start at 2. But in the case of Rock Your World, he missed racing at 2 by just one day. He made his career debut at Santa Anita on Jan. 1. Something I can’t help but wonder is will Sadler really win American racing’s most coveted prize with Rock Your World when the Santa Anita Derby winner quite possibly is not even be the best 3-year-old colt in Sadler’s barn? Sadler unleashed a $1 million auction purchase by the name of Flightline last Saturday at Santa Anita. Flightline drew off in the lane to win a six-furlong maiden race in isolated splendor by 13 1/4 lengths in a sizzling 1:08.75. The Kentucky-bred Tapit colt was credited with a 105 Beyer Speed Figure. “He might have as much potential as any young horse I’ve ever trained,” Daily Racing Form’s Steve Andersen quoted Sadler as saying. KNOWN AGENDA BREAKS FROM INSIDE POST Even though Known Agenda must begin from the dreaded inside post Saturday, the Kentucky-bred Curlin colt belongs on the list of contenders. Talk about coming into the race with a solid foundation. Known Agenda goes into the Kentucky Derby with four 1 1/8-mile races under his belt. Granted, it’s not easy to get a good or even decent trip after breaking from the inside post in a 20-horse field. But what mitigates the rail draw to some extent is Known Agenda has a terrific rider. Irad Ortiz Jr. has been voted the Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Todd Pletcher, Known Agenda’s trainer, has two Kentucky Derby wins to his credit (Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming in 2017). In addition to Known Agenda, Pletcher will be sending out Dynamic One (20-1 morning line), Wood Memorial winner Bourbonic (30-1) and Jeff Ruby Steaks runner-up Sainthood (50-1). HOT ROD CHARLIE SEEKS REVENGE Hot Rod Charlie, as mentioned earlier, nearly pulled off a gigantic upset when leading late in the BC Juvenile. But he had to settle for second on that occasion when unable to stave off Essential Quality. Can Hot Rod Charlie turn the tables on Essential Quality in their rematch Saturday? It is a possibility.’ It is to Hot Rod Charlie’s credit that he’s already won a race farther than 1 1/8 miles. He registered a two-length victory in the Grade II Louisiana Derby at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds on March 20 for two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill (I’ll Have Another in 2012 and Nyquist in 2016). As for Saturday’s rematch with Essential Quality, look for Hot Rod Charlie to be somewhere between 9-2 and 9-1 this time rather than his 94-1 odds in the BC Juvenile. SOME OTHER THOUGHTS --Watch out for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Oh, sure, Baffert is not running the brilliant Life Is Good or the talented Concert Tour. Life Is Good is on the shelf while recuperating from a left-hind ankle issue that required surgery. Concert Tour, who worked a crisp five furlongs in :47.80 at Churchill on Monday, is being prepared for the Grade I Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 15 after not coming out of the Arkansas Derby to Baffert’s satisfaction. Concert Tour finished third as the 3-10 favorite in the Arkansas Derby, his first loss in four career starts. But even though Life is Good and Concert Tour are not participating, it’s not hard for me to envision Baffert still winning the Kentucky Derby with Medina Spirit, who finished second in the Santa Anita Derby as the 9-10 favorite. Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby a record-tying six times: Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, War Emblem in 2002, American Pharoah in 2015, Justify in 2018 and Authentic in 2020. American Pharoah and Justify were Triple Crown winners. The only other trainer to win the Kentucky Derby six times is Ben Jones: Lawrin (1938), Whirlaway (1941), Pensive (1944), Citation (1948), Ponder (1949) and Hill Gail (1952). When Baffert won last year’s Kentucky Derby, he increased his total number of victories in Triple Crown races to a record 16. The trainers with seven or more such wins are listed below: Total (Ky. Derby, Preakness, Belmont wins) Trainer 16 (6-7-3) Bob Baffert 14 (4-6-4) D. Wayne Lukas 13 (3-4-6) “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons 11 (2-1-8) James Rowe 11 (0-7-4) R. Wyndam Walden 9 (3-2-4) Max Hirsch 9 (6-2-2) Ben Jones 8 (2-1-5) Woody Stephens 7 (0-0-7) Sam Hildreth 7 (2-4-1) Jimmy Jones Another plus for Medina Spirit is his jockey, John Velazquez, who has won the Kentucky Derby three times: (Animal Kingdom in 2011, Always Dreaming in 2017 and Authentic in 2020). --Along with Essential Quality, Cox trains Mandaloun. After Mandaloun finished sixth as the 13-10 favorite in the Louisiana Derby, he dropped off my Kentucky Derby Top 10. In time, as he seemed to be training well, Mandaloun returned to my Top 10. And as his training all the way up to the Kentucky Derby has continued to elicit rave reviews from Cox, Mandaloun has steadily been moving up on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 list until ultimately reaching No. 6 this week. --Because of his consistency, I will not be surprised if Midnight Bourbon finishes first, second or third Saturday. He’s going into the Kentucky Derby having never run worse than third in seven lifetime starts. --I mentioned earlier that Closing Argument finished second at 71-1 as my top pick in the 2005 Kentucky Derby. Arkansas Derby winner Super Stock is a grandson of Closing Argument. Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen trains Midnight Bourbon and Super Stock. --I consider O Besos, Keepmeinmind and Dynamic One as legit candidates to finish in the superfecta Saturday. O Besos, who is 20-1 on the Kentucky Derby morning line, came on strongly late to finish third in the Louisiana Derby. My enthusiasm for him as a win possibility is diminished a bit, though, because of my skepticism that he has what it takes to be first or second a furlong from the finsh. But who knows? Maybe he can find a way to be first or second at that important point in the race. After all, O Besos’ sire, Orb, was able to do it. Orb was second with a furlong to go when he won the 2013 Kentucky Derby by 2 1/2 lengths. Keepmeinmind was good enough to finish third, only two lengths behind the victorious Essential Quality, in the BC Juvenile. Keepmeinmind then won the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill. That he already has won a grade stakes race on the same track as the Kentucky Derby is not something to pooh-pooh. In two starts this year, Keepmeinmind finished sixth in Oaklawn’s Grade II Rebel Stakes and fifth in the Blue Grass. His training regimen got messed up at Oaklawn earlier this year when a winter storm hit that track. But Keepmeinmind had a bullet four-furlong workout in :46.20 at Churchill last Friday. It was the best of 108 works at the distance that morning. Maybe that dandy drill is a sign that Keepmeinmind will give a good account of himself Saturday at a mouth-watering 50-1 on the morning line. Dynamic One finished second in the Grade II Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 3. The winner was Bourbonic, who rallied from last to win by a head in a shocker. He paid $146.50 for each $2 win wager. Dynamic One finished second at odds of 15-1. Bourbonic’s $146.50 was the highest win mutuel in the 96-year history of the Wood Memorial, breaking the record of $129.50 Manassa Mauler paid in 1959. Even though Dynamic One did not win the Wood, a compelling case can be made that he ran the best race. Dynamic One might be blossoming at the right time and could make some noise Saturday at a juicy price in the wagering. THE DERBY STRIKES SYSTEM SITUATION I alluded earlier to my Derby Strikes System. I came up with the DSS years ago to try and determine a horse’s chances to win the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May from both tactical and historical perspectives. The DSS consists of eight categories. When a horse does not qualify in one of the categories, the horse gets a strike. The eight categories are listed at the end of this column/blog/article. A number of the categories in the DSS are associated with the Kentucky Derby being run in May. Consequently, when the race was switched from May 2 to Sept. 5 last year due to the pandemic, it rendered the DSS unworkable. The DSS is back in 2021 now that the Kentucky Derby has returned to its traditional spot on the calendar. The vast majority (81%) of the Kentucky Derby winners have had zero strikes or one strike going back to 1973 and excluding the Kentucky Derby of 2020 when the race was run in September. The DSS can’t go any further back than 1973 because a number of the system’s categories are linked to graded races. Races in the U.S. were first graded in 1973. Going back to 1973 and again excluding 2020 when the race was run in September, 39 out of the 48 Kentucky Derby winners have had zero strikes or one strike, while seven have had two strikes and only one has had more than two strikes. The seven Kentucky Derby winners with two strikes were: Cannonade (1974) Categories 3 and 4 Ferdinand (1986) Categories 2 and 4 Sea Hero (1993) Categories 3 and 5 Funny Cide (2003) Categories 2 and 8 Giacomo (2015) Categories 2 and 5 Justify (2018) Categories 1 and 8 Country House (2019) Categories 2 and 3 The only Kentucky Derby winner with more than two strikes was: Mine That Bird (2009) Categories 1, 4, 5 and 8 In the 2019 Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security had zero strikes and finished first by 1 1/4 lengths. However, the stewards disqualified Maximum Security and placed him 17th when ruling that he had committed a foul by veering out sharply nearing the five-sixteenths marker to cause interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy. According to the DSS, the entrants Saturday who are in the group that wins the Kentucky Derby 81% of the time are, in alphabetical order: Horse (Strikes) Category or Categories Brooklyn Strong (1) Category 8 Essential Quality (0) Helium (1) Category 5 Hot Rod Charlie (1) Category 4 Known Agenda (0) Like the King (0) Mandaloun (1) Category 4 Medina Spirit (0) Midnight Bourbon (1) Category 4 Super Stock (1) Category 3 Those with two strikes are: Bourbonic (2) Categories 1 and 3 Hidden Stash (2) Categories 2 and 5 Highly Motivated (2) Categories 2 and 4 Keepmeinmind (2 strikes) Categories 3 and 5 O Besos (2) Categories 2 and 3 Rock Your World (2) Categories 1 and 7 Sainthood (2) Categories 2 and 7 Soup and Sandwich (2) Categories 2 and 7 Those with three strikes are: Dynamic One (3) Categories 1, 2 and 4 King Fury (3) Categories 4, 5 and 6 NUMBER OF STRIKES FOR DERBY WINNERS SINCE 1973 These are the number of strikes for each Kentucky Derby winner going back to 1973 (again, the eight categories in the Derby Strikes System are listed at the end of this column/blog/article): 2020 race run in September 2019 Country House (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 3* 2018 Justify (2 strikes) Categories 1 and 7 2017 Always Dreaming (1 strike) Category 1 2016 Nyquist (0 strikes) 2015 American Pharoah (0 strikes) 2014 California Chrome (0 strikes) 2013 Orb (0 strikes) 2012 I’ll Have Another (0 strikes) 2011 Animal Kingdom (0 strikes) 2010 Super Saver (1 strike) Category 4 2009 Mine That Bird (4 strikes) Categories 1, 4, 5 and 9 2008 Big Brown (0 strikes) 2007 Street Sense (0 strikes) 2006 Barbaro (0 strikes) 2005 Giacomo (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 5 2004 Smarty Jones (0 strikes) 2003 Funny Cide (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 8 2002 War Emblem (0 strikes) 2001 Monarchos (0 strikes) 2000 Fusaichi Pegasus (1 strike) Category 6 1999 Charismatic (1 strike) Category 5 1998 Real Quiet (0 strikes) 1997 Silver Charm (1 strike) Category 4 1996 Grindstone (0 strikes) 1995 Thunder Gulch (0 strikes) 1994 Go for Gin (0 strikes) 1993 Sea Hero (2 strikes) Categories 3 and 5 1992 Lil E. Tee (0 strikes) 1991 Strike the Gold (0 strikes) 1990 Unbridled (1 strike) Category 3 1989 Sunday Silence (0 strikes) 1988 Winning Colors (0 strikes) 1987 Alysheba (1 strike) Category 2 1986 Ferdinand (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 4 1985 Spend a Buck (0 strikes) 1984 Swale (0 strikes) 1983 Sunny’s Halo (1 strike) Category 1 1982 Gato Del Sol (1 strike) Category 3 1981 Genuine Risk (1 strike) Category 1 1980 Pleasant Colony (0 strikes) 1979 Spectacular Bid (0 strikes) 1978 Affirmed (0 strikes) 1977 Seattle Slew (0 strikes) 1976 Bold Forbes (0 strikes) 1975 Foolish Pleasure (0 strikes) 1974 Cannonade (2 strikes) Categories 3 and 4 1973 Secretariat (0 strikes) *Maximum Security (0 strikes) finished first, disqualified and placed 17th THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll (in the same order as last week): Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 349 Mystic Guide (30) 2. 324 Charlatan (7) 3. 246 Monomoy Girl 4. 231 Knicks Go 5. 186 Colonel Liam 6. 176 Letruska 7. 95 Gamine 8. 87 Idol 9. 72 Swiss Skydiver 10. 47 C Z Rocket The Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll heading into Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (the only change in the rankings is Hot Rod Charlie and Known Agenda exchanging positions): Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 363 Essential Quality (31) 2. 282 Rock Your World (2) 3. 266 Hod Rod Charlie (1) 4. 253 Known Agenda (2) 5. 158 Highly Motivated 6. 128 Super Stock 7. 107 Medina Spirit 8. 101 Concert Tour 9. 80 Life Is Good (1) 10. 57 Midnight Bourbon MY DERBY STRIKES SYSTEM’S CATEGORIES What are the eight categories in my Derby Strikes System? They are listed below: 1. THE GRADED STAKES CATEGORY. (The horse ran in a graded stakes race before March 31.) This points out horses who have competed against tough competition prior to March 31 rather than at the last minute in April, enabling the horse to be properly battle-tested. (Exceptions: Since the introduction of graded stakes races in the U.S. in 1973, only Genuine Risk in 1980, Sunny’s Halo in 1983, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Always Dreaming in 2017 have won the Kentucky Derby without running in a graded stakes race at 2 or early at 3 before March 31.) 2. THE WIN IN A GRADED STAKES CATEGORY. (The horse has won a graded stakes race.) This points out horses who have shown they have the class to win a graded stakes race. (Exceptions: Ferdinand in 1986, Alysheba in 1987, Funny Cide in 2003 and Giacomo in 2005 are the only exceptions since the introduction of U.S. graded stakes races in 1973; Alysheba in 1987 did finish first in the Blue Grass, only to be disqualified and placed third.) 3. THE EIGHTH POLE CATEGORY. (In either of his or her last two starts before the Kentucky Derby, the horse was either first or second with a furlong to go.) This points out horses who were running strongly at the eighth pole, usually in races at 1 1/16 or 1 1/8 miles. By running strongly at the same point in the Kentucky Derby, a horse would be in a prime position to win the roses. Keep in mind that 52 of the last 55 Kentucky Derby winners have been first or second with a furlong to run. Since Decidedly won the Derby in 1962 when he was third with a furlong to go, the only three Kentucky Derby winners who were not first or second with a furlong to run were Animal Kingdom, third with a furlong remaining in 2011 when only a half-length from being second; Giacomo, sixth with a furlong to go in 2005; and Grindstone, fourth with a furlong to run in 1996. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the Kentucky Derby winners who weren’t either first or second at the eighth pole in his or her last two starts have been Tim Tam in 1958, Carry Back in 1961, Cannonade in 1974, Gato Del Sol in 1982, Unbridled in 1990 and Sea Hero in 1993, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.) 4. THE GAMENESS CATEGORY. (The horse’s finish position in both of his or her last two races before the Kentucky Derby was no worse than his or her running position at the eighth pole.) This points out horses who don’t like to get passed in the final furlong. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the exceptions have been Venetian Way in 1960, Cannonade in 1974, Foolish Pleasure in 1975, Ferdinand in 1986, Silver Charm in 1997, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Super Saver in 2010, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.) 5. THE DISTANCE FOUNDATION CATEGORY. (The horse has finished at least third in a 1 1/8-mile race or longer before the Kentucky Derby.) This points out horses who have the proper foundation and/or stamina for the Kentucky Derby distance. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the only exceptions have been Kauai King in 1966, Sea Hero in 1993, Charismatic in 1999, Giacomo in 2005 and Mine That Bird in 2009.) 6. THE NO ADDING OR REMOVING BLINKERS CATEGORY. (The horse has not added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her final start at 3 before the Kentucky Derby.) This seems to point out that, if a horse is good enough to win the Kentucky Derby, the trainer is not searching for answers so late in the game. (Since Daily Racing Form began including blinkers in its past performances in 1987, no horse has added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her last start at 3 before winning the Kentucky Derby.) 7. THE RACED AS A 2-YEAR-OLD CATEGORY. (The horse made at least one start as a 2-year-old.) (Exceptions: Apollo in 1882 and Justify in 2018. Since 1937, horses unraced as a 2-year-old are a combined 1 for 63 in the Kentucky Derby. During this period, the only horses to finish second or third in the Kentucky Derby without having raced at 2 were Hampden, who finished third in 1946; Coaltown, second in 1948; Agitate, third in 1974; Reinvested, third in 1982; Strodes Creek, second in 1994; Curlin, third in 2007; Bodemeister, second in 2012; and Battle of Midway, third in 2017.) 8. THE NOT A GELDING CATEGORY. (The horse is not a gelding.) (Exceptions: Funny Cide in 2003 and Mine That Bird in 2009 are the only geldings to win the Kentucky Derby since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929.)

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4.28.2021:

Friday, April 30: Frank Carulli's Stronach 5 Picks

LEG A // PIMLICO // RACE 8 (4:34PM ET) // OPTIONAL CLAIMING // 5 1/2 FURLONGS (DIRT) DALTON, second in back-to-back 6F stakes as a 2-year-old, is clearly the one to beat if ready for his seasonal debut, but it's anybody's race if he doesn't win, so we're going 4-deep on the ticket. LEG B // GULFSTREAM // RACE 9 (4:48PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 7 1/2 FURLONGS (TURF) JAZZY T took serious money and set the pace in a longer turf route before tiring in her debut. Her dam, Very Very, finished first or second in 9 of 24 starts on the turf. MARICOPA earned a competitive speed figure for a higher claiming price three starts back on soft footing, then ran second in a pair of follow-up 7F dirt sprints.   LEG C // PIMLICO // RACE 9 (5:10PM ET) // CLAIMING // 5 FURLONGS (TURF) NAUTICAL NATURE, overmatched in his last two starts on the main track, led to the stretch on a 'good' turf in the fall and can make good use of his speed in this spot. DAYSTRIKE couldn't break through at the $5,000/nw3 level on dirt, but he could awaken with a 19/3-2-5 turf record and nearly $100,000 in earnings. TALE OF E DUBAI finished 1-2 in 23 of 47 starts but he's 1-7 on grass and probably will be an underlay.    LEG D // SANTA ANITA // RACE 3 (5:15PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (DIRT) CIRCLE OF HONOR dueled for a half-mile with the winning favorite, then re-engaged for the stretch drive after he relinquished the lead. He held to finish a clear second, earning top billing in here. CURIOUS INJI, working well for his return from a 3-month layoff, stalked and faded in his first main-track try at 6-1/2F. The winner of that race came back to romp in a one mile starter allowance. LEG E // GOLDEN GATE // RACE 3 (5:30PM ET) // MAIDEN CLAIMING // 1 MILE (TURF)  SPACE ODESSEY tracked stretch-out sprinter Stormin Galileo while 3-wide, came under a hard drive on the turn, then surged late to finish second. That being said, use a pair of stretch-out sprinters trying turf for the first time. The dam of heavily-bet main track entrant THEY'RE GRREAT was 1-3 on grass with a 6F starter allowance romp, while the sire of HEFTY GARCIA was a multiple graded stakes-winning router. SUGGESTED $1 STRONACH 5 TICKET Leg A: 1, 6, 7, 8Leg B: 6, 10Leg C: 3, 7, 8Leg D: 6, 7Leg E: 2, 4, 6COST: $144

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4.28.2021:

2021 Kentucky Derby Workout Analysis & Power Rankings

Workouts are listed in order, as ranked by the grade I have associated with each.   ROCK YOUR WORLD - April 24, 2021, Santa Anita, 5f, :59.1h | Video  Broke off about a half-length outside behind Best Chance (5f, 1:00h) and was cruising to the top before being given his cue and leaving his workmate easily with powerful long strides under light hand coaxing, then continued out to the 7/8 pole while full of run, splits on our watches of :24 flat, :35.2 and :59.2 to the wire and then out a full six furlongs in 1:11.3 without really taking a deep breath. This is the best we have seen him work; prior to his Santa Anita Derby win the son of Candy Ride needed to be pushed and shoved on to earn fast clocking but now he is doing it on his own. Galloped out like he will relish 10 furlongs and farther. GRADE: A DYNAMIC ONE – April 23, 2021, Churchill Downs, 4f, :47.4b | Video In blinkers, in company breaking off a length behind outside Prime Factor (same time) for T. Pletcher, engaged that one entering the lane and was breezing through the lane to finish stride-for-stride before being asked to gallop out stronger than ‘Factor to the six furlong pole and did so in good style while appearing sharp and on edge. Improving with experience and maturity and appears set to produce another forward move. GRADE: B+ HELIUM – April 23, 2011, Churchill Downs, 4f, :49.4b | Video  Broke off a length behind workmate, was breezing in effortless fashion while taking control into the lane and was just cruising to the wire before galloping out without taking a deep breath and appearing sharp and content. Undefeated in three career starts and was pounds best (very wide throughout) in the Tampa Bay Derby-G2 in his only 2021 outing six weeks ago. GRADE: B+ SAINTHOOD – April 23, 2021, Churchill Downs, 5f, 1:01b | Video  In company outside Known Agenda (same time) for T. Pletcher and may have been a tad the best while appearing to be going the easier of the two most of the way without ever being turned loose (workmate under mild coaxing at the head of the lane to remain even), with the pair galloping out stride-for-stride to the six furlong pole. Had plenty throughout, certainly handled the dirt track just fine and appears to have come on nicely since his last race in mid-March. GRADE: B+ HOT ROD CHARLIE – April 24, 2021, Santa Anita, 6f, 1:13.3h | Video  In blinkers, in company outside Chasing Fame (5f, 1:01.3h), breaking off a couple of lengths behind workmate at the five furlong pole and stalking that one in hand to the head of the lane before responding without being asked to roll on by in a visually pleasing manner, splits of :24.3, :36.2 and 1:00.4 (to the wire) and then out to 7/8 pole in 1:13.2 on our watches (eased up to the six furlong pole in 1:27.2). Not scintillating from a time standpoint but did just what was asked of him and was nice and relaxed and happy throughout. GRADE: B MANDOLOUN – April 17, 2021, Churchill Downs, 6f, 1:11.2b | Video In blinkers, team drill outside Colonel Bowman (6f, 1:11.4b) for B. Cox, breaking off a length behind while being hard held, joining his company midway on the turn, hitting the wire almost a length in front without being asked (workmate under urging) and then being put to some pressure to finish out the drill to 7/8 pole and then gallop out an extra furlong. Did well enough, strikes us as a one-paced grinding type without a true turn of foot. GRADE: B BOURBONIC – April 23, 2021, Churchill Downs, 4f, :49.4b | Video  In blinkers, worked alone and looked fine without being asked, steady splits before galloping out with some energy all the way around to the half mile pole, doing what was asked of him. Plenty fit, maintains his form, the farther the better for this long-winded son of Bernardini. GRADE: B ESSENTIAL QUALITY - April 17, 2021, Churchill Downs, 5f, :59.3b | Video  In blinkers, in company outside Spa City (5f, :59.4b) while in hand to the top of the lane and then was under mild coaxing to finish head-and-head at the wire (workmate lightly ridden as well) but never could get by ‘City galloping out despite being ridden as bit with workmate slightly best by almost one length galloping out to the six furlong pole. We cannot knock the drill – the clocking was good, and the B. Cox-trained colt was moving well - but we were hoping to see a bit more from the Kentucky Derby favorite. GRADE: B KNOWN AGENDA – April 23, 2021, Churchill Downs, 5f, 1:01b | Video  In blinkers, in company inside Sainthood (same time), went off in hand but was about a half-length back at the top before being asked a bit through the lane (workmate breezing) and “re-rallied” to wind up head-and-head at the wire, then galloped out stride-for-stride, decent drill though it appeared workmate could have opened up a bit through the lane if allowed to. Curlin colt is not a speed type, and this type of drill probably does not cast him in his best light; we will classify it as a decent drill but not much better than that. GRADE: B MEDINA SPIRT – April 22, 2021, Santa Anita, 6f, 1:12.1h | Video In company outside Azul Coast (6f, 1:12.1h) for B. Baffert and went stride-for-stride with ‘Coast to the head of the lane (neither being asked) before drawing clear approaching the wire to be a little more than a length in front that point (mostly on his own), then drew clear while being ridden out to 7/8 pole while appearing to be leaning in just a tad, splits of :23.3, :35.3, 1:00 flat and 1:12.2 on our watches, galloping out six furlong pole in 1:26.3 well clear of workmate while perhaps losing his focus just a bit. Solid final time but not particularly noteworthy from a visual standpoint. Looks about the same, no better, no worse. GRADE: B SOUP AND SANDWICH – April 23, 2021, Churchill Downs, 4f, :50b | Video In company outside Peace Achieved (4f, :50.3b) for M. Casse, was extremely rank approaching the pole while attempting to break off a couple of lengths behind workmate, dropped his head and relaxed a bit once in motion but remained under a tight hold to the top of the lane and then was pulling hard while taking control through the stretch before drawing clear under wraps and remaining somewhat unsettled on the gallop out. Was too keen for our liking early on and may be the type that will resent rating tactics; probably be happiest if simply allowed to bowl along. Previous drill (April 17) was much smoother and more relaxed. GRADE: B- O BESOS – April 22, 201, Churchill Downs, 4f, :48b | Video In blinkers in solo drill, under a hold from the three furlong pole while wanting to get out a bit entering the lane, then was put to pressure while passing the wire and then continuing out to the six furlong pole, never really leveling and not producing the desired response. Perhaps needs company; hard to endorse enthusiastically based on this move. GRADE: C   Our Triple Crown Tracker Power Rankings identify the best 3-year-olds of 2021 in order of preference, with each horse given a theoretical weight assignment starting at 126 lbs. based on past performance and projected development. On the eve of the Kentucky Derby, here is a listing of our Elite-8.   1 – ROCK YOUR WORLD (J. Sadler) – 126 lbs.Pedigree: Candy Ride – Charm the Maker, by Empire MakerLifetime record: 3-3-0-0 ($546,600). Derby points: 100Last start: April 3, 2021, Santa Anita, 9F Santa Anita Derby-G1, finished firstNext start: May 1, 2021, 10F Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: April 24, Santa Anita, 5f, :59.1h The skinny: $650,000Y; third foal, lengthy colt with plenty of scope; full-brother to California Gr.3-placed She’s Our Charm; dam multiple stakes winner from a high class staying turf family; unbeaten in three starts, most recently in his first try on dirt when registering a gate-to-wire victory in the 9F Santa Anita Derby-G1 (by four and one-quarter lengths from Medina Spirit) while setting fast fractions and then repelling all challenges to drew clear in the final furlong with complete authority (and galloping out far in front); earned a career top 100 Beyer speed figure in his latest outing (tops among intended Kentucky Derby starters); previous two wins were accomplished on grass, the listed 8F Pasadena S. in February in visually pleasing style (by two and one-quarter lengths from Cathkin Peak) and a maiden over 6F on grass on New Year’s Day (by one and three-quarter lengths while appearing to toy with his opposition); pedigree suggests he’ll thrive over a classic distance and farther; has proven to be effective on the lead or from a stalking position though he’s yet to experience dirt kickback; will enter the Kentucky Derby-G1 at least among the first three favorites; has never been a particularly willing performer in the morning but his most recent workout April 17 (5f, :59.3h) was his best yet; still a bit green in the p.m. (switched leads twice in the stretch in his most recent start) but has the kind of potential that could reach a championship level. 2 – ESSENTIAL QUALITY (B. Cox) – 126 lbs.Pedigree: Tapit – Delightful Quality, by Elusive QualityLifetime record: 5-5-0-0 ($2,265,144). Derby points: 140Last start: April 3, 2021, Keeneland, 9F Blue Grass S.-G2, finished firstNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, 10F Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: April 24, Churchill Downs, 5f, 1:00.2b The skinny: Godolphin homebred; dam graded stakes-placed sprinting half-sister to champion 2yo filly Folklore; 2020 Eclipse Award winning 2-year-old enters the Kentucky Derby-G1 with a perfect record in five starts, most recently when fully extended to win the 9F Blue Grass S.-G2 (by a neck from Highly Motivated) while enjoying a trouble-free pace-stalking trip; had reappeared in top form in late February with an authoritative victory over sloppy going in the 8F Southwest S.-G3 (by four and one-quarter lengths from Spielberg and Jackie’s Warrior); completed his 2-year-old season with back-to-back Grade 1 victories at Keeneland in the 8.5F BC Juvenile-G1 in November when rallying from nine lengths back with the help of the fast-early race-flow to win by three-quarters of a length from 90-1 Hot Rod Charlie and before that with a three and one-quarter length score in the 8.5F Breeders’ Futurity-G1 (from Keepmeinmind); speed figures have risen with every start but without a significant leap and with a career top Beyer number of a good-but-not-great 97; proven so far to be thoroughly genuine and versatile (though not particularly willing in morning workouts) while giving indication that the Derby’s 10F trip will easily be within his range; in top hands and will be the deserving favorite in the Kentucky Derby-G1. 3 – KNOWN AGENDA (T. Pletcher) – 124 lbs.Pedigree: Curlin – Byrama, by ByronLifetime record: 6-3-1-1 ($541,700). Derby points: 102Last start: March 28, 2021, Gulfstream Park, Florida Derby-G1, finished firstNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: April 23, Churchill Downs, 5f, 1:01b The skinny: St. Elias Stable homebred, dam Gr-1 9F dirt winner in California; verified the highly favorable impression he made in an 11-length 9F allowance victory at Gulfstream Park in February by returning the following month to capture the Florida Derby-G1 over that same track and distance with complete authority (by two and three-quarter lengths from Soup and Sandwich); earned a career top speed figure in that race and appears to be developing with maturity, experience and distance as is typical of offspring of Curlin; was categorized early in his career as a long-winded, plodding type but has displayed improved tactical speed and late acceleration in recent starts; seems certain to enjoy the 10 furlong trip of the Kentucky Derby-G1 and is likely to step forward again and be a major player in the spring classics. 4 – HOT ROD CHARLIE (D. O’Neill) – 123 lbs.Pedigree: Oxbow – Indian Miss, by Indian CharlieLifetime record: 7-2-1-02 ($1,00,700). Derby points: 110Last start: March 20, 2021, Fair Grounds, 9.5F Louisiana Derby-G2, finished firstNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, 10F Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: April 24, Santa Anita, 6f, 1:13.3h The skinny: $110,000Y, half-brother to champion sprinter Mtole; non-winning dam a half-sister to Davona Dale S.-G2 winner Live Lively; versatile colt has been successful on the lead or from off the pace and returned to winning form in his second 2021 outing when making all in the 9.5F Louisiana Derby-G2, relaxing without undue pressure to the top of the lane and then fighting off all challenges to register a two length score from Midnight Bourbon while establishing a new track record (1:55.06) and earning a career top 99 Beyer speed figure; had displayed plenty of promise during his juvenile campaign, beating maidens in his fourth start before finishing second (with the help of the race-shape) to champion Essential Quality in BC Juvenile-G1 by three quarters of a length at 91-1 after striking the front in mid-stretch; performed well when third (beaten a neck) behind Medina Spirit and Roman Centurian) in his 3yo debut in late January in the Robert B. Lewis S.-G3 while appearing to have winning momentum inside the furlong pole but then losing his punch close home while likely needing the outing; doesn’t have a great turn of foot and may be most effective as a stalker or pace presser; will be trained up to the Kentucky Derby with six weeks in between starts. 5 – HELIUM (M. Casse) – 121 lbs.Pedigree: Ironicus – Thundering Emilla, by Thunder GulchLifetime record: 3-3-0-0 ($287,763). Derby points: 50Last start: March 6, 2021, Tampa Bay Downs, Tampa Bay Derby-G2, finished firstNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, 10F Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: April 23, Churchill Downs, 4f, 49.4b The skinny: $55,000Y; fourth foal, half-brother to Peruvian Gr. 1 winner Emilia’s Moon (by Malibu Moon); dam G3 SW in Peru; undefeated in three starts including the 8.5F Tampa Bay Derby-G2 in his 3-year-old debut (by three-quarters of a length from Hidden Stash), producing a steady bid (was 10th early) to secure the win in good style from a moderate field; previously had won both of his starts as a 2-year-old over the Woodbine synthetic surface (both at seven furlongs), a maiden in September (by three and one-quarter lengths from Excellorator) and then the listed Display S. the following month (by four and one-quarter lengths from Gospel Way); versatile colt has won pressing the front speed and also from far off the pace; bred to handle any surface and apparently does; should stay a classic distance; speed figures aren’t yet close to being competitive with the tops in his division and will have two months in between races while training up to the Kentucky Derby-G1; obviously is a colt of some quality but the strategy from his connections appears to place a higher emphasis on making the Derby field than actually providing him with the proper preparation to have a chance to win it. 6 – MEDINA SPIRIT (B. Baffert) – 121 lbs.Pedigree: Protonico – Mongolian Change, by Brilliant SpeedLifetime record: 5-2-3-0 ($315,200). Derby points: 74Last start: April 3, 2021, Santa Anita, Santa Anita Derby-G1, finished secondNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, 10F, Kentucky Dereby-G1Latest workout: April 22, Santa Anita, 6f, 1:12.1h The skinny: $35,000 OBS 2yo; from the first crop of a multiple graded SW son of Giant’s Causeway, dam a synthetic maiden special weight winner at Presque Isle Downs; light female family (no SW’s in first three generations); was no match as the 4/5 favorite to Rock Your World when second (beaten four and one-quarter lengths) in the 9F Santa Anita Derby-G1 in early April, enjoying an ideal pace-stalking trip outside but then proving unable to quicken when the pressure was turned on at the head of the lane; previously had finished a distant second to unbeaten Life Is Good in the 8.5F San Felipe S.-G2 in late March, going down by eight lengths though gamely saving second money after stalking the winner throughout; before that displayed extreme courage when winning 8.5F Robert B. Lewis S.-G3 in late January (by a neck from Roman Centurian and Hot Rod Charlie) despite being under heavy pressure from the far turn to the wire; speed figures are decent but have stagnated in recent outings; pedigree suggests he’ll handle a classic distance but though he’s clearly a reliable and consistent sort his lack of progression and his one-paced style provide concern that he may have reached his ceiling. 7 – HIGHLY MOTIVATED (C. Brown) – 121 lbs.Pedigree: Into Mischief – Strong Incentive, by Warrior’s RewardLifetime record: 5-2-2-1 ($320,050). Derby points: 50Last start: April 3, 2021, Keeneland, 9F Blue Grass S.-G2, finished secondNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, 10F Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workoutt: April 24, Churchill Downs, 5f, 1:00.4b The Skinny: $240K though the ring as a weanling (retained by his breeder); first foal, dam a Canadian-bred sprint SW at 3; in the frame in all five career starts and earned a career top speed figure in his most recent start in early April when second (was five and one-half lengths clear of the rest) as the controlling speed in the 9F Blue Grass S.-G2 by a neck to Essential Quality, giving way grudgingly close home but with while benefitting from a race flow that may have flattered the performance; previously appeared a tad rusty when third (by a length and three-quarters to Weyburn) when making his seasonal bow in the 8F Gotham S-G3 the previous month; displayed plenty of potential when easily capturing the listed 6.5F Nyquist S. on the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Keeneland in November; pedigree suggests a classic distance will be stretching his limit; due to the projected pace flow may have to alter tactics in the Kentucky Derby-G1 that will prevent the same type of soft trip in the Kentucky Derby-G1 that he enjoyed in the Blue Grass S.-G2. 8 – SOUP AND SANDWICH (M. Casse) – 119 lbs.Pedigree: Into Mischief – Souper Scoop, by TapitLifetime record: 3-1-1-0 ($203,875). Derby points: 40Last start: March 27, 2021, Gulfstream Park, Florida Derby-G1, finished secondNext start: May 1, 2021, Churchill Downs, 10F Kentucky Derby-G1Latest workout: April 23, Churchill Downs, 4f, :50b The skinny: Live Oak Stud homebred; Monmouth Park allowance-winning dam traces to a solid midwestern family that includes Til Forbid (Arlington Oaks-G3, etc.); won his first two career starts in excellent fashion, a state-bred 6.5F Gulfstream Park maiden by seven and one-quarter lengths and then a middle distance allowance event at Tampa Bay Downs by two and three-quarter lengths, both victories accomplished utilizing pace pressing/stalking tactics; took on much tougher competition in his most recent outing in the 9F Florida Derbny-G1 and acquitted himself quite well when establishing the pace and then staying on gamely to be second (by two and three-quarter lengths to Known Agenda) while three lengths clear of the rest; a genuine sort but is suspect at a classic distance; will need to improve again to make his mark in the spring classics but with just three career starts has room to for further development.Also eligible: Dynamic One (T. Pletcher); Midnight Bourbon (S. Asmussen); Super Stock (S. Asmussen); O Besos (G. Foley); Bourbonic (T. Pletcher); Mandaloun (B. Cox); Like the King (W. Ward); Sainthood (T. Pletcher); King Fury (K. McPeek); Hidden Stash (V. Oliver); Brooklyn Strong (D. Velasquez); Keepmeinmind (R. Diodoro).

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4.27.2021:

1/ST BET AI Picks: Friday's Kentucky Oaks

To help you handicap Friday’s tradition-rich Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, the 1/ST BET app’s artificial intelligence provides its look at the data for the fillies racing for the lilies. And when you bet with 1/ST BET or Xpressbet for the Kentucky Oaks, receive up to a $10 Money-Back Special if your win bet finishes second or third.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.KENTUCKY OAKS // CHURCHILL DOWNS // RACE 11 (5:51PM ET) #12 Search Results // 31%W // 46%P // 56%S#6 Travel Column // 14%W // 34%P // 45%S#10 Malathaat // 12%W // 23%P // 32%S#14 Millefeuille// 8%W // 19%P // 24%S#4 Crazy Beautiful // 8%W // 13%P // 32%S#3 Clairiere // 5%W // 13%P // 28%S#5 Pass the Champagne // 3%W // 11%P // 26%S#8 Moraz // 3%W // 9%P // 14%S#1 Pauline’s Pearl // 3%W // 6%P // 8%S#2 Maracuja // 3%W // 5%P // 8%S#7 Ava’s Grace // 3%W // 5%P // 8%S#9 Coach // 3%W // 5%P // 8%S#11 Will’s Secret // 3%W // 5%P // 8%S#13 Competitive Speed // 3%W // 5%P // 8%S

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4.27.2021:

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

Pompano Park has a concise 8-race card ready to go this evening. The 0.50 Pick 4 starts in Race 5. 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 51-Impacter (7-1)-In a race where only #7 shows a win at this level this Pavia trainee could offer a big price and the qualifier was fine. Hasn't raced since 2-22 and then was scratched twice. This 7-year-old has consistently cashed checks versus tougher and could surprise if ready to battle.6-Creekside Pete (6-1)-Has been trying hard and could be the key to the race. Has the gate speed to get the top and could surprise if Ingraham can do a good job rating the mile.7-Mighty Surf (7/2)-This is the only mare in the field and the only entry that shows a win at this class, which came back on 12-21. Does have 4 wins in 15 PPk starts but recent form has been dull. Hennessey will take the lines and he has a way of working an advantageous trip.Race 64-Enzio (3-1)-The entire field is new to the straight Open classification but this 5-year-old was an impressive winner in the Open II Handicap on 4-20 at a solid at 8-1. It should be noted he trotted the back half in 56.2 to defeat the 2 below and 2 others from this group.5-Stick With Me Kid (8/5)-Beaten odds-on chalk has Hennessey back in the bike and will offer little value. Usually is in the hunt, so it is hard to leave off the ticket. Will likely leave and will need to be better than last week.6-The Lionking As (5/2)-Could leave like last time and get the top in front of #5 but had no answer for Enzio down the lane. Probably will follow the same script but try to steal a quarter or two.Race 72-Brilliant Bob (7-1)-This 4-year-old is very camera shy going 1-39 over the past 2 years. Will consider for a pocket trip as #8 could leave to get the point. The last start was better, this field is soft and will take a swing for a solid price with this post draw.7-Fist Fighter (6-1)-The last three starts have been good and has hit the board in 4 of 9 at the Pomp with 2 wins. Ingraham is back for his 2nd straight steer and if he puts this 4-year-old in range soon enough good things could happen.8-Beguin Degoutier (3-1)-This 10-year-old has fallen on hard times in 2021 and has only 1 win in 15 starts. The 8-hole won't help chances but this is a suspect group and has cashed checks versus better. Wallis needs to provide a sharp steer.Race 84-E Z Noah (5/2)-Takes a meaningful drop, the trainer hands the lines to Hennessey and moves inside from post 9.Will likely leave, look to control the pace and could be bet down.8-Fritzie Pic Up Man (15-1)-This 10-year-old dropped in last, was bet and got on the engine but faded down the lane. That was not his usual type of trip, usually comes off cover and is in a spot to find a live flow at a big price.9-Rocksapatriot (3-1)-Makes its 3rd start at this level and just missed in last 2, before that was facing better. Has the speed to beat this bunch but will likely need an honest pace. Should be in the hunt and this post helps the price.0.50 Pick 41,6,7/4,5,6/2,7,8/4,8,9Total Bet=$40.50Check me out on Twitter!

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4.27.2021:

2021 Kentucky Derby Draw Rapid Reaction

A capacity field of 20 entered today for Saturday’s 147th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, and longtime track oddsmaker Mike Battaglia designated unbeaten Essential Quality (post 14) the 2-1 morning line favorite. The run for the roses will be Race 12 of 14 on a program that gets underway at 10:30 am ET. Derby post is 6:57 pm ET.Watch and wager on the full card at Xpressbet.com and on the 1/ST BET app.The 20-horse starting gate, which debuted last year with only 15 starters in the Derby, could change what we know about the importance of post positions. Gone is the gap between posts 14 and 15 when there was a main and auxiliary starting gate connection. The extra real estate allows for the new gate to be positioned a few crucial feet farther away from the inside rail. This could alleviate some of the inside congestion at the start, as well as the abrupt left-hand intensity of the outside runners crushing down to fill the void.But the Derby pace is not as clear on paper as some years, and that could make the starting positions very important in terms of jockey intent and how they’ll want to settle into their preferred spot.Rock Your World (post 15) and Medina Spirit (post 8) were 1-2 throughout the Santa Anita Derby, the former appearing more naturally gifted with early foot. With ex-sprinter Highly Motivated in post 17 off a wire-to-wire Blue Grass attempt when second, that could turn up the pressure on Rock Your World early. Soup and Sandwich (post 19) has trained very aggressively and was forward in the Florida Derby. He’s the most likely to bolt early from that post, again outside of Rock Your World.To their inside, Hot Rod Charlie (post 9) wrestled command at the start of the Louisiana Derby. He could have the most early foot of anyone in the first 9 starting spots. With hot-training Midnight Bourbon (post 10) next door, that’s a potential pace hook-up as well – with the other principal speeds pressuring from outside. I would say this draw should help pick up the pace of the Derby.Essential Quality should be midflight early in the Derby, but showed in the Blue Grass he’s capable of pressing the pace and pouncing. Jockey Luis Saez wired the 2019 Derby aboard Maximum Security before being disqualified for interference. That he knows the front-end feeling in this race should not be lost on possible rider intent.None of the leading contenders are deep closers. Florida Derby winner Known Agenda wants a mid-pack trip, but could find that crowded from the rail and will have to work out a journey under Irad Ortiz Jr. But Todd Pletcher’s Super Saver, a horse Known Agenda stylistically mirrors, carved such a winning run here in 2010 from post 4 while on the rail most of the way.KENTUCKY DERBY 147 FIELD1. Known Agenda (Irad Ortiz Jr.) // 6-12. Like the King (Drayden Van Dyke) // 50-13. Brooklyn Strong (Umberto Rispoli) // 50-14. Keepmeinmind (David Cohen) // 50-15. Sainthood (Corey Lanerie) // 50-16. O Besos (Marcelino Pedroza) // 20-17. Mandaloun (Florent Geroux) // 15-18. Medina Spirit (John Velazquez) // 15-19. Hot Rod Charlie (Flavien Prat) // 8-110. Midnight Bourbon (Mike Smith) // 20-111. Dynamic One (Jose Ortiz) // 20-112. Helium (Julien Leparoux) // 50-113. Hidden Stash (Rafael Bejarano) // 50-114. Essential Quality (Luis Saez) // 2-115. Rock Your World (Joel Rosario) // 5-116. King Fury (Brian Hernandez) // 20-117. Highly Motivated (Javier Castellano) // 10-118. Super Stock (Ricardo Santana Jr.) // 30-119. Soup and Sandwich (Tyler Gaffalione) // 30-120. Bourbonic (Kendrick Carmouche) // 30-1

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4.26.2021:

Monday Myths: Derby Day 'Dumb' Money

Welcome to a continuing handicapping series for our Monday blog space, “Monday Myths.” Each week I’ll use the power of the Betmix database to take common handicapping assumptions and either support or dispel them with data. Betmix data powers the 1/ST BET app and its features like Angler and Birddog give data-minded horseplayers a treasure trove of information in which to query your own curiosities.Assumption:Casual bettors flocking to the Kentucky Derby Day card make it one of the best betting days of the year for finding enticing prices.Background:You’ll often hear seasoned horseplayers and racetrackers talk about the ‘dumb’ money in the Kentucky Derby pools, not only in the big race, but the supporting features. When betting parimutuelly, having once-a-year type of bettors in the pool gives the more-regular player a confidence boost. That casual money can also help offset the impact of the sharps who drive down prices on common days of the year.Data Points:I set the Betmix database for every Kentucky Derby Day card from 2013-’19 (dismissing 2020 when September pools were half-sized what we see in May). I wanted to compare those results and wagering habits against overall racing days at Churchill Downs, using all races locally from 2013-’19 as the comparison. I also looked at similar field sizes in some categories.//Derby Day favorites won 23.5 percent, finished in the money 51.8 percent and had a $1 ROI of $0.70.Churchill Downs favorites won 34.14 percent, finished in the money 68.4 percent and had a $1 ROI of $0.83.//Derby Day favorites in field sizes of 10 or more won 20.4 percent, finished in the money 44.9 percent and had a $1 ROI of $0.65.Churchill Downs favorites in field sizes of 10 or more won 30.0 percent, finished in the money 61.2 percent and had a $1 ROI of $0.82.//Derby Day favorites had an average finish position of 3.79.Churchill Downs favorites had an average finish position of 2.94.//Derby Day favorites in field sizes of 10 or more had an average finish position of 4.20.Churchill Downs favorites in field sizes of 10 or more had an average finish position of 3.49.//Derby Day favorites had average odds of 2.09-1.Churchill Downs favorites had average odds of 1.61-1.//Derby Day average winners were 6.24-1 odds, paying $14.48 for a $2 bet.Churchill Downs average winners were 5.05-1 odds, paying $12.10 for a $2 bet.//Derby Day boasted a 10-1 or higher winner every 5.59 races on average (17 of 95).Churchill Downs boasted a 10-1 or higher winner every 9.10 races on average (631 of 5745).//Overall Findings:Favorites were less reliable on Derby Day by 10 points whether or not you considered field size. Derby Day favorites consistently finished farther behind in the pack than typical Churchill Downs chalk, again, regardless of field size. The favorites on Derby Day go off higher in price than a regular day at CD, and the average winner on Derby day paid $2.38 more on average for every $2 win bet. And as for longshots, they were considerably more likely to pop on Derby Day than a regular race day by a sweeping margin.Bottom line:There’s no doubt about this one. Whether you want to call it casual, new or even dumb money, Kentucky Derby Day has proven to be a more lucrative day to swing against the favorites and cash an overlay price … or even swing for the fences.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, you can sort by trainers on Derby Day only and see which have delivered when expected. Todd Pletcher (3-for-5) and Al Stall Jr. (3-for-4) have handled Derby Day business when favored. Put the power of big data in your corner.

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4.26.2021:

2021 Kentucky Oaks Draw Rapid Reaction

Friday’s 147th running Kentucky Oaks attracted a field of 14 as drawn today at Churchill Downs, led by 5-2 morning line favorite Malathaat in post 10. The annual run for the lilies anchors a 13-race program that begins at 10:30 am ET. Post time for the Oaks will be 5:51 pm ET as Race 11.Xpressbet and 1/ST BET will offer a $10 money-back guarantee on Kentucky Oaks win bets if your selection finishes second or third. Both platforms offer full-card wagering from Churchill Downs.None of the major Kentucky Oaks players are committed to make the early pace, though Search Results and Travel Column have had success with first-over moves from a pressing position. Ava’s Grace, pacemaker in Oaklawn’s Fantasy Stakes, is the likely front-runner and drew well in post 7. Moraz next door in post 8 could apply some pressure off her slow-paced, front-end third in the Santa Anita Oaks. Search Results will have to be used early from post 12 to gain position, but will be outside the principal speed horse, a good thing. Travel Column being inside of Ava’s Grace could post some problems trying to settle into a trip.Malathaat is 4-for-4 lifetime after winning the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland in her only start as a 3-year-old. She won the Demoiselle last year at the Oaks’ 1-1/8 miles distance. Trainer Todd Pletcher has won the Oaks 3 times (’04 Ashado, ’07 Rags to Riches, ’13 Princess of Sylmar). Brad Cox and Luis Saez, who team with Derby favorite Essential Quality, will combine forces with Coach (post 9) in the Oaks. Cox has won the Oaks 2 of the last 3 years with Shedaresthedevil and Monomoy Girl.Check back throughout the week for additional Kentucky Oaks coverage with Xpressbet and 1/ST BET.Kentucky Oaks 147 Field:1. Pauline’s Pearl (Ricardo Santana Jr.) 20-12. Maracuja (Kendrick Carmouche) 20-13. Clairiere (Tyler Gaffalione) 5-14. Crazy Beautiful (Jose Ortiz) 15-15. Pass the Champagne (Javier Castellano) 15-16. Travel Column (Florent Geroux) 3-17. Ava’s Grace (David Cohen) 50-18. Moraz (Flavien Prat) 30-19. Coach (Luis Saez) 50-110. Malathaat (John Velazquez) 5-211. Will’s Secret (Jon Court) 30-112. Search Results (Irad Ortiz Jr.) 3-113. Competitive Speed (Chris Landeros) 50-114. Millefeuille (Joel Rosario) 20-1

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4.26.2021:

Monday, April 26: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis-$20,000 Guaranteed Pool

The Monday night card at Pompano Park includes a Pick 4 with a $20,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus. The sequence has a 12% takeout and begins in Race 6.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 66-Rockntouch (7/2)-Drops looking for an overdue win like others in this field. Should relish the class relief and that Hennessey returns to steer. Should be out and winging and chances are this 9-year-old will slot into a close-up seat and be there at the wire.8-Solo Story (3-1)-This post could pose a problem but has beaten better than this coming off cover. My guess is Wallis will benefit from a few leavers and the pace will be lively. If that's the case this 9-year-old could get a nice stalking trip.Race 73-Saulsbrook Deputy (4-1)-Boyd returns tonight after his 1st assignment led to a win last week. Steps-up and will likely not blast out but should get a good spot to find cover. The pace could be hot if the three chalks leave from the outside and the Deputy likes to roll late.4-Prairie Panther (8/5)-Hasn't raced since 4-5 and that could be cause for concern. Should be bet and if dialed on high will be tough to beat from this post.6-Ideal Feeling (7/2)-Has the gate speed to leave and get a close-up seat but it's not a must. Beat #5 at this class last time. Could take another picture by coming off cover as a short field should help this versatile 6-year-old.Race 81-Agedchedar Hanover (4-1)-One move type could land in the pocket behind #5 and did pace a 54.1 back half last week. If Ingraham can provide a smooth trip it could be the night for the 2nd win of 2021, coming at a square price.2-Villiam (3-1)-Steps-up after a dominant victory and does like the Pomp hitting the board in 12 of 15 with 6 wins. Can beat this bunch on the engine or coming off cover.5-War-N-Munn (7/2)-Did win 2 straight, 1 was at this class, then got stuck with post 7 and took the long way around in last. Wallis will likely light this 8-year-old up to get on the engine and may not look back.Race 96-Here Comes William (3-1)-Team DuPont had a win last night and this 10-year old has taken only 1 picture over the last 20 races through '20-'21. Makes the 2nd start since 2-17 and was used a couple of times last week. Should be in the hunt with a good steer.7-Saulsbrook Lanny (4-1)-Drops to a soft spot trying to capture its 2nd win of the meet and has cashed checks versus better. Sanzeri will need to work an efficient trip but best to not overlook.8-Bass Player (6-1)-Winless at the Pomp but fits with this crew and should offer a solid price. Did show some improvement last week and is worth a swing at the morning line price.My Ticket Race 6) 6,8 Race 7) 3,4,6 Race 8) 1,2,5 Race 9) 6,7,8Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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4.25.2021:

Sunday, April 25: Rosecroft Late Pick 3 & Daily Double Analysis

Tonight, Rosecroft Raceway has a 13-race card starting at 7:15 EST. The headliners are 3-year-old Maryland breds in Sire Stakes action. My focus will be on the 0.50 Late Pick 3 which begins in Race 11 and the 0.50 Late Daily Double in races 12 and 13.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 112-Rusty's Houdini (12-1)-Offers a nice price, does fit with this crew and draws inside. Expecting Berry to race near the top of the stack and to be on the lead or in striking range turning for the wire.3-Lil Johnny (3-1)-Porter took the lines in last and circled the field to win at a square price. Does show the ability to be in the hunt versus this kind. Has taken 5 pictures in 8 starts this year, can stay good and might be posing again.5-Starship (5/2)-This is the 2nd straight steer for Callahan and could be bet down off the morning line. Seven-time winner in 15 RcR tries is a slow starter and needs a brisk pace to help chances. There should be a few leaving and this race could set-up nicely for this 4-year-old son of Captaintreacherous.Race 121-Rose Run Ranger (5/2)-Comes off a well controlled effort to win at this same class. Took the lead and when asked was able to dial it up with a 56.2 back half to never really be challenged. Went off at 3/2 last week and might not offer any better tonight, but appears to be a must use.6-Cool Casper (3-1)-The last line is a bit deceiving but what can't be disputed is pacing a 56.3 back half all on its own to draw off by over 6 lengths. There was a stalled outer flow and no one could get rolling to challenge this 6-year-old. Has missed a start but did the same at the end of February and then won 2 straight. This is a bit different, missing time after a win. But has been popular at the claiming box and the same could happen here so best to respect.Race 134-Prince Clyde (5/2)-Drops after being used very hard in the 1st half to get the top from post 7. Did all the heavy lifting in a race with hot fractions. Gets post relief and should be a major player.6-Uncle Coz (4-1)-Comes out of the same race as Clyde and didn't get an efficient trip. Also, was used early and settled into 3rd on the rail but was pulled 1st over. Has won 5 of 19 at RcR and was game to the wire to just miss a 2nd place check and finished right behind Clyde. Should be a player if the pilot does his part.$1 Pick 3Race 11) 2,3,5 Race 12) 1,6 Race 13) 4,6 Total Ticket Cost) = $12 for $1.00$2 Late Daily Double Race 12) 1 Race 13) 4,6 Total Ticket Cost) = $4 for $2.00$1 Late Daily Double Race 12) 6 Race 13) 4,6 Total Ticket Cost) = $2 for $1.00Check me out on Twitter!

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4.25.2021:

Sunday, April 25: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click Here to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Hoop Dream; 4-Dr. Hoffman; 7-FoothillForecast: Hoop Dream encountered considerable trouble when fifth in a similar starter optional claimer over a mile on turf last month and today gets an extra furlong to work with and good inside post that should ensure a comfortable ground-saving trip. With better luck today, the son of Lakerville should be capable of producing the last run. Dr. Hoffman and Foothill are a pair of first-following-a-claim players being protected in a sign of confidence by their new connections. Dr. Hoffman demolished a soft bottom-rung maiden claiming field last time out, was haltered by R. Hess, Jr., and retains F. Prat. Foothill, now in the D. O’Neill barn, has trained very well since changing addresses and has the natural speed to get loose on the lead and get very brave if front-running tactics are employed. These are the three we will be using in our rolling exotics with a slight edge on top to Hoop Dream.RACE 2: Post: 1:31 PT Grade: XUse: 2-Shezaghost; 5-Eyes OpenForecast: This restricted maiden special weight main track miler for fillies and mares pretty boils down to two contenders. Eyes Open chased males when a distant third in a hot sprint last month but is back facing the girls today while stretching out again to a mile. She can be the controlling speed if she wants to be and given that type of trip the daughter of Street Sense may be able to run her rivals off their feet. Shezaghost earned a speed figure two runs back when over the track and distance that charts well with these. If you draw a line through her most recent start on grass, she must be considered the one to fear most. We will use both in our rolling exotics while preferring Eyes Open on top in a race that we will otherwise pass.RACE 3: Post: 2:02 PT Grade: B-Use: 3-Witch Moon; 4-Rhythm and Grace; 7-Cider AppleForecast: This evenly-matched group of older maiden fillies and mares makes for a difficult handicapping exercise. Witch Moon missed by a head in a career top effort over this course last month and not much more will be needed to win. Rhythm and Grace, a close third in only he second career start last time out, has loads of room for improvement and might inherit the role as the controlling speed. Cider Apple appears to be the best of the deep closers and with some help up front could easily tag the speed in the final stages. Each has a legitimate look based on the race flow, so we will include all three in our rolling exotics and then have an extra ticket or two keying Witch Moon on top.RACE 4: Post: 2:34 PT Grade: C+Single: 2-Uno Trouble Maker; 3-Lady On IceForecast: Uno Trouble Maker moves up a level after wiring a $10,000 filed in gate-to-wire fashion while recording her ninth career win from 25 starts, eight of which have been accomplished over the Santa Anita main track. She can take heat and dish it out, but with the presence of the ultra-quick Vangogo drawn just inside of her, the veteran mare may have to employ stalking tactics and has never been consistently comfortable given that type of trip. Lady On Ice should be the beneficiary of an ideal, second flight trip and if the two speeds do each other in, she will be in a right spot to pick them both up. We will go with ‘Maker and ‘Ice in our rolling exotics but not with a high degree of confidence.RACE 5: Post: 3:08 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Bombard; 2-Gregorian ChantForecast: Bombard has trained well enough to be ready to win in his first start since finishing eighth (but beaten less than four lengths) in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last November and the veteran gelding, with four prior wins over the Santa Anita lawn, simply should out class this field even if he is not 100 percent cranked up. Gregorian Chant has found his niche as a late-running turf sprinter and with any kind of help up front will be heard from in the final furlong. Both should be used in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Bombard.RACE 6: Post: 3:40 PT Grade: BUse: 6-Bench Judge; 7-Coalinga RoadForecast: Coaling Road is nicely drawn outside and should have every chance to stalk, pounce, and go in this state-bred first-level allowance sprint. First or second in five of eight career starts, the son of Quality Road consistently earns good speed figures and seems set to fire another good shot today. Bench Judge seeks his third straight but will be making his first career start on dirt. If he handles the surface switch he will be right there and his pedigree suggests he should not be inconvenienced by the main track. The edge on top goes to Coalinga Road but we will have tickets using both in in rolling exotic play.RACE 7: Post: 4:11 PT Grade: BSingle: 4-Auspicious StyleForecast: Auspicious Style is bred to love turf (Vronsky) and has trained well enough to be considered a live item in this wide-open turf event for maiden special weight state-bred sprinters. The known element does not inspire so we will go with a fresh face that attracts F. Prat. It is either him or anybody else, so at 4-1 on the morning line the D. Blacker-trained colt is the play both in the win pool and in the rolling exotics.RACE 8: Post: 4:46 PT Grade: BUse: 3-Teton Valley; 5-El Diablo RojoForecast: Teton Valley gets in with a feather and if he can shake loose early the sophomore son of Tapiture make never look back. He was six lengths clear of the rest when runner-up vs. similar last time out and a repeat of that race today should be sufficient to outrun this Cal-bred field. El Diablo Rojo is a fit on numbers, exits a live race, retains F. Prat and is the most dangerous of the closers. We will give Teton Valley the edge on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 9: Post: 5:22 PT Grade: BUse: 1-Petruchio; 5-Gator ShiningForecast: Gator Shining stretches out for the first time and is bred to improve considerably around two turns. His sprint form is good, he continues to work well, and with the monumental switch to F. Prat the son of Noble Mission seems primed for a smasher. Petruchio shortens up, returns to turf, lands the rail and may try gate-to-wire tactics. Reunited with “win rider” M. Smith, the R. Mandella-trained son of Into Mischief has shown a liking for grass and is another that has been impressive in recent morning drills. Preference on top goes to Gator Shining but both must be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 10: Post: 5:53 PT Grade: C+Use: 5-Run Like Kona; 9-Traffic StopperForecast: The finale is a messy abbreviated sprint for modest claiming fillies and mares. Best advice is to use as many as you can afford to. For those with budget concerns, consider the two that we have listed above. Run Like Kona is waiver protected in her comeback and was earning competitive speed figures at Del Mar last summer before being stopped on. If she returns as well as she left, the R. Hess, Jr.-trained filly can win. Traffic Stopper is racing in good, consistent form and is the likely choice and one to beat, especially with F. Prat in the saddle. No worse than second in three career starts over the Santa Anita main track, she projects to be or near the lead throughout.

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4.25.2021:

Sunday, April 25: My Late Pick 4 Ticket at Golden Gate

Stakes action highlights the Late Pick 4 Sunday at Golden Gate Fields, and when that happens there’s a good blend of proven local runners as well as shippers coming out of strong events at Santa Anita.The targeted Pick 4 runs from races 8-11 and includes the Campanile Stakes (ninth race) and the Silky Sullivan Stakes (11th), along with a good claiming race to open in the eighth and an excellent allowance optional claiming race in the 10th.The suggested ticket amounts to $64, and here’s a look at the horses used in that play:Race 8 (7:15 p.m. ET, claiming)SWEET RIVER BAINES closed with a rush for third last out and a clean trip and a good pace is needed.WHATWASITHINKING has done nothing good lately but has a stellar 6 of 12 record over the Tapeta and isn’t effective elsewhere. Back to where he does his best.COLORMEMONEY finished boldly in his last two, each at 5.5 furlongs, and should appreciate the extra ground.PASSIONATE REWARD was third as he lost a photo in the same race as COLORMEMONEY. The winner of that race is also in here but has preferred the shorter distances.Race 9 (7:45 p.m. ET, stakes)I’M SO ANNA comes out of the stakes wars at Santa Anita and last year won a mile stakes race over this turf course. Poses a serious threat from the beginning.SQUARED SHADY finished just ahead of I’M SO ANNA in the G3 Sweet Life at Santa Anita. Can be in the mix from the beginning and has the class to be a strong player. This race lacks runners with late punch, so these looks like the two top contenders.Race 10 (8:15 p.m. ET, optional claiming)MECKLENBURG has found a home here with wins in his last two and a third in his only other local start.KING OF SPEED very competitive in his Golden Gate races and can be effective late in the game.AMERICAN FARMER was on the board in his last three fits right in. A clean trip could help him get the candy.STRONGCONSTITUTION has been in the toughest races by far, with appearances in the G2 San Carlos, G2 Mathis Brothers Mile and G1 Hollywood Derby in three of his last four. He hasn’t been a factor in any of those but takes a significant step down in class. Had a good third last October in a mile optional claiming race at Santa Anita and followed that with a two-turn turf win in the Let It Ride at Del Mar. He looks good on paper, but the distance here will be a test and the locals have been in good form.Race 11 (8:45 p.m. ET, stakes)NONE ABOVE THE LAW took on the toughs at Santa Anita and was second in the Cal Cup Derby in January. He won a mile optional claiming race there two races back and then didn’t fire in the Echo Eddie last out.MISTER BOLD won here two races back. Has been competitive against California-breds but also has won two optional claiming races against open company. Makes his first turf start.POSITIVITY has lost four straight since winning his first two and was fourth in his only turf attempt. Can be expected to a big player in his first one here.BIG TALKER is a proven late runner and that will come in handy in a race that has no shortage of speed. Has been on the turf in all five starts and is bred to handle longer distances.My TicketRace 8) #1 Sweet River Baines, #3 Whatwasithinking, #6 Colormemoney, #10 Passionate Reward.Race 9) #1 I’m So Anna, #2 Squared Shady.Race 10) #4 Mecklenburg, #6 King of Speed, #8 American Farmer, #10 Strongconstitution.Race 11) #3 None Above the Law, #7 Mister Bold, #10 Positivity, #12 Big Talker.Total Ticket Cost) 1,3,6,10/1,2/4,6,8,10/3,7,10,12 = $64 for $0.50

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4.24.2021:

Saturday, April 24: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis-$25,000 Guaranteed Pool

There are nine races scheduled at Cal Expo this evening with the feature coming in Race 6, the Lloyd Arnold Free for All Pace with a $10,000 purse. The headliner also starts the Pick 4 sequence which has a $25,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 65-Allmyx'sliventexas (8/5)-It's possible this 8-year-old won't win but it is difficult to make a case that will happen. My only other choice for an upset with a perfect trip would be #1, but recent form has tailed off. Roland should have the morning line choice on the lead from the jump. There isn't a post 10 handicap to deal with and if close to 100% it should be win #9 in 11 CalX starts.Race 75-Its Pointless (5/2)-Comes off 2 dominant wins but this is a tougher task. Has finished in the money in 16 of 17 CalX starts with 12 wins. Not loving the morning line price but it's best to respect as the Graham barn is batting 24% over the past 30 days.7-Glen (6-1)-This will be the 2nd start without hopples and caught the pocket ride to win last time. Back in the same class and makes the 2nd start for the Tremblay barn. Could be overlooked at the windows and is a player with an alert start.9-Johnny Ringo (5-1)-The post will make the price and Johnny can compete with these if he minds his manners. Acted up at the start in last and dropped to the back of the pack. Should be better and so will be the price. There should be an honest pace as a few could be leaving and things could set-up nicely for this 4-year-old.Race 83-Royal Mistress (9/2)-This mare offers some value at the morning line price and should relish the company. Could be forwardly placed and has a good chance to cash the top check with a sharp steer.4-Dancingonthesand (5/2)-Drops to a soft spot and the fractions shouldn't be as hot as last time. One move type should be in striking range by mid stretch. Being only 1-23 in 20-21 isn't inspiring but this race is a taffy pull.5-Brooklyn Moonshine (5/2)-Plano trainee is trip dependent. But this is the level for the pilot to work the right trip and might be a better price than the program odds.Race 91-Western Devil (5/2)-Started from the rail last time and came away at the back of the pack. Rallied late and just missed. Looking for a big try and a better start.3-Bet Together (2-1)-Was used to get the lead and then set some solid fractions before being caught at the wire. Could follow a similar script but Kerwood may try to rate the mile differently and has been sharp over the last 4 starts.6-Gravelsinmytravel (7/2)-Didn't get the best trip in last, was stuck on the rail and was in tight quarters down the lane. Svendsen takes over and that's a positive driver change that could make a meaningful difference.7-Trump Train (15-1)-Raced wide on the back side and then came 1st over down the lane, that was a bumpy journey. Plano takes the lines this time and he had success beating easier on 2-28. Should be a nice price and looks worthy of a swing versus this crew.My Ticket Race 6) 5 Race 7) 5,7,9 Race 8) 3,4,5 Race 9) 1,3,6,7Total Ticket Cost) $7.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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4.24.2021:

Saturday, April 24: Jeff Siegel's National Prime Plays

Every Friday thru Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6. Selections are listed in chronological order.Santa Anita – Ninth Race – Post time: 5:22 PT2-Ole Silver (6-1)Speedy filly has the pedigree to improve a ton routing and finally gets her chance to prove it in this nine furlong grassy starter optional claimer for fillies and mares. The daughter of Acclamation continues to train in highly impressive fashion, goes for a barn that has strong stats with the sprint-to-route angle, and switches to bug girl J. Pyfer, who seems likely to employ the proper gate-to-wire tactics that should bring out the best from this P. D’Amato-trained filly. Lightly-raced with plenty of improvement in her and listed at 6-1 on the morning line, she is a strong win play and rolling exotic single.Churchill Downs – Ninth Race – Post time: 10:11 ET1-Roderick (9/2)Has been away for a couple of months since failing to handle a sloppy track when unplaced as the 4/5 favorite in the Hutcheson Stakes and today tries grass in this year’s edition of the William Walker Stakes. The W. Ward-trained colt raced poorly in his only prior outing on turf, but he has trained well on the sod and will outclass this field if he can transfer his best dirt form to this surface. The son of Into Mischief draws the rail and has enough early speed to use it to his advantage, so at 9/2 on the morning he is worth a gamble in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.

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4.24.2021:

Saturday, April 24: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.Click Here to View Today’s Santa Anita Workout ReportRACE 1: Post: 1:00 PT Grade: XSingle: 1-North County GuyForecast: North County Guy can be effective at any distance but showed in his most recent win that the R. Baltas-trained gelding probably is most comfortable at this one mile trip. Drawn perfectly inside and likely will inherit an ideal ground-saving, second flight trip, the R. Baltas-trained veteran just handled an open field with career-top speed figure and should not find this state-bred competition any more difficult. At 6/5 on the morning line, he is a short-priced rolling exotic single.RACE 2: Post: 1:31 PT Grade: BSingle: 2-Crooked Finger RayForecast: A little will go a long way in this modest restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming sprint for older horses. Crooked Finger Ray shows up in a seller for the first time and appears to have finally found his friends. The M. Puype-trained gelding turns back to a sprint, returns to the main track, tackles an infinitely softer field and looked quite good in a recent workout to have him on edge. Given the projected pace flow, the son of Verrazano should be within striking range throughout and then have his chance to seal the deal when the pressure is turned on. At 5/2 on the morning line, he is a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 3: Post: 2:02 PT Grade: XSingle: 4-Steele RoadForecast: Steele Road, runner-up as the favorite in a maiden $25,000 claiming sprint last summer at Golden Gate Fields, was a voided claim and stopped on but returns waiver protected in this soft maiden seller for a similar price and has worked like he is fit and ready for the always-powerful F. Prat/R. Mandella jockey/trainer team. The son of Candy Ride has little to beat and thus is listed as the 4/5 morning line favorite. Though highly-likely to win, the 4-year-old gelding will be too short to play other than as a no-value rolling exotic single.RACE 4: Post: 2:34 PT Grade: B+Single: 6-Table for TenForecast: Table for Ten shook off some rust when given a run in his recent sprint comeback, doing quite well to finish as close as he did (third) after a poor start that cost him whatever chance he may have had. More effective routing than sprinting, the son of Acclamation should be fitter and sharper today while stretching out to nine furlongs on grass and retaining regular pilot F. Prat. We are expecting to see him draft into a mid-pack early position and then have dead aim and every chance when asked to quicken at the head of t he lane. At 2-1 on the morning line, the P. D’Amato-trained gelding is strong play in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.RACE 5: Post: 3:08 PT Grade: B-Use: 1-Our Little Tiger; 5-Smoothlikebuttah; 6-Race JudicataForecast: We will go three-deep in this starter optional claiming main track miler for 3-year-old fillies while preferring Smoothlikebuttah slightly on top. A winner over this track and distance two races back vs. maiden $50,000 foes, the daughter of Mr. Big switched to grass and shortened to a sprint in her most recent outing and stayed on well without really landing a blow in the final furlong, winding up a respectable fourth, beaten less than three lengths. Back under more favorable conditions today and looking sharp in a recent workout, the S. Knapp-trained filly should be capable of tagging the speed close home. Our Little Tiger graduated in a maiden $50,000 affair recently at seven furlongs and from the rail should have her chance to stretch out successfully to a mile while projecting to be on or near the lead throughout. She is not fast on speed figures but none of these really are. Race Judicata seems a progressive sort, and after beating maiden claimers sprinting nearly two months ago returns protected while stretching out for a barn that always has solid stats with this angle. We suspect the daughter of Vronsky will employ gate-to-wire tactics.RACE 6: Post: 3:39 PT Grade: XSingle: 8-Fly to MarsForecast: Fly to Mars is an ex-classer that has gotten good again after being realistically campaigned by connections that usually do the right thing with their claiming stock. A five-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course and with a style that usually produces a soft stalking journey, the P. Miller-trained gelding shows a steady, healthy work pattern at San Luis Rey Downs since his most recent win in early February and seems the solid choice, though at even money on the morning line he will not be offering much in the way of wagering value. If it is not him, it could be anybody, so we can use him as a short-priced rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.RACE 7: Post: 4:11 PT Grade: B+Use: 1-Money Mike; 2-FlightlineForecast: This is a loaded maiden special weight sprint for 3-year-olds, with the inside two runners among those that are highly-regarded by their connections. Flightline has looked like a stone runner in the a.m. for the J. Sadler stable and as a million dollar yearling purchase the son of Tapit debut with much anticipation. The barn has out standing stands with first-