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8.19.2019:

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

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

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8.19.2019:

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

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

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8.18.2019:

Sunday, August 18: Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

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

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8.18.2019:

Sunday, August 18: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

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

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8.18.2019:

Sunday, August 18: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

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

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8.17.2019:

Saturday, August 17: Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

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

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8.17.2019:

Saturday, August 17: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

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

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8.17.2019:

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

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

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8.16.2019:

Friday, August 16: Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

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

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8.16.2019:

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

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

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8.16.2019:

Gulfstream Park's Saturday Pick 5 a Free for All

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

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8.16.2019:

Friday, August 16: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

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

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8.15.2019:

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

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

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8.15.2019:

Eddie Olczyk's 2019 Pacific Classic Picks & Betting Strategy

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

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8.15.2019:

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

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

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8.15.2019:

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

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

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8.15.2019:

Chad Brown Makes 'Outstanding' Seem 'Routine'

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

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8.15.2019:

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

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

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8.15.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: August 16 Stronach 5 Play

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

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8.14.2019:

Wednesday, August 14: Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Wednesday, August 14, 2019 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Best Bets at Saratoga on August 14th, 2019 RACE 1: Post 12:50 ET. Grade: X Pass/No Play Forecast: Today’s first race is for hurdlers. We will pass the race. RACE 2: Post 1:22 ET. Grade: X Single: 5-Beyond Gone Forecast: Beyond Gone has much in his favor in this maiden special weight sprint for 2-year-olds that were sold or RNA’d for $45,000 in their most recent sale. The K. McPeek-trained colt was nearly three lengths clear of the rest when a strong runner-up in his debut last month and has since breezed three times, including a nice half-mile move in company six days ago. This barn has strong stats with second-time starters, and with the switch to J. Ortiz the son of Can the Man looks likely to graduate but at a very short price (he’s even money on the morning line). We’ll make him a no-value rolling exotic single in a race that we’ll otherwise pass. RACE 3: Post 1:54 ET. Grade: C Use: 2-Regaliano; 3-Reason to Soar; 5-Mad Munnys Forecast: We’ll spread the third race, a $16,000 claiming sprint for older horses. Mad Munnys plummets in class for Rudy and returns to the main track while switching to one of this barn’s go-to riders, L. Saez. Based on his current form, this drop is warranted and at this level the son of Munnings appears to have found his friends. Reason to Soar, freshened since April when his form had gone completely south, could return a much better type after the vacation for G. Weaver, who is solid with comebackers. He shows the first-time-in-claimer angle and a work tab that seems decent enough, so with J. Ortiz taking the call the veteran Soaring Empire gelding should be a contender. Regalian earned a career-top speed figure in a win at Finger Lakes last month and if he can duplicate that effort on the Big Circuit he should be right there. A prior win over the Saratoga main track looks good on the resume. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics but if you can afford to go deeper, go right ahead. RACE 4: Post 2:26 ET. Grade: C Use: 1-Dublin Pub; 5-Honorable Hero; 7-Gosilently Forecast: Here’s another spread race, this one a state-bred nine furlong turf event for first-level allowance runners. Gosilently needs the front end and catches a pace scenario that should allow him to be the controlling speed, but he’s 2-for-20 lifetime with 14 seconds and thirds and the final furlong has been - and likely will be today - an exercise in desperation. On his best day, he’d wire this field, but at 2-1 on the morning line he’s not terribly attractive. Bad Guy gets the worst of the draw and is 1-for-27 with 15 seconds and thirds, so he’s even less trustworthy than Gosilently. The good news is that his one victory came on grass, and with the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. following a recent bullet three furlong blowout the son of Power Broke has a healthy pattern and numbers that put him in the picture. Dublin Pub is considerably slower on figures than Gosilently but lands the rail and seems assured of a good ground-saving trip in his first outing on the Big Circuit. His form at Finger Lakes is fairly consistent and may translate to grass, though it’s fair to point out that he doesn’t have any type of turf pedigree to lean on. At 15-1 on the morning line he’s worth tossing in on a ticket or two. RACE 5: Post 2:58 ET. Grade: B Use: 4-My Bronx Tail; 6-Stand for the Flag; 7-Comic Forecast: My Bronx Tail is a seven-race maiden and pretty much exposed at this stage but if the daughter of Speightstown repeats her last race she’ll probably earn her diploma in this better-than-average seven furlong affair for fillies and mares. Collared in the final strides by the next-out winner La Chancla while almost seven lengths clear of the rest last month at Belmont Park, the M. Nevin-trained 4-year-olds projects as the controlling speed and should be hard to run down based on speed figures. Stand for the Flag showed some talent when nosed out in her debut almost a year ago over this track and distance but then disappeared. She returns for new trainer J. Servis (an amazing 38% with a considerable flat-bet profit with comebackers) while showing a typical slow and brief series of workouts for this stable and will be dangerous if she can repeat or improve upon her 2-year-old form. Comic is an intriguing first time starter by Distorted Humor with an impressive series of workouts and a cozy outside post. The R. Brisset barn isn’t known to win first time out but this filly might have some run, and at 8-1 on the morning she’s a “must use” in rolling exotic play. RACE 6: Post 3:30 ET. Grade: B Use: 3-Astoria Kitten; 8-Sister Beauty Forecast: Astoria Kitten breezed a quarter mile in 21 4/5 seconds at the OBS March sale and then brought $150,000 at auction. The daughter of Kitten’s Joy debuts where she fits – in a two-turn grass maiden special weight affair – for the high percentage D. Gargan barn, though there is a concern that this stable’s record with debut runners is below par. Still, she’s the logical top pick in this state-bred affair in which the known element doesn’t really inspire. Of those with past experience, Sister Beauty probably has the most room to improve. A non-threatening but better-than-looked fifth in her sprint debut over a wet-sealed track that she appeared to greatly dislike, the daughter of Revolutionary retains J. Rosario and seems certain to perform better under these conditions. At 8-1 on the morning line she’s worth consideration in rolling exotic play. RACE 7: Post 4:02 ET. Grade: X Single: 5-Kimari Forecast: Kimari broke her maiden by 15 lengths in her debut at Keeneland in April and then ran even better when a sensational second, beaten a head, in the 25-runner Queen Mary S.-G2 at Royal Ascot. She returns to the States for trainer W. Ward and will race sans blinkers and with J. Velasquez staying aboard. An easy breeze over the Saratoga turf training track four days ago should have her right on edge, but at 3/5 on the morning line she’ll offer no value, so we’ll make her a rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race. RACE 8: Post 4:34 ET. Grade: C Use: 7-Allured; 8-Passcode Forecast: Allured has been away since February and shows up in a restricted (nw-2) $40,000 claimer, which at first glance seems like a logical spot for the 3/5 favorite in this seven furlong sprint. The C. Brown barn has a terrific percentage with comebackers (27%) and on numbers the son of Flatter dominates, however, this first-time gelding was originally a $600,000 2-year-old in training purchase and clearly is being culled, plus a team workout 11 days ago was less inspiring than it should have been. Let’s put it this way: he can win, but who needs the price? Those trying to beat the favorite may consider Passcode, nosed out in a $25,000 restricted seller here last month after stumbling badly at the start and then finishing more than three lengths clear of the rest. He goes first-off-the-clam for J. Ferraro, switches to R. Santana, Jr., lands the cozy outside post, and is listed at 8-1 on the morning line. RACE 9: Post 5:06 ET. Grade: B- Use: 7-Harv Won’t Tap; 11-Golden Spear Forecast: Today’s ninth race is a grass grab bag for $25,000 claiming routers. Let’s try to get by using just two, though if you feel the need to spread, go right ahead. Harv Won’t Tap drops well below his claim level in his second start since being haltered for $40,000 by B. Brown, not a healthy pattern, but he does retain J. Rosario so we’ll assume the veteran gelding remains healthy enough. Generally an honest and consistent performer, the son of Divine Park can turn it on late and earned a respectable speed figure in his most recent start despite trying to rally wide into the teeth of slow splits, which thwarted his late bid. This is a field he can act with. Golden Spear, freshened since late June after a couple of substandard races, drops for the money run while retaining I. Ortiz, Jr. and should fold into a nice pace-prompting position outside and then have every chance when the pressure gets turned on. RACE 10: Post 5:38 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 1-A Dixie Twister; 2-Morissette; 10-Linda’s Ballet Forecast: The finale is a contentious starter’s allowance turf sprint for older fillies and mares. Morissette arrives in sharp form, having won a restricted $40,000 turf sprint at Monmouth Park in clever fashion last month while earning a speed figures that makes her a strong fit on this circuit at this level. She’s a 3-year-old with plenty of room for further development and seems primed to step forward again. A Dixie Twister, from the he M. Miceli barn, is protected today after sharp back-to-back scores vs mid-level claiming competition at Belmont Park while earning competitive speed figures. D. Davis, who fits her well, stays aboard, and should have the daughter of Hard Spun in an ideal, ground-saving, second-flight position and ready to pounce from the quarter pole home. Linda’s Ballet, a $40,000 Rudy claim, is considerably slower on speed figures than she needs to be to win at this level but who’s to say she won’t leap forward for her new connections? A maiden claiming $40,000 winner over this course and distance last month, the daughter of Maclean’s Music retains J. Lezcano and should settle outside in the second flight and then launch her bid from the top of the lane. At 6-1 on the morning line she’s worth tossing in somewhere.

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8.14.2019:

Wednesday, August 14: Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Wednesday, August 14, 2019 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Two Top Plays From Del Mar on August 14th, 2019 RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 6-Deckology; 7-Heraclitus Forecast: Deckology had his number taken down in his winning debut after he caused interference in the stretch, but the effort was good, the number was better than par, and this raise from maiden $32,000 to $40,000 is of no concern. Today’s extra half furlong should only help, so there’s really no reason the son of Point of Entry can’t come back and cross the wire first again, assuming he minds his manners. Heraclitus probably deserves another chance after a rough debut last month. The S. Callaghan-trained colt got some play (4-1) but was bumped off stride at the start, fell far back, then finished mildly without getting into the picture. He’ll add blinkers today, switches to M. Pedroza (who’s won a few races for this barn) and had trained like he had some ability prior to his first outing. RACE 2: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: C Single: 7-Adulting Forecast: Adulting draws the comfortable outside post, is reunited with bug boy J. Velez, will benefit from a weight break, and catches a woeful field of bottom-rung maiden-claiming fillies and mares. Her first race wasn’t bad, her next race wasn’t much, but somebody has to win and if it’s not her, it could be anybody. You can use her as a rolling exotic single, spread the race, or better yet, pass it. RACE 3: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 4-Dukes Up; 5-Sheer Flattery; 7-Rocko’s Wheel Forecast: Rocko’s Wheel returned off a 15-month layoff protected in an allowance race at Los Alamitos and finished a fair third while shaking off the rust. This drop into $32,000 is a realistic move for the 7-year-old gelding for a barn that has terrific stats with the second-off-the-layoff angle, and with any type of forward move the son of Grazen seems capable of registering his first win since the fall of 2016. Sheer Flattery remains above his claim level for W. Spawr after failing to land a blow in a fast, highly-rated starter’s allowance race at Los Alamitos last month. He’s a strong fit on numbers and should draft into a comfortable second flight early position and then have every chance from there. Dukes Up also exits a fairly hot race, retains K. Desormeaux, and is the best of the closing types. Any one of the three appear capable of winning, so we’ll triple the race in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Rocko’s Wheel on top. RACE 4: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B- Use: 4-Breezy Bee; 6-Heathers Grey; 9-Flying to the Line Forecast: Heathers Grey, now in the M. McCarthy barn, has improved her Beyer speed figure with each start and has plenty of room for continued improvement. A solid second behind a next-out winner in her most recent start in early June at Santa Anita, she sports a couple of sharp recent works, retains regular rider A. Gryder, and will likely draft into a stalking spot in a race that projects to have a better than average early pace. Breezy Bee had little chance the way the race flow developed into a mini-marathon affair vs. tougher first-level allowance foes last month but this turn back to a middle distance event in a race that projects to have some speed up front should bring out her best. The main concern is her lack of success over the Del Mar turf course – she’s 5-0-0-1 – but under these conditions she could be heard from late. Flying to the Line stretched out for the first time and pulverized a maiden special weight state-bred field earlier this meeting. While visually impressive, the number came up light, she must leave from the far outside post today, may not be the controlling speed (though if she wants it badly enough she can get it), and probably will be a lower price than she should be. Still, the Prat/Miller combo always has to be respected, so we’ll include her in our rolling exotics. RACE 5: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B Use: 2-Anniversary Sale; 5-Afternoon Heat Forecast: Afternoon Heat, and Anniversary Sale exit the same race, a similar maiden $50,000 sprint here last month, and after crossing the wire second and third, respectively, they meet again in a race in which both project to produce forward moves. In fact, five of the seven entrants were in that July 24 affair won by Jen Go Unchained. We were quite impressed with Afternoon Heat, who was buried on the deep rail while forcing the early pace, slipped back and appeared to be fading away at the quarter pole, then re-rallied and wound up a clear second while displaying a considerable amount of moxie. The J. Hollendorfer-trained colt gets a better draw today, regains bug boy J. Velez, and is likely to be the controlling speed or at least pressing the issue from the better outside lanes. Anniversary Sale was making his first start in 11 months and appeared to be in need of the outing; he’s likely to be fitter and tougher today for the J. Wong barn and shows a nice half mile breeze over this track since the race. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics, but the main push goes to Afternoon Heat. RACE 6: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 5-Just Grazed Me Forecast: In her first start since December, Just Grazed Me turned in an excellent performance when third in the Daisycutter Handicap over this course and distance last month, and today the daughter of Grazen drops into a second-level allowance sprint following a bullet half-mile drill around dogs on turf since that outing. We’re expecting a forward move, but even without improvement the P. D’Amato-trained filly will be hard to beat. She’s a logical rolling exotic single and almost certainly will go lower than her morning line of 5/2. RACE 7: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 4-Boy Howdy; 8-Papa Turf Forecast: The finale is a bottom-rung ($8,000) abbreviated sprint that has two main players. Papa Turf is a disturbing zero-for-11 lifetime over the Del Mar main track but he did run well when third vs. similar last month and today shortens up a furlong while projecting to be on or near the lead throughout. He’s not necessarily one to count on but rates top billing by default. Boy Howdy is a big class dropper from the J. Carava barn, but he’s really just returning to his claim level, where he belongs. He’s probably most effective when held up early and allowed to run late and given that type of ride he will be bearing down in the final furlong.

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8.14.2019:

Chad Brown Dominates Arlington Million Card

In a marvelous “triple play” executed by trainer Chad Brown, he won all three Grade I races held last Saturday at Arlington Park. In order, Brown won the Grade I Beverly D. with Sistercharlie, Grade I Secretariat Stakes with Valid Point and Grade I Arlington Million with Bricks and Mortar. No other trainer has ever swept these three Grade I races in the same day. Brown then capped his extraordinary afternoon by also winning the finale on the 12-race card, the Grade III Pucker Up Stakes, with Cafe Americano. Brown thus swept all four graded stakes races run at Arlington last Saturday, yet another significant achievement by the person voted an Eclipse Award as outstanding trainer in 2016, 2017 and 2018. The “all Chad Brown” late pick four at Arlington paid $27.30 for a 50-cent wager. Sistercharlie made history by becoming the first two-time winner of the Beverly D. She also took last year’s renewal en route to being voted a 2018 Eclipse Award as champion female grass horse. Additionally, this was Brown’s fifth straight Beverly D. victory and record sixth overall. His first Beverly D. win came in 2011 with Stacelita, followed by Watsdachances in 2015, Sea Calisi in 2016, Dacita in 2017 and Sistercharlie in 2018 and 2019. Sixth early in last Saturday’s Beverly D., Sistercharlie stormed home to win going away by an emphatic three lengths as the 2-5 favorite in the field of seven. She completed 1 3/16 miles on the grass in 1:52.43. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez rode the 5-year-old Irish-bred Myboycharlie mare. Sistercharlie was credited with a 105 Beyer Speed Figure. That matched her career-best Beyer. Next, Valid Point remained undefeated in three career starts by taking the one-mile Secretariat at 5-2 while making his stakes debut. The Kentucky-bred Scat Daddy colt trailed early in the field of nine 3-year-olds, then unleashed a strong closing kick under Hall of Fame rider Javier Castellano to win by one length in 1:35.50. Valid Point recorded a 90 Beyer Speed Figure. That tied his career-best Beyer. And then Bricks and Mortar, an equine win machine on the grass, took care of business in the 1 1/4-mile Arlington Million (which in 1981 became the world’s first $1 million Thoroughbred race). Sixth early in the field of nine, Bricks and Mortar charged home under Irad Ortiz Jr. to prevail by three-quarters of a length in 1:59.44 as the 1-2 favorite. It was Bricks and Mortar’s sixth consecutive win. He now has finished first in all five starts this year, including a trio of races at the Grade I level. This was Brown’s third straight Arlington Million victory and record fourth overall. Brown’s first Arlington Million win came in 2013 with Real Solution, followed by Beach Patrol in 2017, Robert Bruce in 2018 and Bricks and Mortar in 2019. Bricks and Mortar was assigned a 103 Beyer Speed Figure for his Arlington Million performance. Below are the Beyer Speed Figures recorded by Arlington Million winners going back to 1990: 2019 Bricks and Mortar (103)2018 Robert Bruce (104)2017 Beach Patrol (101)2016 Mondaliste (100)2015 The Pizza Man (105)2014 Hardest Core (103)2013 Real Solution* (99)2012 Little Mike (102)2011 Cape Blanco (102)2010 Debussy (101)2009 Gio Ponti (106)2008 Spirit One (103)2007 Jambalaya (103)2006 The Tin Man (105)2005 Powerscourt (110)2004 Kicken Kris** (109)2003 Sulamani*** (107)2002 Beat Hollow (107)2001 Silvano (118)2000 Chester House (110)1999 not run1998 not run1997 Marlin (107)1996 Mecke (111)1995 Awad (114)1994 Paradise Creek (111)1993 Star of Cozzene (115)1992 Dear Doctor (108)1991 Tight Spot (108)1990 Golden Pheasant (113) *The Apache finished first but was disqualified and placed second **Powerscourt finished first but was disqualified and placed fourth ***Storming Home finished first but was disqualified and placed fourth THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLL Bricks and Mortar retains the top spot in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll this week following his Arlington Million triumph. He has ranked No. 1 each week since April 8. Here is the Top 10 in the NTRA poll for this week: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 396 Bricks and Mortar (36)2. 348 McKinzie (4)3. 283 Midnight Bisou4. 271 Sistercharlie5. 168 Mitole6. 154 World of Trouble7. 112 Imperial Hint8. 89 Maximum Security9. 65 Seeking the Soul10. 64 Elate BIG WEEKEND FOR GLATT & TWIRLING CANDY Trainer Mark Glatt pulled off quite a graded stakes double last weekend at two different tracks on the West Coast. Glatt was at Del Mar last Saturday to send out Collusion Illusion to win the Grade II Best Pal Stakes. The 2-year-old colt rallied from fifth to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Collusion Illusion now is two for two after winning a July 21 maiden contest at Del Mar. He races for the partnership of Dan Agnew, Rodney Orr, Gerry Schneider and John Xitco. The following day, Glatt was at Emerald Downs to saddle Law Abidin Citizen for the 84th running of the $200,000 Longacres Mile, a Grade III event and the richest race in the Pacific Northwest. This year’s Longacres Mile was a thriller. It came down to a three-way photo finish for the win between 6-1 Law Abidin Citizen, 3-5 favorite Anyportinastorm and 26-1 Restrainedvengence. Law Abidin Citizen officially prevailed by a head (though it sure looked more like a nose to me when I saw the photo). Anyportinastorm ran way too good to lose, especially considering he carried top weight of 124 pounds, five more than the winner. But Anyportinastorm had to settle for second in the field of 11 while finishing a neck in front of Restrainedvengence in third. There was a gap of 6 1/2 lengths back to Sold Wager in fourth. By the way, those in attendance at Emerald Downs or watching via the simulcast broadcast heard the track’s television commentator, Joe Withee, have to step in at the last minute and call the race from ground level while watching it on a TV monitor. Track announcer Tom Harris was unable to call it because the sound system went down just before the race. Withee did a superlative job under trying circumstances. Law Abidin Citizen has three of the same owners -- Agnew, Schneider and Xitco -- as Collusion Illusion. Not only that, both Law Abidin Citizen and Collusion Illusion are both Kentucky-bred sons of Twirling Candy. Abel Cedillo rode Law Abidin Citizen, who now has two graded stakes wins to his credit. The 5-year-old gelding was victorious in the Grade III San Simeon Stakes down the hill on the grass at Santa Anita last March 31. The Longacres Mile was his sixth win from 26 lifetime starts. Law Abdin Citzen’s final time last Sunday was a commendable 1:34.08. He was credited with a 96 Beyer Speed Figure. The Longacres Mile was run at Longacres from 1935-1992, then at Yakima Meadows from 1993-95. It has been run at Emerald Downs from 1996 to this year. Below are the Beyer Speed Figures recorded by Longacres Mile winners going back to 1992: 2019 Law Abidin Citizen (96)2018 Barkley (94)2017 Gold Rush Dancer (97)2016 Point Piper (103)2015 Stryker Phd (99)2014 Stryker Phd (97)2013 Herbie D (100)2012 Taylor Said (98)2011 Awesome Gem (96)2010 Noosa Beach (99)2009 Assessment (94)2008 Wasserman (90)2007 The Great Face (91)2006 Flamethrowintexan (101)2005 No Giveaway (93)2004 Adreamisborn (99)2003 Sky Jack (105)2002 Sabertooth (96)2001 Irisheyesareflying (100)2000 Edneator (104)1999 Budroyale (106)1998 Wild Wonder (111)1997 Kid Katabatic (105)1996 Isitingood (105)1995 L.J. Express (94)1994 Want a Winner (87)1993 Adventuresome Love (93)1992 Bolulight (106) AN EXTRA SPECIAL VICTORY FOR THE TRAINER Winning a Longacres Mile was extra special for the 46-year-old Glatt. That’s mainly because he grew up not too many furlongs from Emerald Downs. “Glatt grew up on a five-acre farm in Auburn, the son of Ron Glatt, who worked [as a trainer] at Longacres in Renton before it closed in 1992,” The Seattle Times’ Scott Hansen wrote in his recap of last Sunday’s Longacres Mile. “Father and son were together for the big win.” Mark Glatt has been based in Southern California for a couple of decades. But because of his Northwest roots, he appreciates the magnitude of winning the Longacres Mile, a race steeped in history and the most coveted prize in that region of the country. “I’ve been watching this race since I was a kid,” Glatt said, adding that it was “cool” to win it. Ron Glatt is a native of Spokane, Wash. When he was a youngster, he would ride his bike five miles from his home to Playfair Race Course. He would climb over the fence to get into the stable area. “A lot of times they would throw me out,” Ron Glatt told me when I interviewed him at Playfair back in 1977 for a Daily Racing Form column. “But I’d just climb right back over the fence.” In the seventh and eighth grades, Glatt got a job walking hots at Playfair for Glen Williams, who became one of the most successful trainers in that part of the nation. In 1975, Williams took over the racing secretary duties at Longacres, a position he held until his retirement in 1989. By the time Ron Glatt was attending Rogers High School, while his classmates were going to football games, dances and other school-related activities, he spent much of his time reading the Daily Racing Form and continuing to hang out at Playfair as much as he could. But then Glatt decided it would be best if he pursued something other than a job in racing. “I had a wife, family, bills and responsibilities,” he said. “I went to college for a while. I did industrial work for a time. I even parked cars at Playfair. But I didn’t like school and I just didn’t like to punch the clock.” In 1973, Glatt felt he needed to give training horses a try. “I came home one day and told my wife that I had decided I was going back to the track,” he said. “I knew I wanted to be a trainer. I wanted to dedicate myself to being the best one possible.” If it had not been for the success that year of a horse called Force Play, Ron Glatt might well have ended up doing something other than be a trainer. Glatt scrimped and saved his money until he had enough to claim a horse. He claimed Force Play for $1,600 at Longacres on June 23, 1973. “When I claimed Force Play,” Glatt told me, “I had only $100 in the bank other than the money it took to claim him. You might say the pressure was on. I mean, if something would have happened to that horse…well, I hate to think about that.” Glatt not only trained Force Play, he was the sole owner. Force Play was shipped from Longacres to Playfair. In Force Play’s first start for Glatt, he finished sixth in a $2,000 claiming race. But in his very next start, Force Play won a $1,600 claiming race by a nose. Force Play then won three more races during that 1973 Playfair meet. Thanks to Force Play, Glatt continued training for years. He won the training title at the 1977 Playfair meet before becoming a longtime successful conditioner at Longacres before it ceased racing. More recently in 2017, while son Mark’s training career was reaching new heights, Ron Glatt played a role in the success of one of the nation’s top 2-year-olds. Early in 2017, Glatt looked after Bolt d’Oro for trainer Mick Ruis during the colt’s stay at the San Luis Rey Downs training center in Southern California. Bolt d’Oro that year won the Grade I Del Mar Futurity and Santa Anita’s Grade I FrontRunner Stakes before finishing third as the 3-5 favorite in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar. A 1970 PREDICATION THAT WAS BOLD AT THE TIME Back in 1970, when Ron Glatt was working as a groom at Longacres, he made a prediction to a whole bunch of people. He predicted that by the time the 1970 Longacres meet was over, Turbulator would be considered the best horse there. “An awful lot of people laughed when I told them that,” he said. It was not surprising that many at Longacres scoffed at Glatt when he made his Turbulator prediction. Racing fans and trainers in the Seattle area tended to look down on horses who raced in Washington on the other side of the Cascade Mountains at Playfair and Yakima Meadows. Glatt was confident in his prediction because of what he had seen Turbulator do at Playfair in 1969. Turbulator won seven straight races in nine weeks at that meet. His seven victories came at distances ranging from six furlongs to two miles. Also, just prior to the start of the 1970 Longacres meet, Turbulator won the Yakima Mile at Yakima Meadows in impressive fashion. Even though Turbulator leisurely strolled home when he won the Yakima Mile by nearly four lengths, he set a track record that would stand until Slew of Damascus broke it 23 years later. Yes, that’s the same Slew of Damascus who then won the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park in 1994. It turned out that Glatt’s 1970 Turbulator prediction was spot on. Turbulator won five stakes races at Longacres that season, highlighted by his victory in the Governor’s Handicap when he broke the world record for 6 1/2 furlongs by two-fifths of a second. Turbulator also won the Independence Day Handicap, Joshua Green Cup, Seattle Handicap and Washington Championship. In the Washington Championship, which he won by four lengths, Turbulator broke the track record for 1 1/16 miles despite carrying 128 pounds and despite being under restraint toward the end of the race. As mentioned earlier, prior to the start of the 1970 Longacres meeting, Ron Glatt told lots of people that Turbulator would be considered the best horse there that year by the end of the meet. Turbulator was voted Longacres’ 1970 Horse of the Meeting.

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8.12.2019:

Five Things to Watch This Week at Del Mar and Saratoga

It’s the biggest stretch of summer at Del Mar with Pacific Classic Day set for Saturday and a five-stakes bonanza. Meanwhile at Saratoga, the 3-year-old fillies take the stage in the Alabama on dirt and Lake Placid on turf. The boutique meets roll on toward Labor Day with some trends firming up, and others taking shape. Here’s our weekly rundown:  Del Mar Betting Tips  The jockey-trainer combination of Joe Talamo and Mark Glatt hit 5: 3-0-1 this past week, including Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes $17.40 upsetter Collusion Illusion. They had only teamed 3 times at the meet prior to this week, but note they’re 9-28 (32% wins, 50% exacta) together in 2019. Flavien Prat’s 8-win week came with 8 different trainers. He’s had a particularly strong summer at Del Mar with Peter Miller (14: 6-3-2) and Richard Baltas (13: 5-2-1), making up 11 of his 25 scores.  Hot sires at the meet include: English Channel (8: 3-2-2 on turf), Twirling Candy (12: 4-1-3 dirt), Smiling Tiger (14: 4-1-3 dirt), Coil (11: 3-0-3 overall), Into Mischief (12: 3-5-0 dirt), Square Eddie (20: 4-5-2 turf, 9: 3-1-0 turf sprints).  Jockey Abel Cedillo hasn’t missed many putts at the meet. When riding the favorite, he’s 8: 5-1-0 for 63% wins and 75% in the exacta. He’s 7-for-67 on non-favorites so far this summer at Del Mar.  Trainers Peter Eurton and Leonard Powell aren’t known for volume, but both were on point last week with 3: 2-1-0 records. Eurton’s wins included $27 juvenile rookie Storm the Court, who upset the ballyhooed Garth. Powell boasted $68 winner Mr. Magico and had success in the maiden, claiming and allowance ranks, firing on all cylinders.  Saratoga Betting Tips Chalk ruled Saratoga last week with 46% wins overall and 67% in the exacta. The numbers jumped to 52% and 72% on dirt. Irad Ortiz, Jr. went 10: 6-1-1 when piloting the favorite.  Sunday’s Galway Stakes winner Eyeinthesky improved trainer Mark Casse’s record to a remarkable 5: 3-1-0 at the meet with offspring of sire Sky Mesa. The victories include the G3 Adirondack with Perfect Alibi.  Trainer Steve Asmussen suddenly hit his Spa stride by going 10: 5-2-1 last week. All 5 wins came in dirt sprints, and notably he was 3-for-3 with the juvenile maidens. He was only 4-34 at the meet coming into last week and 3-15 with his 2-year-olds.  Christophe Clement went 2-for-2 last week with horses making their second starts of the Saratoga meet. He’s a 25% winner with Saratoga meet returnees on turf since 2013 with more than 50 starters.  Hot sires at the meet include: Sky Mesa (16: 5-3-2 overall), Constitution (7: 3-0-0 two-year-olds), Blame (10: 4-0-2 turf), Animal Kingdom (11: 3-1-2 turf), Hard Spun (16: 5-1-1 overall), Curlin (25: 5-4-5 dirt), Medaglia d’Oro (17: 4-2-2 overall).

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8.12.2019:

Monday, August 12: Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

The co-features tonight at Woodbine Mohawk Park involve 3-year-olds in Ontario Sire Stakes Gold action. Two divisions of sophomore colt and gelding trotters roll in Race 2 and Race 8, each with a $105,600 purse. In Race 8, Hambletonian winner Forbidden Trade returns home and has been installed as the 2/5 morning line favorite. The 0.20 Early Pick 4 begins in Race 4. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 4 6-Officially Creek-ML chalk looks the part, sprinted out from 7-hole in 26.3 and put everyone away in last. 7-Stelios-1st time Auciello and that may help this 4-year-old seal the deal, may sit on the back of #6. Race 5 1-Fast N Relentless-Comes off an easy win at Grvr, was Henry's choice and will use from the rail at 10-1 in the ML. 4-Look N Fabulous-Will toss last from the 9-hole, can take a picture if races back to 7-18 performance. 8-Fiorella-Roy takes a seat and he did well with her versus Grass Roots fillies, could be sitting on a big try. 9-Miss LA-Breeding says should be a top 2-year-old, 9-hole and will be bet but Henry choses off, using plus others. Race 6 2-PL Jill-Drops back to a spot to shine, looks like a major player. 4-Free Willy Hanover-Also a softer spot, if a few leave and the pace is hot, things could set-up up nicely for Willy. Race 7 3-Setanta-Camera shy last 2 years, if a win is coming this is a good time, draws well, gets McNair but needs a trip. 6-Alexus Eh-This is another who needs the right trip but at 8-1 in the ML is worth a swing, is 6-23 at Wbsb. 8-Buzz-Auciello has been trying for almost a month to get a win, and this looks like a drop and pop situation. My Ticket Race 4) 6,7 Race 5) 1,4,8,9 Race 6) 2,4 Race 7) 3,6,8 Total Ticket Cost) $9.60 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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8.11.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis & Wagering Strategies for 8/11/19

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Sunday, August 11, 2019 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.  Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.  The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.   Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-plays-at-del-mar-on-august-11th-2019/  Today’s Bullet Drills: https://www.xbtv.com/video/bullet-drill/preview-of-races-4-6-and-9-at-del-mar-on-august-11th-2019-based-on-works/  RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 1-Stealthediamonds Forecast: Stealthediamonds, in her first start for high-percentage Wong, represents dangerous inside speed and if she breaks quickly and clears, the daughter of Unusual Heat could be tough to run down. She gets a huge break in the weights with the switch to good bug boy Velez and at this shortened five furlong coupled with a drop into a $50,000 claimer she seems primed for a major effort. At 3-1 on the morning line she offers value as a straight play and rolling exotic single.  RACE 2: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: B- Use: 4-Ohtani; 5-Drink Forecast: Ohtani takes a significant drop from maiden $50,000 to the $32,000 level and appears to have found a field he can handle. The W. Spawr-trained gelding has solid recent numbers that are better than par for this level and should settle into the second flight and be ready to pounce when it matters. Drink is a “must use” and the one to fear most. Nosed out in a maiden claimer miler at Los Alamitos last time out, the son of Stay Thirsty gets a significant weight break with the switch to bug boy Diaz and should be on or near the lead throughout. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics, with preference on top to Ohtani. RACE 3: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Overdue; 7-Kazan Forecast: Overdue, a closing third while earning a strong, career-top speed figure in a similar affair last month, gets an extra half-furlong to work with today while switching to M. Smith and adding blinkers for the first time. With two nice works since raced, the P. D’Amato-trained gelding seem set for another forward move, one that should land him in the winner’s circle. Kazan is worth including in your rolling exotics, at least a saver. He’s a first-off-the-claim for D. O’Neill and has two prior wins over the local lawn, and while he was beaten at even money when facing $40,000 foes last time out, a creepy-crawler pace compromised his late kick and the Irish-bred gelding actually did well to finish as close as he did. RACE 4: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B Use: 5-Inspiressa; 7-Bast; 8-America’s Surprise Forecast: This hot maiden juvenile sprint for fillies is loaded with talent. Top billing goes to America’s Surprise, a debuting daughter of American Pharoah from the dam of Songbird who has worked very impressively for J. Hollendorfer leading up to this race. Drawn comfortably outside under M. Smith, she appears to be made of the proper material but will need to bring her best stuff considering the opposition. Bast, a hotshot first-timer from the B. Baffert barn, has performed like a quality prospect in the a.m. and was especially impressive in an easy five furlong team gate work last weekend, when she breezed furlongs in 1:00 2/5 seconds and could have gone faster if permitted. The daughter of Uncle Mo brought $500,000 as a yearling and looks the part. Inspiressa, an $850,000 2-year-old in training purchase in Florida in March, is bred for intense speed on both sides of her pedigree and appears primed and ready for the Sadler/Espinoza team. She’s flat-out fast. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying America’s Surprise on top. RACE 5: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 3-Winding; 5-Testimony Forecast: Bottom-rung maiden $20,000 older claimers compete over seven furlongs. We’ll go-two in our rolling exotics in a rather shallow affair, with top billing going to Testimony, in the money in his last pair with steadily rising speed figures. The son of Ministers Wild Cat should have enough speed to be on near the lead throughout and in a field without any known effective closer should be able to stick it out. We’ll also toss in Winding, second in his last pair and a fit on speed figures. The S. Sherman-trained son of Coil gets a major jockey switch to J. Talamo and has enough early speed to be properly placed just off the leaders and have every chance from there. RACE 6: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 4-Give Me the Lute Forecast: Give Me the Lute was visually quite impressive breaking his maiden over this course and distance last month while doing so with a career-top Beyer speed figure and there’s every reason to believe he’ll continue to improve as he matures and develops. The son of Boisterous has excellent tactical speed to allow F. Prat to be either on the front end or in a stalking position, free of trouble, and following a couple of nice half mile breezes since raced the P. Miller-trained 3-year-old should be able to take this class hike in stride. At 4-1 on the morning line he’s a strong straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 7: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 5-Anonymity Forecast: Anonymity hasn’t always been one to trust – she’s been beaten at odds-on in three of her eight career starts – but her form over the Del Mar main track is outstanding, and after finishing a close third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint the five-year-old mare really should out class this field. The R. Mandella-trained daughter of Tapit was a strong runner-up to Marley’s Freedom in the Great Lady M. Stakes at Los Alamitos in her seasonal debut last month and has trained well since, so we’re expecting she’ll run at least as well if not better today. As a saver, we’ll consider adding to our rolling exotic ticket Danuska’s My Girl, listed at 7/2 on the ML. Fourth in the Great Lady M but benefitting from a five pound weight shift with Anonymity, she’s a two-time winner over the Del Mar main track and should fire her best shot from the advantageous outside post. RACE 8: Post 5:30 PT. Grade: B Use: 1-Tacocat; 6-Marci the Great Forecast: Tacocat finished a respectable third in her debut in a very hot race and today stretches out to a distance she should be able to handle and a course she’s bred to like. R. Bejarano stays aboard the daughter of Tale of the Cat for a barn that has good stats with second-time starters. From her rail post she’s a real threat to take this this field gate to wire. Marci the Great is a first-timer at 20-1 on the morning line and we suspect she’s a bit better than that. The California-bred daughter of Empire Way has shown some ability in her morning trials and acts like she’ll enjoy this two-turn trip. Use her as a saver in your rolling exotics. 

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8.11.2019:

August 11: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

The Sunday feature at Hawthorne Racecourse comes in Race 3, and Open Trot with a $12,000 purse. The Pick 4 starts in Race 6, it has a $30,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus. The driver with the hottest hands on Saturday was Casey Leonard with four winners. The leading trainer on the card was Terry Leonard with three pictures. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 6 1-Secret Cache-1 of 2 from Leonard barn and Casey steers, steps-up off a nice win and should be in the hunt. 6-Susan Sage-Looking for 3rd straight at this class versus a similar crew, ML chalk shouldn't be overlooked. 7-Finleys Filly-Other Leonard barn entry has been battling hard, Plano can put in play and roll late. 8-Frontier Ginger-Looking for a price, Adam barn has been hot, this was Husted's pick and can find live cover. Race 7 2-Savanah Georgia-Competitive and knows how to win will use with this post draw. 3-Look Kimbo-In form and drops, does race from the back and needs a good cover flow but can pop at a price. 6-Shedaisy Ten-Gets some post relief and Leonard returns, could be sitting on a big try. 9-Magnifique-Drops out of Opens back to the class of last win on 6/29, this could be a spot to shine. Race 8 3-Shadyman-Except for 1 miscue, 3-year-old has been very good since joining Roberts barn, best to respect. 6-Salvatore-Faded as an odds-on favorite after a tough trip, can get redemption with a smooth journey. 9-Youmakemyheartsing-Moves outside after winning by 8, doesn't need the top, can win again by grinding it out. Race 9 3-Lying In Cash-Sped home in 55.4 to win last week, this is a bit tougher but can be up to the challenge. 6-Little Bita Sass-Tossing last after a slow start from 9-hole. Fits here, will need a trip and Leonard knows well. 0.50 Pick 4 1,6,7,8/2,3,6,9/3,6,9/3,6 Total Bet=$48 Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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8.10.2019:

Saturday, August 10: Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies for Del Mar

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Saturday, August 10, 2019 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-plays-at-del-mar-on-august-10th-2019/ Today’s Fun in the Sun Tournament Preview: https://www.xbtv.com/video/recent/xpressbet-fun-in-the-sun-tournament-analysis-for-august-10th-2019/ RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 1-Garth; 2-Veteran; 6-Convex Forecast: There are at least three superior prospects in this maiden special weight sprint for juveniles and it almost certainly will take a stakes-quality runner to win it. Garth has been all the rage for several weeks and finally makes his debut for B. Baffert following a string of exceptional workouts that should have him fit and ready. Unfortunately, the son of Into Mischief drew the dreaded rail, but if he’s as good as advertised the poor draw might not hinder him. Recently, the Godolphin homebred colt worked in company with Eight Rings, who was ultra-impressive breaking his maiden last week. Based on that drill, this colt may be just as good. Veteran acts like a colt with extreme speed and if he breaks running the son of Quality Speed may find himself on the front end. The R. Mandella-trained colt was purchased for $190,000 as a yearling and has looked the part in the morning. With M. Smith taking the call, you knows this colt is fit and ready. Convex has worked like a good thing for M. McCarthy, lands the cozy outside post and should be more than fit for a top effort following a number of promising drills. His recent gate work (46 2/5 seconds, fastest of 91) points him out as an excellent prospect. RACE 2: Post 2:33 PT. Grade: B Use: 1-Miss Fraulein; 3-El Tigre Terrible Forecast: El Tigre Terrible, a progressive colt that improved his Beyer speed figure 37 points between his first and second starts, has come back to breeze an easy half mile since his maiden claiming win last month and seems capable of scoring again in this starter optional claiming sprint for juveniles. He’s one of two strong contenders from the P. Miller barn, the other the newly-acquired Miss Fraulein, who scored by more than 10 lengths in her debut last month over this track while showing good early speed to establish the pace and then lengthening on her out classed foes through the stretch. ‘Terrible has a bit of an edge on numbers while ‘Fraulein must leave from the treacherous rail, so while we’ll include both in our rolling exotics will have extra tickets keying El Tigre Terrible on top. RACE 3: Post 3:02 PT. Grade: B- Use: 5-Drasario; 6-Billy Batts; 7-Power Source Forecast: Irish invader Power Source had a nice breeze over the local lawn while preparing for his U. S. debut and the A. Lerner-trained colt should be fit and ready after showing some ability when a close but troubled sixth (of 14) in a maiden affair in mid-June at Limerick. This stretch out to a mile should only help, so let’s put this intriguing colt on top while also using his fellow European shipper Drasario, third (beaten a length) in the same race that Power Source exits. That was the colt’s racing debut and he certainly acquitted himself nicely at 25-1. Excellent turf rider D. Van Dyke gets the call for R. Baltas. Yet another invader, Billy Batts, deserves consideration due to the presence of F. Prat in the saddle for P. Miller. The son of City Zip already has had three outings, all in Kentucky, and most recently finished second in a maiden affair at Ellis Park. His numbers are just okay, so a decent colt probably will beat him, but we’ll toss him as a saver in rolling exotic play. RACE 4: Post 3:36 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Winsinfashion; 4-Promnesia; 6-Hopscotch Forecast: This abbreviated sprint for restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming fillies has several possibilities, so we’ll go three-deep in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race. Promnesia, freshened since June, switching to dirt and turning back from a pair of route races, probably is most comfortable around one turn and this class drop coupled with a sharp, healthy work tab for M. Jones indicates this daughter of Tizdejavu is primed for a top effort. She has several back numbers that are better than par for this level and seems likely to benefit from the patient ride she’ll get from K. Desormeaux. Hopscotchy was compromised by a rugged start and was no factor in a slightly tougher spot and likely can do better. Her previous form in Northern California – especially when fourth with a big speed figure in her race before last – makes her a strong fit in this league. Winsinfashion might be the quickest in the field and is dropping to her lowest level ever, but she’s been unplaced in three prior outings over the Del Main track and is drawn inside, where the going is deepest. She’ll take them as far as she can under good bug boy Velez. RACE 5: Post 4:07 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Mr. Roary; 3-Starting Bloc; 5-Andesh Forecast: Andesh returns off a long layoff as a first-time gelding and recent workouts indicate he’s a better type this time around for the P. D’Amato barn. He did win a decent race last fall at Santa Anita before being stopped and earned a speed figure that probably would win this race, so with F. Prat taking the call the Irish-bred son of Medicean may be well-spotted to return a winner. Mr. Roary, off since May of 2018, was claimed by J. Mullins and is returned protected in a sign of confidence. Group-1 placed over this course when third in the Eddie Read Stakes in 2017, he’s recent work tab looks promising, so with long shot rider A. Delgadillo taking the mount this son of Scat Daddy provides a genuine price chance. Starting Bloc was a tad disappointing when failing to land a blow in similar affair last month over nine furlongs but shortens to a mile today, retains V. Espinoza, and is good enough to warrant a big look of his best effort. He’s won over this course in the past and shows a nice recent five furlong workout to indicate she’s doing well. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics. RACE 6: Post 4:37 PT. Grade: B- Use: 1-Portal Creek; 4-Square Peggy Forecast: We’ll double the sixth race, a $32,000 main track sprint restricted to 3-year-old fillies. Square Peggy deserves top billing in her first start for a tag and she can regain her winning form in this return to the main track. The daughter of Square Eddie broke her maiden over the Del Mar strip last year, and while her recent form doesn’t inspire, this class drop should wake her up. A. Gryder stays aboard and knows her well. Portal Creek won nicely at around this level two runs back during the Santa Anita meeting and her record of four victories from just 12 career starts is admirable. However, she’s never had much luck at Del Mar and then had the misfortunate of drawing the poor rail, so her task won’t be easy. Both should be used in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Square Peggy. RACE 7: Post 5:07 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 2-K P Slickem; 3-Dichotomy Forecast: K P Slickem, an excellent second at this level over this course last month while earning a career top figure, seems the logical top pick. M. Smith stays aboard and hopefully will have her a lot closer to the pace than last time, when she simply was given too much to do. Dichotomy, stretching out to a distance she’s bred to handle, was a game winner over this turf course sprinting vs. Cal-breds last month, and while the D. O’Neill-trained 3-year-old still needs improvement in the speed figure department she clearly is headed in the direction to where she needs to be. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics and then press with K P Slickem on top. RACE 8: Post 5:39 PT. Grade: B Use: 4-Schrodinger; 7-Fore Left Forecast: Fore Left is perfect in two starts, an impressive maiden win at Santa Anita and then most recently in the Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park in early June by more than four lengths. The son of Twirling Candy drew the highly advantageous outside post, thus allowing M. Gutierrez to evaluate the race flow and pick a spot. Schrodinger was bet down to 2/5 in his debut at Los Alamitos in late June and won as expected, though not with the dominance that was anticipated based on his press clippings. The son of Justin Phillip continues to impress in the morning and probably can produce a forward move but will have to. We’ll try to get by using just these two with Fore Left, mostly due to the favorable draw, getting the edge on top. RACE 9: Post 6:07 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 1-First Screening; 3-Smoovie; 5-Miss Hot Legs Forecast: First Screening is a quick filly drawn inside and probably will employ gate-to-wire tactics. The daughter of First Samurai had a very nice breeze over the course six days ago (a bullet half mile in 48 1/5 seconds around dogs in company with Mucho Unusual) and seems set to produce a significant forward move with the switch in surface. Miss Hot Legs has developed into a specialist of sorts as a grass sprinter and was finished a strong third as the favorite under these conditions earlier in the meeting. Training quite well since, the S. Callaghan-trained filly may be capable of regaining her winning form from a good stalking position. Smoovie turns back to a sprint, continues to work well, and has a few speed figures on her resume that make her dangerous at a nice price. She’s been running long most of her career but might be best suited as a late-running sprinter.

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8.10.2019:

August 10-Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

The feature at Hawthorne Racecourse rolls in Race 6, a fillies and mares Open Pace with a $12,000 purse. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 7 and it has a $10,000 guaranteed pool. It's certainly not the most formful sequence but I will take a swing and look to get rewarded.  Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.  Race 7  2-Itsnotme Itsmen-0-27 and still 2nd ML chalk, that's says it all about this race, considering with others.  3-Fort Le June-Racing at fairs, doesn't like to pass foes in stretch, but gets Leonard and that's a plus for ML chalk.  4-Sharia-Raced in 1.59.2 in debut, will look for better in 2nd start at 20-1 in the ML versus a suspect crew.  7-Real Super-Last effort was much better than previous 10, could take a picture if upswing continues.  Race 8  2-Over Speeding-Having a tough '19, drops to lowest level since April, could be wake-up time for Team Leonard.  3-Bugatti Beauty-Comes off a rough trip from the 8-hole and from this post Wilfong can work a trip for a picture.  5-Princess Oshie-Comes off a better effort and fits with this group, looks like a player with the right trip.  6-Stonebridge Pearl-Camera shy but was driven more aggressively in last, using at a square price.  7-Seeyouatthefinish-Meadows invader qualified well, makes 3rd start of '19 and 1st since 1-15, but likes the track.  Race 9  3-Southside Kid-In form, can get sucked around from this post and roll by late, will take a swing at 6-1 in the ML.  5-Perky Pipsqueak-Missed a start and now drops, should like the company, switch to Seekman is a plus.  7-Adele's Big Party-Won at this class with Leonard in last, moves from the rail to 7-hole, but best to respect.  Race 10  5-Dune Dame-Drew off in last to beat the majority of this field and looks solid once again.  0.50 Late Pick 4: 2,3,4,7/2,3,5,6,7/3,5,7/5  Total Bet=$30  Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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8.10.2019:

Updated Gulfstream Park Pick 5 Ticket Suggestion

Weather and surface conditions Saturday at Gulfstream Park have brought on the transfer of turf races to the main track and have cause a lot of scratches. Una Luna was a single in the first race of the Pick 5 but was scratched, as were several others on the original suggested ticket. So, here is the updated version of this week’s suggested Pick 5. Here’s a suggested ticket for the Pick 5 Saturday at Gulfstream Park:Race 1) #4 Marynmike, #8 Trieste, #11 Yes Factor.Race 2) #2 Fiamma Mamma, #6 Angelic Knugget.Race 3) #3 Body High, #4 Nikki Bella, #6 Forty’s Sweetheart.Race 4) #3 Vina, #5 Jenna Dawn, #8 Bendita.Race 5) #1 More Mo, #7 Cape Marco Drive. 50-cent Pick Five: 4-8-11 with 2-6 with 3-4-6 with 3-5-8 with 1-7 ($54).

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8.9.2019:

Friday, August 9: Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Friday, August 9, 2019 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Plays at Del Mar on August 9th, 2019 RACE 1: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: C Use: 2-So Long Sailor; 5-Mongolian Humor; 7-Zakaroff Forecast: The Friday opener is a restricted (nw-3) $20,000 claimer that brings together shippers, class droppers, surface switchers, and runners that just changed barn. It’s an inscrutable affair in which nothing would surprise. Mongolian Humor hasn’t hit the board in five starts this year but she’s been chasing much tougher foes and gets significant class relief today while owning recent speed figures that are good enough to worry the boys. At 6-1 on the morning line, the daughter of Drosselmeyer seems as good as any so we’ll put her on top. Zakaroff is a Bay Area invader now in the A. Mathis barn with reasonable recent form but winless in the last two years. R. Bejarano should have him within striking range throughout, but what this gelding does with that kind of trip is anybody’s guess. So Long Sailor, in from Lone Star and eligible to the valuable ship-and-win bonus, won over this main track last year and brings from Texas decent recent form for new trainer E. Kruljac. The son of Quality Road won a restricted claimer gate-to-wire two runs back so we suspect similar tactics will be employed today. RACE 2: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Rose Dunn; 6-Fantasy Heat; 7-Marilyn’s Smile Forecast: Marilyn’s Smile appeared to find her best stride too late when a close fourth in a similar turf sprint here last month. She can do better, and with a repeat of her race before last the daughter of Smiling Tiger looks capable of producing the last run. Rose Dunn won her debut last December at 2/5 at Los Alamitos, but then disappeared. Her works leading up to this comeback look pretty decent for B. Koriner, who has a superior record (30% with a flat-bet profit) with layoff runners, and the daughter of Violence will wear blinkers this time around, so we’re expecting her to flash improved early speed. If she breaks well from the rail, she may never look back. Fantasy Heat, third in the same race our top pick exits, finished a head in front her main rival and, truthfully, there’s very little separating them. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with very slight preference on top to Marilyn’s Smile. RACE 3: Post 6:00 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Implicitly; 4-Clear the Mine; 5-Cabin John Forecast: Here’s an open $20,000 main track miler that brings out two major contenders from the S. Miyadi barn. Both Clear the Mine and Implicitly were claimed for $16,000 and move up a notch for a barn that has very strong stats with this angle (22%). Both are coming off wins, with Implicitly breezing home by eight lengths at Los Alamitos and Clear the Mine achieving his victory over the Del Mar main track by a hard-fought head. Implicitly earned the slightly better number but his devout front-running style over this anti-rail track makes him somewhat untrustworthy. Maybe the one to latch onto is Cabin John, who prefers a stalking trip and might get it at this level. Claimed for $35,000 two runs back and then well-beaten in a starter’s allowance race at Los Alamitos last month, the Gio Ponti gelding has numbers that can win and will appreciate this class drop. D’Amato is overdue to get hot, so while we’ll include all three in our rolling exotics, Cabin John gets top billing. RACE 4: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B Use: 5-Eye On Tiger; 6-Ice Angel Forecast: Ice Angel attracts F. Prat, who normally doesn’t ride maiden claiming two-year-olds, so we’re going to assume that this R. Baltas-trained filly has some run. The workouts aren’t much on paper, but she’s a good mover and probably has more speed than she’s been permitted to show, so we’ll make her an interesting gamble at 6-1 on the morning line. Eye On Tiger brought $55,000 at Barretts last year and is bred to win early (Smiling Tiger), so by default she’s a contender. A bullet gate work (:35 1/5 seconds) last month at Santa Anita catches the eye, but if she was all that she’d probably be in a straight maiden race which offers a much better purse and a Cal-bred bonus award. We can use her as a saver, but the main punch goes to Ice Angel. RACE 5: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 6-Speakerofthehouse; 8-Boru; 10-Seeking Refuge Forecast: Speakerofthehouse shows up in a high-priced claimer for the first time and should be capable of producing the last run. The son of Temple City has had eight chances, but none against a field as weak as this one, so we’re expecting the I. Kruljac-trained 3-year-old to wear down the speed in the final stages. Seeking Refuge hails from the hot D. O’Neill barn and could be a late threat in a race begging to be won from behind. R. Bejarano stays aboard and likely will take him back from his outside draw and try to produce a late bid. Boru, in the money in his last five but unable to seal the deal when appearing home free in his last four, will try to take this field gate to wire again but certainly isn’t one to trust. Yes, he could win, but at 2-1 on the morning line he’s a hard one to trust. RACE 6: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Rickey B; 7-Platinum Nights Forecast: This $50,000 claimer for 3-year-olds came up pretty light. After breaking his maiden in a high priced claimer in February at Santa Anita with a decent number, Platinum Nights went up north to tackle allowance foes over the all-weather surface at Golden Gate Fields but failed to fire. Freshened since late May, the P. Eurton-trained colt drops to a realistic spot and is reunited with “win rider” M. Smith, who should be able to secure an ideal pace forcing or prompting trip outside in a field without much zip. Rickey B returns to his claim level and switches to F. Prat, so this son of Richard’s Kid should get plenty of support. No factor when overmatched in a grass sprint at Santa Anita in May, he should go much better at this level, and with five wins in seven career starts the J. Sadler-trained colt certainly knows where the wire is. We press with extra tickets keying Platinum Nights on top but include both in our rolling exotics. RACE 7: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Mo See Cal; 9-Sneaking Out Forecast: Sneaking Out was upset at 10 cents on the dollar in the Fleet Treat S. last month but had the misfortune of breaking from the rail and racing along the very deep inside lane most of the way. She paid the price late, giving up a three length lead inside the furlong pole to be nosed out at the wire. Today she stretches out, tries grass for the first time and switches to M. Smith, so we’re expecting the daughter of Indian Evening to make amends. A runner-up effort in the middle distance Summertime Oaks-G2 shows that she can handle two-turns. Mo See Cal, off the track since February, has been training very well for P. Miller, gets F. Prat (who has won on her in the past), lands the rail, and won two-turning over this grass course last year. She has back numbers that chart very well with this group, so at 5-1 on the morning line the daughter of Uncle Mo is a “must use.” RACE 8: Post 5:30 PT. Grade: C Use: 1-White Russian; 2-Golden Image; 10-Red Valor Forecast: The finale is a bottom-rung maiden claiming abbreviated sprint with nothing to trust, so best advice is to go as deeply as you can afford to in rolling exotic play. Trainer D. Dunham has two contenders, both drawn inside. White Russian had the misfortune of drawing the dreaded rail but ran well when beaten a head in his debut and has every right to improve with that bit of experience behind him. Golden Image has hit the board in five of eight career starts and probably will get at least a piece of it again. We’ll also toss in Red Valor, who has the benefit of the outside draw and drops to the bottom. This barn rarely wins and this gelding’s speed figures have stagnated, but somebody has to win and just might be him.

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8.9.2019:

August 9-Hoosier Park-Dan Patch Stakes Analysis

The Dan Patch Stakes is the richest race of the year at Hoosier Park and it will take center stage tonight. The feature is carded as Race 11, and heavy favorite Lather Up leaves from post position #4 looking for his fourth straight victory. It's a formidable field full of champions who will compete for a $330,000 purse. The Hoosier stretch is a monster and the track surface can be tricky at times for those who don't get to Indiana very often. There shouldn't be a shortage of gate speed and there is no telling how fast this mile will go. The betting options include a 0.10 Superfecta wager and this evening that pool will have a $25,000 guarantee. Comments and selections plus Superfecta wagers are posted below and are based on a fast track. Race 11-Dan Patch Stakes-Purse $330,000 1-Miso Fast (20-1)-Having more success lately on smaller ovals but is a possibility for the bottom part of the Super. From this post, should get a close-up trip and has hit the board at HoP once in three starts. 2-McWicked (5/2)-8-year-old is a great champ but starting to wonder if better performances at this point will be on 1/2 or 5/8's ovals. Racing back to a 1-mile distance tonight could help but at 5/2 in the ML and being 0-6 at HoP, looking to others on top. 3-New Talent (20-1)-Here's an Ontario bred 6-year-old who has made most of his $385K bankroll at HoP. This is a class challenge but Cullipher's barn has local roots and it would not be a surprise to see a good performance tonight. 4-Lather Up (6/5)-Horse of the Year major contender has made it look too easy in last 3 victories. Maybe a question mark comes from having only one start at HoP. Lather Up did win that race last November by 8 1/2 lengths but was DQ'd for breaking stride and going inside a pylon. This year in 10 starts Lather Up has only broken stride one time. The program favorite looks the part again and will be bet down hard. 5-Filibuster Hanover (10-1)-Not having a good year but has been facing tough company. Might be over bet because of the Gingras-Burke connection. Could improve in this spot but this isn't an easy bunch, gets a very good post draw and looks like a bottom of the Super possibility. 6-Jimmy Freight (8-1)-Jimmy races all over North America, often draws poorly but usually gives it a big try. Comes into this stake off 19-days rest but did tune-up well in a qualifier at Wbsb on 8/2. 4-year-old has raced once at HoP finishing 3rd, draws okay and should be in the hunt at a square price. 7-Endeavor (20-1)-Another from the Cullipher barn but this American Ideal 6-year-old appears to be in tall cotton. Best work seems to happen when on the engine and can't see how that strategy works here. 8-Rockin Ron (12-1)-This is another entry from the Burke barn and isn't close to the same horse as last year. The 1.47.2 mark at Mohawk in 2017 is also a distant memory. Now races mostly on smaller ovals out East and the 12-1 morning line is flattering. First time on a mile oval this year. But has done well at HoP in the past so maybe wakes-up and hits the bottom part of the Super at a big price. 9-Always A Prince (6-1)-Last race was on 7/13 and the time-off could help. This is a big challenge from the 9-hole but has local connection and a stellar record of 19-23 at HoP. Can dance with this group with the right trip and pilot Trace Tetrick does know well. Needs a good start, and then chances for a picture go up. 0.20 Superfecta 4/6,9/6,9/1,2,3,5,8 Total Bet=$2 0.20 Superfecta 4/6,9/1,2,3,5,8/6,9 Total Bet=$2 0.20 Superfecta 4/1,2,3,5,8/6,9/6,9 Total Bet=$2 0.20 Superfecta 6,9/6,9/4/1,2,3,5,8 Total Bet=$2 0.20 Superfecta 6,9/6,9/1,2,3,5,8/4 Total Bet=$2 0.20 Superfecta 6,9/4/6,9/1,2,3,5,8 Total Bet=$2 0.20 Superfecta 6,9/4/1,2,3,5,8/6,9 Total Bet=$2 0.20 Superfecta 6,9/1,2,3,5,8/4/6,9 Total Bet=$2 0.20 Superfecta 6,9/1,2,3,5,8/6,9/4 Total Bet=$2 Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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8.9.2019:

Friday, August 9: Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Friday, August 9, 2019 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Two Top Plays at Saratoga on August 9th, 2019 RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: X Single: 4-El Dulce Forecast: El Dulce is a class-dropping Laurel Park shipper with the blinkers-off angle that we like so much, and the son of Twirling Candy projects as the speed of the speed in this abbreviated turf sprint for restricted (nw-2) $30,000 claimers. A winner over this course and distance two years ago, he’ll outrun this group with a repeat of his race-before-last. However, at 8/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, he won’t offer any wagering value. We can use him as a rolling exotic single, or simply pass the race. RACE 2: Post 1:34 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Bebeau; 8-Super Silver Forecast: We’ll double the second race, a maiden-claiming $40,000 router on the main track. Bebeau shows up in a seller for the first time in his first outing since January and his first as a gelding. The T. Pletcher-trained son of Bernardini should enjoy a comfortable pace-stalking trip and then go on with it when set down. The work tab seems healthy so we’re going to assume that he’s fit and ready for barn that has remarkable stats (32% with a flat-bet profit) with the layoff angle. Super Silver, a solid second in a similar affair over this track and distance last month, won’t need much more to graduate today. It was his first start since arriving from the Midwest and his first for B. Brown, and the effort produce a career top speed figure, one that makes him a solid contender. RACE 3: Post 2:06 ET. Grade: C Use: 1-Stock Trade; 2-Willing to Speed; 5-Red Right Hand Forecast: Stock Trade should draft into an ideal pace-prompting, ground-saving trip and be able to fire his best shot in this starter’s allowance ($50,000) affair that came up evenly matched but not particularly strong. He’s one of at least three that can win. Willing to Speed in a strong fit on recent speed figures will be bearing down late. Red Right Hand didn’t get the best of runs and had to settle for third in a similar affair over this course and distance last month. He’s lightly raced with rising speed figures and with a clear run today will be right there. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics in a race that we’ll otherwise pass. RACE 4: Post 2:38 ET. Grade: B Use: 2-First Deputy; 10-Lord Camden Forecast: First Deputy was impressive at the Fasig-Tipton May preview session, breezing a quarter mile in a quick 21 3/5 seconds without undue pressure before galloping out well. The son of Awesome Again hasn’t been asked to show much in the morning since arriving at the L. Rice barn but should be fit enough to be a major player in this state-bred event and will offer value at his morning line of 6-1 if you can get it. Lord Camden must overcome the extreme outside draw, but the son of Freud is bred to be quick and showed an impressive recent gate drill (4f, :47 3/5 seconds, fifth fastest of 44) here last week. The M. Casse stable sends ‘em out fit and ready (18% with a flat-bet profit with first-timers), so at 5-1 ‘Camden is worth including in your rolling exotics. RACE 5: Post 3:10 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Lone Sailor; 2-Spinoff Forecast: Spinoff adds blinkers for the first time while tackling older foes and after competing in four consecutive graded stakes races this drop into a second-level allowance event could help get the son of Hard Spun back on the proper track. He’s back with “win rider” Johnny V. and should settle in the second flight while saving ground and then show his best stuff from the quarter pole home. Lone Sailor is the morning line favorite (7/5) and will get plenty of play based on the company he’s been keeping. The son of Majestic Warrior likes to lag and produce a late run and after chasing the best older horses on both coasts in recent starts this group should be well within his range. We’ll give the younger Spinoff the edge on top but use both in our rolling exotics. RACE 6: Post 3:42 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 4-Voting Agreement Forecast: Voting Agreement has trained like an extremely quick filly for C. Brown and debuts exactly where her pedigree says she should, on turf. The daughter of More Than Ready has outworked everything led up to her and really hasn’t been allowed to show her best speed. Today, we suspect she’ll be allowed. At 7/2 on the morning with J. Castellano in the saddle, we’ll make her a strong straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 7: Post 4:14 ET. Grade: B- Use: 4-Eagle Pass; 7-Shareholder Value; 9-Shut the Box Forecast: Here’s a competitive seven furlong sprint for $25,000 claimers that has a number of possibilities. We’ll use three but you may find the need to go deeper. Shut the Box, a $50,000 claim last March at Oaklawn Park but off the track since, returns for half that amount, normally a suspicious sign, but trainer R. Diodoro, who had him before and claimed him back, wins a lot of races with aggressive moves such as this so we’re going to assume the Hard Spun gelding is fit and ready. Eagle Pass, first off the $25,000 claim for B. Levine but away since mid-May, returns at that same price, a pattern that quite frankly we’re not in love with from this particular outfit, but if the son of Super Saver fires his best shot he’ll be right there. A winner of four races from nine starts with strong, consistent speed figures, he has the proper stalking style for this extended sprint distance. Shareholder Value moves up a level in quest of his third straight score for new trainer M. Miceli and has numbers that make him dangerous despite the slight class hike. A sharp winner over this track and distance last month, the son of Uncle Mo can win on the lead or as a stalker from the second flight, so J. Lezcano, who knows him well and fits him perfectly, can adjust to whatever race flow develops. RACE 8: Post 4:46 ET. Grade: B- Use: 4-Malakeh; 5-Dream Passage; 10-Victorine Forecast: Dream Passage is racing in good form for B. Cox and with J. Rosario apparently opting for her over Victorine we’ll put the hard-hitting daughter of Stormy Atlantic on top. Based on the pace projection (soft) she may wind up being the controlling speed, though she has shown the ability to win from anywhere depending upon the race flow. Victorine was a listed stakes winner in France last year but hasn’t been out since last October, so she might be a race away for Clement. Both of here wins overseas came over good-to-soft turf; today she might have to show what she’s capable of doing on firm ground. Malakeh is a fit on figures but was a bit rank and failed to punch it in when tried in stakes company at Laurel Park in mid-June. Freshened and with a healthy work pattern at Fair Hill for for G. Motion, she was group-stakes placed in Germany last year and should at least get a piece of it with these. RACE 9: Post 5:18 ET. Grade: B Use: 2-Killybegs Captain; 3-Pat on the Back; 4-He Hate Me Forecast: The Tale of the Cat Stakes is a restricted six furlong affair for older horses and has at least three major players that are more than capable of winning. Killybegs Captain stumbled at the start, lost his best chance, but then did well to finish third behind Promises Fulfilled in the John Nerud S.-G2 here last month. This is an easier task, so if he leaves cleanly and reproduces his best effort, the veteran son of Mizzen Mast should fold into an ideal pace-prompting position and then have every chance to exert his superiority when it matters. Pat On the Back, a tough-as-nails New York-bred sprinter, has won four of his last six starts and is eight for 24 overall. Freshened since late May, the J. Engelhart trained son of Congrats acts at any distance but at this six furlong trip he’ll most likely be ridden as a deep closing sprinter. With good racing luck and a decent pace, he should be heard from late. He Hate Me earned a career top speed figure when beating a conditioned allowance field over this track and distance last month. These are tougher for sure, but he could be dangerous if he can manufacture another forward move. RACE 10: Post 5:50 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 8-Dancing Vega Forecast: Dancing Vega is blessed with immense talent and will beat this field in her U.S. debut if she minds her manners. After winning her only start as a 2-year-old last fall at Doncaster, she returned as the favorite in the Fred Darling S.-G3 in April but finished 12th of 15 in a disappointing run. She’ll race with Lasix today for C. Brown and has been more than holding her own in recent workouts while in company with the high class Uni, so she really should have too much firepower for this first-level allowance field. However, she’s a tough ride and tends to pull hard and get rank. If I. Ortiz Jr. can get her to switch off and relax behind horses, she’ll be just fine. At 3-1 on the morning line we’ll make her a straight play and rolling exotic single.

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8.8.2019:

Una Luna Tough Customer in Gulfstream Pick 5 Opener

Hard to look past the first horse in the first race on the Saturday card at Gulfstream Park. Jumping right off the page in the Pick 5 is Una Luna, the rail draw in the first race. The primary money maker of the Jose Gallegos barn won two straight at this level and then was boldly put into the Treasure Coast Stakes. The Dunkirk filly rallied just off the pace and was getting to eventual winner Lady Alida. In her first stakes effort, she was nearly four lengths ahead of the third-place finisher.  Looks like a “go” in her return to $25,000 optional claiming company and despite having lost to a couple of these but has now put herself on a higher plane and is a single on this week’s suggested Pick 5 ticket. Races 2 through 4 also fit in for those looking to play the early Pick 4. With the competitiveness of several of these races, a couple of them need to be whittled down to avoid an out-of-hand ticket price.  The suggested ticket has two numbers from the fourth race, but the second, third and fifth races require one or two more horses.  In the second, Fiamma Mamma is the one to beat in her second start, but it’s at the bottom maiden-claiming level and horses with more experience, along with class droppers, will make this one competitive. Eads Bridge, Angelic Knugget and Little Natalia are likely to improve and can present some danger to Fiamma Mamma.  Forty Sweetheart has been claimed in four consecutive races and has been a factor in plenty, although she hasn’t won since November. Has enough run to compete here, as do Body High and Nikki Bella.  Vina and Jenna Dawn should be able to settle the fourth race. Vina has been finishing with interest at short distances and likely will be able to finish well under apprentice Cristian Torres, who picks up the mount today. Jenna Dawn fizzled on turf last time but had been in reasonable form on dirt and gets back to the main track.  The finale comes down to a trio of runners: Arpinella, America’s Simmard and American Ninja.  American Ninja likely will be closer to the pace this time under Emisael Jaramillo and can be tough at this level. Arpinella was third two back and is usually in the hunt, while America’s Simmard was a close third last time and will be a factor throughout.  Here’s a suggested ticket for the Pick 5 Saturday at Gulfstream Park:  1) #1 Una Luna.  2) #2 Fiamma Mamma, #3 Eads Bridge, #6 Angelic Knugget, #7 Little Natalia.  3) #3 Body High, #4 Nikki Bella, #6 Forty’s Sweetheart.  4) #3 Vina, #5 Jenna Dawn.  5) #3 Arpinella, #4 America’s Simmard, #5 American Ninja.  50-cent Pick Five: 1 with 2-3-6-7 with 3-4-6 with 3-5 with 3-4-5 ($36).

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8.8.2019:

Sistercharlie, Bricks and Mortar Headline Arlington Stakes; My Late Pick 4 Ticket

Since their inception in the mid-1980’s, neither of Arlington Park’s two premier races – the Arlington Million and Beverly D Stakes – has been won by the same horse in back-to-back seasons.  John Henry won the Million in both 1981 and 1984, but back-to-back?  That’s never happened before.  Both records could fall in 2019.Defending champions Robert Bruce (Arlington Million) and Sistercharlie (Beverly D) are back in action this Saturday at Arlington Park and both has a big chance to defend their title. Sistercharlie’s path appears slightly easier, as she is the prohibitive favorite amongst a field of eight entered for the Beverly D.  Her primary rivals are Aidan O’Brien’s Fleeting and her own stablemate, Competitionofideas.  That said, if Sistercharlie runs her race she’s going to be awfully tough to deny. In the ‘Million, Robert Bruce will compete against his stablemate Bricks and Mortar for the second consecutive race.  In the Manhattan Stakes on June 8, Robert Bruce was forced to settle for second, beaten 1 1/2-lengths while enduring a rough trip.  Can a jockey switch to Javier Castellano turn things around?  Saturday’s huge Arlington card also features the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes for three-year-olds, as well as the Grade 3 Pucker Up for sophomore fillies and the Bruce D. Memorial Stakes for three-year-olds going a mile on the main track. Those five races make up an attractive $150,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Late Pick 4, while the four graded turf races have been neatly wrapped into a $300,000 Guaranteed All-Turf Stakes, All-Graded Stakes Late Pick 4.  Customers that hit the Late Pick 4 will Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points.  To play simply register for the contest (it’s free and only takes a few seconds) and when you win you can redeem your Rewards Points for everything from wagering credits to tickets to your favorite tracks.  Here’s my Late Pick 4 ticket and strategy: Race 9 (5:53PM ET) – Beverly D. Stakes (G1; 600K) Defending champion SISTERCHARLIE is clearly the best of the US horses.  She has ripped off four wins in a row and five in seven starts since coming across the pond to race for Chad Brown in 2017.  Plus, she won this race last year so we know she likes the Arlington sod.  Aidan O’Brien’s FLEETING gets in light as a three-year-old (she’ll only carry 117lbs to SISTERCHARLIE’s 123) and she has run well in Group 1 and Group 2 competition this year.  If not for Star Catcher, she’d have won a G2 at Royal Ascot and a G1 at the Curragh.  Still not sure where MAGIC WAND will run (Beverly D or Arlington Million) but not a big fan of her in either spot. Pick 4 Horse(s): #7 SISTERCHARLIE (8/5) Race 10 (6:28PM ET) – Secretariat Stakes (G1; 500K) If we get through the Beverly D on a single, we’ll hopefully be in a good spot to get through the Secretariat by using a handful of horses.  It’s worth noting that favorites have performed exceptionally well in this race recently.  Since 2009, favorites are 10-6-2-1 in the race (60% win, 90% top three).  Aidan O’Brien has won this race four times overall (three times since 2011), but US-based runners have won the last three.  I’m going to use O’Brien’s NEVER NO MORE, along with two Chad Brown horses – FOG OF WAR and VALID POINT, and I’ll toss in RY’S THE GUY and CLINT MAROON.  I’m going to take a stand against the three horses coming out of the G3 American Derby.  They were separated by a neck at the finish and I just think that race didn’t rank that highly as a prep. Pick 4 Horse(s): #1 CLINT MAROON (20/1), #3 NEVER NO MORE (6/1), #5 RY’S THE GUY (15/1), #6 FOG OF WAR (3/1), #7 VALID POINT (5/1) Race 11 (7:12PM ET) – Arlington Million XXXVII (G1; 1 Million) Defending champion ROBERT BRUCE and stablemate BRICKS AND MORTAR figure to take most of the money here, just as they did in the G1 Manhattan on the Belmont Stakes undercard.  They ran 1-2 that day, with BRICKS AND MORTAR having the cleaner trip.  ‘BRICKS has won 4-of-4 races this year, while ‘ROBERT is 0-for-4 since winning this race last summer.  Both are in great form for Chad Brown.  The only worry is pace.  What happens if they get caught behind dawdling fractions?  I do think some combination of CATCHO EN DIE, HUNTING HORN or BANDUA will ensure a fair pace and I’m a little worried about tossing HUNTING HORN.  It’s Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore and the last time he was in the US he nearly upset the G1 Man O’ War at odds of 12/1.  He’s battled against the likes of Enable, Magical, Crystal Ocean and Waldgeist in recent races and while he’s simply not that good, he’s better than most of the US horses outside of the top two. Pick 4 Horse(s): #1 ROBERT BRUCE (7/2), #3 BRICKS AND MORTAR (8/5), #5 HUNTING HORN (12/1) Race 12 (7:55PM ET) – Pucker Up Stakes (G3; 100K) The final leg of the Late Pick 4 is the Pucker Up and CAFÉ AMERICANO is going to be very popular on most tickets.  She won her first two starts for Chad Brown but came up short in the G1 Belmont Oaks last out.  She’s a classy filly, but the Brown/Irad Ortiz angle will cause her to be overbet and, honestly, she’s never really run a fast race.  ART OF ALMOST ran a phenomenal race against a pair of elite older horses (Holy Helena, Starship Jubilee) in the G2 Dance Smartly at Woodbine and she’s the likeliest winner here off that effort.  My ticket also includes WINTER SUNSET and Graham Motion’s MERCILLA at a huge price.  Toss her last race in the Christina Stakes at Delaware…she just doesn’t like the dirt. Pick 4 Horse(s): #9 WINTER SUNSET (7/2), #10 ART OF ALMOST (5/1), #11 CAFÉ AMERICANO (3/1), #12 MERCILLA (15/1) Ticket Cost: A $1 Pick 4 of all of my horses only costs $60, or you can play the 50-cent version for $30.  I’ll probably mess around with a few other tickets, as well, to maximize my chances at a decent return.  I’ll single Bricks and Mortar on a ticket or two. 

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8.8.2019:

Thursday, August 8: Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Thursday, August 8, 2019 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Plays at Del Mar on August 8th, 2019 RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B Use: 5-Takethediamondlane; 6-Remember to Smile Forecast: Remember to Smile has been in training forever, or so it seems, but the daughter of Smiling Tiger finally makes it to the races in a maiden special weight state-bred sprint that she seems capable of winning. Drawn comfortably outside and with a recent six furlong bullet work (1:13 flat) over this track to indicate fitness, the J. Bonde-trained 3-year-old lands M. Smith and can pop and go or stalk and pounce. She’s 5/2 on the morning line and a good gamble at that price. Takethediamondlane is the other dangerous first-timer in the field and is worth including in rolling exotic play. A $300,000 yearling purchase by Bodemeister, she’s shown plenty of speed in the morning for B. Koriner but is another that has taken a longer time than expected to finally get to the post. We’ll include her in our rolling exotics but prefer Remember to Smile on top. RACE 2: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 4-Playa Chica; 7-Tig Tog Forecast: Playa Chica, on vacation for a couple of months, returns in a logical spot (nw-2 $32,000 claiming turf miler) and retains F. Prat for the R. Baltas barn, which is due to heat up after a sluggish first three weeks of the Del Mar season. In a soft spot, the daughter of English Channel should fire a big shot off the bench following a steady series of drills at San Luis Rey Downs, and probably will beat this field with a repeat of her most recent race. Tig Tog shows up in a claimer for the first time and has several speed figures on her resume that are good enough to win in this league. She’s been stuck on fifths this year but did break her maiden over this turf course last year, so the return to Del Mar could perk her up. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with slight preference on top to Playa Chica. RACE 3: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B- Single: 5-Best Two Minutes Forecast: Best Two Minutes, in the money in five of his last six starts, boasts a good record over the local main strip (never worse than second in four outings) and projects to inherit an ideal stalking position in a race that should have a very comfortable – meaning slow – early pace. He’ll have every chance to exert his superiority when the pressure is turned on from the quarter pole home; hopefully he’ll be steered to the outside lanes where most of the winners come from over this anti-inside track. In a below par race for the level, we’ll make the Successful Appeal gelding a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 4: Post 3:31 PT. Grade: B- Use: 3-Cunning Munnings; 6-Zipper Mischief; 9-Master Ryan Forecast: This state-bred maiden special weight turf sprint looks fairly wide. We’ll go three-deep but you should include as many as your budget allows. Zipper Mischief has been away for 10 months and was no factor in his debut two-turning on grass at Santa Anita but he could easily be a better type this time around and is bred to be much better sprinting than routing, so we’re expecting he’ll enjoy this five furlong dash. The son of Into Mischief doesn’t show anything fancy on the work tab, but hails from a clever outfit and is worth a chance at 6-1 on the morning. Master Ryan seems the logical favorite despite his outside draw. Third in both of his starts, albeit with modest speed figures, the P. D’Amato-trained son of Grazen seems likely to settle in mid-pack and then produce his run from the head of the lane to the wire. With another forward move, he’ll be right there. Also worth tossing in somewhere is the first-timer Cunning Munnings, a gelding from the M. Glatt barn with a useful series of workouts. If he can run, this would be a good place to show it. RACE 5: Post 4:01 PT. Grade: B Use: 4-Aced; 6-Emtech Forecast: Aced exits two much tougher starter allowance sprints and today drops into a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 affair in his first start since May and his first as a gelding. The P. Eurton-trained son of Eskendereya shows a nice recent five furlong drill (1:00 2/5 seconds) over the Del Mar main track that should have him on edge, and with the switch to A. Cedillo he projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Emtech will get plenty of play, though his pattern hardly inspires confidence. A winner of his debut last fall but a voided claim for $75,000, he was turned out and then returned to action at Los Alamitos last month in a first-level allowance race. He received little action and faded after a brief display of speed but should benefit from that outing and seems likely to improve with the significant class drop. RACE 6: Post 4:31 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Zestful; 4-Zuzanna; 7-Builder Forecast: Recent runaway Pleasanton winner Zestful, first off the claim for M. Glatt (a terrific 26% with this angle), catches a field without pace (again) and seems capable of dominating from start to finish, even with the switch to turf, a surface he’s just 1-for-7 in his career. The Ghostzapper gelding, clearly most effective when he dictates the running, will be hard to run down unless some unexpected pace pressure materializes, but from who? Builder is drawn a little farther out than we’d prefer but if can get over, save some ground, and settle in the second flight, the Bay Area shipper certainly can act at this starter’s allowance $16,000 level. The son of Gio Ponti was a strong runner-up in the All American S.-G3 two runs back with a career top number and if brings that type of effort today he’ll be the one to fear most. Zuzanna is vastly improved since joining the R. Hess, Jr. barn and seeks her fourth win in her last five starts while tackling the boys. She was very impressive in her most recent victory while earning a career top speed figure and she has enough tactical speed to keep Zestful within shouting distance to the head of the lane. Then it’s up to her. RACE 7: Post 5:01 PT. Grade: C Use: 4-Solar Nova; 5-Kuda Huraa; 6-Destiny’s Journey Forecast: With the scratching of Small Surprise, this race becomes a complete raffle. The known element is thoroughly uninspiring, so it would hardly be surprising if a newcomer won, but which one? Kudos Huraa and Destiny’s Journey have shown a bit of life in the morning and probably can run a tad, so we’ll include them, while Solar Nova has managed to hit the board in both of her starts but comes from a low percentage (6%) barn. We suggest you include these three in rolling exotic play and then add anything else that might catch your eye.

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8.8.2019:

Fun in the Sun Still Shines

Four down, four to go. Halfway home. As far from the beginning as near the end. If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to start playing our Fun in the Sun Tournament. The field already is ‘off and running,’ so you’ll need to hustle. That style worked well for Zenyatta—spotting foes a football field-sized head-start and then running them down late in the lane. It could make you famous, too. However, don’t wait too much longer. You really must start now. This week. Saturday. After that we’ll be over the crest and headed downhill. The days will get noticeably shorter and by then it will be too late for sure. Too late, that is, to win a large stuffed animal. You know, one of four coveted seats to the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship--a $12,000 value each. Weekly prizes still will be available. And, by the way, they’re nothing to sneeze at--$8,500 in prize money, with $5,000 to the winner, $2,000 to second, $1,000 to third and $500 to fourth. All for a $100 investment in the form of a ‘live’ $10 win wager on one horse in each of 10 competition races. It’s a pretty decent deal. Especially because all you need to do is to cash one or two tickets at decent odds and you can actually make money while you chase a kewpie doll prize.   The competition was designed to include five Saturday races from Saratoga and five from Del Mar, you know, to make it fair to those not specializing in either circuit. Plans were altered, however. First, a 2019 schedule adjustment launched Spa racing a week earlier than Del Mar. Then, the very next week, some nasty heat and humidity forced a Spa Saturday cancellation. In the end, it all worked out though. The first Fun in the Sun competition included all 10 races from Saratoga and the second was decided by 10 Del Mar events! Sometimes the racing gods actually do cooperate. There have been exactly two horses each week that have paid at least $20 for a $2 wager. That’s at least a $100 return based on a $10 play. There have been two ‘cap-horses’ in the competition—First Star, July 20th 5th at Del Mar ($56.80) and New Girl in Town, July 27 at Saratoga ($47.40). ‘Cappers’ are worth $210 for competition purposes, but ‘live’ $10 wagers earn players real money--$293 for the former winner and $237 for the latter. Hit one of those to boost your weekly and seasonal contest scores as well as to pay for more than two weeks of competition wagers. First-half Fun in the Sun contest results based on $10 contest win wager payoffs in all 10 races have produced weekly perfect scores of between $546 and $671. First prize-winning ($5,000) weekly totals have been $347, $360, $447 and $504. Minimum weekly ‘in-the-money’ totals have been $279, $317, $324.50 and $420, worth a minimum of $500 each. After four weeks there have been 17 unique prize winners. Jose Suarez leads all players with the highest weekly total of $504, achieved during the July 27 competition. That’s not surprising because that Saturday was the most opportunity-filled card to date, with a season-topping possible perfect score of $671. Lucas Peltz ranks second with a top weekly earnings mark of $447, achieved on July 20 and out of a possible perfect score of $619. Not surprisingly, those two players rank prominently in the race for seasonal honors. Peltz leads all players with $1,065 and Suarez is third with $870, just $37.50 behind Paul Weizer in second. A strong second week moved Peltz from nowhere to second in the standings. He then advanced to first by adding $197 to his total in week three. Cashing for $292 in week four kept him on top of the heap at the midway point. On an encouraging note to current and new players hoping to join seasonal leaders: none of the top four present leaders was in the top 50 after the first week. That’s proof that players can quickly make up ground in Fun in the Sun. With four weeks to go, Peltz’s top mark of $1,065 is a seemingly solid $473.50 ahead of the 25th-ranked player and $555.50 better than the 50th-ranked player. However, fortunes can turn quickly during Fun in the Sun. Teresa Newcomb, currently in fourth—the final position to earn a Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship seat--is a mere $258 ahead of players mired in 50th place. That’s not a lot of breathing room to count on between now and August 31. That’s precisely why now is a good time to start.  Register and play Fun in the Sun with Xpressbet. A lot of good things can happen between now and August 31. Make sure they happen to you! Race On!    

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8.8.2019:

Thursday, August 8: Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Thursday, August 8, 2019 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Two Plays at Saratoga on August 8th, 2019 RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Cuddle Kitten; 6-Stay Fond Forecast: Cuddle Kitten has won three of her last four in various starter’s allowance races on all different types of surfaces and jurisdictions and today brings her act to Saratoga where, at 8/5 on the morning line, she’s expected to continue her winning ways. The J. Navarro-trained daughter of Kitten’s Joy has numbers that fit and excellent tactical speed that she can use to gain a favorable ground-saving, pace-stalking trip. On pure numbers she’s no better than a few of these, but in her present form the 5-year-old mare should be the one to beat. Stay Fond, away since February and with just three registered workouts on the comeback trail for L. Rice, is good enough if ready, but this barn’s statistics with layoff runners is below average. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics while preferring Cuddle Kitten on top. RACE 2: Post 1:34 ET. Grade: C Use: 1-Shimmering Moon; 2-My Roxy Girl Forecast: The contention in this state-bred $25,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares is drawn inside, with Shimmering Moon the morning line favorite at 2-1 despite being away since mid-April. A prior winner over the Saratoga main track, the L. Rice-trained mare shows a bullet half-mile workout in 48 seconds (fastest of 93) in mid-June but only one breeze since, so her condition is a question, but if ready there’s no doubt that she can win. My Roxy Girl, claimed in mid-May for $40,000, returns below that value today but hails from the D. Gargan barn, which has terrific stats (33%) with the first-off-the-claim angle. It’s logical to assume that the daughter of Emcee will fire a big shot fresh for her new connections, but her lifetime record at Saratoga (4-0-0-0) is concerning. We’re expecting the winner to be one of these two but neither will offer any real wagering value, so you can use them in rolling exotics, spread deeper if you think they’re vulnerable, or simply sit it out. RACE 3: Post 2:06 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1a-Mo Gee; 3-Bad Boy; 8-Tiz Morning Forecast: Mo Gee has been quite popular at the claim box lately, most recently joining the high percentage R. Diodoro barn following a $30,000 purchase last month from a solid runner-up performance over this course and distance. This raise in class should be within his capabilities, especially factoring this stable’s success with the first-off-the-claim angle (26% with a flat-bet profit), and with the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. the son of Uncle Mo appears extremely well-meant. The concern? The 5-year-old gelding is 1-for-18 in his career with 12 seconds and thirds. Bad Boy broke his maiden for a $65,000 tag last month over the local lawn and earned a nice speed figure in doing so, one that could allow the son of Curlin to come right back and win again in this restricted (nw-2) $50,000 seller. He loses J. Ortiz for whatever reason, but under M. Franco should draft into a nice second-flight stalking spot and have every chance. Tiz Morning comes from a low-percentage outfit and is unproven on grass (unplaced in one prior turf try) but on pure numbers he’s a fit and at 10-1 on the morning line not without a long shot chance. RACE 4: Post 2:38 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Potomac; 5-Take Your Place; 6-I’m an Ocala Dude Forecast: Potomac was in a tad too tough in a pair of allowance races after being claimed for $50,000 in early June but drops for the money run in this $40,000 seller while turning back to seven furlongs, arguably his favorite trip. First or second in 10 of 19 career starts, the C. Martin-trained colt likes to settle and produce a run and with good racing luck can be along in time. Take Your Place, a $40,000 B. Levine claim more than two months ago, returns as that same level and retains J. Rosario, who was aboard the gelding in a solid score vs. similar at Belmont Park. The son of Into Mischief is winless in five starts at this extended sprint distance but has the proper style, so if he repeats his last outing he should be right there. I’m an Ocala Dude is a dangerous Monmouth Park shipper returning to the claiming ranks and is very competitive on speed figures. He’s probably most effective on the front end but can stalk and win as well, so M. Franco can assess the race-flow and adjust accordingly. These are the three we’ll be including in our rolling exotics while preferring Potomac on top. RACE 5: Post 3:10 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 4-Perpetuate; 7-Dream Bigger Forecast: This maiden special weight extended sprint for state-bred two-year-olds is comprised of nothing but first time starters. Dream Bigger brought $205,000 at the OBS April sale after breezing in 10 1/5 seconds, an impressive clocking considering how green he appeared moving through the lane and into the first turn. The ability is there, not doubt, and if he performs in a professional manner today for Rudy he could be hard to handle. Perpetuate vans up from Monmouth Park where he put together a solid series of workouts for the capable M. Stidham outfit. We suspect that his son of Distorted Humor will be major player, though the evidence pointing to his ability is circumstantial. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press at 4-1 on the morning line with Dream Bigger in the straight pool. RACE 6: Post 3:42 ET. Grade: B Use: 6-Tan and Tight; 8-Erin More Forecast: This maiden special weight turf sprint for fillies and mares has a few possibilities and requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Erin More is a first-timer from the T. Pletcher barn bred for grass (More Than Ready) and training like she has some genuine talent. The barn has been red hot with debut runners this meeting and this promising 3-year-old could add to the total. Tan and Tight, in the money in both of her career outings, improved her speed figure by 14 points when a sharp third in a similar affair over this course and distance last month. With another forward move today, the C. Brown-trained daughter of Uncle Mo will be right there. Preference on top goes to the promising fresh face, Erin More, but both should be included in your rolling exotics. RACE 7: Post 4:14 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Binkster; 6-H Man Forecast: We’ll double the seventh race, an allowance optional claimer for entry-level state-bred sprinters, with H Man getting a chance to make amends for his defeat at 2/5 in late June at Belmont Park. The J. Servis-trained gelding might have bounced a bit from his highly-rated win just 19 days previous, but with a nice six week gap to get rejuvenated the 7-year-old with 13 career wins should be capable of regaining his winning form over a main track he’s been successful on in the past. Binkster has a big number to go back to and is in good present form for R. Handal, though he was unable to cope with H Man in in a pair of races during the spring meeting at Belmont Park. Most effective on the front end, the son of Bluegrass Cat will have to deal with other speed today but has been first or second in half of his 14 career starts and should be set for another honest effort today. RACE 8: Post 4:46 ET. Grade: B Use: 2-Fetching; 6-Lucky More Forecast: Lucky More earned a career top Beyer speed figure when winning an allowance race over this track and distance last month and not much more will be needed to score again in this New York-bred hundred grander for fillies and mares. J. Rosario stays aboard the daughter of Lookin At Lucky and will produce her again from the quarter pole home. Fetching has won two of three career outings and this lightly-raced 3-year-old filly has rising speed figures and plenty of room for further growth and development. However, all three of her starts have come on grass, and today the daughter of Afleet Alex will need to prove she can be equally effective on the main track. Because she has proven her abilities on dirt, Lucky More gets top billing but we’ll include both in our rolling exotics. RACE 9: Post 5:18 ET. Grade: B Single: 1a-Financial System Forecast: Financial System, freshened since May and capable of winning at this level with his best race, ran very well over this course and distance last year and seems set for a huge run following a healthy, steady, series of workouts at Monmouth Park for C. Brown. The son of Twirling Candy has a good stalking style, switches to J. Castellano, and looks capable of producing a winning late kick. With this barn having scratched its other main contender, Allured, let’s make Financial System a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 10: Post 5:50 ET. Grade: B- Use: 7-Rock the Causeway; 8-Go Poke the Bear Forecast: The nightcap is a grass grab bag over nine furlong for $40,000 older claimers. We’ll try to get by just using two. Go Poke the Bar, a first-time gelding, drops below his $50,000 claiming price in his first start since mid-June. He’s a tad slow on speed figures but has room to improve for T. Pletcher (who surprisingly claimed him back in late May in a sign of confidence) and is reunited with “win rider” I. Ortiz, Jr. Rock the Causeway has the most room to improve, having started only five times (with two wins), and the K. O’Connell-trained gelding ships in from Monmouth Park where he earned competitive speed figures, including a career top in his most recent outing, a third place finish in a first-level allowance affair. The stretch-running son of Red Rocks prefers a faster than normal early pace, and if he gets it he’ll be heard from late.

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8.8.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: August 9 Stronach 5 Play

Let’s once again tackle a Laurel-Gulfstream edition of the Stronach 5, which will have a 100k guarantee, though the pool has been easily surpassing that number each and every week. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (5:05 ET) – 3up 5k N2L at 6 furlongs The opener revolves around your opinion of the expected heavy favorite, #6 QUIT YOUR MOANIN (6-1; I have to think there is a typo on the original ML and this should read 6-5), who looks a lot better than a very modest bunch and starts for a white-hot DePaz barn; simply put, if he runs back to any of his last five efforts, he wins comfortably. However, he could do no better than a distant 2nd last time at 9-10 off the claim/drop, so he’s a little tough to trust as well. The problem is that, if not him, then who, as the rest all look the same on paper and have had a lot more chances too. I’m (somewhat begrudgingly) going to single the favorite and call it a day, since, as a rule, I’m not in the business of trying to get lifetime N2L’s to the winner’s circle, and that’s what the majority of his competition is. And also, if you’ve followed me in this space before, you know I often advocate singling a heavy favorite (if you love them) in the opening leg of a sequence, as you get a lot of added value, since mentally the betting public just hates doing so, since they don’t want to be out after just one race. Pk5 A horses: 6 I guess #1 The Mason Factor (5-1) would be the most likely upsetter, but at 1-for-17 with a lack of early speed, and several failures at the level, there’s just no reason to think today is the day. The rest of the logical usurpers have a ton of losses piling up, but they also start for trainers who need a GPS to find the winner’s circle, since #4 Quickhatch (8-1) is 1 for-25 lifetime and goes for a Davis barn that is 1-for-62 on the year, and the class-dropping #5 Mr. Cheasapeakcity (6-1) is 1-for-12 and looks to be going the wrong way in his last two since being claimed by Souder (2-for-39) away from a very sharp D’Angelo. Toss in #10 Captain Trips (15-1) at 1-for-34 for Davis as well, and you get the picture. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 2: Gulfstream Park R7 (5:38 ET) –3up AOC (25k/N1X) at 5 furlongs (turf) Arguably the deepest race of the sequence has six that could win, and it’s tough to separate any of them, especially because I believe that runners with sharp dirt form can have a big impact turf sprinting, even with a lack of pedigree and/or experience. I’m going to use #7 I’M CARDINAL (5-2), #5 ZORB (6-1), #2 CASH CALL KITTEN (4-1), and #3 SARASOTA COUNTY (6-1), as they have either proven turf form or sharp dirt form, and show several races in their PPs that could win this. Pk5 A horses: 7,5,2,6 As for the other two I alluded to, #1 MR. EDGAR (3-1) will need some pace help but has shown he can rally in his turf races, while #6 SLEEPING GIANT (6-1) has the form and figures to win this, but rises in class and goes off the claim from Zerpa for Marcondes, and the former is as potent a barn as there is on the grounds, while the latter is 1-for-29 on the year, so it’s tough to think this one goes anywhere but down off that sharp win for 10k last time. Pk5 B horses: 1,6 Leg 3: Laurel Park R9 (5:57 ET) – 3up 16k at 1-mile (turf) In a race with no real speed, I’ll try for the upset with #8 BAY BRIDGE (5-1), who showed three solid runs before catching yielding ground last time, and might be able to shake loose here and surprise, as long as the course if firm. The horse to beat is clearly #6 FRONT LINE PAIGE (5-2), since he’s been running well against better, but his decided lack of early speed might leave him with too much to do in the lane, especially since the prospective race flow won’t flatter his style. If I like ‘Bridge then I have to like #1 UHWARRIE SKY (6-1) too, since he drew best and figures closest to the pick early, and getting out of the N1X ranks and back with friends should help a lot too. You have to use #3 KID JETER (7-2) as well, since he wasn’t far behind ‘Sky two-back off the long layoff then really looked good winning in fast time in his last and looks on the improve. Lastly, I’ll toss in #4 AIRE BUENO (6-1), who beat a deep field at Suffolk and was a good 2nd two-back to ‘Bridge. Pk5 A horses: 8,6,1,3,4 *** Please note for the B tickets involving Leg 4 and 5, I’ll only be using 8,6,1. *** If I can’t get one of the five above home then I don’t deserve to move on, so there will be no backups, though neither #5 Beltway Bob (10-1) or #7 Electro (6-1) would make anyone fall over with surprise if they won, especially the latter, who had a bit of a trip last time and still got there first. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 4: Gulfstream Park R8 (5:38 ET) –3upfm 16k N2L* at 6 1/2 furlongs Tough sledding here, as no one stands out, but a return to the main track and the addition of blinkers might enable #5 PURPLE GIRL (7-2) to pop this field on the front end, as she looks like she’ll be able to control the tempo up front with an aggressive ride. The best of the proven runners at the level is #1 LIL B QUICK (5-2), who exits some fast races where she’s been cashing a solid check, albeit without threatening the winner. I’ll also use #2 HELEN (9-2) on the drop and cutback, though she’s admittedly a bit of a reach off a complete no-show last time. Pk5 A horses: 5,1,2 You have to think #3 ARTS AND CRAFTS (12-1) will run better off her return, as she chased and then tired for 25k off an October break, though that sharp MCL win in August seems more the exception than the rule, which is why she’s a supporting actress only here. The wildcard is #4 ON WITH GOD (3-1), who has really improved in two starts for David, but those were on turf, and her dirt form (for O’Connell) was abysmal, but there’s a chance she’s also a better horse now then she was then, and against a group like this, that’s enough to get some kind of inclusion. Recent sharp MCL winner #8 Wine Bottle (10-1) takes the logical next step and looks to have some talent, but her win was in extremely slow time and taking on winners is never easy, so let’s watch one first before backing. Pk5 B horses: 3,4 Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R9 (6:10 ET) – 3upfm 12.5k MCL at 7 1/2 furlongs (turf) This one is a bit of a puzzle, as several look like they can’t possibly win, but when you look at the entire field, you see it’s made up primarily of those types, so obviously someone could surprise. If you really want to be bold you can single #2 BIG ANNIE (9-2), as her two turf races for Black are better than what anyone else has done, but I’m not that brave, while also readily admitting she’s best here. (At the risk of going off on too big of a tangent, it’s also very important to realize how consistently incorrect the GP morning line is, and this is a perfect example, as Big Annie should be favored, and heavily so, as she may be as low as 8-5 come post time. Unfortunately, this is the 5th leg in the sequence, so a lot of people may not realize that and take her 9-2 at face value and think she’s just one of many contenders, though, that does give those in the know a big leg up on the rest of the betting public.) I have no idea what #1 GREY MANNERS (8-1) was running against in Mexico when she sprinted and hit the board three times on the dirt, and she also hasn’t run since 8/17, but Loza is 27% on the year and 2-for-3 off 180+-day layoffs, she drew perfectly, and adds Lasix, so all of that is good enough for me, against a group like this. Pk5 A horses: 2,1 It’s an indictment of what kind of race we are dealing with when #8 TAPIZAR GIRL (7-2) is a heavy hitter, as she’s 0-for-11 lifetime and has never been close to the winner, but her turf races play with these, she wasn’t far behind ‘Annie two-back, and they all have to win sometimes, so I’ve got to use her. The other gal that will take some action is #5 Arbolada (2-1), since she starts for a potent Barboza barn, but she didn’t run an inch on debut sprinting on the dirt, and a barn that is basically 20% across the board is just 1-for-26 first-turf and 1-for-23 with second-time maidens, so I’m not taking the bait. You could also make a case for #9 Tiny Turbo (10-1), since she has some speed and has run just five times, but her form of late has been dreadful, and Harris is just 1-for-31 on the year, so I’m fine if she wants to beat me. Pk5 B horses: 8 My Stronach 5 Tickets: Main Ticket: 6 with 7,5,2,6 with 8,6,1,3,4 with 5,1,2 with 2,1 = $120 Leg 2 B Backup: 6 with 1,6 with 8,6,1,3,4 with 5,1,2 with 2,1 = $60 Leg 4 B Backup: 6 with 7,5,2,6 with 8,6,1, with 3,4 with 2,1 = $48 Leg 5 B Backup: 6 with 7,5,2,6 with 8,6,1 with 5,1,2 with 8 = $36

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8.7.2019:

Wednesday, August 7: Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Wednesday, August 7, 2019 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Plays at Del Mar on August 7th, 2019 RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B Use: 2-Impossible Task; 4-Tomorrow Knows; 6-K P Indy Forecast: The opener is a strong maiden turf dash for 2-year-olds that features a number of promising young sprinters. Impossible Task didn’t break any stopwatches when previewing in 10 2/5 seconds at the OBS April Sale but looked like a smart type with easy action and a long stride and then brought $90,000 at auction. From the first crop of Liam’s Map, the D. O’Neill-trained ridgeling has done some good work in the morning without being asked, including an easy drill when in company with the fast older sprinter Labdeskog last month on the training track at Santa Anita. He’s continued to show ability after shipping down to Del Mar with a series of steady works that should have him plenty fit for a big effort first crack out of the box. Due to price considerations (he’s 6-1 on the morning line), we’ll take a shot and put him on top. Tomorrow Knows was purchased for $185,000 at the OBS March Sale after turning some heads with a very fast 21 seconds flat quarter mile breeze during the preview session and has looked quite good since being sent to California to J. Sadler. By the freshman stallion Carpe Diem, the tall, lengthy colt has done everything asked of him leading up to his debut. K P Indy, another OBS March sale graduate ($170,000), flashed good speed when breezing in 10 seconds flat at the preview session, lands M. Smith, and is clearly well-regarded by the Mullins barn. He’s worth including in rolling exotic play as well. RACE 2: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: B- Use: 3-Miss Lady Ann; 4-Interesting Times Forecast: We’ve got the second race – a starter’s allowance sprint for fillies and mares – down to two main contenders and both should be used in rolling exotic play. Interesting Times failed to fire in a similar affair on grass at Santa Anita but returns off a six week layoff and is back on dirt. After winning her debut in good style, the daughter of Salute the Sarge produced a significant move when runner-up at this level in her next outing while improving her speed figure by 12 points. We’ll toss out the grass outing and key on her effort two back, one that if repeated will beat this field. Miss Lady Ann, in the money in all four starts but not quite as fast on dirt figures as ‘Times, was second in the turf race that her chief rival finished seventh, so she certainly must be considered. Let’s see if she can run back to that race on the main track. RACE 3: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: C Use: 2-Combat Zone; 6-Soul Beam; 7-Passionate Reward Forecast: Restricted (nw-2) $32,000 claimers meet over a mile in a race that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Soul Beam returns to the claiming ranks for the first time since being haltered for $40,000 in June of last year at Churchill Downs, and with the switch to F. Prat the son of Perfect Soul looks like a live item. Second at even money at Pleasanton in his most recent start, the G. Vallejo-trained colt should have every chance from a second flight early position. Combat Zone, rested since mid-May, projects to draft into a nice pace-pressing/forcing trip from his inside draw and the speed figure he earned two runs back when a close fourth in a starter’s allowance race makes him a strong fit in this spot. The son of War Front ran well over this course last year and a healthy series of works in recent weeks point to a return to his best form today. Passionate Reward drops into a claimer for the first time after being freshened since early May, so his condition is a question. The Congrats gelding had one prior outing on dirt when a non-factor sprinting vs. first-level allowance foes two races back and his local workouts at Del Mar haven’t been inspiring. Due to the class drop we’ll include him on a ticket or two as a saver, nothing more. RACE 4: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B- Use: 7-Appolina; 8-Ma Bella; 10-Miss Maybell Forecast: Miss Maybell lands the cozy outside post after finishing a distant third behind runaway debut winner Magic at Midnight last month. The daughter of Tizway shows a recent sharp workout since that race for her Los Alamitos-based connections to indicate that she came out of the race in good order and is likely to produce a forward move. Appolina, second in that same race, has been beaten three times as the favorite and isn’t one to trust, though on pure form she’s a contender again and might even go favored. Ma Bella is a first-off-the-claim play for P. Miller (a powerful 28% with this angle plus a positive ROI) and is likely to improve for that reason alone. She was fifth in that common race with Miss Maybell and Appolina but she has some early speed and in a soft race can’t be discounted. We’ll go three-deep in our rolling exotics and then press with a few extra tickets keying Miss Maybell on top. RACE 5: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Quebec; 6-Toinette Forecast: Toinette was entered in the Yellow Ribbon Handicap over the weekend but her connections sensibly opted for this easier spot. Away since last October and a graded stakes winner as a 3-year-old, the N. Drysdale-trained filly has looked sensational in the morning and should come back at least as good if not better than she was last year. If so, the daughter of Scat Daddy will be hard to beat. Quebec lands the favorable rail and could inherit the role as the controlling speed. Back in the R. Baltas barn after a handful of outings back East, she has proven winning form at Del Mar and a nice series of easy works at San Luis Rey Downs for her first start in 10 weeks. We’ll double the race in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying Toinette. RACE 6: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Camino de Estrella; 4-Excavation; 7-Crown the Kitten Forecast: Here’s a wide open middle distance main track affair for $12,500 claimers. Spread as deeply as you can afford to. Crown the Kitten drops to his lowest level ever and may have found a field he can beat. In the money in five of his last six starts, the veteran Kitten’s Joy gelding has low profile connections and always has preferred to run second or third rather than win, but he’s a strong fit on numbers and a prior winner over the Del Mar main track so we’ll put him on top but without any great conviction. Excavation was a winner in an $8,000 event last month with a good number, so the S. Miyadi-trained gelding is bumped up a couple of levels. If he can turn in two alike, the son of Mineshaft should be a threat right back. Camino de Estrella was off slowly and never got involved when having his two-race winning streak snapped at Los Alamitos, but the T. Yakteen-trained gelding should be capable of getting back on track against this group, especially as a first-time gelding. There are concerns, though, as he’s winless in five starts over the Del Mar main track and his inside draw over an anti-rail biased surface does him no favors. We’ll try to get by using just these three but if you can afford to go deeper, do so. RACE 7: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: B Use: 4-Play Money; 8-Jamming Eddy Forecast: State-bred maidens compete over a mile on grass in the nightcap. There are two main players and both should be included in rolling exotic play. Play Money is a progressive colt, and after improving to finish a solid third in a similar event last month came back to drill five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 seconds (sixth fastest of 48) to remain on edge. J. Talamo stays aboard, and with another forward move the son of Unusual Heat can get the money. Jamming Eddy has disappointed as the favorite in his last pair, though he did earn a career top speed figure when third against this level of competition at Santa Anita in his most recent start in June. He’s run well for M. Pedroza in the past and projects to be forwardly placed and have every chance when it matters.

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8.6.2019:

Forbidden Trade Springs Shocking Hambletonian Upset

Forbidden Trade, a champion 2-year-old in Canada last year, scaled new heights last Saturday at the Meadowlands. He trotted to a 1:51 victory in the world’s most prestigious race – the $1 million Hambletonian – and defeated a rival that his driver, Bob McClure, deemed “probably invincible” after the elimination heats earlier in the day. Greenshoe got the jump and defeated Forbidden Trade by 2 lengths while geared down in the Hambletonian eliminations, earning 1-to-5 favoritism in the finals. But Forbidden Trade turned the tables at 15-1 odds in the 94th running of the trotting classic. He followed a first-over bid by elimination winner Green Manalishi S (Tim Tetrick) into the stretch while Greenshoe played catch-up after racing erratically at the start for Hall of Fame driver Brian Sears. In mid-stretch, Forbidden Trade forged to the lead in the 4-path but appeared in deep trouble as Greenshoe found his best footing and drew even with a full head of steam. But Forbidden Trade dug in and prevailed by a neck for his 12th win in 19 starts for owner Serge Godin’s Determination stable and trainer Luc Blais. Forbidden Trade paid $33.80 to win and triggered a $105 exacta with Greenshoe and a $733 trifecta with Gimpanzee (David Miller), the previously unbeaten New York sire stakes champion who rallied from far back to finish third, giving trainer Marcus Melander two in-the-money finishers. “It was two incredible colts fighting it out,” McClure said. “I don’t think there was a loser in that, but we’re really happy to get out on top.” More than $6.5 million was wagered on the 16-race card that featured several stakes records and played out this way: $500k HAMBLETONIAN OAKS (3yoF trotters): When Dovescry ($6.60, Simon Allard) took the lead at the quarter pole and handed favorite Millies Possession (Dexter Dunn) her first loss, holding off a first-over challenge to win by 2 lengths in 1:50.2. The win meant “everything” to Simon Allard, who was granted one-time use of the whip used by his idol, the late Hall of Famer Herve Filion, for the race. In addition, Allard’s brother, Rene, trains When Dovescry for co-owners Bruce Soulsby, Yves Sarrazin, Kaplideo Singh and Lawrence Dumain. $230k SAM McKEE MEMORIAL (FFA pacers): Lather Up ($3.80) shrugged off a first-over challenge from reigning Horse of the Year McWicked (Sears) and spurted away from pocket-sitting runner-up This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) in the stretch for a 3-3/4-length score in a record 1:59.2 for 1-1/8 miles. “He couldn’t have done it easier,” said driver Montrell Teague. $280k JOHN CASHMAN MEMORIAL (FFA trotters): Crystal Fashion ($18.80, David Miller) sat the pocket trip and surged past favorites Six Pack (Ake Svanstedt) and Guardian Angel AS (Tetrick) in the closing yards to win in a stakes-record equaling 1:50. Jim Campbell prepared Crystal Fashion for his first start against older rivals for owner Jules Siegel’s Fashion Farms. $183k LADY LIBERTY (FFA mare pacers): The incomparable Shartin N (Tim Tetrick) drew closer to multi-millionaire status with her 38th lifetime victory in a world record 1:46.4. Jim King Jr. trains last year’s Older Female Pacer of the Year for owners Richard Pollucci, JoAnn Looney-King and Tim Tetrick LLC. $186k DR. JOHN STEELE MEMORIAL (FFA mare trotters): Manchego ($3.80, Dunn) repeated as champion in a stakes-record 1:50 trot for trainer Nancy Johansson and owner Black Horse Racing. $324k PETER HAUGHTON MEMORIAL (2yo trotters): Real Cool Sam ($3, David Miller) picked up live cover off 40-1 Expectations (Sears), tipped 3-wide for the stretch drive and won by 2-1/4 lengths in 1;53.1. Longshot Rome Pays Off (Orjan Kihlstrom) rallied for second after he was shuffled on the turn. $310k JIM DOHERTY MEMORIAL (2yoF trotters): Hypnotic AM ($3, Sears) bid first-over on the final turn, headed second favorite Crucial (Gingras) at the top of the stretch and won geared down by 2 lengths over late-running Sherry Lyns Lady (Tetrick). $285k CANE PACE (3yo pacers): There won’t be a Pacing Triple Crown winner this year because Captain Crunch, the 4-to-5 favorite, won the first jewel but isn’t eligible for the upcoming Messenger Stakes. With Scott Zeron in the bike, Captain Crunch followed Bettor’s Wish (Dunn) around the track before catching up in the closing yards to win by a neck in 1:48. It was trainer Nancy Johansson’s second stakes winner of the day, this one for owners Christina Takter, 3 Brothers Stable, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms. $100k SHADY DAISY (3yoF pacers): Tall Drink Hanover (Andrew McCarthy) set all the pace and held safe for her 11th victory in 19 starts. Trillions Hanover (David Miller) split rivals with a late burst to finish a neck behind in second. Tony Alagna trains and co-owns the track record-setter with Marvin Katz and Riverview Racing.

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8.5.2019:

Five Things to Watch This Week at Del Mar and Saratoga

Who’s hot and who’s not? We look at the summer boutique stats each Monday to help put you on winners in the coming week at Del Mar and Saratoga. Among the features this week include juvenile showcases like the Best Pal and Saratoga Special. Let’s get to work:  Del Mar Betting Tips  1. Trainer Doug O’Neill took over the beach last week with a 20: 9-4-1 record. That’s 45% wins and 65% in the exacta. It’s not like the public bought in either. He had winners of $15, $15, $24 and $49 on the incredible run. Seven of the 9 paid $8 or more. O’Neill went 3-for-4 in maiden special weights and 4-for-6 in allowance races. Rafael Bejarano was the money rider for the barn at 4-for-8.  2. Belmont invaders continue to be successful at Del Mar with 2 of 3 winning last week. That brings the Belmont shippers’ meet total to 9: 4-0-2. We mentioned in this space during opening week to watch these runners, who went 24: 7-6-1 for a $1.30 ROI for each $1 bet last summer at Dmr.  3. Favorites flailed on the Del Mar turf last week, going just 2-for-15, including a pair of odds-on propositions defeated. That massive dip followed a 15-for-36 (42%) run on the green to open the 2019 meet.  4. It’s been a tale of 2 surfaces for trainer John Sadler this summer at Del Mar. He’s a very solid 15: 4-4-0 on dirt, but a lowly 23: 1-1-4 on turf. Notably, Sadler’s 4 victories on dirt all have come in major graded stakes, where he’s a perfect 4-for-4 on dirt. 5. Jockey Drayden Van Dyke has posted a gaudy $1.87 ROI for each $1 bet on his 61 mounts this meet, including 17 wins and 11 runner-up finishes. That’s 28% wins and 48% in the exacta. He has no more than 2 wins and 6 mounts for any individual trainer, performing at a high level for all.  Saratoga Betting Tips 1. Horses running back second time at the meet went just 6-for-75 last week at Saratoga. David Donk and Gary Contessa both went 0-5 at the maneuver. Note that 14% of ‘run-backs’ second time at the meet won during August 2018, so expect that number to pick up from last week’s 8%.  2. Jockeys Jose Lezcano (8-12, 67%) and Irad Ortiz, Jr. (10-21, 48%) have been absolutely remarkable while riding favorites at the meet. Lezcano’s 8 wins on favorites have come from 7 different barns. By comparison, names like Jose Ortiz, Javier Castellano and John Velazquez all are winning under 30% with favorites.  3. The Spa’s most reliable training deliveries this season have come Mark Casse (3-3 with favorites), Wesley Ward (3-4), Linda Rice (3-5) and Danny Gargan (3-5). Mike Maker and Graham Motion each are 2-2 with favorites. Chad Brown (27%) and Todd Pletcher (25%) have vastly underperformed with favorites at the meet with 45 such runners between them.  4. There’s no quit in the Churchill express. Those prepped in Louisville won 6 races last week at a 23% overall win rate. These runners now total 30 winners at the meet and an overall 21% win rate ($1.08 ROI for every $1 bet). Consider CD preppers won only 21 races (14% win rate) at the 2018 Saratoga meet.  5. Rusty Arnold’s horses were 6-for-108 at Saratoga from 2013-’18 with a paltry 27% in the money. He’s gone an inexplicable 9: 3-2-2 at the current meet with 4: 2-0-2 in stakes company. He also won a turf sprint stakes at Ellis Park last week for a cherry on the sundae. 

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8.5.2019:

Monday, August 5: Mohawk Park Pick 5 Analysis

Tonight, there are 10-races set to roll at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The very popular 0.20 Pick 5 begins at the top of the card. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 1 2-Stolen Art-Form has been so-so but drops in for a tag, should relish the company, can take an overdue picture. 7-Racemup-Racing well, should be leaving again and versus this field may have a better chance to snag a win. Race 2 4-Bright Eyes M-3-year-old made it look easy in last 2 with Gold fillies, now tries mixed company but will respect. 5-Haveoneforme-This is another filly who is having a big year versus tough foes, will consider versus the boys. 6-All Wrapped Up-Big win at odds-on in Gold level using hopples in last, looks like a player and will tag along. Race 3 3-Majestic Brayden-Was used hard off the gate from 9-hole, makes 4th start off the bench, looking for a big try. 4-Stormont Charlotte-1st start at Wbsb since 4/29, does best work here and should like the company. 7-Hockey Hanover-Form has been dull but this is a good drop in class, no excuses allowed for 8/5 ML chalk. Race 4 2-Play The Ponies-Gets needed class relief for 2nd consecutive start and draws inside, could be wake-up time. 3-Mayhem Hanover-1.53 miles were not good enough to win in the Gold division, best to respect chances here. 8-Night Watchman-Comes off a sick scratch, did well in 1st start, thinking Jamieson could rally late if pace is hot. Race 5 3-Examiner Hanover-Won from 9-hole in sharp fashion, this is tougher but will use just in case big chalk (#6) slips. 6-Tall Dark Stranger-$330,000 yearling rolled in 1.51.3 in debut, Gingras is in town again, should be tough to beat. My Ticket Race 1) 2,7 Race 2) 4,5,6 Race 3) 3,4,7 Race 4) 2,3,8 Race 5) 3,6 Total Ticket Cost) $21.60 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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8.4.2019:

Sunday, August 4: Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.  Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.  The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.   Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/recent/jeff-siegels-top-plays-at-del-mar-on-august-4th-2019/  Today’s Bullet Drill: https://www.xbtv.com/video/bullet-drill/preview-of-races-5-6-and-7-at-del-mar-on-august-4th-2019-based-on-works/ RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 2-And Counting; 4-Bunny Yogurt Forecast: And Counting got rank early and then was eased late in a tougher starter’s allowance miler last month but she’s back around one-turn where she belongs and we’re expecting the R. Becerra-trained filly to regain her best form. A recent solid five furlong workout over the Del Mar main track indicates she came out of her last race in good order and her maiden claiming win two runs back, if repeated, should be good enough in this modest affair. Bunny Yogurt has been away since January but is returning in a logical spot and is a fit on figures based on her best race. She has a gap of 26 days in her work pattern between her second to last and most recent drill, so that’s a bit troubling, but we’ll still toss her in on a ticket or two while preferring And Counting on top.   RACE 2: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: B- Use: 3-Boa Nova; 5-Unbridled’s Sky Forecast: Unbridled’s Sky is a first-time gelding for M. Puype and that alone gives him a license to improve in this turf sprint for 3-year-old $40,000 claimers. Both of his grass races were sharp and with this drop in class for the money run the son of Old Fashioned should be able to produce the last run. Boa Nova, fourth in the same tougher race Unbridled’s Sky exits, appears to be the quickest in the field and will take them as far as he can. The Irish-bred gelding is a non-winner in the U.S but has gotten close on a couple of occasions and if he can get away with a soft opening quarter he make forget to stop.   RACE 3: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B Use: 5-Wishful; 7-Dr Wysong Forecast: Dr Wysong lands the cozy outside post and is guaranteed a soft, pace-stalking trip in this entry-level allowance main track sprint for state-bred fillies and mares. She was tried long on the lawn in her last pair without the desired results, so the daughter of Cyclotron turns back to a sprint and switches back to dirt, conditions that suit her best. She’s also reunited with “win rider” Prat, so it all adds up. Wishful loses Prat but picks up good bug boy Velez while getting a big break in the weights in the process. She actually has a bit better speed figures than her chief rival and probably a bit more early speed, as well. We’ll still prefer Dr Wysong on top but include both in our rolling exotics.  RACE 4: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B- Use: 1-Gabo’s Macondo; 8-Offshore; 10-Bam Bam Bryan Forecast: This $25,000 claiming turf miler has several possibilities; we’ll try to survive and advance going three-deep but if you find the need to use more, go right ahead. Offshore seems as good as any. The R. Baltas-trained gelding crushed a restricted (nw-2) field for this price on New Year’s Eve at Santa Anita, then disappeared, but returns for a barn that has superior stats (24%) with layoff runners and shows a steady, healthy series of recent workouts to have him fit enough. The son of Exchange Rate also has a prior win over the Del Mar turf course, adding another positive factor to the mix. Gabo’s Macondo lands the good rail and projects to be in a good ground-saving, pace-stalking position throughout. Also a prior winner over the Del Mar lawn and dropping to a realistic level, the J. Wong-trained gelding should appreciate the return to grass after failing as the favorite on dirt at Pleasanton last month. Bam Bay Bryan has to overcome the extreme outside post but with his kind of early speed he should be able to comfortably get over and secure his coveted front-running trip. Eligible to the valuable ship-and-win purse bonus, the Lone Star Park invader has numbers that can win if he can run as well for his new connections as he did for the high-percentage southwest-based trainer K. Broberg.  RACE 5: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 6-Eight Rings Forecast: Eight Rings has trained like a very good colt – one of B. Baffert’s better 2-year-olds at this stage – and makes his debut in an intriguing maiden affair that showcases a number of well-bred, highly-regarded prospects. Although not really bred to sprint on the top side (Empire Maker), the $500,000 Keeneland yearling purchase was produced by the good sprinting mare Purely Hot and shown quickness in a.m. drills. With two bullet gate drills back-to-back leading up to this race, he’ll certainly take plenty of action and deservedly so. Let’s take a stand and make him a strong straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 6: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B Use: 4-Rafal; 6-Landeskog; 12-Distinctive B Forecast: Here’s a difficult and highly contentious first-level allowance sprint offering several contenders and requiring a spread in rolling exotic play. We know Distinctive B likes the Del Mar surface, having finished first or second in five of six career starts, and though he hasn’t been out since March the veteran gelding has shown the ability to fire fresh in the past and hails from a barn that hits a strong 19% with layoff runners. Drawn nicely outside, the P. Miller-trained eight-year-old does his best on the lead but can press and pounce if the race flow dictates. Also, check out his record under F. Prat (he’s two-for two). Rafal graduated in good style on dirt two runs back but then faded to third behind the next-out Saratoga stakes winner Listing in the Desert Code S. on grass in his most recent outing. Back on the main track today and returning to the allowance ranks, the B. Baffert-trained colt should be on the pace and take them as far as he can. Midwest invader Landeskog also is exiting a tougher race and should be able to act with these. Unplaced in the Woody Stephens S.-G1 at Belmont Park and before that the runner-up in the Bachelor S. at Oaklawn Park, the D. O’Neill-trained gelding is a fit on speed figures but will have to show he can sit off the leaders, who appear quicker than he is, rather than jet to the front as he did when breaking his maiden.  RACE 7: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 5-Stubbins; 6-Jasikan Forecast: Stubbins had an excellent sprint prep just 11 days ago against the best older turf sprinters in the West and did quite well to finish third before galloping out strongly (and in front) into the first turn. Today he’s back with his own age group and stretches out to a mile, the distance of his eight length Pasadena Stakes romp last winter, though that win did come over a sloppy track. With Kingly adding blinkers and likely to be sent from his inside post, Stubbins seems assured of a comfortable pace-stalking trip, and we’re going to assume that’s the strategy that his connections will employ. Jasikan was impressive winning an allowance race at Santa Anita in May and even more so when rallying late to take the opening day Oceanside Stakes in a desperate finish. He gets an extra half furlong to work with and should have enough pace to compliment his style, so the Irish-bred colt appears the one to beat. We’ll have extra tickets keying Stubbins on top but include both in our rolling exotics.  RACE 8: Post 5:30 PT. Grade: B- Use: 7-Vermeer; 9-Wilt; 10-Passing Forecast: Bottom-rung maiden $20,000 claimers sprint six furlongs in the finale. Wilt is a Bay area invader showing up in a seller for the first time and appears to have found his friends. He’s two-turned in four of his five career starts and his one sprint try wasn’t much, but against this bunch the A. Mathis-trained gelding seems properly spotted for a win. He draws a nice outside post that should ensure a comfortable pace-stalking trip and he gets plenty of weight off with the switch to bug boy Diaz. There’s some value here at 9/2 on the morning line if you can get it. Passing moves to the J. Wong barn, adds blinkers, gets a nice outside draw following a rugged trip over this track last month, and seems capable of improving enough to be a contender. Vermeer, third in all three of his starts since arriving from Parx, drops again in class and projects to be part of the pace. His numbers aren’t much but he’s worth tossing in on a ticket or two. 

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8.4.2019:

Sunday, August 4: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

The Sunday night Pick 4 sequence at Hawthorne Racecourse begins in Race 5, it has a $30,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. The driver with the hottest hands at the Stickney oval on Saturday was Casey Leonard who had four trips to the winner's circle. Conditioner Terry Leonard led the trainers with two pictures. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 5 2-Shelly On My Mind-Has been racing well, needs a trip but does get post relief and should be in striking range. 6-Danger Strike-Loses Leonard but comes off a big try with a 55.1 last half, Franco can get in her in striking range. 7-Fox Valley Sierra- Team Leonard entry goes for 5 straight, best to respect, has already beaten a few in this crew. Race 6 2-Youmakemyheartsing-Fits with this bunch, has been burdened with post 10 and Wilfong can put in play early. 3-Salvatore-3/2 in the ML and will offer no value but can make it 2 straight for Team Leonard with a sharp effort. Race 7 1-Franksnativewestrn-Looking for 5 straight and has beaten most of these, should be a major player again. 2-Thunder Dome-Has a big brush, using at a price and hope Franco can put in play, can add juice to the Pick 4. 8-Peter Dolt-Camera shy but has faced tougher, should relish the company if Lackey works a trip from Post 8. Race 8 3-Dune Dame-Fresh horse, has tuned up with 3 Fair starts, will use from this post with Leonard between the pipes. 6-Kelly's Kindness-Will toss last and look for a more sensible drive, 2nd ML chalk should be in mix but is only 2-51. 8-Rushing Reba-Last was better but doesn't like to win, not much form in this race so will respect connections. My Ticket Race 5) 2,6,7 Race 6) 2,3 Race 7) 1,2,8 Race 8) 3,6,8 Total Ticket Cost) $27 Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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8.4.2019:

Sunday, August 4: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.  Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.  Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-two-plays-at-saratoga-on-august-4th-2019/ Today’s Bullet Drills: https://www.xbtv.com/video/bullet-drill/preview-of-races-4-5-8-9-and-11-at-saratoga-on-august-4th-2019-based-on-works/ RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Pure Wow; 4-Daphne Moon Forecast: Daphne Moon brought $525,000 at the OBS April sale after breezing a quarter mile in 21 seconds flat (a little late changing leads but went without undue pressure) and has put together a solid, steady series of drills since arriving at Saratoga in mid-May. The daughter of Cairo Prince seems capable of winning at first asking in a seven-runner field that doesn’t look particularly deep or strong. Pure Wow, a close third in her debut here last month, should benefit from that bit of experience and may find herself on the front end if she leaves cleanly from the rail. We’re expecting the winner to be one of these two – we’ll slightly prefer Daphne Moon on top – and include both in our rolling exotics.   RACE 2: Post 1:36 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Data Driven; 5-Curious Cal Forecast: Data Driven, first off the claim for D. Gargan (a terrific 32% with this angle), arrives from Churchill Downs after finishing a solid runner-up in a $25,000 affair but today shows up for $12,500, which normally would raise a red flag. However, this barn can be very aggressive with its claiming stock, so we’re going to operate under the assumption that while ‘Driven may have issues, he still should be able to beat this field. Worth noting is that the veteran son of Northern Afleet is a perfect two-for-two at this extended sprint distance. Curious Cal ships in from Monmouth Park in good form, having won two of his last three, and after scoring in a restricted $16,000 dash last month seems realistically spotted in this open $12,500 affair. The J. Navarro-trained gelding has won at Saratoga in the past; however he’s essentially a need-the-lead type and may find today’s extra half-furlong stretching his limit. We’ll prefer Data Driven on top but use both in our rolling exotics.  RACE 3: Post 2:10 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Celtic Chaos; 4-Build to Suit; 7-Eye Luv Lulu Forecast: The John Morrissey Stakes was a weather casualty earlier this meeting but reappears as today’s third race. Build to Suit has been away since earning a triple digit Beyer speed figure when winning a first-level allowance sprint at Aqueduct in January, and that victory came following a 15 month vacation. Hopefully, the son of Dominus can string together some good races this time around, and his placement in this $100,000 state-bred sprint by C. Brown gives strong indication that he’s fit, ready, and has all of his prior speed. Celtic Chaos also earned a huge Beyer speed figure (100) in his last victory in which he drew away late with authority in a late May second-level New York-bred allowance sprint at Belmont Park. A two-time winner at the Spa, he’s a late-running sprinter that could use some help up front and based on this race’s pace projection he may get what he needs. Eye Luv Lulu is comfortably drawn outside and is an 11-time winner during his long career, but never at Saratoga, where he is zero-for-six. We’ll include him as a back-up or a saver. RACE 4: Post 2:45 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 8-Sparkling Sky Forecast: Sparkling Sky has trained like a very good prospect for T. Pletcher and should be more than fit enough to win at first asking in this two-turn maiden turf affair for juvenile fillies. A $650,000 Keeneland yearling purchase by More Than Ready, she’s a full-sister to multiple grass stakes winner Justa Lady for a barn that has been on a roll lately with first-time starters. In a race begging to be won by a fresh face, this filly fits the bill, so we’ll make her a straight play and rolling exotic single and hope to get close to her morning line of 4-1.   RACE 5: Post 3:21 ET. Grade: B Use: 4-Santa Monica; 6-Gentle Ruler Forecast: Santa Monica is a proven marathoner in top class company and therefore deserves her even money morning line status in today’s 12 furlong Waya S.-G3 for fillies and mares. A winner of her last pair in convincing fashion at a mile and three-eighths, she won’t be bothered by today’s extra furlong, and her sharp a.m. drills for C. Brown include an impressive recent workout with her superb stable mate Uni. Gentle Ruler deserves some consideration as well. She finally broke her maiden in career start number 12 and hasn’t lost since, a streak that includes two successive marathon stakes races, most recently a Grade 3 affair last month at Delaware Park with a career top speed figure. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics.  RACE 6: Post 4:03 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-The Caretaker; 4-Blue Belt; 8-Tribecca Forecast: A full field of $25,000 older claimers makes for a difficult handicapping challenge in today’s sixth race. We’ll use three and hope to survive and advance. The Caretaker drops to his lowest level ever for K. McLaughlin while seeking his first victory of the year and may have found his proper level after a two month freshening. A winner of two of three career starts at Saratoga, the son of Speightstown should be capable of snapping back to form with the change in scenery and facing softer competition while retaining L. Saez, who knows him well. Tribecca earned a giant speed figure when winning a $40,000 seller two runs back but stopped badly in a sloppy track race in early May and has been off the track since. Perhaps he’ll fire fresh, though the J. Toscano barn doesn’t have good stats with this angle. At this level, though, the speedy son of Dustin Stones warrants some consideration. Blue Belt has dangerous early speed but may be compromised by the presence of Tribecca and has gotten into the habit of weakening under pressure, blowing clear leads inside the furlong pole in each of his last four starts. However, like The Caretaker, he may perk up at Saratoga, where he’s a perfect one-for-one, having scored in gate-to-wire fashion last year. This race has the potential to become utterly chaotic, so best advice is to use as many as you can afford to in rolling exotic play. RACE 7: Post 4:38 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Final Frontier; 2-Pagliacci; 9-Battle Station Forecast: Here’s another highly-competitive affair, a turf sprint for second-level allowance runners. Final Frontier lands the rail and should be either on the lead or saving ground in a stalking, second-flight spot. He finished first in his only prior outing over the Saratoga lawn last year but was disqualified; more recently he earned a speed figure two races back at Belmont Park that would easily beat this field. If he can negotiate a good trip, the son of Ghostzapper should be along in time. Pagliacci has won two of his last three outings in clever fashion and will be dangerous in his role as a late-running sprinter should a decent pace materialize. A past winner over the Saratoga lawn, the L. Rice-trained gelding is a tad soft in the speed figure department but is reunited with “win rider” I. Ortiz, Jr. Battle Station, a perfect two-for-two at Saratoga on grass, is a “must use” for that reason alone, especially at 6-1 on the morning line. The W. Ward-trained gelding will be making just his third start of the year and appears quite capable of producing a forward move following two sub-standard efforts in the spring.  RACE 8: Post 5:13 ET. Grade: B Use: 8-Chiclet’s Dream; 13-A Little Faith Forecast: Chiclet’s Dream has finished in the frame in all seven career starts and should be ready for another top effort in this middle distance state-bred turf event for entry-level allowance fillies and mares. The daughter of City Zip just missed in a three-horse photo when odds-on in her last outing in May, but after some freshening the C. Brown-trained filly should be ready bounce back with her best effort. Additionally, both of her races over the Saratoga grass course here last year were excellent. A Little Faith was miles the best in her debut and is bred to improve with distance. The daughter of Candy Ride trailed to the head of the lane off very slow fractions, angled wide, accelerated when asked and won without really taking a deep breath. She draws in from the also-eligible list and loses J. Castellano (who opts for Chiclet’s Dream) but there’s some real talent here and with a forward move and a decent trip she could be good enough to win right back.   RACE 9: Post 5:48 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 4-Rockemperor; 6-Kadar; 10-Mohawk Forecast: Let’s swing for the fences in the inaugural edition of the Saratoga Derby Invitational, a $1 million grass race for 3-year-olds over a mile and three-sixteenths. Kadar is 30-1 on the morning line and is better than that. The lightly-raced son of Scat Daddy was best when beaten in his U.S. debut against much softer first-level allowance foes when he broke slowly, fell far back, rallied widest of all entering the lane and closed relentlessly to finish third, beaten a diminishing head. These are tougher, of course, but the M. Maker-trained colt adds blinkers, switches to J. Ortiz, and hopefully will secure a much more favorable early position. With only three career starts on his resume (the first two overseas), he hasn’t yet come close to showing what he can do. Rockemperor was an impressive third place finisher in the Belmont Derby-G1 in his North American debut last month and has looked terrific in the a.m. since, giving strong indication that he’ll move forward for C. Brown. Group-placed in France earlier this year, the progressive Irish-bred colt retains Johnny V. and will be charging in the final furlong. Mohawk represents stranger danger from Europe and probably is worth including somewhere at 10-1 on the morning line. Fresh from a convincing Group-3 win in which he earned a highly impressive 115 Timeform rating over the left-handed course at Leopardstown, the A. O’Brien-trained son of Galileo gets Lasix and wasn’t sent over simply to enjoy the sights.  RACE 10: Post 6:23 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Frank’s Rockette; 8-Magic Dance Forecast: The Adirondack Stakes for 2-year-old fillies may be dominated by a pair of Churchill Downs fillies. Frank’s Rockette won her debut by nearly nine lengths, doing so with a stalking trip and earning a stakes-quality speed figure. She gets an extra furlong and a half to play with today and gives every indication that the added distance will only help her. Magic Dance, unbeaten in two starts in Kentucky including the listed Debutante Stakes in late June, lands the comfortable outside post and should be able to duplicate the same type of stalking trip that she enjoyed in both of her wins. She’s slightly faster on pure figures than Frank’s Rockette, but the later may have more upside. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press a bit keying Frank’s Rockette on top.   RACE 11: Post 6:57 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 3-Malthael; 10-Doswell; 11-Good Governance Forecast: The finale is a better-than-par maiden special weight turf miler for older horses. Malthael was an unlucky runner-up in a similar affair last month at Belmont Park and with better racing luck today could easily earn his diploma. In tight quarters through much of the stretch drive and getting out too late to catch front-running Power Player, the son of Noble Mission will hope for clear sailing today and if he gets it we’re expecting the C. Clement-trained gelding to seal the deal. J. Rosario takes over, so at 5-1 on the morning line there’s plenty of value to be found. Doswell and Good Governance are a pair of contenders from the C. Brown barn, and both breezed together in a nice half-mile spin around dogs last week while appearing sharp, fit and ready. Doswell already has three starts under his belt and has finished second in every outing while earning strong speed figures, while ‘Governance, a debuting son of Kingman, seems fit enough to give a good account of himself despite a post position a little farther out than we’d prefer. All three should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Malthael on top.

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8.3.2019:

Saturday, August 3: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.  Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.  The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-best-bets-at-saratoga-on-august-3rd-2019/  RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B Use: 1-Chimney Rock; 5-Brewmeister; 6-Eternal Summer Forecast: Eternal Summer has trained like a nice sort and appears fit and ready for big effort in this maiden special weight turf router for 2-year-olds. Pletcher always has strong stats with first-time starters and this colt appears very well-meant in a race full of question marks. Chimney Rock finished an okay third in an off-the-turf sloppy track debut at Belmont Park in June and today will get his chance on the surface he’s bred to love (Artie Schiller). With blinkers on and from an inside post, the Maker-trained colt very likely employ gate-to-wire tactics. Brewmeister, a debuting Point of Entry colt trained by C. Brown, has done most of his preparatory work at Monmouth Park but must be considered good enough to be competitive on this tougher circuit. The works don’t look particularly impressive but he’s bred for grass on both sides, so we’ll include him on a few tickets in our rolling exotics.  RACE 2: Post 1:35 ET. Grade: B- Use: 6-Felix in Fabula; 8-The Rock Says Forecast: The Rock Says has steadily rising speed figures and today adds blinkers, so it’s entirely possible that the Uncle Mo colt produces yet another forward move, one good enough to beat this first-level allowance field. In fact, in a race without much speed, the S. Hough-trained 3-year-old might try to wire the field at this nine furlong distance. Felix in Fabula, a $50,000 claim out of a winning performance here last month by an outfit that has good stats with the first-off-the-claim angle, is genuine and consistent (first or second in 14 of 24 career starts) and should enjoy a good stalking trip under Rosario. These are the two we’ll be including in our rolling exotics with preference on top to The Rock Says.  RACE 3: Post 2:10 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Height; 3-Extreme Force; 5-Wayne O Forecast: Wayne O has trained like a very nice prospect for S. Asmussen (strong 22% with debut runners) and the son of Into Mischief, a $750,000 Saratoga yearling last year, seems plenty fit for a major effort first crack out of the box. Seven furlongs can a be testing distance for a newcomer, but if this colt is as good as advertised, he can win. Extreme Force has the benefit of a prior outing, a solid third place effort in a fast, highly-rated race at Belmont Park last month. He’s clearly the best of the known element and is a “must use” in exotic play. Height probably is a bit better than his morning line of 10-1 and should be used as a back-up or a saver. The Mott-trained colt has done everything asked in the morning and could be late factor if allowed to settle early and produce a late run.   RACE 4: Post 2:46 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Patriot Drive; 4-Applicator; 7-Hay Dakota Forecast: This grass grab bag for $50,000 older horses requires a spread in rolling exotic play; we’ll go three deep and hope that’s enough. Hay Dakota looked good winning at this level at Churchill Downs last time out while earning a number that makes him very competitive for the same price on this circuit. From the high percentage E. Kenneally barn, the veteran gelding picks up J. Castellano, and with some help front could be hard to contain in the final furlong. Applicator, a recent $40,000 claim by L. Rice (a superb 28% with the first-off-the-claim angle), does his best running on or near the lead and wired his foes in his most recent start at Belmont Park while earning a speed figure that makes him tough right back. Patriot Drive has won three in a row, most recently for $25,000 over this turf course last month, and better will be needed to repeat on the raise, but he joins Rudy’s barn, which hits at 29% with a flat-bet profit with this angle, so a significant forward move – and another win – is a possibility at 8-1 on the morning line.   RACE 5: Post 3:21 ET. Grade: X Use: 1-World of Trouble; 2-Disco Partner Forecast: With the scratching of World of Trouble, The Troy Stakes-G3 takes on a whole different look. Pure Sensation now benefits from a completely different pace scenario than what was originally projected and clearly is the best of the speed types, though Rocket Heat can be plenty quick, too, and will try keep the pressure on. ‘Sensation, a winner of four of his last five, earned a triple-digit Beyer figure when easily dominating the Parx Dash-G3 in his most recent start but If he’s is forced into a speed duel, his C. Clement-trained stable mate Disco Partner will be the one to contain in the final furlong. In a race we’ll otherwise pass, we’ll include both of the Clement starters in our rolling exotics with slight preference on top to Pure Sensation.   RACE 6: Post 3:56 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 7-En Wye Cee; 8-Free Enterprise; 12-Somes Sound Forecast: Somes Sound is listed at 10-1 on the morning line in this highly-competitive maiden special weight seven furlong sprint despite a series of impressive workouts and a pedigree that spells nothing but speed and class. The son of Ghostzapper, a $375,000 yearling, put together back-to-back bullet drills leading up to this race, lands the cozy outside post, and will be ridden by the barn’s go-to-rider, J. Alvarado. True, J. Jerkens doesn’t often win with debut runners, but this talented colt might prove to be the exception to the rule. Free Enterprise tipped his hand with a strong runner-up performance in his debut in late June at Belmont Park, pressing the pace throughout and then proving hard to down late while earning a strong speed figure. The Curlin gelding should benefit from the outing and is the likely choice and one to beat. En Wye Cee is an intriguing first-timer by Declaration of War from the Pletcher barn. The work tab indicates ability and it’s interesting that T. Pletcher choses to debut this colt on dirt, rather than turf for which he is bred for. These are the three we’ll be including in our rolling exotics; we’ll then press using Somes Sound in the straight pool at anywhere near his morning line.   RACE 7: Post 4:31 ET. Grade: B Use: 2-Lucullan; 8-Ticonderoga Forecast: We loved the recent win by Lucullan in his first start in more than a year, when the five-year-old son of Hard Spun sat off moderate fractions to the head of the lane, and then accelerated with determination to beat a high-priced optional claiming field with an impressive speed figure. He’s trained well since for K. McLaughlin and should run at least as well if not better today despite tackling this tougher group. We’ll put him on top but also find room on our tickets for Ticonderoga, a dangerous late-runner with prior winning form over the Saratoga turf course. The son of Tapit is reunited with “win rider” Castellano, and if the early fractions are faster than normal he will make some noise late.   RACE 8: Post 5:06 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Bellafina; 3-Covfefe Forecast: Bellafina is most effective around one turn and is a perfect two-for-two at this seven furlong trip, so we’re expecting the daughter of Quality Road to bring her best stuff from California in this year’s edition of the Test S.-G1. She has excellent tactical speed to adjust to any pace scenario and can pour it on late under these conditions, so as the deserving 2-1 morning line favorite the S. Callaghan-trained 3-year-old filly is strictly the one to beat; Covfefe is the speed of the speed and is back with her own age group after disappointing when under pressure throughout in the Roxelana Stakes in Kentucky in late June. If she runs back to her amazing, track-record breaking performance in the Ms. Preakness Stakes in her race before last, the daughter of Into Mischief could be scary on the front end.   RACE 9: Post 5:46 ET. Grade: X Use: 6-McKinzie; 8-Preservationist Forecast: Preservationist was superb winning the Suburban Stakes-G2 last month while earning another skyrocketing speed figure and he will move to the top of the older horse division if he can do it again in today’s Whitney S.-G1, The pace flow should be comfortable and allow J. Alvarado to pick his position from his outside draw, either on the lead or in a stalking spot. The J. Jerkens-trained son of Arch will have to beat the California shipper McKinzie, who has been trained for a peak performance by B. Baffert after finishing a very unlucky second in the Met Mile in his previous outing in early June. The son of Street Sense is most effective at a mile but can act with the best up to today’s nine furlong distance. We’ll stick with the home team – Preservationist slightly on top – but include both in our rolling exotics.   RACE 10: Post 6:22 ET. Grade: B- Use: 5-Rock my Love; 8-Got Stormy; 9-Stella di Camelot Forecast: The De La Rose Stakes, a listed affair over a mile on grass, brings together a talented but evenly matched group of fillies and mares and requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Got Storm rates a very slight edge on top based on the competition she’s been keeping of late. The M. Casse-trained filly should find this field within her abilities after a strong third place effort in the Jenny Wiley S.-G1 at Keeneland in April followed by a good runner-up performance in the Distaff Turf Mile-G2 at Churchill Downs in early May. Freshened since then but training steadily and looking sharp, she should fold into a nice second-flight position and have dead aim on the leaders when the field turns for home. Stella di Camelot stretches out again after a fast-finishing third, beaten less than a length, in the Intercontinental S.-G3 over seven furlongs at Belmont Park in early June. That was her first outing since November and the Irish-bred filly should benefit greatly from that tightener. Rock my Love found herself on the lead and then faded under pressure in her North American debut at Woodbine in late June, winding up fourth in the Dance Smartly S.-G2. She shortens from 10 furlongs to a flat mile and today likely will get early cover and then be produced late.  RACE 11: Post 6:56 ET. Grade: B- Use: 4-Red Zinger; 8-Fled; 12-Veterans Beach Forecast: Fled just crushed a restricted $16,000 claiming field sprinting on grass at Laurel with complete authority, a performance that if repeated today in this first-level state-bred allowance affair could be good enough for a repeat score. It was his first career outing on grass – and he earned a career top number in winning – so maybe this Flatter gelding always has wanted to be a turf specialist. At 6-1 on the morning line he’s quite intriguing. Veterans Beach missed by a neck in a similar event here last month while earning a career top number and today he’ll be getting Lasix for the first time. Despite the extreme outside draw, the D. Donk-trained son of Big Brown is a major contender once again. Red Zinger has dirt figures that make him a strong fit, but it’s unknown how he’ll react to the switch to turf. He doesn’t exactly have a grass pedigree, but the 3-year-old son of Will Take Charge turned in a bullet blowout around dogs on the Saratoga training track turf course last week to give hope that he’ll enjoy the sod. 

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8.3.2019:

Saturday, August 3: Meadowlands Analysis for Hambo Day

It's Hambo Day at the Big M, posted below are comments and exacta selections for the Elimination Races as well as all of the stakes. First post is noon Eastern Time for the 16-race card. All Xpressbet account holders who register can compete to win a split of 1 million Xpressbet Reward Points. To qualify hit five exactas on the Meadowlands card with a minimum of $2 bets to receive a share of the 1 million Reward Points. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 4-James Doherty Memorial 3-Crucial (7/2) 5-Hypnotic AM (5/2) 9-Hello Tomorrow (8-1) My exacta key will be Hypnotic AM and will use the Chapter 7 filly with Crucial and Hello Tomorrow. I think the race will go in 1.53 or faster and Dave Miller may leave, get a close-up spot and rally late with #9. Hello Tomorrow would add some juice to the exacta. Race 5-Peter Haughton Memorial 3-Synergy (5/2) 4-Real Cool Sam (2-1) 5-Stay Close (5-1) 6-Capricornus (6-1) The program favorite, Real Cool Sam looks a cut above the rest and will be my exacta key. Using under the program chalk, and what looks like the biggest threat, is Synergy. Worthwhile plays for the bottom of the exacta which should be square prices, are Stay Close and Capricornus. Race 6-Shady Daisy 1-Trilions Hanover (10-1) 2-Warrawee Ubeaut (9/2) 4-Tall Drink Hanover (5/2) 5-Stonebridge Soul (2-1) Stonebridge Soul draws well, is in fine form and will be my exacta key in this race. Trillions Hanover is an interesting price shot with Dave Miller who should be put in play from the rail and can close in the stretch. Warrawee Ubeaut and Tall Drink Hanover deserve respect and should be in the hunt as well. Race 7-Sam McKee Memorial 2-McWicked (7/2) 4-This Is The Plan (9/2) 5-Dorsoduro Hanover (8-1) 7-Filibuster Hanover (8-1) 9-Lather Up (3-1) It appears this group has enough early speed to sizzle the half in .53 and change, so I will use McWicked up and down in exactas. This Is The Plan has been camera shy this year but should be in the mix. Dorsoduro Hanover and Filibuster Hanover both come off sharp efforts and might be overlooked at the windows. Lather Up could take a picture if gets the top and steals a quarter. Race 8-Hambletonian Elimination 3-Swandre The Giant (7/2) 7-Gimpanzee (2-1) 8-Green Manalishi S (5/2) Many believe trainer Marcus Melander has the best chance of winning the Hambo with three excellent entries and two in this elimination. Gimpanzee is 12-12 lifetime but has never raced at the Big M and might be handled slightly more cautiously before facing Greenshoe in the Final. Green Manalishi S is in fine form but not sure how much gas will be used from the 8-hole to win this elimination. Although off of Lasix today my thinking is Swandre The Giant could get the same trip from this post as he had when winning the Stanley Dancer Memorial and I will key on top in exactas. Race 9-Hambletonian Elimination 3-Pilot Discretion (10-1) 5-Greenshoe (4/5) Unless in a big funk Greenshoe should get his own way and win this elimination. Pilot Discretion is consistent and in good form, at 10-1 offers some value and will be my only use in an exacta under Greenshoe. Race 10-John Cashman Memorial 1-Marion Marauder (7/2) 4-Eurobond (8-1) 7-Crystal Fashion (12-1) 9-Six Pack (5-1) In this affair Marion Marauder and Six Pack will be used on top and boxed in exactas. Those two will also be keyed on top of the #4 and #7. Eurobond will need a top effort but has been perfect since joining the Julie Miller barn. Crystal Fashion does well at the Big M and is worth a swing at 12-1 in the ML as Dave Miller takes a seat instead of Tim Tetrick. I'm leaving the ML favorite Guardian Angel As out of the mix as he is often bet down hard and is only 1-7 in East Rutherford. Race 11-Hambletonian Oaks 2-Millies Possesion (9/5) 4-Evident Beauty (7/2) 5-When Dovescry (5/2) When Dovescry is my key on top in exactas as I look to beat the chalk. The ML 2nd chalk is 3-3-when racing on a mile oval and can win on the engine or coming off a helmet. Millies Possesion is 8-8 and should be the post time favorite, there aren't any flaws to be found, but will look towards the better price here. Evident Beauty can fly late and shouldn't be overlooked for exacta tickets. Race 12-Hambletonian Final My take on the Hambo is similar to Hall of Fame driver and current Hambletonian Society President John Campbell, who said in an interview this week that conditioner Marcus Melander has the three best horses. One of the three stands above the others and Greenshoe should handle his assignment today barring bad luck. Giving out a winner is not the same as giving out a good play. In the Final much will depend on the eliminations and post draws to see who will have the best chance of knocking off Greenshoe or to be a gimmick possibility. Race 13-Dr. John Steele Memorial 1-Manchego (7/2) 6-Hannelore Hanover (3-1) 7-Darling Mearas S (4-1) 8-Custom Cantab (15-1) Manchego finally notched her 1st win of the year with a sparkling effort and now will be my key on top in exactas. Drawing the rail shouldn't hurt as she should be in gear for another big try again. Hannelore Hanover is a champ and deserves respect but I will be using underneath as well as another sharp looking mare, Darling Mearas S. Custom Cantab will need a hot pace and a live cover flow but at 15-1 she is a use underneath in gimmicks. Race 14-Lady Liberty 1-Shartin N (6/5) 3-Caviart Ally (5-1) Shartin N is 8 of 9 this year and her form is razor sharp. But I like Caviart Alley just as much and will use both of these top mares in an exacta box. Race 15-Cane Pace 4-Bettor's Wish (9/5) 6-Captain Crunch (2-1) This looks like a two horse race and my edge goes to Captain Crunch. Crunch was used very hard to get the top in a 52.4 half in the Meadowlands Pace and finshed 4th, losing by less than a length. Bettor's Wish was parked and pressuring Captain Crunch in the Pace and finished a very game 2nd. There is no doubt Bettor's Wish is a top 3-year-old but I will put Captain Crunch on top and hope for a less taxing journey in the opening half mile. Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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8.3.2019:

Chance It Biggest Player in Gulfstream Pick 5 on Saturday

Sometimes it takes a start before a 2-year-old begins to come into its own, and Chance It is a good example. A central figure in the Florida Sire Dr. Fager Stakes Saturday at Gulfstream Park, Chance It gave what he had in his debut on June 1 and settled for second, 1 1-2 lengths behind Smash Factor. Chance It was 8-to-5 that day and came back on June 29, who sent postward as the 2-to-1 second choice, and overwhelmed maidens by 9 1-4 lengths in 1:03 4-5 for 5.5 furlongs. Left in his wake was runner-up Genghis, who followed that race with an easy maiden win last Saturday. The Dr. Fager Stakes is the fifth on the program and final leg of the Pick 5. A $36 suggested ticket here includes Chance It along with Absolute Grit in the Dr. Fager. Absolute Grit was 6-to-5 and finished second behind Positively Awesome in the Kodiak Island Stakes in open company. He broke his maiden with a closing move in April and finished the job with a half-length decision going 4.5 furlongs. The biggest challenges in the Pick 5 are the first and third races. The first brings together a talented cast of starter optional claiming runners, including The Mighty Judge, Great Kahuna and Justcallmenorman. All three are coming in over decent performances against similar company and any of them could escape with the win here. Source Control, Mr Stark and Bodie Cody each look ready to leave the ‘non-winners of two’ scene and will tangle going two turns on the turf. One of them likely will move on. Here’s a suggested ticket for the Pick 5 Saturday at Gulfstream Park: 1) #1 The Mighty Judge, #2 Great Kahuna, #5 Justcallmenorman. 2) #4 Starship Taxi, #7 Cash On Hand. 3) #1 Source Control, #4 Mr Stark, #6 Bodie Cody. 4) #3 Mysterio, #4 High Rolling Dude. 5) #1 Chance It, #4 Absolute Grit. 50-cent Pick Five: 1-2-5 with 4-7 with 1-4-6 with 3-4 with 1-4 ($36).

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8.2.2019:

Friday, August 2: Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies for Del Mar

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Friday, August 2, 2019 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Plays at Del Mar on August 2nd, 2019 RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: X Single: 5-Brilliant Richie Forecast: Brilliant Richie just crushed a $25,000 field at Pleasanton with a career top speed figure and today shows up for half that amount as if to indicate that his connections are trying to unload him. If the 3-year-old gelding has one good one left, he’ll win again, but at 9/5 on the morning line with this type of pattern he offers little in the way of wagering value. You can use him as a no-value rolling exotic single or simply pass the race. RACE 2: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: C Use: 1-Y Not Sizzle; 2-Tizzy; 3-Too Hot for Curlin Forecast: Too Hot for Curlin is a first-timer starter from a good barn and lands Prat in this two-turn turf affair for state-bred maiden fillies and mares. The work tab isn’t especially noteworthy but in a below par field for the level she seems as good as any. Tizzy earned a career top number when a respectable third at 19-1 in her most recent start over the Golden Gate Fields turf course and if she produce another forward move today the daughter of Tiznow will be a major player. Y Not Sizzle has finished third in all four career starts and her Beyer speed figures have remained pretty much the same. From the rail, the Mullins-trained filly will enjoy a ground-saving, second flight trip, and then have her chance in the lane. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics without any real conviction but otherwise sit it out. RACE 3: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 3-Atina; 6-Norweigian Forecast: Norwegian, first off the claim for Periban, earned a career top number when a solid runner-up at this level at Los Alamitos while nine lengths clear of others in her most recent start and if she can duplicate that performance today she’ll probably win. Bug boy Diaz, who was aboard in that vastly improved effort, rides her back. Atina was 10 lengths clear of the rest when second at this level at Los Alamitos last month and seems the one to fear most. In a lackluster affair, these are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play. RACE 4: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B Use: 3-Tilted Towers; 4-Chewing Gum; 5-Wildman Jack Forecast: There are lots of unknowns in this five furlong turf sprint for older maidens, so best advice is to include as many as you can afford to. Tilted Towers flashed good speed before gradually weakening in his debut on dirt at Santa Anita in early June in what was a fast, highly-rated race. On paper, this looks like a considerably easier spot, so the D’Amato-trained gelding should stick much better at this shorter trip with the switch to grass. Wildman Jack is bred for speed (Goldencents) and has been working out of sight at San Luis Rey Downs while turning in some fast drills for the red hot O’Neill barn. You’d have to think he can run some. Chewing Gum is a 4-year-old son of Candy Ride finally making his debut for Mandella and Prat. He’s probably a race or two away but may be worth including on your ticket as a back-up or a saver. RACE 5: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B Single: 6-Clear to Close Forecast: Clear to Close flashed a bit of ability at Pleasanton in straight maiden company and that form should translate well in a maiden claimer on this circuit. The Wong-trained colt should be or near the lead in this five furlong dash that doesn’t appear to have a whole lot of early speed in it, or late speed, either. In a race in which nothing else excites, let’s take a stand and make him a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 6: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B Use: 6-Foxtail; 8-Mirth Forecast: This is a strong, competitive second-level allowance middle distance turf affair for fillies and mares. We’ll try to get by using just two main contenders. Mirth earned a career top speed figure when beaten a head in the Possibly Perfect Stakes over 10 furlongs at Santa Anita in June, pressing the pace throughout, responding under pressure, but getting worn down late and missing by a neck. She’s in with a bit easier today and shortens up, so we’re expecting the D’Amato-trained filly to return to the winner’s circle with a similar performance. Her recent workouts have been excellent. Foxtail does her best on the front end and when unpoliced up front can often be difficult to run down. Freshened since May, the Sadler-trained mare switches to Bejarano and on paper should be the controlling speed. RACE 7: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 3-Big Returns Forecast: With the scratching of Fast Enough, Big Returns should be tough to beat. The son of Mr. Big blew out a soft Calbred maiden field two weeks ago and despite being wheeled back on short rest should be able to handle the quick turnaround. Additionally, he should improve as the distances increase, so we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 8: Post 5:30 PT. Grade: B Use: 1-Cal’s Gem; 3-Doc Tommy; 4-Pour On the Cole Forecast: The finale is a state-bred maiden special weight six furlong sprint that appears to have three main contenders. Doc Tommy was a distant fourth (but in the photo for second) when debuting in a hot stakes at Pleasanton last month behind the runaway winner Bulletproof One (who came back to win again here on Wednesday). The son of Comic Strip has a much easier task today so with any kind of forward move he’ll be hard to handle. Cal’s Gem finished first in a race at Santa Anita in June but had his number taken down so he’s back with maidens. He’s the fastest in the race on pure numbers but had the misfortune of drawing the rail over a track in which the outside lanes are preferred. Pour On the Cole improved his speed figure by 17 points when fourth as the favorite in a similar affair at Los Alamitos last month. He’ll enjoy today extra furlong and could be a late threat.

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8.2.2019:

Friday, August 2: Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Friday, August 2, 2019 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Plays at Saratoga on August 2nd, 2019 Today’s Bullet Drills: Preview of Races 3, 4, 7 and 9 at Saratoga on August 2nd, 2019 Based on Works RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Ode; 8-Justice of War Forecast: Justice of War shows up in a modest claimer for the first time and if healthy the S. Asmussen-trained colt should earn his diploma. Off the track since early May, the Oaklawn Park shipper by way of Churchill Downs is comfortably drawn outside and should fold into a nice stalking trip and have every chance from the head of the lane to the wire. His recent work tab in solid, healthy, and encouraging, so let’s put the son of Strong Mandate – originally a $550,00 2-year-old in training purchase – on top in this maiden $20,000 sprint. Ode has decent recent form at this level ships in from Keeneland following a couple five furlong bullet drills. He’s not particularly fast on figures but has enough early speed to be within striking range and free of trouble. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Justice of War. RACE 2: Post 1:36 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 3-Cool as You Like; 6-Promise Me Roses Forecast: We’ll double this five-runner restricted (nw-3) six furlong claimer in rolling exotic play while preferring Cool as You Like on top but also including Promise Me Roses. Both have the same pattern; they’re dropping off a claim from $20,000 to $14,000. Cool as You Like, away since March but returning in a logical spot for Rice (27% first off the claim), won impressively over this main track last year and has several back numbers that are much better than par for this level. This stable also has good stats with layoff runners so we’ll operate under the assumption that the veteran daughter of Macho Uno is fit enough for a good effort. Promise Me Roses, now in the Gullo barn (good stats with the first-off-the-claim angle) has been freshened since late May and has a light work tab (just two easy three furlong breezes) in recent weeks, so her condition is a question, but in a race without much speed signed on the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid should be in a good stalking spot outside without having to spend too much early energy. We’ll have a few extra tickets keying Cool as You Like on top but use both in our rolling exotics. RACE 3: Post 2:12 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 3-Light in the Sky Forecast: With the scratching of morning line favorite Cake, this race sets up nicely for Light in the Sky, who finished a distant fourth (and appeared to intensely dislike the track) after a rugged start in an off-the-turf muddy-track affair in her debut last month. With More than Ready on the bottom side of her pedigree she’s certainly bred to improve on lawn for the L. Rice barn, which hits at a terrific 30% with second-time starters. We’re expecting the daughter of Tale of the Cat to improve dramatically and will make her a strong straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 4: Post 2:48 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Macagone; 4-Storm Prophet; 8-Way Early Forecast: Macagone failed at 3/5 in a starter’s $16,000 event at Monmouth Park in June, but off a brief freshening the son of Artie Schiller should be capable of making amends in this $40,000 inner turf miler for older horses. The J. Servis-trained gelding is guaranteed a good ground-saving trip from the rail over a course he’s won on in the past and may benefit from the switch to J. Lezcano. Storm Prophet, first off the $40,000 claim by R. Atras (excellent 28% with this angle), always has much preferred to run second or third rather than win (3 wins, 17 placings) and probably isn’t one to trust, but he returns to grass, picks up Santana, and has enough tactical speed to be within striking range and have his chance. Way Early hasn’t been out since being overmatched and finishing far back in the Hollywood Derby-G1 last November but the Weaver barn is solid with layoff runners and this Tizway gelding won his only prior start over the Saratoga turf course in good fashion last year. The works have been okay, nothing great, so we’ll use him on a ticket or two as a saver or a back-up. RACE 5: Post 3:28 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 6-Chief Know It All; 7-Beyond the Green; 9-Planet Trailblazer Forecast: Here’s another open affair that requires a spread. Planet Trailblazer, popular at the claim box of late, now finds himself in the M. Miceli barn (good 20% stat with the first-off-the-claim angle) and with his best effort he can win this $12,500 claiming nine furlong main track affair. The son of Pioneering prefers to settle in the second flight and make a run, but exiting a series of shorter races he’s liable to find himself in a good pace prompting or stalking position off slow early fractions. Beyond the Green is a razor sharp Finger Lakes shipper, having won three of his last four starts. He’s a little light in the speed figure department but in his present form the C. Engelhart-trained gelding should be forwardly placed throughout and have his shot when it matters. Chief Know It All, a first-time gelding in his first start since being claimed for $32,000 in early June at Churchill Downs, plummets in class as if to indicate he has some issues, but the Kenneally barn hits with a remarkable 39 percent with this angle because of its aggressive placement with its claiming stock. The former multiple graded stakes winner could easily find this modest group within his range. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; if you feel the need to add a few more, go right ahead. RACE 6: Post 4:03 ET. Grade: B Single: 5-Bemma’s Boy Forecast: With the off-the-program scratching of The Green Mo’ster, this $35,000 restricted claimer looks made to order for Bemma’s Boy. Second off the claim for M. Maker, the Into Mischief gelding finished a willing third under these conditions over a mile on turf here last month, and with an extra half-furlong to work with today we’re expecting J. Ortiz to have him along in time as a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 7: Post 4:39 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 3-English Bee; 5-Casa Creed; 8-Moon Colony Forecast: Moon Colony found himself on the lead in the Belmont Derby-G1 – not where he wants to be – and got run over when the real racing began at the head of the lane. Much more effective when held up early and allowed to run late, the Uncle Mo colt has a good look with a repeat of his Penn Mile score two races back. English Bee looked sharp winning a turf stakes on Preakness day but then was unplaced in the same race Moon Colony exits after racing wide and failing to land a blow. He switches to Castellano and should settle in the second flight and then launch his bid from there. Casa Creed fits with these off his best race and is worth tossing in somewhere as well. This group seems to take turns beating one another, so tread lightly. RACE 8: Post 5:15 ET. Grade: X Single: 2-Tom’s d’Etat Forecast: Tom’s d’Etat, in the frame in a couple of recent graded stakes races at Churchill Downs, faces softer listed stakes competition today in the Alydar S. over nine furlongs on the main track and looks well-spotted to regain his winning form. A perfect two-for-two over the Saratoga main track, the son of Smart Strike is reunited with Rosario, who was aboard in a nine-length allowance win that earned a career top 106 Beyer speed figure here a couple of years ago. Lightly raced with six wins in 12 starts and with a pace-pressing style that should put him on or near the lead throughout, the A. Stall-trained horse may be too short to play in the straight pool (he’s 7/5 on the morning line) but can be used as a rolling exotic single. RACE 9: Post 5:51 ET. Grade: X Single: 5-Concrete Rose Forecast: Concrete Rose has won five of six career starts, including her last three in graded stakes company, most recently in the Belmont Oaks-G1 last month. The daughter of Twirling Candy continues to hold her edge in the morning for Arnold, retains Leparoux, who fits her perfectly, and is a versatile sort who can adjust and adapt to any pace scenario. At a very short price that will preclude a wager in the straight play, we can still make her a no-value rolling exotic single. RACE 10: Post 6:25 ET. Grade: B- Single: 7-Mrs. Orb Forecast: With off-the-program scratching of Tarallucci, this maiden claiming state-bred $40,000 turf claimer for fillies and mares should belong to Mrs. Orb, although as a 10-race maiden she’s certainly not entirely trustworthy. The M. Miceli-trained filly has hit the board in six of 10 career starts and just finished second in a similar event last month at Belmont Park. She switches to J. Ortiz, should be forwardly placed throughout, and may be able to finally break through with only slight improvement. In a race that is thoroughly uninspiring, we can make her a rolling exotic single, or simply pass the race.

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8.1.2019:

Thursday, August 1: Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Thursday, August 1, 2019 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Maker: Jeff Siegel's Top Plays at Del Mar on August 1st, 2019 RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B Use: 1-My Friend Tony; 4-Vander Kelen Forecast: Vander Kelen exits a pair of much tougher starter’s allowance sprints and drops for the money run in this $20,000 restricted (nw-3) claimer at six and one-half furlongs. Named for the 1963 Rose Bowl MVP quarterback for the Wisconsin Badgers, the M. Glatt-trained son of New Year’s Day holds a decided edge in the speed figure department, so anything close to his best race today lands him in the winner’s circle. My Friend Tony had the misfortunate of drawing the rail but the Mathis-trained gelding should be quick enough to be part of the pace throughout, and if ‘Kelen fails to fire he could take this field a long way. Both should be included in rolling exotic play but clearly the main punch must go to Vander Kelen. RACE 2: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: B Use: 1-Swirling; 2-G Q Covergirl; 4-Rocky Policy Forecast: This is a stronger than par $40,000 claiming turf sprint for fillies and mares that offers a number of chances. Rocky Policy returns to her winning level and has the versatility to be successful on the front end or from a stalking position. She’s strong on speed figures and knows where the wire is. G Q Covergirl makes her first start since being claimed for $40,000 by D. O’Neill (terrific stats with this angle, 33% with significant flat-bet profit) so despite failing as the favorite in each of her last four starts, and being winless in three career outings over the Del Mar turf course, the daughter of General Quarters is a “must use” under the assumption that she will move forward for her new connections. Swirling likes this turf course (a win and a second in two career starts) and could be a threat if she gets the patient ride she needs from bug boy Velez. Her career top Beyer speed figure was accomplished over this course and distance last year, so at 6-1 on the morning line she’s worth including somewhere in your exotics. RACE 3: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: X Single: 6-Scarlet Forecast: Scarlet earned by far her career top speed figure when a close third in a similar straight maiden event at Santa Anita last time out and nothing more will be needed to graduate today in this main track miler. Two bullet six furlong workouts over the local strip since raced indicates she’s very likely to step forward again, but at 9/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower the daughter of Uncle Mo probably will be too short to play other than to use her a logical rolling exotic single. RACE 4: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 3-Sophie Antoinette; 6-Miss Flawless; 7-Khairiya Forecast: Sophie Antoinette is an intriguing Kentucky shipper with several positive factors in her chart. Eligible for the valuable ship-and-win added purse money, the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid has speed figures that have risen with each of her seven career starts and she makes her California debut with blinkers on following a bullet five furlong turf drill around dogs over this course last week. The Wong-trained filly likes to settle and blast home, and with good racing luck and a decent pace to chase she should be along in time at 7/2 on the morning line. While we like her strongly on top, there are others to consider as back-ups or savers. Khairiya remains well above her claim level in a show of confidence by D’Amato for her local debut after arriving from Churchill Downs. She, too, is seeking bonus money from the ship-and-win program and could be dangerous if she can establish the pace without pressure. She’s a fit on figures and sports a healthy local series of workouts. Miss Flawless, a $50,000 claim by P. Eurton out of a good third-place finish in a five furlong sprint in June at Santa Anita, stretches out again and projects to be forwardly placed throughout. It’s possible that she’s more effective around one turn, but she was a useful sort in France last year and probably has some improvement in her. RACE 5: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: C Use: 2-Bam Bam Lil River; 4-Naughty Tiger; 8-Time for Suzzie Forecast: This modest claiming abbreviated sprint is restricted to 3-year-old fillies and drew a field loaded with question marks. We’ll include three in our rolling exotics but otherwise sit out the race. Time for Suzzie returns to her claim level, lands the cozy outside post and is reunited with “win rider” R. Bejarano, so everything would seem to be in order for a top effort. However, the Hess-trained filly has never run well over the deep Del Mar main track – she’s been unplaced in three starts - so she’s no slam dunk to reproduce her best effort. Bam Bam Lil River, a $20,000 S. Knapp claim last month at Los Alamitos, faded when winding up fourth at even money in that race in her second straight defeat as a short priced choice. The barn hits at 22% with first-off-the-claim plays, so on that angle alone she’s worth using. Naughty Tiger won the CTBA Stakes here last year as a 2-year-old but today is being tossed away for $20,000, not a good sign. At 8-1 on the morning line she may be worth including on your ticket but this pattern certainly isn’t encouraging. RACE 6: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 6-Unapologetic Forecast: Unapologetic is the proven marathoner in this 11-furlong turf event for first-level optional claimer and the Temple City gelding, after chasing tougher foes in all of his recent starts gets some much needed class relief while returning to his favorite course. Freshened since late May and retaining “win rider” Franco, he should be within range throughout in what promises to be a galloper’s race and then have his chance to exert his superiority when it matters in the final quarter pole. At 5/2 on the morning line he’s a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 7: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: C Use: 1-Cat’s Desire; 7-Gallantlystreaming; 9-Archana Forecast: The three we’ve listed as the prime contenders in this bottom-rung $20,000 maiden claimer for fillies and mares aren’t trustworthy, but there’s a decent chance that one of them will break through with a win. Archana is a Bay Area invader for J. Wong, who usually hits at an extremely percentage up north but is winless so far this meeting. She’s managed to hit the board in both of her dirt starts and that alone makes her the one to beat. Gallantlystreaming blew a clear lead in mid-stretch at Los Alamitos vs. similar last time out when finishing second; she’s had nine chances but has winning connections (Miller/Velez) so she’s a “must use.” Cat’s Desire also managed to finish second in her most recent appearance and may try gate-to-wire tactics from the rail. She had a good recent half mile workout over this main track, so at the very least we know she’s doing well.

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8.1.2019:

Another Huge Saturday: Whitney, Hambletonian, WV Derby Picks & Bets

Every Saturday is a big one in horse racing, especially over the summer.  But it seems the August calendar takes it to another level.  Need proof?  Check it out: Saturday, August 3: Whitney, Test, West Virginia Derby, Hambletonian Saturday, August 10: Arlington Million, Beverly D, Fourstardave Saturday, August 17: Pacific Classic, Alabama, Del Mar Oaks Saturday, August 24: Travers, Sword Dancer, Personal Ensign, Forego, Ballerina Saturday, August 31: Woodward, Tourist Mile, Del Mar Debutante, Virginia Derby This weekend, the starts are out in full force as McKinzie, Thunder Snow and Vino Rosso do battle in the Whitney and the best trotters in North America compete for Hambletonian glory.  Below you’ll find my analysis and bets for each of those races.  I’m putting up $200 – let’s hope we get lucky. By the way, it’s another great week of promotions in the Xpressbet world.  Here are the highlights: $120,000 Fun in the Sun Handicapping Tournament: Register for FREE & play to win $8,500 in weekly cash prizes Saratoga 1 Million Point Split: Hit the Late Pick 4 (Races 8 - 11) Mountaineer 1 Million Point Split: Hit the Late Pick 4 (Races 6 - 9) Meadowlands 1 Million Point Split: Hit Exactas on five different races ($2 base minimum) And here’s how I’m betting $200 on the weekend’s top five races.  Whitney Stakes (Gr 1; $1 Million)Saratoga, Race 9 (5:46PM ET)3YO+ - 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt) As expected, the field for this year’s Whitney is deep and competitive, with McKinzie and Thunder Snow headlining a race that also attracted Vino Rosso, Yoshida, Preservationist and Monongahela.  Not bad for an eight-horse field!  The public will attach its allegiance to McKinzie (as it always does) and it’s hard to argue the notion that he probably wins the G1 Met Mile without running into an extreme amount of traffic.  But hey, that’s the battle that closers face in races like that.  In his route races, he generally sits closer to the pace.  Preservationist was nearly 4/1 when he upset Catholic Boy in the G2 Suburban, but that was a huge performance and this field is better.  He’ll still be controlling speed if he wants to be, but this is a big step up.  Vino Rosso is my biggest wildcard.  He upset Gift Box in the G1 Santa Anita Gold Cup and he just seems to be the type of horse that always gives a decent showing.  Thunder Snow is a horse I admire, but I’m betting against him here.  He’s 0-for-4 in the USA (three Trifecta finishes) so he doesn’t get my win money. My Bet: $5 Exacta #6 McKinzie and #8 Preservationist over #5 Vino Rosso, #6 McKinzie and #8 Preservationist ($20) … $4 Trifecta #6 McKinzie and #8 Preservationist over #5 Vino Rosso, #6 McKinzie and #8 Preservationist over #5 Thunder Snow, #5 Vino Rosso, #6 McKinzie and #8 Preservationist ($32) West Virginia Derby (Gr 3; $500K)Mountaineer Park, Race 8 (5:35PM ET)3YO – 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt) Mr. Money has developed into the best ‘second tier’ three-year-old in North America, as evidenced by his victories in the G3 Pat Day Mile, G3 Matt Winn and G3 Indiana Derby.  No, this probably isn’t the type of horse you’d bet to win the Travers in three weeks, but he’s absolutely the type of horse you’ll bet to clean up in a race like this.  Unfortunately, that’s also why he’s 6/5 ML.  He should get a nice trip from his outside post and it’s just hard to envision him losing with every angle pointing his way.  The best way to maximize returns will be keying him in vertical exotics (Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta) or singling him in horizontal ones (Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5).  My Bet:  $4 Trifecta Key #9 Mr. Money / #4 Plus Que Parfait, #6 Fluminense, #7 Top Line Growth, #8 Math Wizard ($48) Test Stakes (G1, $500K)Saratoga, Race 8 (5:06PM ET)3YO Fillies – 7 Furlongs (Dirt) With Serengeti Empress drawn with speedsters like Bellafina and Covfefe starting next to her, I’m envisioning a fast early pace to this year’s Test Stakes.   That would set up nicely for a mid-pack horse and I’ve got my eye on Chad Brown’s Royal Charlotte.  She’s undefeated in four career starts and won the G3 Victory Ride last out at Belmont.  She has never faced horses this good, but with significant question marks surrounding the need-the-lead types, she has the potential to receive a perfect trip from a few lengths out of it.  This feels like a breakout party for her.  My Bet: $20 Win #5 Royal Charlotte ($20) … $2 Exacta #5 Royal Charlotte over All ($12)   Troy Stakes (G3, $200K)Saratoga, Race 5 (3:21PM ET)3YO+ - 5.5 Furlongs (Turf) In last weekend’s Vanderbilt at Saratoga, Mitole showed us what happens when a ‘need the lead’ sprinter is drawn inside of other quality sprinters.  Sometimes they just get pinned in and have nothing left for the stretch.  That could happen to World of Trouble here, as Pure Sensation appears as quick early and can pin him right to the rail, and the same can be said for Rocket Heat, who breaks from post 4.  The last time Chris Landeros was aboard, he went :20 3/5, :43 in the Claiming Crown at Gulfstreams, he should be keyed up.  That would set things up for a closer, and my favorite is the incredibly sharp Wet Your Whistle.  He legitimized a pair of wins at Laurel and Monmouth with a closing victory in the G1 Highlander at Woodbine.  If he gets a similar setup, look out.  My Bet: $20 Win #5 Wet Your Whistle ($20) Hambletonian Stakes ($1 Million)The MeadowlandsEliminations (Race 8, 3:03PM ET, Race 9, 3:33PM ET)Final (Race 12, 5:14PM ET)3YO Trotters – 1 Mile (Dirt) The Hambletonian is always a tough race to handicap because the Eliminations (Races 8 and 9) have to sort themselves out before we even know which horses will line up in the Final (Race 12).  Greenshoe (Elimination Race 9) is the expected Hambletonian favorite, assuming he gets there.  He’s 4-for-5 this year with his only defeat coming in the Beal Final at Pocono Downs on June 29.  He seems better suited for The Meadowlands, where he’s unbeaten in his last five tries (qualifiers and actual races).  He drew well in his Elimination leg (#5).  In the other Elimination, favorites Gimpanzee and Green Manalishi are in posts #7 and #8, but that isn’t as big of a deal at this track.  Not sure how they’ll line up in the final but I’m going to bet the favorites in the Elims. My Bet: $33 Win #5 Greenshoe in Race 9 and $30 Win #7 Gimpanzee in Race 8 then parlay any winnings onto Greenshoe in the Final ($66)

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8.1.2019:

Batman at the Spa

If last Saturday and Sunday’s Saratoga racing cards had been broadcast as part of the ‘60s television hit Batman, starring Adam West as the Caped Crusader and Burt Ward as Robin, several ‘POWS,’ ‘YIKES,’ ‘WHAMS’ and ‘ZOOMS’ would have flashed across the screen. During those two days at the Spa there were at least two performances as dynamic as a Batman-delivered right hook and just as worthy of exclamation. After losing most of Thursday’s card to one of Mother Nature’s classic summer-soaking temper-tantrums, the Saratoga racing surface needed all of Friday and at least Saturday morning to recover. Because Thursday’s downpour was a complete surprise, the track had not been ‘sealed’ beforehand. That exposed the strip to a solid drenching and had left it in ‘Muddy’ condition for Friday’s card. Because of a long-standing nationwide rush to ‘seal’ surfaces under the threat of rain, ‘Muddy’ tracks now are about as common as cassette tape players. By Saturday the track was labelled ‘Fast.’ Of course, at the time, no one knew how fast ‘Fast’ actually would be. When the six-furlong, Grade 1 Alfred Vanderbilt was drawn racing fans were impressed with the lineup. There, on the rail, was Mitole, winner of seven-in-a-row and eight of the last nine, including the Grade 1 Met Mile last out. Strike Power, in the two-hole, figured to add spice to the early going. A fast colt that had been on the ’18 Kentucky Derby path before connections decided to sprint him, ‘Power had won the Grade 3 Swale in his second lifetime start. Post four housed Firenze Fire, winner of seven of 17, including a pair of Grade 3 tests at up to a mile. In post six was Gulfstream invader Diamond Oops, a sharp cookie and winner of the Grade 3 Smile Sprint last out. Do Share, a six-year-old gelding anchored the far outside. While his best days seemed behind him, he had won the Grade 3 Tom Fool earlier this year. In short, before they popped the gate, the Vanderbilt stacked up as an outstanding sprint worthy of Grade 1 status. Of course, missing from the above roll call—besides 15-1 Mr. Crow who was scratched--is race winner Imperial Hint. He’s an interesting critter: A full horse at the ripe-old age of six perennially sprinting at the sport’s pinnacle. Although he hasn’t quite grabbed that brass ring yet—a BC Sprint victory—he’s been right there. Favored last year, he finished a disappointing third, beaten five lengths. In 2018, at 4.30-1 he finished second, by a mere length. Roy H won both of those races. Imperial Hint, last out, also was third in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, two lengths behind X Y Jet. The son of Imperialism (an $1,800 stallion), owned by Raymond Mamone and trained by Luis Carvajal, Jr., has now won 13 of 22 starts and banked $2 million. He’s also 2-2 at Saratoga and, more specifically, unbeaten in back-to-back Vanderbilts. Last year, he won the race by nearly four lengths in 1:08 4/5. This year, he outdid himself and every other horse ever to have run six furlongs at Saratoga. That’s an awful lot of horses…good horses, too! Saturday, Imperial Hint blew away the competition and won by four lengths in track-record time of 1:07 4/5! POW! YIKES! Sunday, 3-year-old sprinters met at the Spa in the Grade 2 Amsterdam, going six and one-half furlongs. Stranded on the far outside in the 12-horse field was Shancelot, an unbeaten Shanghai Bobby colt boasting a maiden win at Gulfstream in February and an optional allowance claiming score at Monmouth. Trainer Jorge Navarro, who’s trained some outstanding sprinters, including the above-mentioned X Y Jet, billed Shancelot pre-race as the “best horse I’ve ever trained.” Following the Amsterdam, Navarro may choose to upgrade Shancelot’s title and parrot trainer Buddy Delp’s famous homage to Spectacular Bid as “the best horse ever to look through a bridle.” All Shancelot did at the Spa was to win by an astounding 12 1/2-lengths in 1:14. WHAM! ZOOM! It also should be noted that Shancelot’s internal six-furlong fractional time of 1:07 3/5 was even quicker than Imperial Hint’s 1:07 4/5 track-record setting final time for the same distance. However, the two times can’t be compared exactly because at six and one-half furlongs horses are moving faster when they trip the timer than they are when they race six furlongs. According to Equibase, the Amsterdam had an 82 feet Run-Up and the Vanderbilt’s head start was 45 feet. Obviously, Imperial Hint and Shancelot adored the Spa surface. And, it’s reasonable to assume, that they also particularly preferred the less-than-al-dente ‘give’ courtesy of Thursday’s drenching. Is it possible that the racetrack was mainly responsible for these outstanding performances? I’ll leave that track variant discussion to those who do it for a living. Maybe it helped? But, if the track were solely responsible for such outstanding performances, what about every other dirt race Saturday and Sunday? Nobody did anything unusual in them and Saturday’s card also featured a fine collection of sophomores going a mile and one-eighth in the Jim Dandy. Tax won that race in fine fashion and trainer Danny Gargan deserves props for the work he’s done with the gelding that was claimed for $50,000 at Keeneland in October. However, runner-up Tacitus stumbled badly at the start of the race and was beaten just three-quarters of a length when his closing effort fell short of the winner. He, and those that wagered on him, were unlucky to lose. Global Campaign raced evenly to be third. Laughing Fox, who really had no pace to chase, also ran evenly. Preakness winner War of Will again was rank in the early going and had nothing left late. He’s got to settle down if he’s going to do any damage down the road. Mihos was close early and faded to sixth and last. The Jim Dandy result adds intrigue to an already challenging Travers on August 24. If everyone on the prospective guest list shows up that will be an outstanding race. While absent a Triple Crown winner or other high-profile runner, the race may lack pizzazz. However, it will be competitive from top to bottom and horseplayers will need to burn the midnight oil in search of the winning combination. Race On! 

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8.1.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis & Wagering Strategies for 8/01/19

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Thursday, August 1, 2019 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Two Plays at Saratoga on August 1st, 2019/ RACE 1: Post 1:02 ET. Grade: C+ Single: 10-Dan the Man Can Forecast: This maiden special weight turf sprint for juveniles is restricted to those that sold for or were RNA’d at $45,000 or less. The first timers aren’t inspiring on paper but that doesn’t mean one or more aren’t capable of winning a wide open, grass grab bag. We’ll stick with the known element, Dan the Man Can, who flashed speed in a similar affair on dirt in his debut last month before weakening to finish third while earning a decent speed. It’s hard to say he’ll improve with the switch to turf, but he may not have to. We’ll make him a very shaky single by default; it’s either him or anybody else in a race that requires plenty of guesswork. RACE 2: Post 1:36 ET. Grade: B Use: 1-Clairvoyant Lady; 4-Long Island Forecast: Long Island has captured five of her last six starts, most recently with a career-top 100 Beyer speed figure which, if repeated today, most likely will land her in the winner’s circle again. She comes up from Florida and joins the high-percentage D. Gargan barn, so her effectiveness shouldn’t slip despite the change in scenery. Additionally, she should have no difficulty assuming her preferred role as the controlling speed. While most of her best races have come over wet tracks – she’s a certified mud freak – the daughter of Greatness has won four times over a dry surface so no matter what the weather is like she should be hard to catch. Clairvoyant Lady, first off the claim for Rudy (29% with a flat-bet profit), has been freshened since late May and has put together a steady, healthy series of easy drills to keep her on edge. In the money in 21 of 27 career outings, the thoroughly genuine daughter of Astrology projects to draft in behind ‘Island to the head of the lane and then have every chance to wear that one down when it counts. However, based on pure numbers, she’s either going to have to improve a bunch or Long Island will need to regress to bring the two together. Preference on top goes to Long Island but we’ll have a few tickets saving with Clairvoyant Lady in our rolling exotics. RACE 3: Post 2:12 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 6-Bahamian Prince Forecast: Bahamian Prince looks like a sneaky Monmouth Park shipper for K. Breen (strong stats with debut runners) and in this maiden $50,000 claimer for juveniles in which the known element looks ordinary this newcomer could be a standout. Though his printed work tab is light and doesn’t contain any flashy works, he did blaze a quarter mile in 20 4/5 seconds – the fastest recorded drill during the preview session – at the OBS June sale. The stable’s go-to rider P. Lopez shows up for the mount, and we suspect the entourage is here to win. Let’s make him a strong straight play and rolling exotic single and hope to get close to his morning line of 4-1. RACE 4: Post 2:48 ET. Grade: C Use: 2-Eighty Seven North; 3-Two Graces; Pecatonica; Molly’s Nighthawk Forecast: This state-bred maiden claiming turf router for fillies and mares is borderline inscrutable. Spread as deeply as you can afford to. We’ll go four deep and hope that’s enough. Pecatonica is unexposed (just two career starts) and goes for the always-potent Clement/Rosario team. She should be on or near the lead throughout. Two Graces is a one-paced grinder but will likely draft into a comfortable second-flight spot and then have her chance when it matters. Eleven Seven North shows up in a claimer for the first time has numbers than make her competitive. Molly’s Nighhawk has been getting closer with each start and may have another forward move in her. RACE 5: Post 3:28 ET. Grade: B Use: 2-Tiple; 7-Galadriel’s Light Forecast: Restricted (nw-2) $30,000 claiming fillies and mares sprint five and one-half furlongs on turf in a race that we’ve boiled down to two main players. Galadriel’s Light broke her maiden sprinting on turf at Belmont Park two runs back in decent fashion and then finished fourth when sent a distance of ground at this level last time out, stalking the pace but weakening under pressure late. She’s back sprinting today and should regain her best form given the second flight, stalking trip that she’ll likely draft into under regular rider J. Ortiz. Tiple comes off a clever maiden $40,000 claiming win on turf at Belmont Park in mid-June while earning a number that should make her highly competitive at this level. She’s an off-the-pace type that wilil be heard from in the final furlong, assuming I Ortiz can negotiate a good trip through traffic. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; feel free to go deeper if your budget allows. RACE 6: Post 4:03 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Eddy Dirt; 3-Gray Nile; 6-Curlin’s Knight Forecast: Here’s a spread race, a restricted (nw-2) $16,000 main track claimer over nine furlongs. Gray Nile is a class-dropping Kentucky invader who won a race here last year with Beyer speed figure (80) that would be more than good enough to beat this field. This is the cheapest he’s ever run for and he’s reunited with “win rider” Saez, so the son of Pioneerof the Nile has plenty going for him and deserves top billing. Maryland shipper Curlin’s Knight ran reasonably well when third on grass at Laurel in late June and always has been better on dirt, so in this soft spot the J. Engelhart-trained gelding is a strong contender. He isn’t necessarily a front-running type but has tactical speed, and in a race that projects to be slowly run early he should fold into a good trip under J. Ortiz and have every chance to grind away. Eddy Dirt lands the rail and can be the controlling speed if he wants to be. He’s a 3-year-old facing older and his recent speed figures have stagnated, but if sent from the start to establish the pace the son of Violence might get brave. RACE 7: Post 4:41 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 6-Lovely La La; 7-Dynamite Kitten Forecast: The C. Brown-trained Lovely La La gets a chance to make amends after missing at 50 cents on the dollar when runner-up in a similar state-bred second level middle distance turf event for fillies and mares last month at Belmont Park. She equaled her career top speed figure in defeat, so she ran her race but was simply second best. Dynamite Kitten didn’t get the clearest of runs when a close seventh over a softened turf course here last month and could improve enough to pose a serious threat, so we’ll use her in as well. RACE 8: Post 5:16 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Mighty Scarlett; 5-My Sister Nat Forecast: My Sister Nat was beaten at 4/5 in her U.S. debut when a closing third at Belmont Park in a similar second-level turf affair at Belmont Park in June. However, the C. Brown barn hits at 27% with second-off-layoff runners and this time we’re expecting Castellano, who rides her back, to give her less to do after falling too far behind off slow splits in that race. A Group-3 winner at Longchamp last year as a 3-year-old, the daughter of Acclamation simply should out class this field. Mighty Scarlett is solid on numbers and is a perfect one-for-one over the Saratoga lawn, so we’ll include her on a ticket or two as a back-up, but the main punch in the rolling exotics goes to My Sister Nat. RACE 9: Post 5:51 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Marconi; 8-Rocketry Forecast: The featured Birdstone Stakes is a mile and three-quarters main track marathon that once again brings together Marconi and Rocketry, who know each other well. Marconi defeated his chief rival in both the Flat Out Stakes and the Brooklyn Invitational, a pair of long distance events at Belmont Park, but there wasn’t much separating them so Rocketry could easily turn the tables today. This is a good race to watch and enjoy, not so much to play, but for the purposes of the rolling exotics we’ll include both while giving Marconi a very slight edge on top. RACE 10: Post 6:25 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 3-Waynes Footsteps Forecast: State-bred older maidens meet over a mile on the inner turf in the Thursday nightcap. Waynes Footsteps launches a comeback for new trainer B. Cox (strong stats with this angle) and very likely will be a better type now than what he was as a 2-year-old. The Central Banker colt was a good runner-up over this turf course sprinting as a 2-year-old, and a recent strong Saratoga training track workout (48 4/5 seconds, fastest of 34) catches the eye. At 7/2 on the morning line he offers considerable value both in the straight pool and in rolling exotic play.

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8.1.2019:

Shancelot's Big Win Upstages Imperial Hint

A fresh and eager-to-run Imperial Hint, who had not appeared under silks since finishing third in the Group I Dubai Golden Shaheen on March 30, won Saratoga’s Grade I Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap last Saturday with Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano aboard. Imperial Hint completed six furlongs in a sizzling 1:07.92 to break the track record in the G1 Alfred Vanderbilt. The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Imperialism was credited with a 114 Beyer Speed Figure. That tied for the highest Beyer recorded this year through last Saturday. It matched Come Dancing’s 114 when she took Aqueduct’s Grade II Distaff Handicap at seven furlongs on April 15. But then, just one day after Imperial Hint’s dazzling Vanderbilt victory, 3-year-old speedster Shancelot went out and one-upped Imperial Hint on that same Saratoga stage. Fans at Saratoga and those watching elsewhere via simulcast were treated to a scintillating display of sheer speed when Shancelot won last Sunday’s Grade II Amsterdam Stakes. Beginning from the outside post in the 6 1/2-furlong Amsterdam, Shancelot dashed immediately to the front and improved his position from there, as they say. The 6-5 favorite turned it into a tour de force while remaining undefeated. On the far turn, Shancelot drew out to a six-length lead at the five-sixteenths pole. After that, he ran up the score. He was 10 in front at the eighth pole. At the finish, he was 12 1/2 lengths in front. As Shancelot streaked home, it was sort of like watching a high-speed racecar leaving a bunch of jalopies far, far behind. Shancelot was responsible for torrid fractions of :21.79, :43.94 and 1:07.63. The astonishing 1:07.63 clocking for the six-furlong split was faster than Imperial Hint’s 1:07.92 that broke the track record a day earlier. Shancelot, who left 11 foes in his wake, won the Amsterdam in 1:14.01. The track and stakes record of 1:13.74 was established by Quality Road in the 2009 Amsterdam. Quality Road’s Beyer in his Amsterdam was 109 compared to Shanelot’s 121 in his Amsterdam despite the fact that Quality Road’s final time was better than Shancelot’s. Was the Saratoga main track really so vastly different for the 2009 and 2019 editions of the Amsterdam? I doubt it. This leads me to conclude that Shancelot’s lofty 121 might be a bit higher than it should be. But even if that’s true, Shancelot’s Vanderbilt slightly lower figure still would be a biggie. Shancelot’s 121 is the highest Beyer Speed Figure so far this year. These are the highest Beyers this year through July 28: Beyer Horse (Date, Track) 121 Shancelot (July 28, Saratoga)114 Come Dancing (April 5, Aqueduct)114 Imperial Hint (July 27, Saratoga)112 City of Light (Jan. 26, Gulfstream Park)109 Roy H (Jan. 19, Santa Anita)109 Imprimis (March 9, Gulfstream Park)109 McKinzie (May 3, Churchill Downs)109 Wellabled (May 10, Arlington Park)108 Preservationist (July 6, Belmont Park)108 Laki (April 20, Laurel)108 Mitole (April 13, Oaklawn Park)108 Mitole (June 8, Belmont Park) When Shancelot won a seven-furlong maiden special weight race at first asking last Feb. 16 at Gulfstream, he recorded a 91 Beyer Speed Figure. When he won a six-furlong allowance/optional claiming race June 23 at Monmouth Park, he improved to a 100 Beyer. For Shancelot to then record a 121 Beyer last Sunday in just his third career start was quite a feat. Daily Racing Form’s David Grening noted that Shancelot’s 121 is the highest Beyer Speed Figure in a race shorter than one mile since Midnight Lute recorded a 124 when he won the Grade I Forego at Saratoga in 2007. Ridden by Emisael Jaramillo and trained by Jorge Navarro, Shancelot was making his stakes debut in the Amsterdam. Even before the Amsterdam, Navarro had said Shancelot was the best horse he has ever trained, a significant statement coming from someone who has conditioned such accomplished runners as Private Zone, X Y Jet and Sharp Azteca. As Grening has pointed out, Private Zone, X Y Jet and Sharp Azteca have combined to win 30 races, including 20 stakes, and earn more than $8.3 million. Shancelot is Kentucky-bred colt by Shanghai Bobby (the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male of 2012). Next up for him is Saratoga’s Grade I H. Allen Jerkens Stakes at seven furlongs on the Aug. 24 Travers card. It will be a mission impossible for anyone to beat Shancelot in the Jerkens if he comes anywhere close to running like he did in the Amsterdam. IMPERIAL HINT BACK IN WINNING FORM The victories by Imperial Hint in the Vanderbilt and Shancelot in the Amsterdam were “two of the most impressive performances ever seen in the 156-year history of racing at Saratoga,” the DRF’s Grening wrote. Going into last Saturday’s Vanderbilt, Imperial Hint had lost three in a row. Some were wondering if maybe he had lost a step. But Imperial Hint went out and showed everyone that he is far from having lost a step. He stepped lively to win the Vanderbilt in the best race of his career from a Beyer Speed Figure standpoint. In the Vanderbilt, Imperial Hint lurked a close-up third early in the field of six. As 1-2 favorite Mitole and 10-1 Strike Power were slugging it out in a head-and-head duel for the lead on the far turn, one has to think Castellano had a big smile on his face when sitting right behind them, especially since it appeared that Castellano had a ton of horse under him. “When I saw those two horses hook up. I was third, in a great position in the race,” Castellano said afterward to Maggie Wolfendale on Fox Sports’ Saratoga Today telecast. “But turning for home, [Imperial Hint] wanted to go. I said to myself, ‘Oh, please, it’s too early. Don’t do that!’ But he had fun. He enjoyed the trip.” Castellano and Imperial Hint also enjoyed their 2018 Vanderbilt trip when they collaborated to register a 3 3/4-length victory. Imperial Hint won that day with ridiculous ease in 1:08.98. Last Saturday, Imperial Hint swept to the lead approaching the quarter pole, then spurted well clear in upper stretch to boast a 3 1/2-length advantage with a furlong to go. He continued on with a daylight cushion the rest of the way and prevailed by four lengths. Sent off at 5-1, Imperial Hint won more like he was 1-5. He now has been victorious in 13 of 22 career starts. As noted earlier, Imperial Hint clocked in at 1:07.92 for six furlongs last Saturday to break the track record. Spanish Riddle had posted a 1:08 flat final time at Saratoga in 1972 -- before races were timed in hundredths -- and Speightstown won the 2004 edition of the Vanderbilt in 1:08.04. Speightstown went on to get the job done in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Lone Star Park in 2004 en route to being voted an Eclipse Award that year as champion sprinter. The rapid fractions in last Saturday’s Vanderbilt were :21.77, :44.21 and :55.82. “When I looked at the times, my hairs stood up,” said Luis Carvajal Jr., who trains Imperial Hint. In the NYRA communications’ stakes quotes following last Saturday’s Vanderbilt, Castellano said: “He’s a little horse with a big heart.” That “little horse” was able to produce a very big Beyer Speed Figure in this year’s Vanderbilt. Imperial Hint’s previous best Beyer had been the 108 he recorded when he won the 2018 Vanderbilt. TAKING ISSUE WITH VANDERBILT CHART Regarding Saturday’s Vanderbilt, I disagree that it was “start good for all but Mitole and Strike Power,” as stated in the Equibase chart. I do not think either one of them had a “bad” start. The head-on angle of the video replay shows that those two did make slight contact as they were leaving the gate. But that’s all it was, slight contact. From the pan angle, it is clear to me that neither Mitole nor Strike Power was compromised at all by what happened at the start. In fact, stating that it was “start good for all but Mitole and Strike Power” would seem to be contradicted by the running positions in the chart. The chart has Strike Power breaking first and Mitole third. That does not support the chart-caller’s decision that it was “start good for all but Mitole and Strike Power,” especially with regard to Strike Power, whose start actually was so good that he was first out of the gate, according to the chart. In my opinion, to state that it was “start good for all but Mitole and Strike Power” is very misleading. I say this as someone who was a Daily Racing Form chart-caller for 15 years at tracks all over the country. TRAINER TOUCHED BY CROWD’S REACTION According to the NYRA communications’ Saratoga notes on Sunday, Carvajal said he particularly enjoyed it when the patrons rose to their feet to cheer Imperial Hint as he entered the winner’s circle. “Last year, we won this race and it was the first Grade I for the horse, for the owner [Raymond Mamone] and me,” Carvajal said. “It was great, but this time, it just gave me goosebumps to bring him back to the winner’s circle with everyone standing up cheering for him. Imperial Hint deserves all the credit. He’s not a big-sized horse and he doesn’t have the perfect pedigree, but he’s all heart. “We have a small stable. For something like this to happen to me, at 47 years old, it’s hard to believe. It probably won’t sink in for a few more days.” Carvvajal said the plan is for Imperial Hint to make his next start in Belmont’s Grade I Vosburgh Stakes, a six-furlong race on Sept. 28. The primary goal is the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita in early November. It seems it’s a good thing for Imperial Hint that the 2019 BC Sprint will be somewhere other than at Churchill Downs, which is where it was held in 2018. Imperial Hint finished third as the 8-5 favorite in last year’s BC Sprint at Churchill, where he has not finished better than third in three starts. In the 2017 BC Sprint at Del Mar, Imperial Hint finished second. Roy H won both the 2017 and 2018 BC Sprints. Though Diamond Oops was no match for Imperial Hint in last Saturday’s Vanderbilt, the Lookin At Lucky gelding finished second as the longest shot in the race at nearly 30-1. Diamond Oops went into the Vanderbilt off a win in Gulfstream’s Grade III Smile Sprint Stakes on June 29. Mitole ended up third, 7 1/2 lengths behind Imperial Hint. For whatever reason or reasons, Mitole’s seven-race winning streak was snapped last Saturday. Perhaps he regressed some off his big effort when he won the Grade I Met Mile at Belmont Park on June 8. Perhaps Mitole’s defeat was due to getting involved in a spirited early duel for the lead with Strike Power. Perhaps after breaking from post 1, Mitole did not appreciate racing next to the inside rail, which might not have been the best part of Saratoga main track Saturday. TAX AND HIGHEST HONORS REGISTER STAKES WINS The Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes, which was decided at Saratoga last Saturday, and the Curlin Stakes, which was contested there last Friday, both served as a potential springboard to the Spa’s important Grade I, $1.25 million Travers Stakes on Aug 24. The favorite did not win either the Jim Dandy or the Curlin. Tax took the Jim Dandy at 9-2. Highest Honors won the Curlin at 4-1. Tacitus was sent away as the 8-5 favorite in the 1 1/8-mile Jim Dandy. This time the Equibase chart-caller got it right, in my view, when noting that it was “start good for all but Tacitus.” The chart-caller described it accurately when stating that Tacitus “came away the tardiest after stumbling badly at the break.” Tax, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., began alertly and showed the way early before a full-of-run War of Will made a rapid early move to take over turning into the backstretch. Tax deserves considerable praise for the way he rated kindly just off the pace on the backstretch after relinquishing the lead to War of Will. On the far turn, Tax advanced readily to regain the advantage in the vicinity of the five-sixteenth pole. He increased it to a 1 1/2-length lead with a furlong to go. Tacitus trailed early, then offered a challenge from the inside to Tax in the final sixteenth. But Tax was able to fend off Tacitus all the way to the finish. Tax won by three-quarters of a length in 1:49.28. Tacitus had to settle for second, three-quarters of a length behind Tax. Global Campaign, who raced in contention through the early stages, lacked the needed response when the real test came and ended up third, nearly four lengths behind Tacitus. War of Will paid the price for expending so much energy early. He ended up fifth. Also keep in mind that War of Will, like Mitole in the Vanderbilt, raced most of the way next to the inside rail. Again, that did not seem to be the best part of the track. Still, any way you slice it, War of Will’s connections had to be disappointed. It was War of Will’s second consecutive off-the-board finish since his victory in the Grade I Preakness Stakes on May 18. Danny Gargan trains Tax, who now has won two graded stakes races. The Kentucky-bred gelding was victorious in the Grade III Withers at Aqueduct last Feb. 2. Gargan took over as Tax’s trainer when the son of Arch was claimed out of a maiden race for $50,000 at Keeneland last year on Oct. 21. Prior to Tax’s Jim Dandy victory, he had finished behind Tacitus all three times they had met (Grade II Wood Memorial on April 6, Grade I Kentucky Derby on May 4 and Grade I Belmont Stakes on June 8). On the one hand, it is to Tacitus’ credit that he came as close as he did to winning the Jim Dandy after a dreadful start. On the other hand, ever since he won the Wood, Tacitus has been doing a good job of finding a way to lose. He’s now lost three in a row since the Wood. Tacitus finished fourth and was elevated to third through the disqualification of Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby. Tacitus then lost the Belmont by one length as the 9-5 favorite when he finished second after traveling 65 feet farther than the victorious Sir Winston, according to Trakus. That was followed by Tacitus’ defeat as the chalk in the Jim Dandy. A lot of bettors are understandably beginning to get pretty darn frustrated with Tacitus, who nevertheless still remains a serious Travers contender. Tacitis is by Tapit. So is Highest Honors, who rallied from last in a field of six to win last Friday’s Curlin going away by 1 1/2 lengths. Endorsed ran second. Looking At Bikinis, the 6-5 favorite, finished third after winning his initial two career starts. Chad Brown conditions Looking At Bikinis. Brown also trains Highest Honors, who now has two wins and a second from three lifetime starts. In terms of Beyer Speed Figures, Tax was assigned a career-best 98, while Highest Honors recorded a career-best 94. SUPERSTAR ENABLE CONTINUES WINNING WAYS Enable, the best active Thoroughbred in the world, captured the Group I King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes last Saturday in England in what turned out to be a nail-biting close finish. Ridden by Frankie Dettori and trained by John Gosden, Enable won by an outstretched neck in a quintessential example of an equine athlete’s will to win. Razor-sharp Crystal Ocean, in a superb losing effort, made Enable really work hard for her victory. But at the conclusion of Enable’s 1 1/2-mile trip at Ascot, she not only defeated 10 rivals, she managed to extend her winning streak to 11. During Enable’s string of 11 victories, she has won nine Group I races, including two renewals of the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France as well as a Breeders’ Cup Turf in America. Enable has lost just once in 13 lifetime starts. She is the only horse to ever win the Arc and BC Turf in the same season. Oct. 6 has a great big circle on it this year for Enable. That is when the fantastic 5-year-old Great Britain-bred Nathaniel mare is scheduled to seek an unprecedented third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe triumph. HOVDEY’S DRF DEPARTURE BAD NEWS FOR FANS Daily Racing Form and a number of good people parted ways last week. One of those no longer with the publication is Jay Hovdey, whose shocking exit is very bad news for racing fans who have enjoyed reading his columns for the past many years. Hovdey’s final column for that publication appeared online last Friday. Daily Racing Form bills itself as “America’s Turf Authority.” However, by virtue of Hovdey’s departure, the DRF now has lost much of its “authority.” Mike Watchmaker and Byron King are two others who no longer are with the DRF. As the DRF’s national handicapper, Watchmaker for many years compiled weekly national divisional rankings. I recently made reference to those rankings when I wrote that Watchmaker had Omaha Beach at No. 1 among the nation’s 3-year-old males despite the colt missing the three Triple Crown races. I predicted that if Maximum Security won the Haskell, “look for him to move to the top of Watchmaker’s rankings.” Watchmaker did indeed move Maximum Security to No. 1 after his Haskell victory. But now -- poof -- Watchmaker’s rankings are gone. I worked with King in the late 1990s when we both were handicappers at the DRF’s national headquarters in Phoenix. King is a skilled handicapper who also has experience as an owner. He knows a lot about racing, but evidently that was not valued enough by the DRF. As for the multiple Eclipse Award-winning Hovdey, is there a better turf writer in the sport today? No. When I was a columnist/reporter for the DRF on the Southern California circuit from 1981-86, Hovdey was one of my bosses. He was an editor in the Los Angeles office. Of the many editors I have had through the years, none was better than Hovdey. In the early 1980s, Hovdey also was the Southern California correspondent for the Thoroughbred Record magazine. On those rare occasions Hovdey could not cover that week’s racing at a SoCal track, he often asked me to fill in for him. I considered it an honor to do so. But it was also quite intimidating. The way I felt about it, pinch hitting for Jay Hovdey was a lot like a baseball player being asked to pinch hit for Ted Williams. Hovdey’s stature was such that he became one of just two “executive columnists” during the DRF’s more than 100 years of existence. The only other executive columnist was the esteemed Joe Hirsch. In Hovdey’s final DRF column, he recalled what he had written about Hirsch’s retirement in 2003. Hovdey wrote: “More than a journalist, Hirsch has borne witness to an age and left its tales etched in stone. His tireless chronicling has captured both the shifting winds of a restless industry and the bedrock values that give Thoroughbred racing its permanent place in the heart.” The very same can be said of Jay Hovdey. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLL Following Imperial Hint’s win in the Grade I Vanderbilt, he moved into the Top 10 this week in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. He had ranked No. 46 in the poll last week. After Mitole’s defeat in the Vanderbilt, he moved down to No. 5 this week after being No. 2 last week. Vino Rosso dropped out of the Top 10 this week after being No. 10 last week. Here is the Top 10 for this week: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 397 Bricks and Mortar (36)2. 318 Midnight Bisou (3)3. 268 McKinzie4. 202 World of Trouble5. 198 Mitole (2)6. 182 Sistercharlie7. 109 Imperial Hint8. 90 Maximum Security9. 73 Seeking the Soul10. 71 Thunder Snow

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7.31.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: August 2 Stronach 5 Play

Let’s once again tackle a Laurel-Gulfstream edition of the Stronach 5, which will have a 100k guarantee, though the pool has been easily surpassing that number each and every week. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (5:05 ET) – 3up 16k N2L at 5 1/2 furlongs I don’t have a strong opinion in the opening leg so I’m going to use the four I think give me the best chance of moving on—#7 MAJOR FLIRT (9-2), a Belmont invader for Rice, who is aces with this type of New York-to-Maryland move; the speedy #4 ZITARROSA (5-1), who runs first time on the dirt off the Robb claim; #6 RIP RAP RALLY (5-1), a class dropper that will like getting back to the dirt and running second-off the layoff; and #3 KING DARIUS (6-1), who aired in the slop to break his maiden off a 14-month layoff last time and won’t have to improve a ton of win right back. Pk5 A horses: 7,4,6,3 Both #1 KOSHER KONTRACT (4-1) and #9 FORTHEGREATERGOOD (8-1) drop in class and have solid dirt races showing, with the former moving up on the cutback, and the latter having a few decent dirt races sprinkled among his turf form, so, while they don’t make the top line, they are worth having as backups, since neither would be a huge surprise. Pk5 B horses: 1,9 Leg 2: Laurel Park R9 (5:38 ET) –3up 25k MCL 6 furlongs If #3 BOURBON AND ICE (3-1) breaks running he may not stop, as he dueled through hot fractions before tiring against better in his debut, and figures to be a lot tighter off than encouraging first start. However, #4 OCEANOGRAPHER (9-2) looks spotted to score for Delacour, who is 18% with firsters and a huge 42% from a 19-horse sample when McCarthy rides, and that 7/12 bullet says he means business today, which is why he gets top honors. If the pace gets too hot up front then #1 BIG BOOTS (5-2) will be a handful late, as he’s run well in some fast races against slightly better and will be closing in the lane. Pk5 A horses: 4,3,1 I’ll go it alone with the three A’s, though if you’re looking for more coverage then #5 Bourbon Streak (6-1) does have a few fast dirt races to fall back on, while #7 Mice and Men (8-1) did just-miss last time, albeit in a very slow race for the level. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 3: Gulfstream Park R8 (5:57 ET) – 3upfm 6.25k N3L* at 1-mile In what looks like a match race, I won’t try and separate #3 MYFRANCESCA (8-5), who goes off the claim for Zerpa (43%) and had winning form already with Pompei, and #4 SLINGIN SAMMY B (9-5), who romped last time for Fawkes and now goes off the claim for Delgado, a 41% move; I’ll put the latter on top, since she has more early speed, though the former is proven at the level, which gives her a big boost. Pk5 A horses: 4,3 *** Please note that for backup tickets in Leg 4 I’ll be singling #4. No one else remotely comes close to the form of the top-2, and it’s highly unlikely both regress, so unless there are scratches, I’m not interested in anyone else. Should one come out, the other would still be a single, though #6 Bird of Peace (6-1) would move up, since Dobles is herself 38% off the claim, though this miss still would have work to do to get to either of the favorite’s level. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 4: Laurel Park R10 (6:10 ET) – 3up 25k OC/SAL. at 1-mile (turf) At the risk of jinxing myself, Leg 4 looks to be pretty straight forward, as #2 MARYLAND PRIDE (5-2) and #8 SEVILLE BARBER (7-2) look better than what seems to be a meek bunch. The former drew better and should trip out, and has been knocking at the door at the level, while the latter is lightly raced and has plenty of upside, and should get first run on ‘Pride. Pk5 A horses: 2,8 The only turf race showing in #3 BANDITO’S (6-1) PPs was a close 5th behind ‘Pride two-back, and he’ll be a much better price here, so you have to give him an upset look. I don’t understand why #7 JAG (3-1) is this low on the ML, as he was slow beating MCL’ers last time and likely won’t get loose on the lead on the rise, though he’s still worth a backup look. You could also use #1 Toe Curlin’ Kiss (6-1) and #5 Paratycachaca (10-1), though their decided lack of early speed won’t help their chances in the lane. Pk5 B horses: 3,7 Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R (6:29 ET) – 3up 10k N2L at 5 furlongs (turf) You get sharp turf sprint form with #7 CAPTAIN RON (5-2), dirt speed off the Barboza claim (42%) with #4 VINNIE VAN GO (6-1), and a stalking gear with dirt runner #8 STEADY EARNER (3-1), who was a decent enough 4th going two turns in his lone turf start, so I have to think the winner is here somewhere, as the rest entered don’t seem to stack up. Pk5 A horses: 7,4,8 No one else really inspires here, as #5 Mister Storm (4-1) looks to be between and a rock and a hard place with speed to his inside and outside, and he’s slow on figures anyway, and #6 Scribe (6-1) was a weak 10th in his last turf start, so it’s tough to think there’s an alternative to the A’s above. Pk5 B horses: NONE The tickets: Main Ticket: 7,4,6,3 with 4,3,1 with 4,3 with 2,8 with 7,4,8 = $144 Leg 1 B Backup: 1,9 with 4,3,1 with 4,3 with 2,8 with 7,4,8 = $72 Leg 4 B Backup: 7,4,6,3 with 4,3,1 with 4 with 3,7 with 7,4,8 = $72

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7.31.2019:

Wednesday, July 31: Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Wednesday, July 31, 2019 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Maker: Jeff Siegel's Top Two Plays at Saratoga on July 31st, 2019 RACE 1: Post 1:02 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 7-Keota; 9-Pure Praise Forecast: The new week begins with a starter allowance middle distance affair for fillies and mares that has been transferred to the main track. Keota crushed restricted (nw-3) $35,000 claimers at Belmont Park in late May while earning a career top speed figure and was promptly haltered by J. Servis, whose success with the first-off-the-claim angle (35% with a flat-bet profit) is well-documented. The main question, though, is whether she can act on the main track. Her only previous outing on dirt at Aqueduct last November resulted in sixth place finish (speed/fade) in an off-the-turf miler in which she was beaten 13 lengths at 2-1. Pure Praise, first off the claim for B. Brown, actually has run better on dirt than turf, so the surface switch won’t be a concern and she could control the race on the front end if gate-to-wire strategy is employed. Tread lightly here. RACE 2: Post 1:36 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Zandora; 8-She’s Not Bluffing Forecast: She’s Not Bluffing, first off the claim for Gullo (strong stats, 20%, flat-bet profit), missed as the favorite when worn down in the final furlong in a $16,000 restricted (nw-2) affair earlier this meeting but earned a career top figure in the process and could make amends on the class hike from her cozy outside post. She’s also shortening up a half-furlong, which won’t hurt, and is reunited with “win” rider L. Saez. Zandora adds blinkers for the first time and certainly has a right to improve for the B. Cox barn, which has excellent stats (26%) with this particular equipment change. She also has the route-to-sprint and turf-to-dirt angles working for her, along with a significant class drop from open $40,000 to nw-2 $25,000. If she can avoid trouble from the rail, the Jimmy Creed filly should be in the thick of it. RACE 3: Post 2:10 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 1-Risky Mischief Forecast: Maiden 2-year-old New York bred fillies meet over six furlongs in a field that contains only one prior starter. Among the newcomers, Risky Mischief, entered last week in a race that was cancelled due to weather, is the most intriguing. The daughter of Into Mischief brought $350,000 as a yearling last year at Saratoga and has done some excellent work in the a.m. for J. Engelhart, who is thoroughly proficient (21%) with debut runners. Earlier this month she breezed evenly and looked a tad the best over the unbeaten My Italian Rabbi, winner of the Stillwater Stakes a couple of weeks ago, while giving every indication that she has more than enough ability to win a maiden race such as this. Rail and all, we’ll make her a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 4: Post 2:45 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 7-Niko’s Dream Forecast: Kid is Frosty and Niko’s Dream were in a photo together at Belmont Park last month, when ‘Frosty barely lasted over ‘Dream to win by a diminishing neck. They meet again in the Saratoga installment of the New York Stallion Series Stakes, but this time there’s a significant 6 lbs. weight advantage in favor of Niko’s Dream in addition to the race being a furlong farther and around two turns. It all points to Niko’s Dream, who has steadily improving speed figures and should be capable of producing the last run. We’ll make the B. Tagg-trained daughter of Central Banker a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 5: Post 3:20 ET. Grade: C Use: 4-Girlintheyellowtaxi; 8-Kit Kat Katie; 9-Morality Clause; 14-Astarte Gold Forecast: This maiden sprint for juvenile fillies restricted those that sold or were RNA’d for $45,000 or less has been transferred to the main track. Use as many as your budget allows. Kit Kat Katie ran well to be second in her debut in early May in a race that has since proven to be productive, but then lost all chance when caught outside of a bolting horse down the backstretch in the same race Morality Clause exits. She’s had three nice workouts since that outing, so with good racing luck the J. Englehart-trained daughter of Sky Mesa should be in the thick of it, assuming she can transfer her turf form to dirt. Morality Clause is in the same boat in that her first two career outings came on turf and there’s reason to believe based on pedigree that grass might be her preferred surface. The daughter of Verrazano was a no-excuse runner-up vs. similar last month at Belmont Park in a race that was slow early but fairly quick late. She should be within striking range and have every chance again. Girlintheyellowtaxi is a first-timer in the W. Ward barn with an okay work tab so she’s probably worth including, as is the MTO entrant Astarte Gold, a Cairo Prince filly with a bullet half mile workout (48 1/5 seconds, fastest of 21) over the Saratoga main track last week. RACE 6: Post 3:56 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Tulanian; 6-Figure of Speech; 7-Hallajoori; 8-Thissmytime Forecast: Here’s another two-year-old filly sprint, this one with no restrictions. There are a ton of possibilities, requiring a spread in rolling exotic play. Hallajoori has some eye-catching drills in Kentucky and arrives at Saratoga fit and ready for a major effort first crack out of the box. The Asmussen barn always has good stats with debut runners (22% with a flat-bet profit) and with the stable’s main man R. Santana taking the call we suspect the filly from the first crop of Bayern is very live. Thisismytime previewed nicely at the OBS April Sale (10 1/5 seconds, nice mover) and had a bullet three furlong breeze over the Saratoga main track two weeks ago in 35 seconds (fastest of 37). Purchased at auction for $140,000, the B. Brown-trained daughter of Carpe Diem should be very competitive. Tulanian, a $120,000 daughter of Twirling Candy trained by T. Amoss, is another Kentucky invader with an impressive work tab and this stable has superior stats with first-time starters (29%). Figure of Speech, a $200,000 Into Mischief filly, has done everything asked for C. Brown and is yet another that simply has to be included in rolling exotic play. RACE 7: Post 4:32 ET. Grade: X Single: 2-Mascha Forecast: Mascha was supposed to run in a similar race last week but the event was cancelled due to weather, so let’s try this again. The French-bred import, a first-time Lasix user, has worked like she’s fit and ready for C. Brown and on paper out classes this first-level allowance field after last year winning a listed stakes in Germany and then finishing second to the high quality and current Brown-trained stable mate Homerique in the Prix de Psyche-G3 at Deauville. The form makes her a stick out at this level at a very short price, so we will use her as a rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race. RACE 8: Post 5:09 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Short Pour; 6-Theaterintheround; 9-Aquariva; 10-Ailish Forecast: This is a better-than-par race for state-bred turf sprinting fillies and mares. We’ll spread four deep but you could make a reasonable case for several others. Short Pour encountered severe traffic trouble in a performance that was highlighted in a Black Book segment and did well to finish as close as she did when fifth, beaten two lengths, in a productive turf sprint in early June. She retains J. Ortiz, ran well over this course as a 2-year-old, and with good racing luck may prove best in a cavalry charge from the quarter pole home. Ailish likes to settle and blast home, and just won a starter’s allowance race on grass at Belmont Park using those tactics with a speed figure that makes her a solid fit in this first level allowance dash. Rosario stays aboard and with good racing luck could wear down the speed again. Theaterintheround also is fresh from a win, hers coming vs. $35,000 restricted claimers after pressing a quick pace throughout. Today’s shorter trip shouldn’t be an issue, so we’re expecting the R. Handal-trained mare to be a strong factor from gate to wire. Aquariva was a clever winner in her debut in an off-the-turfer at Belmont Park last September but then disappeared. She returns in a logical spot with an okay work tab and lands Johnny V., who was aboard in her win. She’ll have to improve her speed figure but from 2-years-old to 3 they usually do. RACE 9: Post 5:44 ET. Grade: B Use: 2-Talk Veuve to Me; 3-Awestruck Forecast: The Shine Again Stakes, a restricted seven furlong affair for fillies and mares, came up fairly light both in quality and quantity. Talk Veuve to Me was a beaten choice over a muddy track she may not have cared for in an overnight race here two weeks ago, but the daughter of Violence has more than enough back class to handle this assignment and can break through with anything close to her best effort. She’s winless this year – that’s why she’s eligible for the race – but could benefit with the switch to J. Ortiz. Awestruck was a closing second in the overnight Roxelana Stakes behind Mia Mischief and just ahead of Covfefe last month, but that race probably flattered her, as the major players ran well below their usual standard according to speed figures. The daughter of Tapit does have the proper style for this extended sprint distance and should be heard from late. These are the two that we’ll include in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Talk Veuve to Me. RACE 10: Post 6:18 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 4-Morelikelythannot; 8-To a Friend Forecast: The finale is a maiden-claiming turf raffle for older fillies and mares. To a Friend is being culled after just two career starts, so the barn probably doesn’t think all that much of her, but against this group she should be hard to beat. The daughter of Scat Daddy removes blinkers, drops from straight maiden into a $40,000 seller, switches to Gaffalione and shows a healthy series of workouts that should have her primed and ready in a modest affair. Morelikelythannot is another dropping into a claimer for the first time and takes off blinkers after one poor run with the hood on last month at Monmouth Park. The C. Brown-trained filly doesn’t look like much on form – she isn’t – but on pure numbers from her best efforts she’s a contender. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics but then press with extra tickets keying To a Friend.

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7.30.2019:

Harness Highlights: 'Ozzi' Bids Adios to Stakes Rivals

Southwind Ozzi’s ability has never been a question, but the 3-year-old pacer still had to find an answer to an unexpected turn of events leading up to the $400,000 Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids last Saturday at the The Meadows. He was recovering from hernia surgery, but you wouldn’t have known it the way Hall of Famer Brian Sears drove the 4-to-5 favorite, or the way trainer Bill MacKenzie reacted after Southwind Ozzi ran the second fastest time in the 53-year history of the event to win by 7 lengths in 1:48. Sears had Southwind Ozzi out and moving behind a torrid pace before the half-mile marker, cleared to the lead near the 3/4-pole and won geared down to miss Bolt The Duer’s 2012 track record by one-fifth of a second. “That’s what great horses do, and after the way he raced today, I’m beginning to think he’s a great horse,” said MacKenzie. Prince of Tides (Dave Palone), the 5-to-2 second favorite, blazed along through a :53.3 half and did well to hold second, a quarter length in front of Stag Party. But both were running for minor awards long before the finish. “I liked the way things were setting up,” said Sears. “They were going so fast that they couldn’t really shut it down that much. I had sent him first up before, and he didn’t seem to mind it. He’s a pleasure to drive. He makes my job easy.” MELANDER HAS TRIPLE THREAT IN HAMBO Marcus Melander, recipient of harness racing’s Rising Star Award in 2018, has a galaxy of stars lined up for this Saturday’s 94th running of the $1 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands. Melander trains three entrants in the world’s most prestigious race and, by post time, the sophomore trotting trio could be the three betting favorites. Greenshoe is the probable choice after a smashing score in the Stanley Dancer Memorial in a career-best 1:50.1 at the Meadowlands, but New York sire stakes phenom Gimpanzee is undefeated in 12 starts and a major threat to his stablemate. Hall of Famer Brian Sears was named on both runners before the post draw Tuesday afternoon. Green Manilishi S (Tim Tetrick) completes the Melander triple threat and arrives off an easy 1:52.4 victory in the Tompkins Geers after a three-week rest. Melander will try to follow the footsteps of his uncle, Stefan Melander, who won the 2001 Hambletonian with Scarlet Knight. The Hambletonian and $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks will be shown live on the CBS Sports Network between 4 and 5:30 p.m. Gates open at 10 a.m. at the Meadowlands and the first race post is noon. BURKE FIRST TO 10,000 WINS BY A MILE Ron Burke had already gone where no trainer had gone before with six consecutive years of $20 million plus in stable earnings. He ventured into another stratosphere last Friday with the 10,000th win of his unparalleled career. Burke, 49, sent out three winners at his home track, the Meadows in Pennsylvania, on the twilight card, then reached the 10,000-win milestone at night when 2-year-old trotting filly Crucial won in an elimination for the Jim Doherty Memorial Stakes at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. “It’s cool,” Burke told Meadowlands publicist Dave Little. “The next guy is probably 10 years away from doing it. It’s never been done before and I’m very proud of our whole crew, my whole family.” The Burke Brigade is 300 horses strong these days and has accumulated a record $222 million in purses over time. Virgil Morgan Jr. is second all-time in wins with 6,400. 

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7.29.2019:

Five Things to Watch This Week at Del Mar and Saratoga

Saratoga offers one of its premier summer races this Saturday with the $1 million Whitney, while Del Mar presents headliners like the Yellow Ribbon and Sorrento. The two boutique meets have hit their stride and horseplayers can start to feel more comfortable attacking. Here’s our weekly statistical look at what you’ve seen and what you can expect: Del Mar Betting Tips 1. Flavien Prat and Drayden Van Dyke are hitting exactly 50% in the exacta between them. Van Dyke is 21-for-40 while Prat is 20-for-42. That’s 41-for-82 and a heck of a sample size after 2 weeks. By comparison, Mike Smith at 7-for-16 is the only other jockey with more than 15 mounts to be even close to 50% in the exacta. 2. Los Alamitos preppers are outperforming Santa Anita preppers by a 15% to 12% winning rate through 2 weeks and jumped up with 10 victories last week after 4 opening week. Consider the Los Al runners hit only 9% and 11% at Del Mar during July of 2017 and 2018. A dozen different trainers have accounted for the 14 winners via Los Alamitos, only Peter Miller and Bob Hess, Jr. have 2. 3. Sire Smiling Tiger continued his strong ways at Del Mar last week with a win and a third from 2 starters on the main track. His offspring are now 4: 3-0-1 at the stand on dirt and a sparkling 26% winner here since 2017 from nearly 50 starters. 4. Trainer Jeff Mullins is 3: 2-1-0 at the meet with his horses who last ran at Churchill Downs and returned west for the Ship & Win bonuses. He’s 2-for-2 on turf at the maneuver. Wins came at 7-2 and 7-1 odds and the runner-up was 4-1. 5. Since winning the opening day Oceanside with favorite Jasikan, John Sadler has been mired in a Del Mar turf slump. He’s gone 14: 0-1-2 since with 3 losses at 2-1 or less. And while trainer Phil D’Amato won the Eddie Read Stakes with Bowies Hero, that’s all he has to show for the turf so far. He’s 19: 1-2-3 with a pair of losses at 2-1 or less. Saratoga Betting Tips  1. Obvious to observers, the inside of the main track was a terrible place to be for much, if not all, of last week. Expect a maintenance correction during the dark days Monday and Tuesday by ‘blading’ the inside of the track and removing some of the depth. From a gambling standpoint, the best thing you can do with that situation now is to go back and highlight which horses were hampered or helped by their position on the track last week and make future notes for bet-backs and bet-against horses. 2. Monmouth shippers continued their outstanding Saratoga run during Week 3, going 15: 4-2-1 for 27% wins and 40% in the exacta. The $1.81 ROI for each $1 bet also stood out. In fact, Monmouth preppers who went off 13-1 or less were 8: 4-2-0 last week. For the meet, the Monmouth set is hitting 26% wins, 45% exacta and a whopping $2.02 ROI for each $1 bet. Nine different trainers have the 11 wins via Monmouth, spreading the wealth (Todd Pletcher, Jason Servis with 2). 3. Trainer Jeremiah Englehart is 8: 3-3-0 with his 6-furlong dirt sprinters at the meet for a $2.18 ROI for each $1 bet. He’s 1-for-20 at all other distances and surfaces with the other victory coming at 5-1/2 furlongs on dirt. 4. Sire Medaglia d’Oro’s offspring are 8: 3-2-1 to start the 2019 Spa meet with a $3.31 ROI for each $1 bet. They’re winning from 7 furlongs on the dirt to 1-3/8 miles on turf. 5. American Pharoah’s first crop of 2-year-olds have been live when bet at the Spa. A trio have been bet to 2-1 or less and are a sparkling 3: 2-1-0. Those let go on the toteboard at higher prices are 3: 0-0-0 and haven’t finished better than sixth

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7.29.2019:

Monday, July 29: Woodbine Mohawk Park Pick 5 Analysis

The Monday night feature at Woodbine Mohawk Park rolls in Race 9, a Preferred Handicap with a $34,000 purse. My attention is on the 0.20 Pick 5 which kicks-off the card. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and will likely far surpass that amount. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 1 1-Sortie-Qualified well on hopples, should like the company and a major player if minds manners. 2-Vero Amore Bi-Best effort puts him in the hunt at 10-1 in the ML, can be put into play early on from this post. 7-Alexus EH-Has speed and will roll late, could surprise but needs a better trip than in last. Race 2 1-Macallan-Has been racing from the back of the pack but brushed up nicely last week and looking for similar. 3-Wings Of Speed-Drops out of Gold Stakes and gets Tetrick, barn has been hot, could be time for 1st picture. 5-Cornerstone-With this post draw could get the top and steal a quarter, fits and worth a swing at 8-1 in the ML. 8-Sams Arsenal-Has held own versus better, usually in the hunt and could pop at a square price with a good trip. Race 3 1-Day Delight-Needs best but has gate speed and comes off a nice win from the 9-hole, using at 10-1 in the ML. 6-Captain Nemo-Coming close while racing from the back, similar to #7, the wrapper may come off tonight. 7-Capt Midnight-Thinking this is the spot to blast out and race up close to the lead, could be sitting on a big try. Race 4 3-Southwind Bayou-Was too far back early in both starts versus better, assuming will be put into play much earlier. 6-Betalady-Had a very nice effort from 9-hole in 1st start in Sires Stake action, gets post relief and best to respect. Race 5 3-Journalistic-Gets some needed class relief, draws well and Henry should work a trip to pass foes down the lane. 5-Disneyman-Also drops out of Sire Stakes action, makes 2nd start in McNair barn, fits well with a smooth trip. 8-Remembering Shorty-Makes debut off a qualifier with 57.2 back half, should be in the mix if dialed on high. My Ticket Race 1) 1,2,7 Race 2) 1,3,5,8 Race 3) 1,6,7 Race 4) 3,6 Race 5) 3,5,8Total Ticket Cost) $43.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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7.28.2019:

Sunday, July 28: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.  Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-two-best-plays-at-saratoga-on-july-28th-2019/ RACE 1: Post 1:02 ET. Grade: B Use: 3-Stanhope; 4-Cleon Jones; 7-Brian’s Last Song Forecast: The opener is a fairly strong maiden special weight sprint for New York-bred juveniles that offers a few possibilities. Cleon Jones was bet off the board in his debut but wound up a non-threatening fifth following a less-than-ideal second flight trip between horses. The stable’s go-to rider, Vargas, takes the call, so we’re going to give this Tale of the Cat colt another chance to show his best stuff. Brian’s Last Song is a debuting Pletcher colt with a series of useful drills that should have him plenty fit. From his outside draw, the son of Cairo Prince should have every opportunity to break well and pick his spot. Stanhope is a first timer trained by Shug, whose record with debut runners always has been modest at best. But this son of Street Sense has done some good work in the morning so we’ll toss him in on a ticket or two. RACE 2: Post 1:34 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Air On Fire; 7-Desert Lights; 8-Laser Loop Forecast: Desert Lights was a distant second in his only prior run at Saratoga and his recent form is decent, so the Gullo-trained son of Desert Party seems well-placed for a good effort. He’s especially effective at this extended sprint trip and offers a bit of value at 5-1 on the morning line so we’ll put him slightly on top. Laser Loop was just claimed for $30,000 at Churchill Downs out of a dull seventh place effort and today shows up for $14,000, not what you’d call a healthy pattern. However, Diodoro has an outstanding record with first-off-the-claims – 26% - primarily because he’s very aggressive with his placements. Good enough to win at this level if healthy, the Smart Strike gelding likes to settle and make a run and should be quite comfortable at this seven furlong distance. Air On Fire just crushed a nw-2 $16,000 field over a sloppy track at Belmont Park and last year won a maiden claiming sprint by nearly 15 lengths in the slop at Parx, so we’re kinda thinking maybe he’s a mud freak. His dry track form is okay, not great, but at this level you have to use him. RACE 3: Post 2:06 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Our Last Buck; 3-Fooch; 6-Tenure Forecast: Our Last Buck earned a giant figure when last seen finishing a head second (10 lengths clear of the rest) in a hot allowance race at Aqueduct in February. He returns in a logical starter’s allowance abbreviated turf sprint with a light work tab, one that hopefully has his fit enough to win off the bench. He’s actually bred to love turf, so the surface switch shouldn’t be a concern. Tenure graduated in good style at Monmouth Park from straight maidens but is eligible to this race for having started for $40,000 in his debut. The Uncle Mo gelding goes for the always potent Rosario-Clement team, and while he’ll have to improve on numbers to win, he’s certainly eligible to do just that. Fooch has back figures that make him dangerous and is exiting a series of tougher allowance races. The Midwest invader in Ward’s barn should be close up throughout and have every chance.   RACE 4: Post 2:39 ET. Grade: B Use: 5-Runningwscissors; 6-Daddy Knows Forecast: Runningwscissors invades from Emerald Downs – you don’t see many shippers to Saratoga from there – and he makes his first start for Amoss (27% with a strong flat-bet profit with this angle) so in this New York-bred first-level allowance race the son of Congaree looks extremely well-meant. The speed figures he earned when stakes-placed in his last pair fit nicely in this spot, so let’s put him on top, though at 8/5 on the morning line he won’t be offering much wagering value. Daddy Knows is worth including on a ticket or two; the lightly-raced Scat Daddy gelding just broke his maiden over nine furlongs 16 days ago and returns to an extended sprint for L. Rice, who has superior stats with the route-to-sprint angle. He’s considerably slower on numbers than the favorite but likely has plenty of room for development.   RACE 5: Post 3:12 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 6-Danny California; 7-Quality Choice; 10-Mo Gee Forecast: Here’s a grass grab bag for restricted (nw-2) $30,000 claimers. Danny California finished strongly but ran out of room when second vs. similar at Belmont Park last month and a similar effort today could be good enough. Rosario was aboard for the first time in that race and rides him back, so at 8-1 on the morning line he may be worth a gamble. Mo Gee is drawn farther out than we’d prefer but he’s returning to his claim level and switches to Saez, so he’ll be a factor if he can secure a decent trip. With one with and 11 seconds and thirds from 17 starts and he’s not exactly one to count on, but in an open affair he’s a logical contender. Quality Choice has been chasing tougher without success but has earned competitive numbers compared with this group and switches to I. Ortiz. At the price (8-1 morning line) he’s another in here with a legitimate price chance.   RACE 6: Post 3:46 ET. Grade: B Use: 3-Candy Promises; Turco Bravo Forecast: Candy Promises crushed a $25,000 band in May, was claimed by Duggan (excellent stats with the first-off-the-claim angle) and in a sign of confidence is raised to the $40,000 level in his first start in two months. Most effective on the front end but capable of winning from off the pace if the race flow dictates, the son of Twirling Candy is very fast on figures and seems primed for another major effort. Turco Bravo will be making his 80th career start and remains in excellent form. He’ll have to step it up to outrun ‘Promises if that one brings his “A” game but this veteran Chilean-bred gelding will give it everything he has, per usual. This barn knows him well and treats him right.  RACE 7: Post 4:21 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Confessing; 4-Queen Medb; 6-New and Improved Forecast: Queen Medb probably can’t beat a decent maiden but there may not be one in this moderate field of older maiden fillies and mares. The Irish-bred filly, second in her last pair with rising speed figures, seems the solid choice, although her debuting stable mate, New and Improved, has worked well enough to warrant consideration. Both must be included in rolling exotic play. We’ll also toss in Confessing, a Churchill Downs invader coming off an okay third place performance last month. The speed figure earned in that race with these, and with just two career starts the daughter of Scat Daddy has plenty of room for improvement. RACE 8: Post 4:55 ET. Grade: B- Use: 7-Amoss; 8-Blame It On Mom Forecast: There appears to be two major players in this state-bred maiden special weight sprint for fillies and mares. Amoss is back sprinting after getting worn down late in a middle distance sloppy track affair at Belmont Park in late June, and in a field without much zip she could find herself comfortably placed on or near the lead throughout. Blame It On Mom, second in both of her career outings but with below par speed figures, is certain to get plenty of play in a soft race. We’ll try to get by using just these two with Amoss, listed at 4-1 on the morning line, the more attractive gamble.  RACE 9: Post 5:29 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Fixed Point; 3-So Conflated; 9-Discretionary Marq Forecast: So Conflated, away for 13 months, seems most effective as a late-running sprinter, and in his first start since joining the J. Englehart barn the California shipper looks dangerous in a race with plenty of pace to compliment his style. The barn’s stats with layoff runners (24%) is much better than average, so this gelding, a former stakes winner, seems capable of producing the last run with good racing luck. Discretionary Marq returned off a long layoff for new trainer Falcone and scored gamely with a career top speed figure in a first-level allowance event at Belmont Park last month. This time, though, he’ll probably have to employ stalking tactics outside of two or three other speed types, and he’s never really been effective with that type of race flow. However, a bullet half move breeze in 47 2/5 seconds on the training track (fastest of 46) indicates the Discreet Cat gelding has maintained his sharp edge, so at 8-1 on the morning line he’s a “must use.” Fixed Point is one-for-one over the Saratoga turf course and has several back numbers that are good enough to win at this level. He does his best running on the front end and will take them as far as he can. These are the three will be using in our rolling exotics, with So Conflated slightly preferred on top. RACE 10: Post 6:04 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 3-Dyna Passer Forecast: Dyna Passer broke her maiden at this mini-marathon distance two runs back and then ran much better than the line will show when a closing fifth despite a wide trip and a race-shape totally against her style in the Belmont Oaks-G1 earlier this month. She’s back where she belongs – facing entry-level allowance company – and with continued improvement the late-developing daughter of Lemon Drop Kid can handle this assignment. Also, she’s being reunited with “win rider” J. Ortiz, so at 4-1 on the morning line, let’s make the T. Albertrani-trained 3-year-old filly a strong straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 11: Post 6:38 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 5-Honest Mischief; 12-Shancelot Forecast: Honest Mischief was a beaten favorite in the Woody Stephens S.-G1 in early June but a poor start from the rail probably cost him his best chance. After moving to be within range at the head of the lane, the Into Mischief colt struck the front in the upper stretch but couldn’t follow through and weakened late to wind up sixth, beaten three lengths. Today, with a clean break, he should be well-positioned throughout and have every chance to make amends. Shancelot gets tested for class after blowing out a first-level allowance field at Monmouth Park by more than six lengths while earning a triple-digit Beyer figure. Unbeaten in two starts but catching a much tougher band of sprinters than he’s ever faced, the J. Navarro-trained colt likely will try gate-to-wire tactics, though from his outside post his connections may choose a stalk-and-pounce strategy. In either case, he’s obviously very fast and talented, so we’ll include him in our rolling exotics but prefer Honest Mischief on top.  RACE 12: Post 7:11 ET. Grade: Use: 3-Traci’s Girl; 4-Abby Normal; 7-Fusi Forecast: Fusi is a first-off-the-claim for B. Cox and switches to Rosario, so those two factors are enough to put the lightly-raced daughter of Desert Party on top in this maiden claiming turf sprint for state-bred fillies and mares. Third in both starts but with average speed figures, she may need to improve to win, but most likely will. Abby Normal has a good third place finish sprinting on turf two runs back at this level that charts quite well here, and J. Ortiz, who was aboard for that race, gets back in the saddle. The daughter of Birdstone appears the most dangerous of the closing types. Traci’s Girl has displayed plenty of early zip but not a whole lot of stick so far in her career. The blinkers come off along with the switch to L. Saez, so maybe she’ll hang on better today. 

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7.28.2019:

Sunday, July 28: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

Illinois bred 3-year-old trotters are showcased in the co-features on the 9-race card at Hawthorne Racecourse. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 begins is Race 6. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. The driver was the hottest hands on Saturday was Casey Leonard with four winners. Nelson Willis led the conditioners with two trips to the winner's circle. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 6 3-Lousraptor-Draws better and Leonard returns, should be in the hunt and may finish off the mile tonight. 4-Trixie's Turbo-Comes off a sharp effort and should get the top without much sweat, dangerous if steals a quarter. 7-Louscardamon-Was off 3-weeks before last start, Husted takes a seat again and Lou should be in play. Race 7 4-Flying Shekel-Steps-up after crushing cheaper, should find a good early seat and is a threat again. 6-Admit-Hung in versus NW3 after being parked out, fits better here and Husted should work a smoother trip. 8-Kelly's Kindness-Has won 2 of 3 this year and had an excuse in lone defeat, beat these last week from the 9-hole. Race 8 3-Secret Cache-Drops in for a tag and 3-year-old with Leonard should be a main player. 6-Frontier Ginger-Will swing for a price, was off close to a month before last and fits with this bunch. 7-Susan Sage-Drops to a favorable level and usually competes, best to respect. 8-Cowgirl Too-A better effort in last but was off 2 weeks, looking for upswing to continue at a square price. Race 9 1-Her Royal Hottness-9/5 ML chalk looks for 2 in a row in a race without much form. 8-Finleys Filly-Left in last and faded but had skipped a start. Might not be as aggressive at the start and come on late. My Ticket Race 6) 3,4,7 Race 7) 4,6,8 Race 8) 3,6,7,8 Race 9) 1,8 Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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7.27.2019:

Saturday, July 27: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.  Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-day-makers-at-saratoga-on-july-27th-2019/  RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 3-Teachable Moment; 10-South West Bay Forecast: Maiden claimers sprint five and one-half furlongs in the Saturday opener with class dropper Teachable Moment getting the nod on top. The More Than Ready gelding adds blinkers for the first time, is reunited with Castellano, turns back from a pair of two-turn events and should be capable of producing the last run in his first start since mid-May. A good, healthy recent work tab should have him primed and ready. South West Bay, in the money in his two prior starts (both routing) at Gulfstream Park, is a fit on numbers and looks well-placed in this abbreviated dash. Like Teachable Moment, this English-bred gelding should be dangerous from off the pace. In a wide-open grass grab bag in which nothing would surprise us, we’ll try to survive and advance using just these two in rolling exotic play. RACE 2: Post 1:36 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Rapido Gatta; 3-Doll Collection; 6-Lexintonia Forecast: The known element doesn’t inspire so let’s try a fresh face in this maiden special weight sprint for older fillies and mares. Lexintonia shows a bullet gate blowout on the training track 10 days ago that catches the eye, and with Rosario taking the call for Clement, there’s every indication that this daughter of Malibu Moon has some ability. In a below par field for the level, a little will go a long way, so let’s put her on top. Rapido Gatta, third in both of her starts to date, has some speed but must leave from the rail, certainly not to place to be yesterday over a muddy, drying out track. If such a bias exists today, her chances must be downgraded, but since this is the first dirt race of the day, we’re flying blind. Doll Collection turns back from a Churchill Downs one-turn mile that resulted in a runner-up effort with a career top speed figure last month, so it’s good to see that the daughter of Tapit from the brilliant race more Groupie Doll is starting to figure things out. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics and then have a few extra tickets keying Lexintonia on top.  RACE 3: Post 2:10 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Frisky Magician; 4-Psychic Energy; 8-Spectrolite Forecast: Here’s another turf raffle, this one for $25,000 claiming sprinters that requires a substantial spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll use three and hope that’s sufficient. Spectrolite deserves a slight edge on top; the veteran gelding is a perfect one-for-one over this Saratoga lawn, having won here in 2017, and the dyed-in-the-wool front-runner should be quick enough to make the running and then be hard to catch in the final furlong. Frisky Magician lands the rail while dropping below his claim level for J. Servis in just his second start since January. A deep closer with good form on grass at Saratoga, he’s a fit on numbers but will need to secure racing room when launching his bid into and through the lane. Psychic Energy, claimed for 40,000 in mid-May by Rice, makes his first start since while re-surfacing well below that price in what can’t be a sign of confidence, even for a barn that hits at 28% with the first-off-the-claim angle. He’s reunited with “win rider “Castellano” and can be dangerous pressing the pace or rallying from out of it, so you have to include him.   RACE 4: Post 2:45 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 1-Shoplifted Forecast: Shoplifted has done everything in the morning like an exciting prospect and makes his debut in a competitive sprint for maiden 2-year-olds. An $800,000 Fasig-Tipton March sale graduate, the son of Into Mischief looked terrific in the preview session and done nothing but excellent work in the morning since joining the Asmussen barn. A recent bullet five-furlong gate work (:59.4bg) over the Saratoga training track points him out, so let’s assume that this son of Into Mischief will run to his press clippings and make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.   RACE 5: Post 3:20 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 7-Emaraaty Forecast: Emaraaty makes his U.S debut for C. Brown and has trained very much like the colt that was so well-regarded overseas early in his career. A winner of a value handicap at Goodwood in the spring of his sophomore year, the son of Dubawi went favored in the 21-runner Jersey S.-G3 at Royal Ascot in the summer of 2018 but performed poorly both in that race and in a subsequent outing, after which he was stopped on. With a series of very impressive recent workouts, the English-bred colt gets Lasix and Castellano for his first start in more than a year and seems cranked up and ready to win right now. At 2-1 on the morning line, he’s a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.   RACE 6: Post 3:56 ET. Grade: B- Use: 5-Flashpackinbargie; 6-Cash Offer; 7-Sweet Meadow Mist; 9-More Mischief Forecast: Entry-level state-bred fillies and mares sprint six furlongs in an open fray that requires a significant spread in rolling exotic play. Use as many as you can afford to. Sweet Meadow Mist, listed at 8-1 on the morning line, didn’t fire on turf in a state-bred stakes last month at Belmont Park but was undefeated in two main track events prior to that, so with the return to dirt the Baker-trained filly could regain her winning ways. A prototype late-running sprinter with Rosario staying aboard, the daughter of D’Funnybone could produce a winning late kick in a race that projects to have enough early speed to compliment her style. Flashpackinbarbie won her only outing by more than eight lengths in April at Aqueduct and makes her first start since following a healthy series of recent workouts. This is a far more competitive bunch than she faced in her maiden win but on numbers she’s a fit and there’s certainly an expectation that she can improve with experience and maturity. Cash Offer, never worse than second in four starts since joining the Hennig barn, will help ensure a fast pace and will take them as far as she can. The last time she competed at this exact six furlong distance she destroyed state-bred maidens by more than 12 lengths, an effort which, if repeated today, will make her hard to beat. More Mischief broke her maiden at Saratoga last year and was good second in her comeback in May at Belmont Park behind a next-out winner. She’s likely to produce a forward move and enjoy a nice stalking trip outside, so with Castellano riding her back for C. Brown the daughter of Into Mischief is a “must use.”  RACE 7: Post 4:32 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 11-Eagerly Forecast: The scratching of major contender Economic Policy leaves the door open for Eagerly, who draws in from the also-eligible and looks capable of winning at first asking despite his extreme outside draw. The son of American Pharoah has done some excellent work in the morning for Pletcher with a healthy series of drills that should have him plenty fit for a major effort first crack out of the box. He appears best of the newcomers and the known element doesn’t impress, so let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single and hope that Johnny V. can get over from his outside post, save some ground, and then give this colt his best chance when it matters from the top of the stretch to the wire.   RACE 8: Post 5:09 ET. Grade: B Use: 4-Chateau; 5-Fortune’s Fool; 6-Morning Breeze Forecast: Fortune’s Fool has rapidly rising speed figures and most recently earned a strong career top when finishing second to the classy Endorsed at this level last month at Belmont Park. The son of Arch was three clear of the rest after pressing the pace throughout, and not much more will be needed to outrun this group. Castellano should have him on or near the lead throughout. Morning Breeze is fast on numbers and adds blinkers for the first time, so the Morning Line gelding must be considered a threat despite his record of three wins from 22 starts to go along with 13 seconds and thirds. But adding the hood could make a difference, so we’ll use him. Chateau may be the quickest of the quick and will take them as far as he can. Freshened since early June, the Monmouth Park invader is another with a history of finishing second or third more times than he wins but just in case he gets brave we’ll include him on a ticket or two as a saver.   RACE 9: Post 5:44 ET. Grade: X Use: 1-Mitole; 3-Imperial Hint Forecast: Mitole is clearly the one to beat and deserves to be the short priced favorite, rail and all, following his superb career-top win in the Met Mile, his eighth victory from 11 career starts. Yesterday, the inside part of the track was treacherous, so if you’re inclined to take the short price, watch races earlier today to detect whether the anti-inside bias remains in effect. Imperial Hint ran the race of his life when winning the 2018 edition of the Vanderbilt, doing so from slightly off the pace to produce a spectacular performance. He’s been freshened since finishing a respectable third in the Golden Shaheen Stakes in Dubai in March and has a history of exploding off the bench, so we’re expecting his best stuff today. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics while recognizing that, all things being equal, Mitole will be hard to handle.   RACE 10: Post 6:18 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Arklow; 2-Sadler’s Joy; 3-Ya Primo Forecast: So, whose turn is it today? The North American older turf division has no leader, just a whole lot of contenders, and this year’s edition of the Bowling Green Stakes drew 12 starters simply because nobody is afraid of anybody. Sadler’s Joy, a two-time stakes winner over the Saratoga turf course and most recently a distant third behind Enable in the BC Turf last November, launches a comeback and most likely is a race or two away from being at his very best, but if he’s feeling good the veteran son of Kitten’s Joy certainly is capable of winning. Arklow has been racing in some tough luck lately, finishing second by a neck in his last two starts against similar opposition. Today he draws the rail and should have every chance to break through after a ground-saving trip. Gun to our head, that’s the one we’d probably put on top (but certainly not single). Ya Primo represents stranger danger from Brazil; he’s unbeaten in three starts this year in South American graded stakes company and has trained like he’s fit and ready for C. Brown, but still must prove he’s a fit at this level on this circuit. These are three contenders in a field with several more, but in an inscrutable affair rolling exotic players should spread as deeply as their budget allows.   RACE 11: Post 6:51 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 4-Global Campaign; 5-Tactitus Forecast: Tacitus lost much more ground than he was beaten by when runner-up in the third jewel of racing’s Triple Crown but with a better trip today he seems quite capable of making amends. A Tapit colt from the terrific mare Close Hatches, the Mott-trained colt continues to impress in the morning and with any kind of racing luck should be able to return to the winner’s circle. Global Campaign, conqueror of subsequent Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston, missed a scheduled start in the Ohio Derby a few weeks back due to a minor ailment but is another who has looked especially sharp in the morning of late and could be very dangerous as the controlling speed. The main push goes to Tacitus but we’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics.   RACE 12: Post 7:23 ET. Grade: B Use: 4-My Macho; 12-Letterman Forecast: The nightcap is a messy turf miler for restricted (nw-2) $30,000 claimers. My Macho seems as good as any; the lightly-raced gelding surfaces in a seller for the first time and should thoroughly enjoy the class relief. The Motion-trained 3-year-olds is a solid fit on speed figures, picks up J. Ortiz for just his second outing since February and should be ready to produce his best effort to date. Letterman is stuck on the far outside but a repeat of his race-before-last – a clever maiden $40,000 win at Aqueduct in May - charts well here. If the son of Hard Spun can negotiate a decent trip, he’ll have a look. We’ll prefer My Macho on top but use both in our rolling exotics. 

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7.27.2019:

Saturday, July 27: Meadowlands Pick 4 Analysis

There is a big 13-race card set to go at the Meadowlands tonight. The feature rolls in Race 9, the Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters with a $81,200 purse. The 0.50 Pick 4 starts in Race 8, it has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 8 3-Beautiful Sin-Royally bred filly has come close but still looking for 1st win of 2019, should be in the hunt. 4-Cloud Nine Fashion-Was racing fine on Lasix but can't tonight, using anyway with Tetrick-Campbell duo. 5-When Dovescry-4th start for Allard trainee who appears to be rounding into form, best to respect. 8-The Ice Dutchess-Form has been flat but now makes 3rd straight Big M start, this could be the time for a big try. Race 9 5-Sheena's Boy-Having a much better sophomore season, could get a close-up seat and trip out. 7-Mr Vicktor-In fine form, although this is a Big M debut races well at VD, looks like a player at a square price. 11-Swandre The Giant-Just when I was starting to doubt the The Giant he woke up and will string along here. Race 10 5-Marion Marauder-Off almost 4 weeks, tuned-up well and this is a good spot, is no stranger to Big M winner's circle. 9-Manchego-Going back on Lasix should matter and puts this classy mare in play with Dunn, even from this post. Race 11 3-Hayden Hanover-Hung to 52.3 half in last and will excuse that start, a big threat if repeats previous efforts. 4-Lyons Steel-In top form, has faced better and fits well here, offers some value at 8-1 in the ML. 8-Wheels On Fire-Missed a start and bumps up after a nice win from the 10-hole, Burke trainee likes to win. 9-Done Well-Another from Burke barn, has faced tough foes and has big gate speed, Dunn may blast out. My Ticket Race 8) 3,4,5,8 Race 9) 5,7,11 Race 10) 5,9 Race 11) 3,4,8,9 Total Ticket Cost) $48 Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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7.27.2019:

Haskell Winner Deserves Respect

After Saturday’s Haskell Stakes victory some might say that Maximum Security is back. I’d suggest he never left. As the nation’s most dominant 3-year-old since the Florida Derby, the son of New Year’s Day has been solid. His Kentucky Derby disqualification—justified or not—followed an indisputably outstanding effort in that race. He went as fast as needed early and kept going late. Additionally, there’s zero evidence that any horse in the Derby field ever was going to pass Maximum Security with or without interference. So, why hasn’t this colt garnered more respect? He is the horse people love to hate—or at least love to criticize. His trainer Jason Servis employs an unorthodox conditioning method and wins races at an incredibly high percentage. That suggests, to some, that he must be cheating. Jockey Luis Saez also drew unfavorable vibes for his role in the Derby disqualification. Churchill stews found him enough at fault to warrant a severe 15-day suspension for careless riding. Maximum Security’s owners Gary and Mary West don’t currently raise warm and fuzzies, either. Possibly wrongly deprived of a Kentucky Derby victory the Wests continue to pursue legal relief. Few fans support that process. An ill-conceived, awkward post-Derby challenge emanating from their camp and directed toward fellow Derby runners seemed sour grapes. Maximum Security’s Preakness and Belmont absence added to the negativity. Since each of the above criticisms can be debated—for example, the Wests have every right to pursue legal relief for the Derby decision—it all comes down to opinion. One either ‘likes’ or ‘dislikes’ Servis or the Wests. I get that. But what does any of that really have to do with Maximum Security the racehorse? He’s a talented horse with speed and stamina. He ought to be appreciated for his accomplishments and not slighted by how folks feel about his connections. Maximum Security began his career as an entree on a maiden-claiming menu alongside a $16,000 price. Anyone could have ordered him as easily as bacon and eggs—crisp for the former and over-easy for the latter, please. That’s a far-from-textbook launch for a Florida and Kentucky Derby winner who also might ultimately claim an Eclipse Award. That the nation’s top 3-year-old first surfaced for about the same sticker price as a Ford Fiesta irks racing purists. It also adds strength to the undertow of negativity surrounding Servis. After all, how can a horse once offered for a mere $16,000 tag improve enough to win such prestigious races without his trainer taking an edge? Reasons why the original Kentucky Derby winner first appeared at Gulfstream with a ‘For Sale’ sign hanging from his neck were frankly outlined by Ben Glass, racing manager for owners Gary and Mary West, on At the Races with Steve Byk. Among them were the following: The colt had some physical issues; Three months before Maximum Security’s Florida Derby victory, sire New Year’s Day, who previously stood for $5,000, had been sold to Brazilian interests. (Note: New Year’s Day, apparently, recently has been sold again, this time for $5 million, and will move from Brazil to Japan.); and ‘Security’s dam hadn’t produced anything notable. Glass also noted that once the decision to run Maximum Security for a ‘tag’ had been made, trainer Servis suggested entering the colt for $16k instead of $30k. The trainer felt that starting for $30k might attract interest from potential buyers; at $16k they’d be ‘scared off.’ Brilliant! The $16k starting price proved radioactive. There were no takers and Maximum Security romped home. By the way, a sure-fire way for trainers like Jason Servis to win at an incredibly high percentage is for them to start horses in races well-below their talent levels--like racing the eventual original Kentucky Derby winner in a $16,000 maiden event and then in pair of starter allowance races won by 6 1/2 and 18 1/2 lengths, respectively. That’s three effortless wins before a Florida Derby wire-to-wire victory. Saturday, Maximum Security displayed a new dimension. Out of the gate he wasn’t able to clear five other foes from the furthest outside post position. Jockey Saez requested the colt relax while racing four-wide into the first turn. ‘Security responded in the affirmative and stalked the early pacesetters, while simultaneously being stalked himself by Haskell third-choice Mucho Gusto. Along the rail, King for a Day, the horse that had upset Maximum Security in the Pegasus last out, enjoyed a perfect trip...temporarily. Into the far turn, matters developed. King for a Day was joined on the lead by Maximum Security as Mucho Gusto loomed outside. By about mid-turn, the trio were spread across the track and the race was on! On the inside, King for a Day and Hall-of-Fame jockey John Velazquez had surrendered nearly a half-length advantage to the other pair. When the leaders reappeared in view from behind a clump of trees, Velazquez and King for a Day were headed in reverse. The jockey had checked his mount while reportedly in a tight spot and their race was over. (A steward’s inquiry into the incident resulted in no change to the original finish.) Maximum Security and Mucho Gusto continued forward with a quarter-mile’s worth of fight remaining. It should be noted here that Mucho Gusto is trained by Bob Baffert and that the conditioner’s Haskell record is like Alabama coach Nick Saban’s in national title games— he’s almost always there and he usually wins! Not this time. In the Haskell stretch Mucho Gusto hit Maximum Security with his best haymakers, but none put the original Derby winner on the mat. In fact, at the finish, it appeared as if Maximum Security had imposed his will upon the tormentor and had begun to move away from him. This seemed a hard race on the winner, just like his previous two—the Derby and Pegasus. Maximum Security gives his all every time out and in seven starts another horse has finished in front of him just once. Previously assumed to be merely a speed horse, Saturday the colt showed the ability to rate if needed. His reputation for having a thirst for a street fight was enhanced. He doesn’t easily surrender. What might happen with Maximum Security down the road in the Travers is something we’ll sort out closer to that event. In the meantime, we should abandon whatever biases we may maintain against his connections and give this colt props as the top dog in his division. Ruff-ruff! Race On!

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7.27.2019:

Apprentice Torres Continues Roll; 'Live' in Gulfstream Pick 5

Jockey Cristian Torres has had a phenomenal beginning to his career, which officially began April 6. Torres, who gets the 10-pound apprentice allowance, is a rising star at Gulfstream Park, and a look at the upcoming Pick 5 on Saturday further indicates he’s spent very little time in getting ‘live’ mounts. On this week’s $48 suggested ticket, Torres has a legit chance to win four of the races. South Florida horsemen has been quick to recognize Torres’ talents and since July 1, no name has occurred more on the Gulfstream overnight sheet. He has won 16 of 93 starts (17 percent) this month and trails only the always-tough pair of Edgard Zayas and Emisael Jaramillo. Since the beginning of career, he’s won on 31 of 205 and is fifth during that time behind Zayas, Miguel Vasquez, Jaramillo and Jairo Rendon since April. Torres rides Fiamma Mamma in the second, and combined with trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr.’s 33-percent win percentage off the claim, he fits in the mix, which is sizable in an even race. Torres also is aboard as Trappe Me Later is in the third race as goes for her third straight win, and adds to his chances with Perfect Enough in the fourth and Gemologister in the fifth. Torres, 21, learned the ropes as a exercise rider for trainer Mark Casse for 1.5 years. A native of Puerto Rico who was raised in Orlando, Torres’ rise in a veteran jockey colony likely will get plenty of attention in the race for Eclipse Award for apprentice rider. Here’s a suggested ticket for the Pick 5 Saturday at Gulfstream Park: 1) #1 Samurai’sfirstlady. #3 Madison Blues. 2) #1 Angelic Knugget, #5 Waikiki, #6 Fiamma Mamma, #7 Too Stylish. 3) #3 Trappe Me Later, #7 Body High, #8 Denver. 4) #2 Perfect Enough, #4 Sheldor. 5) #6 Gemologister, #9 Old Timer’s Day. 50-cent Pick Five: 1-3 with 1-5-6-7 with 3-7-8 with 2-4 with 6-9 ($48).

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7.26.2019:

Friday, July 26: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Friday, July 26, 2019  Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-two-top-plays-at-saratoga-on-july-26th-2019/  Today’s Bullet Drills: https://www.xbtv.com/video/bullet-drill/preview-of-races-4-6-and-9-at-saratoga-on-july-26th-2019-based-on-works/  RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 3-Countenance; 5-G. T. Sonia Forecast: The track condition has been labeled muddy to begin the program. Countenance shows up in a claimer for the first time after being away since February and if she can replicate her Tampa Bay Downs form the Clement-trained daughter of Bellamy Road should be able to earn her diploma in a modest spot. However, she’s 3/5 on the morning line, so there’s not much you can do with her. G. T. Sonia has a main track runner-up effort at this extended sprint distance three runs back that charts fairly well here, so, it you’d like to try to beat the favorite you might want to consider her at 10-1 on the morning line. We’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics.   RACE 2: Post 1:36 ET. Grade: C Use: 1a-Mo Ready; 2-Kobe; 6-Cold Hard Cash; 8-Assault Breaker Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf and shortened from 1 1/16 miles to seven furlongs. There are too many unknowns, too many question marks, to make this race playable, so we’ll go four deep in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race. Mo Ready burned a considerable amount of money – he was 40 cents on the dollar – when finishing off the board in his debut in mid-May but the Pletcher-trained colt doesn’t have much to beat here and should get plenty of play again. We doubt he’s any kind of world beater but probably won’t have to be against this modest group. Assault Breaker is comfortably drawn outside and hails from a barn that has excellent stats (28%) with second-time starters. The Street Boss gelding was a distant second in a four-runner field in his debut and seems likely to improve over a wet track he’s bred to handle. Kobe exits a fast, highly-rated race but was never really in it and was cold on the tote (33-1). However, he’s a fit on numbers and will be dangerous if he can produce a forward move. Cold Hard Cash is a first-timer from the Rice barn (modest stats with debut runners) with a work tab that doesn’t inspire, but he’s bred for speed and may show some in a field that on paper has little of it.  RACE 3: Post 2:12 ET. Grade: C Use: 2-Missile Bomb; 7-Bernin’ Thru Gold Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf but remains at its original distance of five and one-half furlongs. Bernin’ Thru Gold and Missile Bomb draw in as MTO’s and will get most of the action in a field reduced to five. ‘Gold is more than fast enough on figures to win, while ‘Bomb is a real pro (10 wins in 30 starts) and has never been off the board in five career starts over a wet track. We’ll pass the race but include both in our rolling exotics.   RACE 4: Post 2:48 ET. Grade: X Single: 1-Queen of Beas Forecast: Queen of Beas returns to the allowance ranks after being pitched a tad too high in the Eight Belles S.-G2 (a distant third) and then most recently in the Acorn S.-G1 (a non-threatening fifth). Freshened since early June and looking sharp in the morning, the daughter of Flatt is reunited with “win rider” J. Ortiz, lands the rail, and will be a short price favorite (she’s 4/5 on the morning) to get back on the right track. You can use her as a no-value rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.   RACE 5: Post 3:28 ET. Grade: C Use: 2-Elizabeth Nicole; 7-Riot Worthy; 8-Ivy’s College Fund; 9-Tiz R Bella Forecast: This is a spread race, an inscrutable $12,500 main track claiming sprint for fillies and mares made especially so over a wet or drying out track. Tiz R Bella is comfortably drawn outside and should have every chance to secure the kind of pace-stalking trip that brings out her best. First off the claim for Toscano (modest stats with this angle), the daughter of Tizway can win if she’s able to repeat either one of her last two starts for her new connections. Riot Worthy, a $12,500 Noda claim in her first start since early May, runs back for her purchase price and could produce a forward move for a solid outfit. She had been away for 16 months prior to her last start and clearly has major issues, but she’s run well at Saratoga at the past, and in her younger days would have buried this group. Elizabeth Nicole is the quickest of the quick and will take them as far as she can. She’s another with a previous win at Saratoga and is fresh form a gate-to-wire tally against a slightly lesser field at Belmont Park in late May. Monmouth shipper Ivy’s College Fund seeks her third straight score after winning a restricted affair for this price last month. She’s a tad slow on numbers but likes to win races, so we’ll toss her in somewhere.   RACE 6: Post 4:03 ET. Grade: B Use: 8-Passing Investing; 9-Balon Rose Forecast: Balon Rose supposedly couldn’t lose in her debut in May at Belmont Park – she left at 35 cents on the dollar – but managed to get beat, though admittedly by a nice filly that came back to win her next start. She’ll be a short price again following a continuing series of very impressive workouts for C. Brown, and if the $1.6 million yearling buy is going to develop into the type of performer she’s supposed to be we’ll probably see it today. Of some concern is the condition of the turf course, which will have plenty of moisture in it. The daughter of War Front caught yielding ground in her first start and may not have cared for it. Her main rival, perhaps her only rival, is Passive Investing, her C. Brown-trained stable mate. The daughter of Tiznow finished a reasonable second in her debut over softened turf last month while actually earning a Beyer speed figure five points better than what Balon Rose was assigned. We should probably protect on a ticket or two using her in our rolling exotics.   RACE 7: Post 4:39 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Dizzy; 5-It Was Considered; 7-Righteous Ruby Forecast: Righteous Ruby is a first-off-the-claim play for Gargan (32%) so we’re expecting the lightly-raced daughter of Revolutionary to run at least as well, if not better, for her new connections in this starter’s allowance extended sprint for fillies and mares. First or second in five of seven career starts, the Churchill Downs shipper has an effective stalking style, and though this will be her first “official” sprint she is unbeaten in both of her previous one-turn races. If I Was Considered is lightly-raced with the potential to improve and may be the one to fear most. She’s turning back from a route and probably prefers one corner, plus on numbers she’s a strong fit in this league for high percentage connections. Dizzy earned a speed figure two runs back at Gulfstream Park when breaking her maiden that would easily win this race, but all of her other races, including her most recent, have fallen far short of that mark. If she gets the kind of patient ride she seems to prefer, the daughter of Curlin will be running on late and might get at least a piece of it.   RACE 8: Post 5:15 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 6-New York’s Finest; 11-Fear; 12-Mo Diddley Forecast: As this is written, this race remains on turf, which is listed as yielding. It’s a treacherous affair, so tread lightly. Fear is an old pro (12 wins from 43 starts) and is fresh from a nice win at this level at Belmont Park in mid-May with a strong speed figure. Given today’s conditions, he may be the most reliable in the field. Mo Diddley is a class dropper turning back to a sprint. He’s reunited with “win rider” Johnny V. and should fold into a good stalking spot and have every chance. New York’s Finest has won four of five career starts over the Saratoga lawn and returns to the $40,000 claiming ranks for the first time since winning at the Spa at this level in July of 2017. However, his two outings this year have been well below par, so it’s entirely possible he’s not the same horse, but we’ll find out today.   RACE 9: Post 5:51 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 3-Lookin At Bikinis; 8-Highest Honors Forecast: C. Brown holds the aces with two very promising colts moving into stakes company for the first time. Highest Honors graduated in his second career start in clever fashion from a next-out winner and has trained superbly since, so we’re expecting the son of Tapit to continue to move forward with experience and distance. This race doesn’t have a whole lot of speed signed on, so we’re hoping J. Ortiz opts to ride aggressively leaving the gate. Brown’s other major contender, Looking At Bikinis, might be a very good colt and today we’ll find out if he can route as well as he can sprint. Based on pedigree he should. A debut maiden winner last September before being turned out, the son of Lookin At Lucky returned with a fast, highly-rated entry-level allowance one-turn mile score last month and has looked superb in the morning since. We’ll put Highest Honor slightly on top but we’ll use both in our rolling exotics.   RACE 10: Post 6:25 ET. Grade: C Use: Pass/No Play Forecast: This maiden $40,000 state-bred claimer has been taken off the turf and shortened to seven furlongs. It’s a chaotic affair with a track condition that is unknown as of this writing, has nothing in it to trust, and easily could be won by either Galconda or Awesome Adversary, who are a combined 0-for-27. Rolling exotic players should spread as deeply as they can afford to; we’ll pass the race. 

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7.26.2019:

Friday, July 26: Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Friday, July 26, 2019  Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-pair-of-day-makers-at-del-mar-on-july-26th-2019/  Today’s Bullet Drills: https://www.xbtv.com/video/bullet-drill/preview-of-races-2-3-and-7-at-del-mar-on-july-26th-2019-based-on-works/ RACE 1: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 3-Verified; 6-Champers Forecast: Verified was eight lengths clear of the rest when second in a straight maiden affair at Los Alamitos last month and is realistically spotted in this $80,000 maiden claimer for juveniles. With no workouts showing since than race, there has to be a little bit of concern, but if the son of Maclean’s Music is okay, he should be tough to beat unless one of the first-timers pops up. Champers is an intriguing Bay Area invader from a capable outfit. A five furlong workout at Golden Gate Fields in 1:01 flat earlier this month – the second fastest of sixty two – catches the eye, so at 10-1 on the morning line the son of Cairo Prince is worth using. We’ll try to get past this race in our rolling exotics using just these two.   RACE 2: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B Use: 2-Lucky Peridot; 5-Into Chocolate Forecast: This main track first-level optional claimer for fillies and mares drew just five starters, with Lucky Peridot, a winner by 14 lengths from maidens at Los Alamitos earlier this month certain to get plenty of play. The Miller-trained filly has worked nicely since that race, retains Prat, and has a good stalking style that should allow her rider to pick a comfortable spot and move when he wants to. Into Chocolate graduated gamely in just her second career outing at Santa Anita, doing so with a speed figure that actually was seven points better (81-74) that what ‘Patriot was assigned in her victory, which in part explains while she’s the slight morning line favorite (8/5 to 9/5) over ‘Peridot. Smith stays aboard and should have this Sise-trained filly just off the pace, ready to pounce when set down. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll give a very slight edge on top to Lucky Peridot.   RACE 3: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Portando; 8-Three Ay Em Forecast: Portando was caught 3-to-4 wide every step of the way when a strong runner-up under these conditions at Santa Anita in early June, but today he draws the rail and should enjoy an ideal ground-saving, pace-pressing trip. The veteran son of Bertrando knows where the wire is (first or second in 14 of 24 career starts), has trained well since arriving at Del Mar, and retains Fuentes. With good racing luck he should be hard to handle. Three Ay Em, a close third in the same race Portando exits, retains Bejarano and should be able to fold over from his outside draw into a stalking position and then have his chance from slightly off the pace. We’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics but the main punch goes to Portando.   RACE 4: Post 5:30 PT. Grade: B Use: 5-Duranga; 7-Road Test Forecast: Duranga is unproven around two turns but she certainly likes Del Mar (four starts, two wins, one second) and in her present form the Miller-trained mare could be sharp enough to get the trip. A winner of three of her last four including her last pair with good bug boy Velez aboard, the daughter of Bellamy Road should be comfortably placed outside in a pace-stalking position (just off of Gemagine) and then go on with it when turned loose. Road Test looked good winning a starter’s allowance main track miler at Santa Anita in early June, has trained steadily since, and seems likely to fire another good shot for bug boy Diaz, who gets along with her just fine. She’s another with strong prior form at Del Mart and is the one Duranga has to worry about the most. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Duranga on top.  RACE 5: Post 6:00 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Nothing But Heat; 5-Gootingscominpink; 10-Flying to the Line Forecast: This grass grab bag for older maiden fillies and mares looks chaotic on paper, so best advice is to include as many as your budget allows. We’ll go three-deep and hope’s that sufficient. Flying to the Line was worn down late in a maiden sprint at Los Alamitos earlier this month but has the pedigree to get a mile, and with the switch to Prat she probably deserves one more chance after failing as the favorite in her last pair. Gootingscominpink, in the money in all five starts, is overdue for a win and may be the most dangerous of the closing types. Freshened since early June but with a nice series of workouts in recent weeks, the daughter of Clubhouse Ride need some pace up front to have her best chance. In her first start in 11 months, Nothing But Heat launches a comeback for a barn that has excellent stats with layoff runners. This daughter of Unusual Heat ran well over this course last year and is a guaranteed a good ground-saving trip from her rail post.   RACE 6: Post 6:30 PT. Grade: C Use: 5-Hypersonic; 9-Union Station Forecast: Bottom-rung ($20,000) maiden claimers meet over a mile on the main track; it’s a weak affair with little to work with. Hypersonic only has three prior outings so perhaps he has room for some improvement that the others don’t. The son of Distorted Humor is a Churchill Downs invader eligible for the ship-and-win money and was five clear of the rest when second in a similar maiden claimer in his most recent outing. Not much more will be needed to beat this field. Union Station is a 10-race maiden and is thoroughly exposed, but a repeat of his last race – a closing second vs. similar at Los Alamitos – puts him in the hunt.  RACE 7: Post 7:00 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 4-Ashleyluvssugar; 6-The Hunted; 8-Brandothebartender Forecast: This middle distance turf stakes restricted to state-bred runners appears to have a ton of early speed signed on, so we’ll looking for a closer, and Brandothebartender fits the bill. Known primarily as a late-running sprinter, the son of Tribal Rule has run well on occasion over a distance of ground and today finds a race that sets up nicely for his style. He’s winless in five starts this year and may have lost a step or two as a 6-year-old, but the C. Dollase-trained gelding has looked happy in a pair of recent workouts over the local lawn and be perking up just a bit. With a patient ride from Talamo, he could spring a surprise in the final furlong. Ashleyluvssugar exits the Whittingham S.-G2 and showed a spark of his old form when a close third (subsequent Eddie Read winner United was second). The Game Plan gelding is facing a softer group today over a course he’s won on in the past, so he’s a “must” in rolling exotics. We’ll also toss in The Hunted, a genuine and consistent gelding from the Baltas barn. The son of Unusual Heat has excellent tactical speed to ensure a good trip, and if he brings his best stuff he’ll be right there.   RACE 8: Post 7:30 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 3-Topaz Time; 4-Empress of Luv; 7-Todos Santos Forecast: The finale is a bottom-rung ($8,000) claiming sprint for older fillies and mares. We’ll go three deep but not with any degree of confidence. Todos Santos, in the money in her last five, has run well sprinting at Del Mar in the past, and looks dangerous from off the pace over a track that has been extremely kind to the rally-wide types so far this season. Topaz Time made the running and kept on going in a restricted (nw-2) $12,500 miler at Los Alamitos earlier this month in her first start in nine months. She shortens to an extended sprint but earned her diploma at six and one-half furlongs, so the turn back shouldn’t be a problem. Additionally, she’s a fit on numbers and won under Fuentes three races back. Empress of Lov, an even third in the same race ‘Santos exits, has never been keen on winning but usually gets a piece of it and may be worth including on a ticket or two. 

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7.26.2019:

Friday, July 26: Can-Am Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight's Can-Am Pick 4 begins in Race 10 at Woodbine Mohawk Park and appears to be a competitive sequence. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 10-Leg 1-Mohawk Park 1-Outlaw Imahotvixen-Issue will be the start, if gets off the gate in good shape then figures to be a threat at a square price.3-Artistic Madison-Faded after setting a brisk pace as chalk, draws well again and fits well here so deserves another chance. 6-Skater Chick-Fast, Sweet Lou 3-year-old is in good form and could catch a trip and beat this bunch. 7-Kloof Street-Drops after being hung to a 53.3 half, which didn't work well. Should get a better trip and this is a soft spot. Race 12-Leg 2-Meadowlands 4-Papi Rob Hanover-Drew off in qualifier after a 57.4 first half, pace will be quicker, but it's best to not overlook. 7-Tall Dark Stranger-$330k yearling purchase comes off 2 sharp qualifiers, appears to have the speed to win at first asking. 8-Lottery Winner-1b in Johansson barn to #7 maybe, but is no slouch, had a 1.51.4 race time and now makes 3rd start. Race 11-Leg 3-Mohawk Park 2-Cortez The Killer-Raced well in Wbsb debut, loses Jamieson but should be in the hunt again. 4-Perkins-Came off the bench and raced a big last half for Team McNair, could be even better this evening. 5-Better Up-Coleman program chalk comes off a rough trip and is camera shy, will use but will look to beat in an open affair. 8-Captain Nash-3-year-old from the Jamieson barn has speed but to take a picture from this post, will need a smooth journey.Race 13-Leg 4-Meadowlands 1-Barimah A-Has been facing tougher in fast miles now drops to a level to shine with Tetrick and the rail. 3-Machiavelli-0-6 at the Big M but has hit the board 4 times, also drops to a picture level and could be ready for a Big M win. 4-Jackamino-Responded with a 54.4 back half to win at this class last time and should be a major player again. 8-Traffic Jam-Barn has been hot, usually does best work at this class, post helps the price and could be sitting on a big try.  My Ticket Race 10 Mohawk) 1,3,6,7 Race 12 Meadowlands) 4,7,8 Race 11 Mohawk) 2,4,5,8 Race 13 Meadowlands) 1,3,4,8  Total Ticket Cost) $38.40 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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7.25.2019:

Thursday, July 25: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on Twitter @jsiegelracing.  Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Thursday, July 25, 2019 Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Pair of Day Makers at Saratoga on July 25th, 2019 Today’s Bullet Drills: Preview of Races 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 at Saratoga on July 25th, 2019 Based on Works RACE 1: Post 12:45 ET. Grade: X Pass/No play Forecast: The first race is a steeplechase event. We’ll watch and enjoy. RACE 2: Post 1:18 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 3-Stunning Munnings: 5-Wedontbelieveher Forecast: Wedontbelieveher breezed a furlong in a sharp 10 1/5 seconds at the Fasig-Tipton Timonium Sale in May, and then brought $50,000 at auction. She’s continued to impress in the morning since arriving at Saratoga but debuts for a $50,000 tag, possibly indicating that she’s not all that well regarded by her connections. Maybe the juicy $52,000 purse explains it. At any rate, we like her on top but will also include as a back-up Stunning Munnings, a beaten favorite last month in a similar affair at Gulfstream Park in what was a fast, highly-rated race. Since arriving at the Spa she has trained fairly well for Ward and will be a strong threat if Wedontbelieveher fails to fire for whatever reason. RACE 3: Post 1:51 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 6-Ratajkowski Forecast: Ratajkokwski graduated as expected in her second career start, doing so over a sloppy track at Belmont Park last month in a productive race while giving every indication that even at age five it’s not too late for her develop into a nice race mare. She moves up to the first-level allowance ranks today while stretching out to nine furlongs, but on pedigree she should absolutely get the distance and based on the projected race flow could easily inherit the role as the controlling speed. A nice breeze earlier this month has kept her on edge, so we’re expecting the daughter of Drosselmeyer to score right back as a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 4: Post 2:24 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 6-Shennan Forecast: Shennan makes his U.S. debut for M. Casse in a moderate mini-marathon maiden affair on grass has has looked like a nice sort in morning workouts while indicating he’s fit and ready. In the money in both starts in Ireland while earning respectable Timeform ratings, the son of Rip Van Winkle gets Lasix and I. Ortiz and offers good wagering value at his morning line of 3-1 if you can get it. Let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 5: Post 2:57 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Hawaiian Noises: 3-Pyron; 6-Dark Money Forecast: Pyron shows up in a seller for the first after failing the deliver the goods when well-backed in a pair of recent first-level allowance sprints at Churchill Downs. This $75,000 claimer restricted to 3-year-olds is absolutely the proper spot, so against this group the son of Candy Ride rates top billing. However, he’s 8/5 on the morning line and doesn’t offer any real wagering value at that price. Dark Money, first off the $40,000 claim for Rudy (29% with this angle, has rising numbers and is a major player despite the class hike. You have to use him. Hawaiian Noises has won half of six career starts but isn’t particularly fast on speed figures. Still, he’s worth some consideration while dropping in for a tag for the first time in his first start since mid-May for Ward. He might be worth including on a ticket or two as a back-up. RACE 6: Post 3:32 ET. Grade: B- Use: Seaside Dancer; 11-Joy of Treasure; 12-Keota Forecast: Here’s a difficult starter’s allowance two-turn turf event for fillies and mares that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll use three and hope to survive and advance. Joy of Treasure has numbers that continue to ascend for good trainer Kenneally and may be capable of producing the last run. She has no tactical speed and will need racing luck when launching her bid into the lane, but with a little help up front she should be capable of getting up in time. Seaside Dancer, a razor sharp California invader from the Hess barn in her first start since being claimed for $50,000, lands the rail and has only one way to go, on the front end for as far as she can take them. A winner of her last four with solid speed figures, she arrives fresh off the plane for a barn that has excellent stats (21% with a flat-bet profit) with the first-off-the-claim angle. If not pressured, she’ll be tough to catch once again. Keota got the worst of the draw but she’s fresh from a blowout win vs. restricted $35,000 claimers in May and is a versatile sort that can win on the front end or from off the pace. She’s a first-off-the-claim for Servis (36% with a strong flat-bet profit), making her a “must use.” RACE 7: Post 4:07 ET. Grade: A- Single: 3-Risky Mischief Forecast: Risky Mischief, a $350,000 Saratoga yearling buy, is bred to win right now (Into Mischief from the multi-New York stakes winning mare Risky Rachel) and has shown plenty of talent in morning trials for J. Engelhart. On July 11 she worked evenly and appeared a tad the best with My Italian Rabbi, the undefeated winner of the Stillwater Stakes here last week. In a race restricted to New York-breds, she absolutely should win - assuming she breaks with her field - so we’ll make her a strong straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 8: Post 4:42 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 7-Mascha Forecast: Mascha makes her U.S. debut in a first-level allowance race for C. Brown and should lay over this field. Group-placed in France last year, including a close second to the high class (and current stable mate) Homerique in the Prix de Psyche-G3 at Deauville last year, the daughter of Le Havre will race with Lasix and I. Ortiz in this middle distance turf event following a nice series of local drills that should have her plenty fit. At 9/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, she’s a straight play and logical rolling exotic single. RACE 9: Post 5:15 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Celtic Chaos; 4-Build to Suit; 5-Eye Luv Lulu Forecast: The John Morrissey Stakes, an extended sprint for older New York-bred runners, drew just six starters, but most have some kind of look at it. We’ll go three-deep in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race. Build to Suit has had a sketchy career but he looked terrific in his comeback in January when winning an overnight race by more than six lengths while earning a whopping 101 Beyer speed figure. However, he’s been away since then and is launching another comeback for C. Brown. The works have been okay, not great, but this barn is superb with comebackers (28%) so we’re going to assume the son of Dominion is ready. Celtic Chaos looked very good beating a lesser field at Belmont Park in late May with a career top speed figure, and if he duplicate that effort today he’ll be a threat. The veteran son of Dublin was a close third in this race last year. Eye Luv Lulu is an old-pro that has finished first or second in 23 of 51 starts and has numbers that always makes him dangerous in state-bred stakes. Freshened since April but winless in six career start at Saratoga, the Servis-trained gelding should be included at least as a backup. RACE 10: Post 5:48 ET. Grade: B- Use: 4-Way Early; 5-Macagone Forecast: Macagone remains well above his claim level for J. Servis in a sign of confidence and looks capable of getting back on the winning track in this optional claiming state-bred $40,000 turf miler. Beaten at 60 cents on the dollar at Monmouth Park after blowing a clear lead inside the furlong pole in his most recent start, the son of Artie Schiller has been freshened since early June and should return with his best stuff. Way Early, away since December when he was unplaced and overmatched in the Hollywood Derby, returns in a realistic spot for Weaver and is a perfect one-for-one over the Saratoga turf course. He won his debut so we know he can fire fresh, and the work tab indicates he should be fit enough for a top try under Franco, who has won on him in the past. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to Macagone. RACE 11: Post 6:21 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Memories Eternal; 3-Recess; 12-Eighty Seven North Forecast: The finale is a messy maiden claiming middle distance turf affair for state-bred fillies and mares. Anything goes. Memories Eternal adds blinkers for the first time, is drawn nicely inside and returns to the claiming ranks after failing to land a blow in straight maiden company in her last pair. If she can flash a bit more tactical speed, she should find herself in the second flight, saving ground, ready to pounce. Recess, a close fourth in a similar affair at Belmont Park in early June as the 4/5 favorite, will be making just her fifth career start and probably still has a bit of improvement in her. I. Ortiz stays aboard, so we’ll toss her in. Eighty Seven North is stuck way outside but drops into a seller for the first time, regains J. Ortiz, and is a fit on numbers. At 10-1 she’s probably worth including on your ticket.

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7.25.2019:

Tacitus, War of Will Headline Jim Dandy; Here's My Late Pick 4 Ticket

The ‘Road to the Travers’ continues this weekend at Saratoga as a pair of races – Friday’s Curlin and Saturday’s G2 Jim Dandy – figure to continue to help us lock in on a field for the Midsummer Derby.The Jim Dandy is a particularly intriguing event, as a handful of Triple Crown horses, headlined by Preakness winner War of Will and Belmont-runner up Tacitus, look to continue to build strong resumes.  On the other hand, upstarts like Laughing Fox, Tax and Global Campaign seek to make a name for themselves in the division while simultaneously punching a ticket to the Travers.Friday’s Curlin lacks some of the top-end star power, but Intrepid Heart (8th, Belmont Stakes), and Rowayton (3rd, Dwyer Stakes) have solid credentials, while less experienced horses like Endorsed (2-for-3 career), Highest Honors (1-for-2) and Looking at Bikinis (2-for-2) appear poised for an upset.  It isn’t a G1 race but it should be entertaining and good for betting.My primary focus this week is on Saratoga’s Late Pick 4, which includes three graded stakes races.  Xpressbet customers who hit the Late Pick 4 are eligible to Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points.  Give it a go, it’s fun and only takes a second to register for free.By the way, I also recommend playing in our $120,000 Fun in the Sun Handicapping Tournament.  We’re giving away $8,500 cash every week through the end of August and it’s free to register.  To play, simply make $10 Win bets on our 10 competition races each Saturday.  But enough commercials…let’s get to the picks.  Here’s my Late Pick 4 ticket.  Race 9 (5:44PM ET) – Alfred Vanderbilt Handicap (Gr I, 350k)One of the most dangerous things in horse racing is an animal that is atop its game.  And that’s the case with MITOLE (1/1), who has won 4-of-4 races this year including the Met Mile and Churchill Downs Handicap.  In fact, he brings a seven-race unbeaten strike to Saratoga and just one of those races was separated by less than a length.  His inside post is a bit of a problem, especially with the equally fast STRIKE POWER to his outside and defending champion IMPERIAL HINT (3/1) lurking, but I’ll trust the classiest and most talented horse in the field to get the job done.Race 10 (6:18PM ET) – Bowling Green Stakes (Gr II, 250k)We’ll go light in the first leg to hopefully spread out a little more here.  ARKLOW (9/2) has become a very nice turf horse – but he’s still winless since last September.  Neck defeats in his last two races put him on the radar, but he’s hardly a sure thing.  Chad Brown’s YA PRIMO (8/1) is up from his native Chile and you have to respect – and include – any horse that Brown sends out.  That Jose Ortiz gets off FOCUS GROUP (8/1) to ride only sweetens the pot.  CHANNEL MAKER (7/2) won this race last year at nearly 6/1 and we may get a similar price this year.  Race 11 (6:51 PM ET) – Jim Dandy Stakes (Gr II, 600k)Over a three year span, 2005 to 2007, Jim Dandy favorites went 3-for-3 as Flower Alley, Bernardini and Street Sense all won Saratoga’s top Travers prep at odds of pennies on the dollar.  Since ’07, however, the race hasn’t been nearly as formful.  The fave has won just 2-of-11 editions of the ‘Dandy since then, with horses like Always Dreaming, Frosted, Mohaymen, Tonalist and Pyro among those that met their demise at the ‘Graveyard of Favorites.’  In fact, despite short fields, two of the last three editions of the Jim Dandy went to horses at odds of 8/1 or higher – Laoban (27/1) in 2016 and Good Samaritan (8/1) in 2017.  That’s why I’m going to spread my ticket here this year.  It’s not a stretch to include horses like TACITUS (7/5) and WAR OF WILL (5/2) on our ticket here, simply based on their accolades.  Of the two, I like TACITUS more.  I thought he was far and away the ‘best’ horse in the Belmont and he was simply the victim of a bad post and wide trip.  While Sir Winston saved ground, TACITUS was taking the scenic route.  If he’s ready to roll, he’s the likeliest winner.  WAR OF WILL, on the other hand, was a disappointing ninth in the Belmont but that was his sixth race of the year and, like TACITUS, he also drew wide.  Whether we see his best is anyone’s guess.That brings me to GLOBAL CAMPAIGN (2/1).  I expect Luis Saez to take him to the front early and I expect the son of Curlin to lead this field a long, long way.  He beat Sir Winston in the Peter Pan at Belmont in May and there’s no reason to think he won’t be cranked for a race like this.  The same could be said of the scrappy TAX (8/1).  While TACITUS and WAR OF WILL are prepping for the Travers, he’s a horse that could easily jump up and win this.  Despite questions of whether or not he was ready for the Belmont, he still managed to finish fourth that day, beaten less than 3-lengths.  Race 12 (7:23 PM ET) – Claiming ($30,000) The nightcap is a $30K N2L Claiming race going a mile on the turf.  For the sake of this analysis, let’s assume the Also Eligible horses and Main-Track Only entrant don’t draw in.  LETTERMAN (6/1) tried to steal a tougher starter allowance race on May 23 but came up flat, but this is probably a better level for him.  The outside post (#12) doesn’t help, though, and he’s far from a cinch.  HIJACKER (4/1) is probably the ‘safest’ pick.  He ran well in a pair of Delaware allowance races and, like LETTERMAN, this is a better level for him.  MY MACHO (5/1) is a ‘must use’ and I’ll include SURGE PRICING (2/1) as well, even if he’s going to be overbet based on the Chad Brown/Javier Castellano angle.Here’s my ticket:Race 9 - #1 MitoleRace 10 - #1 Arklow, #3 Ya Primo, #5 Channel MakerRace 11 - #2 Tax, #4 Global Campaign, #5 TacitusRace 12 - #4 My Macho, #5 Surge Pricing, #7 Hijacker, #9 No Mo Promises #12 Letterman Ticket Cost - $22.50 for 50-cents

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7.25.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: July 26 Stronach 5 Play

Let’s once again tackle a Laurel-Gulfstream edition of the Stronach 5, which will have a 100k guarantee, though the pool has been easily surpassing that number each and every week. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (4:50 ET) – 2f MSW at 5 ½ furlongs (turf) The opener seems impossible, but we do have the benefit of checking the toteboard to see if any of the slew of firsters, who all have some pedigree, are live and taking money, so I encourage you to do your due diligence and give it a look before finalizing your ticket. I’ll spread as deep as I can with the hopes of covering all the logicals, starting with #6 SECURE CONNECTION (6-1), a Janney homebred for was a distant 3rd in an off the turfer on debut at Belmont for McGaughey but is bred to move up on the grass; #2 BERNADETTE THE JET (4-1), a Motion firster who is a half-sister to Social Inclusion, who was very talented and earned 450k in his brief career; #3 JENN’S THE BOSS (7-2), bet down to 6-5 on debut and should be tighter after speeding off early and tiring to finish 3rd; #9 GIGGLING (8-1), who has plenty of works for Lynch, who is a potent 27% with firsters; and #7 BELLA AUROA (10-1), whose dam was a daughter of BC Filly & Mare Turf winner Shared Interest. Pk5 A horses: 6,2,3,9,7 I’ll play the stats game with #10 THREE SIDED STORY (6-1), who has a huge turf pedigree (she’s by War Front out of a Galileo mare) but Proctor is just 1-for-32 with firsters, so there’s likely not a lot of intent here, from a poor draw too. I’ll also use #1 HELLO BEAUTIFUL (9-2), though that 2nd in her turf debut over the course and distance won’t be enough here, and the rail is no bargain either. Pk5 B horses: 10,1 Leg 2: Laurel Park R9 (5:22 ET) –3upfm 5k N1X at 7 furlongs Since I went five-deep on the A-line in the opener, condensing seems in order here, in a race where there aren’t too many different ways to go. I’ll use the current, proven form of #9 MARVELOUS MARTINA (7-2), who should relish getting back to the main track, along with the past form of #2 STEAMY HOT (4-1), who was necked out at the level when last seen in June 2018 but starts for Eppler, who is 18% off this extended break, and we can surmise she’s ready to roll here too, as McCarthy is named to ride. Pk5 A horses: 9,2 The only other gal I’m remotely interested in is #11 Setubal (6-1), who has solid, if unspectacular, form of late, but has been doing it at two turns and wasn’t a major player at this level here earlier in the year, so she’ll only get the call if one of the top-2 scratch out. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 3: Laurel Park R10 (5:54 ET) – 3upfm 35k MCL at 5 ½ furlongs (turf) It looks like we have a standout here, as #9 BESTATGETTINGBETTER (2-1) dueled and tired in her turf debut off a seven-month layoff against better and should be primed on the cutback, especially since this is just her fourth career start and she’s meets a terribly weak field, even for this reduced level. Pk5 A horses: 9 I don’t know what to make of #7 Silver Sides (5-2), who would be a huge threat off her runs two and three-back but then bore out badly last time and didn’t run an inch when a well-beaten 7th; if she gets back to her two best, then she’s a must-use, but I have a sneaking suspicion she’s going the wrong way fast, so I’m going to side against her. You could also give a look to #10 Suzettes Star (5-1), a decent 8th two-back in her lone turf start, but she was 59-1 that day, and that’s long gone here. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 4: Gulfstream Park R9 (6:01 ET) – 3upfm 6.25k N2L at 6 furlongs Lots of people will be singling #8 SUSIKIN (9-5), since her three races, against much better, lay over this field, especially her lone dirt run two-back, but this steep drop is a worry, and she’ll be way overbet, so sure, she’s an A, but I’m not going it alone with her. There’s some underrated form with #2 LIL BUBBLY (9-2), who drops in class and gets back to the main track, so I’m going to use her at a nice price, especially she’s got some upside off just five lifetime starts. Pk5 A horses: 8,2 The 8-1 ML and a perfect attack post for her style makes #6 ALPILLES (8-1) appealing, especially since she enters off a good 3rd, in what was her first dirt start for Fernando Abreu, and it’s not like she’ll have to improve that much to have a chance here. I have no idea what to make of #4 Second Illusion (6-1), who has big form/figures for this group but hasn’t been out since April of 2018, but Gonzalez is 0-for-9 off an extended break and the works here are painfully slow, so let’s watch one first. I don’t really know why #9 Return to Favor (7-2) is the second-choice on the ML, as her dirt races just don’t stack up with the top ones here, so I’m more than fine with her proving me wrong. Pk5 B horses: 6 Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R10 (6:31 ET) – 2yo 25k MCL at 7 ½ furlongs (turf) A predictably tough finale, at an odd-ball distance where post position is imperative, and I’d love some coverage, as no one here inspires in the least. I’m going to use five and call it a day; #6 BAMBINO (6-1), #5 EL DUQUE (3-1), #1 HUGOIGO (4-1), and #4 MASPERO (5-2), and #9 CHANNELEDSLONGSHOT (12-1). They all either are dropping from the MSW ranks, have tried turf before, or offer value, and, in a spot like this, that’s good enough. Pk5 A horses: 6,5,1,4,9 The only other I cold even entertain is #2 ALL D’ HYPE (8-1), another MSW dropper, who hasn’t done any running in two turf starts but has Lemon Drop Kid on the bottom, so let’s toss him in on the back end. Pk5 B horses: 2 The tickets: Main Ticket: 6,2,3,9,7 with 9,2 with 9 with 8,2 with 6,5,1,4,9 = $100 Leg 1 B Backup: 10,1 with 9,2 with 9 with 8,2 with 6,5,1,4,9 = $40 Leg 4 B Backup: 6,2,3,9,7 with 9,2 with 9 with 6 with 6,5,1,4,9 = $50 Leg 5 B Backup: 6,2,3,9,7 with 9,2 with 9 with 8,2 with 2 = $20

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7.24.2019:

Wednesday, July 24: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on Twitter @jsiegelracing.  Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Wednesday, July 24, 2019 Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Plays at Saratoga on July 24th, 2019 Today’s Bullet Drill: Preview of Races 2, 3, 4, 8 and 9 at Saratoga on July 24th, 2019 Based on Works RACE 1: Post 12:50 ET. Grade: X Use: Pass/No Play Forecast: The first race is a steeplechase event, which falls out of our area of expertise. RACE 2: Post 1:25 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Freky Styley; 3-Financialstability; 9-Golani Brigade Forecast: This extended sprint for state-bred maidens looks fairly wide open. We’ve got it down to three main contenders and hope that will carry us through in rolling exotic play. Financialstability has a series of solid works at Monmouth Park that should have him plenty fit, and the C. Brown-trained gelding, originally a $290,000 OBS March sale purchase, really doesn’t have a whole lot to beat, at least among the known element. Brown’s other entrant, Golani Brigade, should have every chance from his cozy outside draw. A fair fourth in his debut last month but working well since, the son of Maclean’s Music retains Castellano, and with this barn’s impressive record with second-timer starters (28%) a significant forward move can be expected. We’ll also include Freky Styley, a first-timer from a stable that has excellent stats with debut runners (21% with a strong flat-bet profit) plus a decent series of workouts and Rosario in the saddle. The Scat Daddy colt is listed at 8-1 on the morning but might be better than that. RACE 3: Post 2:00 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Jen’s Battle; 8-Adriatic Holiday Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf and shortened to seven furlongs. Adriatic Holiday is a first-timer starter from the Tagg barn with a nice series of workouts, one that should have her plenty fit. She’s bred more for speed (Central Banker) than stamina and therefore should be aided by the change in trip. Jen’s Battle has the benefit of a prior run, a distant third place effort in a main track abbreviated sprint last month at Belmont Park. She received quite a bit of play in that race (2-1) and retains Rosario, so we’re expecting the daughter of Declaration of War to produce a forward move. RACE 4: Post 2:36 ET. Grade: X Single: 2-Annals of Time Forecast: Annals of Time narrowly missed in an outstanding effort in his first start in almost two years, and the high-class son of Temple City has trained quite well since, indicating that he should be ready for best effort. At age six, the the C. Brown-trained horse has had only six career starts, but he’s a Grade-1 winner of the Hollywood Derby and shouldn’t be too far off from that form now. There’s no wagering value to be found (he’s 4/5 on the morning line) but you can use him as a logical short price rolling exotic single. RACE 5: Post 3:16 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Surface Strike; 8-Giant Boo Boo; 9-Crea’s Bklyn Law Forecast: We’ll triple the fifth race, a $35,000 extended sprint for fillies and mares that has a few possibilities based on whichever pace flow materializes. Giant Boo Boo, normally a committed front-runner, utilized stalking tactics in her most recent start and wound up a willingly second while earning a career top number. Similar strategy most likely will be employed, and with another forward move she could be hard to deny. Worth noting is that both of her starts over the local main track last year were excellent. The Nevin barn has two major players that bookend the field, including Surface Strike, who draws the rail and has only one way to go, to the front. She was a game winner of a nw-2 $25,000 affair in late May at Belmont Park, and a recent bullet five furlong workout over the Saratoga training track indicates she’s holding her form. Based purely on a numbers, she’s a definitely threat despite the raise in class. Nevin’s other starter, Crea’s Bklyn Law, likes to settle and produce a late run, and after finishing a solid second under these conditions at Belmont Park she should be heard from late, especially if the pace comes up hot and contested, which it very well might. RACE 6: Post 3:55 ET. Grade: B Use: 1-Another Miracle; 11-Hemlock Forecast: This race has been transferred to the main track and takes on a different look following a couple of key scratches. Hemlock, entered for main track only, draws into the race and sports a series of impressive drills including a 47 seconds half mile gate work that was the second fastest of 127 over the Saratoga main track 11 days ago. First-timers from the Mott barn often perform better than they work, so the evidence suggests that this son of Into Mischief could be ready to win at first asking. Another Miracle, a son of American Pharoah making his second career start, finished a solid runner-up in his debut last month at Belmont Park and a similar performance might be good enough. These are the two that we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Hemlock. RACE 7: Post 4:32 ET. Grade: B Use: 3-Rinaldi; 9-Funny Guy Forecast: Rinaldi and Funny Guy meet again after the former edged the latter when they squared off in the New York Stallions Stakes over seven furlongs on grass at Belmont Park in late June. This time, they’ll face off around two turns at a mile. With Dynaformer on the bottom side of his pedigree, Rinaldi shouldn’t have an issue with the stretch out in trip but he must pick up seven pounds due to his stakes win. Meanwhile, Funny Guy picks up only one pound and, being by Big Brown from a mare by Distorted Humor, the Terranova-trained colt also should enjoy the change in distance. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; this time around we’ll give Funny Guy the slight edge and have a few extra tickets keying him in the straight pool. RACE 8: Post 5:09 ET. Grade: B Use: 4-Mia Mischief; 6-Ours to Run Forecast: Mia Mischief has finished first or second in 13 of 15 career starts and has won three of her last four, including the Humana Distaff S.-G1 from Marley’s Freedom two races back and most recently the Roxelana Stakes at Churchill Downs. She ran very well last year at Saratoga when placing in two graded stakes, had a sharp five furlong drill here two weeks ago to maintain her edge, and simply should outclass her rivals despite having to concede three to nine pounds to her rivals under handicap conditions. Ours to Run upset ‘Mischief at Oaklawn Park in the Carousel Stakes in April but a sloppy track may have had a lot to do with that. Still, the Louisiana-bred mare has won six straight, 12 of 20 lifetime, and won’t back down from a fight. Mia Mischief gets the edge on top but we’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics. RACE 9: Post 5:45 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Pastime; 4-Really Proud; 6-Enthusiastic Gal; 7-Mentality Forecast: This second-level turf sprint for state-bred fillies and mares is typically contentious rand requires a considerable spread in the rolling exotics. Enthusiastic Gal is a prototype late-running sprinter, and after a winning sharp sprint two runs back at Belmont Park she found herself in too tough when a respectable but non-threatening seventh in the Intercontinental S.-G3 in her most recent outing. With a decent pace to chase and good racing luck through the lane, the veteran mare seems capable of producing a winning late kick. Mentality returned off a layoff in winning form when beating a softer field in gate-to-wire style in late May and has been kept on edge in the interim with a healthy series of workouts. She can stalk and pounce if the race flows indicate, so Davis can play the break and pick the proper position. Really Proud was on the pace but was worn down late when third in a hot race at this level in her most recent start. She might be more effective as a stalker, so given that trip she certainly could regain her winning edge. Pastime has the rail but not a lot of gate speed, so she’ll need some luck when launching her bid at the head of the lane. The daughter of Lonhro always has preferred to run second or third rather than win, so perhaps she’s one to include only as a back-up or a saver. RACE 10: Post 6:20 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Fair Regis; 3-Risky Mandate Forecast: The finale, an entry-level extended sprint for fillies and mares, brings out Risky Mandate, a very impressive debut winner at Churchill Downs in June, a race in which she settled in mid-pack and then blew past her foes with ease to win with plenty left. These are tougher, of course, but the daughter of Strong Mandate appears to be made of the right stuff and should be hard to beat right back. Fair Regis is a first off a $40,000 claim for J. Servis (36% with a flat-bet profit) and is an automatic “use” based on that angle, alone. Though not as fast on pure numbers as her main rival, the veteran mare has been first or second in 15 of 26 career starts and should at least get a piece of it again despite the class hike.

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7.24.2019:

Wednesday, July 24: Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on Twitter @jsiegelracing.  Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Wednesday, July 24, 2019 Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Two Bet Bets at Del Mar on July 24th, 2019/ Today’s Bullet Drill: Preview of Races 4, 5, 6 and 7 at Del Mar on July 24th, 2019 Based on Works RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: X Single: 4-Eddie Haskell Forecast: Eddie Haskell has never been sharper and returns to his favorite turf course, where he’s won five of six career starts. In what has to be one of the toughest three-other-than allowance races in memory, the Square Eddie gelding will be a very short price despite facing four other accomplished sprinters, each a stakes winner, including Declarationofpeace, successful over this course and distance in 2017 Juvenile Turf Sprint, and the comebacking Tribalist, winner of the 2017 Green Flash Handicap. It’s a nice race to watch, not necessarily to play. RACE 2: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: B- Use: 3-Twirling Tiger; 5-Sergio; 7-Jump the Tracks Forecast: This $8,000 claiming sprint for older horses seems a bit stronger than par for the level. Twirling Tiger is a class dropper from Northern California with what looks on paper to be dull recent form, but he could wake up against this much softer field. A prior winner over this track and distance and arguably most comfortable as a late-running sprinter, he gets a huge break in the weights with the switch to talented bug boy Velez, and given the patient ride he requires the Twirling Candy gelding could produce the last run. Worth noting is that he was stuck on the dead rail at Pleasanton last time out against a much tougher group in a race that already has proven to be productive, and really wasn’t beaten all that badly under the circumstance. Jump the Tracks always has run well at Del Mar – he shows two wins and a second in four career starts here – and has the route-to-sprint angle that always catches our eye. Look for this Desert Code gelding to be running on late. Sergio got a confidence building win at Los Alamitos last time out with a nice speed figure and if he can transfer that form to Del Mar he should be competitive right back. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying Twirling Tiger on top. RACE 3: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B Use: 4-Jen Go Unchained; 5-Anniversary Sale Forecast: Anniversary Sale received plenty of action (4-1) but was well-beaten in much tougher straight maiden company in his only prior outing here last year and launches a comeback in a proper spot – a high-priced maiden claimer - for new trainer Wong following a strong, healthy series of workouts at Golden Gate Fields. With the barn’s go-to rider Cedillo taking the call, the homebred son of Boisterous looks extremely well-meant. Jen Go Unchained has steadily rising speed figures and is strictly the one to beat. A decent third at this level last time out at Santa Anita, the Puype-trained gelding should settle in the second flight to the head of the lane and then have every chance to grind away from there. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics but the main push goes to Anniversary Sale. RACE 4: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B Use: 3-Leading Score; 5-Two Thirty Five Forecast: Two Thirty Five may have been a tad short in his comeback at Santa Anita in late May but still earned a good number when a close third in a similar optional claimer over a mile on the main track. He’s worked steadily since then for Baltas, has won over the Del Mar strip in the past, retains Prat, and projects to settle in the second flight and then produce the last run. Leading Score, away since November of 2017, has been training like he’s fit and ready, and with Garcia taking the call we’ll assume that gate-to-wire tactics will be employed. If so, it will be no easy task against this group but the son of Midnight Lute may be tough if he can clear without pressure. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Two Thirty Five. RACE 5: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: A- Single: 4-Raymundos Secret Forecast: Raymundos Secret cruised in her debut in a maiden $32,000 two-turn affair last January over the Tampa Bay turf course – a productive, highly-rated race - and today shows up in the Baltas barn following a series of strong workouts at San Luis Rey Downs. She gets Prat and Lasix and is a fit on speed figures in this starter’s allowance grass miler, so let’s make the daughter of Irish Derby winner Treasure Beach a strong play both in the straight pool and in the rolling exotics. RACE 6: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 4-For the Top; 7-Campaign Forecast: For the Top was the victim of an ill-advised ride in his U.S. debut last month, a race that was featured in a Black Book segment that showcased a costly premature move. A Group-1 winner in Argentina and a close third in South America’s most prestigious race, the Pellegrini in December of last year, the Baffert-trained colt can handle today’s 12-furlong distance and hopefully will get the patient ride he needs with the switch to Talamo. He still has plenty of improvement in him since he was foaled on Southern Hemisphere time (August) and isn’t even a true four-year-old just yet. Campaign, winner under these conditions in the Tokyo City Stakes-G3 at Santa Anita in April, was a respectable fourth (beaten less than a length) in the Brooklyn Invitational-G2 last month and is the likely favorite and one to beat. Both should be included in your rolling exotics; we’ll use For the Top in the straight pool as well. RACE 7: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: Use: 1-Distorted Win; 2-Magical Gray Forecast: Distorted Win has trained like a quick filly for Mandella and finally makes it to the post at age four in a maiden turf sprint that came up fairly light. Assuming she leaves cleanly from the rail, the daughter of Distorted Humor should make short work of this field and then go on to better things. Magical Gray is a nine-race maiden but has run well over this course and distance in the past and seems like a logical exacta partner with our top pick. You can toss her in on a ticket or two as a saver in rolling exotic play.

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7.24.2019:

Odds-on Maximum Security Wins Haskell

In the eyes of most people, Maximum Security has established himself as the pro-tem leader of the national 3-year-old male division in light of his victory in the $1 million Haskell Invitational last Saturday evening. Maximum Security, sent away as a 4-5 favorite, took care of business in the Grade I event at Monmouth Park. Luis Saez once again rode the Kentucky-bred New Year’s Day colt for trainer Jason Servis.  Six started in the 1 1/8-mile Haskell after Joevia was withdrawn due to a problem with his right front foot. A close-up third early, Maximum Security had a slight lead over Southern California shipper Mucho Gusto with a furlong to go. Maximum Security then had the necessary response in the final furlong to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths.  The stewards conducted an inquiry into an incident on the far turn. At that stage of the race, King for a Day was on the inside, Maximum Security was between rivals, with Mucho Gusto on the outside when all three were battling for command. According to the Equibase race chart, King for a Day “was dropping back a bit” when he was “checked sharply when in tight nearing the quarter pole.” The stewards made no change to the original order of finish.  Mucho Gusto finished second. King for a Day ended up fifth, 12 1/4 lengths behind the victorious Maximum Security.  The way I saw it, King for a Day definitely found himself in claustrophobic quarters approaching the quarter pole. But the video replays that I saw failed to clearly establish any culpability on the part of Maximum Security and/or Mucho Gusto.  The Haskell was run much later than originally scheduled. Many tracks in that part of the country did not race Saturday owing to extreme heat. What was supposed to be a 14-race Saturday program at Monmouth began at 12:38PM The second race started at 1:14. Monmouth then announced that racing would not resume until early evening. Only the six remaining stakes races would be run during the evening portion of the card.  Racing finally resumed when the Grade III Oceanport Stakes got underway at 6:03.  The off time for the Haskell was 8:12, which was 2 hours and 24 minutes past its original post time.  Speaking of time, 1:47.46 was what Maximum Security put on the board in terms of how long it took him to complete his Haskell journey. He recorded a fifth consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure.  At Gulfstream Park back on Feb. 20, Maximum Security posted his initial triple-digit Beyer. He was credited with a 102 when he won a seven-furlong allowance/optional claiming race by a little more than 18 lengths.  After the 102 on Feb. 20, Maximum Security has reeled off Beyers of 101, 101, 100 and now another 102 in the Haskell.  Here are the Beyer Speed Figures recorded by Haskell winners going back to 1991:  2019 Maximum Security (102)  2018 Good Magic (98)  2017 Girvin (95)  2016 Exaggerator (101)  2015 American Pharoah (109)  2014 Bayern (111)  2013 Verrazano (116)  2012 Paynter (107)  2011 Coil (96)  2010 Lookin At Lucky (106)  2009 Rachel Alexandra (116)  2008 Big Brown (106)  2007 Any Given Saturday (113)  2006 Bluegrass Cat (106)  2005 Roman Ruler (108)  2004 Lion Heart (109)  2003 Peace Rules (109)  2002 War Emblem (112)  2001 Point Given (106)  2000 Dixie Union (111)  1999 Menifee (110)  1998 Coronado’s Quest (110)  1997 Touch Gold (114)  1996 Skip Away (113)  1995 Serena’s Song (110)  1994 Holy Bull (115)  1993 Kissin Kris (106)  1992 Technology (108)  1991 Lost Mountain (107)  MAXIMUM SECURITY: A SECOND GRADE I WIN IN 2019 When he got the job done in the Haskell, Maximum Security became the first male of his age to win two Grade I events this year. Earlier this year, he took the Grade I Xpressbet Florida Derby at Gulfstream in late March.  And while he officially did not win the Kentucky Derby on May 4, Maximum Security did cross the finish line first in that Grade I event prior having his number taken down. He was disqualified and placed 17th for committing a foul when he veered out sharply nearing the five-sixteenths marker to cause interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy. It was the first time in the 145-year history of the Kentucky Derby that a winner was disqualified for an incident during the running of the race.  By virtue of Maximum Security’s victory in the Haskell, he gained sweet revenge for his recent defeat as a 1-20 favorite when he ran second to King for a Day in Monmouth’s Pegasus Stakes on June 16. Maximum Security had stumbled at the start of the Pegasus. This time he “broke sharply,” as noted in the Haskell race chart.  IS THE TRAVERS NEXT FOR MAXIMUM SECURITY? The next big event for 3-year-old males is Saratoga’s Grade I, $1.25 million Travers Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on Aug. 24. Many are hoping that is where Maximum Security will make his next start. Maybe he will, but I can’t help but have my doubts about that.  Servis said Maximum Security was “a pretty tired puppy” after the Haskell in a story written by BloodHorse’s Bob Ehalt.  “My feeling is I’m going to do everything like we’re running, and I’ll make a decision that week whether we can make it or not,” Servis was quoted as saying about the Travers in a Daily Racing Form story written by David Grening. “If I’m not happy with him, we won’t run, and if we’re happy, we’ll run.”  I will not be surprised if it turns out that Servis ultimately will want to give Maximum Security more time before his next race rather than run him in the Travers. If Maximum Security does skip the Travers, a logical next race would be Parx Racing’s Grade I, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 21.  Gary and Mary West own Maximum Security. The Wests already have a strong contender for the Travers in Game Winner, the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male of 2018 who won the Grade III Los Alamitos Derby by five lengths at 1 1/8 miles on July 13 for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.  The Travers evidently is not in the cards for the Baffert-trained Mucho Gusto, who acquitted himself well as the runner-up in the Haskell when he received a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure. The Pennsylvania Derby is one of two options Baffert has listed as a potential next start for Mucho Gusto, according to various reports. The other option is the Grade I, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes, a seven-furlong race at Saratoga on the Aug. 24 Travers card.  GUARANA REMAINS UNDEFEATED Keeping her perfect record intact, heavily favored Guarana won Saratoga’s Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks last Sunday. But after winning her initial two career starts by big margins, she did not dominate this time when racing around two turns for the first time.  Guarana splashed her way to a 14 3/4-length blowout on a sloppy track when unveiled in 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race at Keeneland on April 19. She then won Belmont Park’s Grade I Acorn Stakes by six lengths on June 8.  When jockey Jose Ortiz pushed the button entering the stretch in the longer CCA Oaks, Guarana shook clear to lead by two lengths with a furlong to go. But instead of widening in the final furlong, the 1-5 favorite had to withstand a late challenge from 7-2 Point of Honor. Guarana won by one length in 1:49.65. She was credited with a 92 Beyer Speed Figure, down from her 99 in the Acorn and 93 in her debut romp.  Guarana also had to withstand a claim of foul lodged by “the owner” of Point of Honor,” as stated by announcer Larry Collmus and as stated in the race chart. Guarana did drift out several paths nearing the sixteenth pole when it appeared that she was reacting to left-handed encouragement. But from the video replays that I saw, Guaranan never made any contact with or impeded Point of Honor, who is owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Stetson Racing. (Grening reported it was Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners who lodged the claim of foul.)  “I just got lucky that I was clear because if I wasn’t as clear, I would have come down because she did overreact pretty good,” Grening quoted Ortiz as saying of Guarana.  Though Point of Honor did not win the CCA Oaks, she did earn her highest Beyer yet, a 91. This was her fifth career start. She has done something that one rarely sees. Point of Honor has improved her Beyer Speed Figure in each successive race since her debut.  Point of Honor recorded a 76 Beyer Speed Figure when she won at first asking last Dec. 16 at Gulfstream. Her subsequent Beyers have been 82, 87, 90 and 91.  George Weaver trains Point of Honor, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Curlin (Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008). The Grade I Alabama at Saratoga on Aug. 17 is next for Point of Honor, according to Weaver.  I noticed that Point of Honor galloped out strongly after the finish of the 1 1/8-mile CCA Oaks. It appears to me she is going to relish the 1 1/4 miles of the Alabama.  Chad Brown conditions Guarana. Brown has indicated that while a start in the Alabama is not out of the question for Guarana, the Kentucky-bred daughter of 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper most likely will make her next start in Parx Racing’s Grade I, $1 million Cotillion Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 21.  JIM DANDY LURES QUALITY GROUP OF CONTENDERS Preakness Stakes winner War of Will and Belmont Stakes runner-up Tacitus head the field of six assembled for this Saratoga’s Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes at 1 1/8 miles this Saturday.  War of Will, trained by Mark Casse, reportedly has put on quite a bit of weight since he finished a disappointing ninth in the Grade I Belmont at 1 1/2 miles on June 8. The Kentucky-bred War Front colt has looked better than ever in his recent a.m. rehearsals. He won the Grade I Preakness by 1 1/4 lengths at 1 3/16 miles on May 18.  Tacitus also has been training in splendid fashion for the Jim Dandy. He worked four furlongs Monday in a sharp :48.71 on Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. In the Belmont, Tacitus’ wide trip was quantified by Trakus, which reported he traveled 65 feet farther than the winner, Sir Winston.  War of Will and Tacitus both were two-time graded stakes winners early this year. War of Will won the Grade III Lecomte and Grade II Risen Star at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Tacitus took the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby and Aqueduct’s Grade II Wood Memorial. Global Campaign also merits respect in the Jim Dandy. The Kentucky-bred Curlin colt was credited with a 101 Beyer Speed Figure when he won the Grade III Peter Pan Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths in his most recent start on May 11 at Belmont Park.  Neither War of Will nor Tacitus has ever recorded a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 or higher.  Stanley Hough trains Global Campaign, whose Peter Pan victory was flattered when runner-up Sir Winston subsequently won the Belmont. Global Campaign was withdrawn from the Grade III Ohio Derby on June 22 due to a problem with his left front foot. Since missing that race at Thistledown, he has had three recorded workouts on Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track, including four furlongs in a bullet :47.82, best of 54 at the distance on July 5.  OMAHA BEACH UPDATE, NEXT RACE PLANS  Omaha Beach had his first recorded workout Tuesday since being withdrawn from the Kentucky Derby due to an entrapped epiglottis that required surgery. The Kentucky-bred War Front colt worked three furlongs in a bullet :36.60, tied for best of 20 at the distance.  Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman noted that Omaha Beach’s workout was the only one of 75 Tuesday morning at Del Mar “that was designated by the clockers as ‘breezing,’ a label given out rarely in California.” A “breezing” workout at a SoCal track generally means the horse did it under considerable restraint.  Mandella said he timed Omaha Beach galloping out four furlongs in “49 and change,” Privman reported.  Omaha Beach “was amazingly good today,” said Mandella, who added that the colt “scoped nice after, too.”  Retired Hall of Fame jockey and Mandella assistant Alex Solis was aboard Omaha Beach for the drill.  At Oaklawn Park, Omaha Beach won a division of the Grade II Rebel Stakes on March 16 and Grade I Arkansas Derby on April 13. Following those victories, he was installed as the 4-1 morning-line favorite for the Kentucky Derby. But he had to miss the Run for the Roses because of his throat issue.  According to Privman, Mandella would like Omaha Beach to make Del Mar’s Shared Belief Stakes at one mile on Aug. 25, but the trainer said he’s “not going to force things to make that race.”  If Omaha Beach does manage to run in the Shared Belief, it’s conceivable that race could serve as a springboard to the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 21.  MILK CARTON HORSE SIGHTING: UNCLE BENNY ON THE RADAR Uncle Benny has not raced since he finished second in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs last Nov. 2. The Kentucky-bred Declaration of War colt worked three furlongs in :39.80 on Jan. 19 at Palm Meadows in Florida, but he then became a “milk carton horse.”  On July 6, Uncle Benny finally had his second recorded workout of 2019. He worked three furlongs in :38.22 on Belmont Park’s training track. Earlier this week on Monday, he had his third workout of the year, five furlongs in 1:03.23 on Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track for trainer Jason Servis.  THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLL  Following Maximum Security’s win in the Haskell, he moved into the Top 10 this week in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. This is an indication that he is indeed the current leader in the 3-year-old male division. Maximum Security is the only 3-year-old in the Top 10.  Here is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll:  Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)  1. 397 Bricks and Mortar (32)  2. 359 Mitole (7)  3. 301 Midnight Bisou (1)  4. 248 McKinzie (1)  5. 194 World of Trouble  6. 187 Sistercharlie  7. 79 Maximum Security  8. 76 Seeking the Soul  9. 74 Thunder Snow  10. 58 Vino Rosso

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7.22.2019:

Al Cimaglia, July 22: Woodbine Mohawk Park Pick 5 Analysis

The feature at Woodbine Mohawk Park goes in Race 3, a Preferred Trot with a $34,000 purse. My focus is on the 0.20 Pick 5 which starts the card. That sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and many times on Mondays the pool comes close to $100,000. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 1 4-Zen Da Ballykeel-Has won 4 straight, that streak won't go on forever but fits well again and best to respect. 5-Stelios-Likes to blast off the gate, draws well plus has the speed to get on the engine versus this crew. 7-Brandon Hanover-Start is key, also likes to leave, Roy may get the top or 2-hole, beaten chalk could get revenge. Race 2 3-Hey Livvy-Breaking issues are a concern, but Henry is back and he has had success staying flat with this gal. 4-YC Broadway-Even effort after a sick scratch, recent tries have been sharp and looking for a big try. 8-Tax Savings-Has gate speed and there isn't much of it inside, could get the top and not look back. Race 3 2-Emoticon Hanover-Draws inside and that gives McClure options, will be tough if throws best shot. 3-Dunbar Hall-Raced well at this level in last and could get a good early seat and trip out. 5-Run Director-Will toss last versus tough foes at the Big M, could be a clean trip away from a picture. Race 4 5-Libspeak-Alagna trainee went in 1.53.4 in debut and just missed, Artspeak filly looks like a good one. 7-Martinique Beach-Won qualifier by 12 lengths coming off a sick scratch the week before, will respect chances here. Race 5 1-Needless To Say-Should be used off the gate from the rail, closed in .56 in last but was 10 lengths back at the half. 4-Wind Blown-Bet down in 1st start and broke, then had a brutal trip from the 2nd tier, taking a swing at 10-1 in ML. 7-Wilsons Vinner-Raced cautiously in debut, rallied from 8th with a .27 last qtr. and a quick race time, don't overlook. My Ticket Race 1) 4,5,7 Race 2) 3,4,8 Race 3) 2,3,5 Race 4) 5,7 Race 5) 1,4,7 Total Ticket Cost) $32.40 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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7.22.2019:

Ten Tips for Betting Saratoga & Del Mar This Week

We’ve got two weeks in the book at Saratoga, albeit a day shortened by a heat wave. And the first waves have now crashed the shore at Del Mar as we head to Week 2 on the west coast. Here’s our weekly statistical look at what you’ve seen and what you can expect:  Saratoga Betting Tips 1. Churchill Downs continues to deliver at the Spa this summer. An 11-for-44 week (25%) included a $1.63 ROI for each $1 bet on every CD-prepped runner. Four of the wins came in the maiden special weight ranks. The Churchill 2-year-olds went 6: 3-0-1 last week at the Spa and are 12: 6-0-1 for the meet!  2. Luis Saez owned the week in more ways than one. Not only did he go 19: 7-2-3 for a $2.28 ROI for every $1 bet, but Mother Nature was on his side, too. Saez was booked to ride (and win) the Haskell at Monmouth on Saturday aboard Maximum Security on the day that sweltering heat forced the cancellation of racing at the Spa. Saez’s 7 wins at the Spa were with 7 different trainers, none under 2-1 and 4 of them paying double-digits.  3. The Robertino Diodoro barn posted 2 wins and 2 seconds from just 5 starters last week all with horses exiting starts at Churchill Downs. As is his national reputation, the success all came with dirt sprinters. Winners paid $11 and $16, but you might start to see the prices drop now on the high-percentage Midwestern outfit. Diodoro went 2-for-2 with David Cohen, utilizing their Oaklawn winter/spring ties.  4. It’s incredible to look at the sires of Saratoga winners and see so many former Todd Pletcher trainees. Some names you wouldn’t suspect had great weeks with their offspring on the Spa dirt and bear watching: Competitive Edge, Gemologist, Mission Impazible and Munnings all have offspring running well at the meet, as well as the always-dependable local TAP staples like Uncle Mo on dirt and Scat Daddy on turf.  5. Last week we gave you Jeremiah Englehart, Bill Mott & Rudy Rodriguez on the ‘heat-up’ list and they went 6-for-18 while showing a cumulative positive ROI. Look for Rob Atras and Graham Motion next in line. They combined for 2-for-16 last week, but had 7 underneath finishes that hint they’re on the brink.  Del Mar Betting Tips 1. Flavien Prat has staked his claim in the riders’ standings. No doubt a 10-for-25 start catches the eye (40% wins, 52% in exacta). But Prat scored 5 stakes victories opening week from 7 mounts. Of his 25 mounts, 7 went off higher than 5-1 odds and he won with 3 of those. Most impressively, he rode for 14 different trainers and won races for 8 of them.  2. Keep smiling! Sire Smiling Tiger’s offspring went 2-for-2 on dirt opening week, upping their mark to 11-for-44 on the Del Mar main all-time and a $1.32 ROI for every $1 bet.  3. Churchill preppers went 8: 3-2-0 opening week at Del Mar, all under the training of SoCal based outfits and 7 of those coming in the allowance ranks. Average odds of those 8 runners was just under 6-1 with winners coming at 4-5 and 7-1. Add in that Keeneland and Belmont preppers went 2-for-3 in limited strikes and the Ship & Win types had an excellent week.  4. Peter Miller is back. After a slow start to his Kentucky foray in early summer, he picked up the percentages just prior to the end of the Churchill meet. He carried that over to opening week at Del Mar by going 8: 3-2-1. It wasn’t the volume you expect from the barn, but the results were trademark Miller in years past. Of his 3 wins, 2 came in a turf sprint and a maiden claimer dirt dash, the barn’s Del Mar strong-suits historically. And keep in mind Miller went 7-for-16 during Week 2 of last summer’s meet, so he may just be heating up.  5. The freshman class of 2-year-olds has some interesting home addresses. Luis Mendes, Jeff Bonde and Brian Koriner all had their babies ready to roll opening week. They went a combined 12: 5-3-1 in the 2-year-old maiden special weight and maiden claiming ranks. 

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7.21.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis & Wagering Strategies for 7/21/19

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Sunday, July 21, 2019 * Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-two-top-plays-at-del-mar-on-july-21st-2019/ * RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: C Use: 4-Trapper Peak; 5-Soul Owner; 6-Seahawk Wave Forecast: Soul Owner seems as good as any in the Sunday opener, a restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming affair over six and one-half furlongs. The Belvoir-trained gelding has a good pace-pressing style, numbers that fit, and drops for the money run. Seahawk Wave exits the same $25,000 non-winners of two affair that Soul Owner just finished second in and seems the one to fear most. He’s drawn outside and should enjoy a pace-pressing or stalking trip and have every chance. Trapper Peak takes a nosedive in class in his first start since returning from Kentucky and in his first outing since April. The Trappe Shot gelding hails from a capable outfit and projects to settle in mid-pack and then produce his run. This extended sprint distance won’t bother him at all. In a race that we’ll otherwise pass, we’ll use all three in our rolling exotics. * * RACE 2: Post 2:33 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 2-What’sontheagenda; 7-Mr Vargas Forecast: Mr Vargas had a nice tightener a few weeks ago in his first outing since last summer and seems sure to be fitter and sharper today after flashing good speed before fading in the final furlong. In the money in all three of his prior grass outings, the Koriner-trained gelding should fold into an ideal pace prompting position outside while stalking What’sontheagenda and then have every chance to wear that one down in the final furlong. The latter ran lights out without winning in a pair of hot turf sprints at Santa Anita won by Eddie Haskell and doesn’t appear to have anybody that good in here to worry about. He switches to M. Garcia and will take them as far as he can on the front end. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll press with Mr Vargas on top. * * RACE 3: Post 3:05 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Rattle; 2-Springster Forecast: Springster chased much tougher maiden $50,000 foes in her debut around two turns on turf and today sinks to the bottom, switches to dirt, and turns back to a sprint. She’s also adding blinkers while retaining Prat, so if she can run at all, this is the right spot to show it. Rattle got nothing out of her comeback when she stumbled at the start and lost her rider in a maiden $30,000 sprint last month at Santa Anita. She’s worked steadily since and deserves another chance in this soft spot. Last year in four starts she did show some early speed in straight maiden company so we suspect she’ll be competitive despite her rail draw.* * RACE 4: Post 3:36 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 3-Catapult; 5-Marckie’s Water; 6-Bowie’s Hero Forecast: This year’s edition of the Eddie Read S.-G2 drew six runners, and each has a right to run well enough to win. We’ll go three-deep but without any conviction. Catapult won this race last year and then took the Del Mar Mile, so he’s clearly at his best over the local turf course. Though disappointing when fifth in the Shoemaker Mile-G1 in his most recent outing, the Sadler-trained veteran has trained sharply for his first outing since May and if he brings his “A” game he’ll be hard to deny. Van Dyke stays aboard and knows him well. Marckie’s Water seeks his third straight win and in his present form could be this good. The Baltas-trained son of Tribal Rule can really blast home, but in what promises to be a slowly run race early he’ll have plenty of work to do from the quarter pole home. Bowie’s Hero, a stakes winner on this turf course, is rounding to top form for D’Amato and has enough tactical speed to be positioned wherever Prat wants him. When he’s good, the son of Artie Schiller can be a tough nut at this level. * * RACE 5: Post 4:09 PT. Grade: B- Use: 1-Chay Up and Away; 5-Tiki Bar Logic Forecast: Though she hasn’t been out for more than a year, Tiki Bar Logic appears the one to beat in this $16,000 sprint for fillies and mares. She returns for the high-percentage Spawr barn and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Talamo, her regular pilot, takes the call on the daughter of Shackleford, who has trained slowly and easily, which is typical of this barn, so we anticipate she’ll be fit enough to fire a big shot fresh. Chay Up and Away has form that puts her right there but must overcome the dreaded rail. She’s won her last pair in game style, but figures to be challenged by ‘Logic every step of the way. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics while preferring Tiki Bar Logic on top. * * RACE 6: Post 4:38 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 4-Higher Power Forecast: Higher Power was scratched out of yesterday’s San Diego Handicap in favor of this more logical spot, and the improving son of Medaglia d’Oro can win again after a clever allowance score over pretty much the same level of competition at Santa Anita last month. The Sadler-trained colt is a versatile type that can win on the lead or from off the pace, so Van Dyke can assess the pace flow early and then decide where he wants to be. At 5/2 on the morning line, he’s a straight play and rolling exotic single. * * RACE 7: Post 5:08 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Disco Ball; 5-Bronn Forecast: There are several very nice prospects in this five furlong sprint for juveniles. Bronn, a first-timer from the Baffert barn, has looked like a very good prospect in the morning in a series of workouts and appears ready to win right now. This is Smith’s only mount of the day, and that’s really all you need to now about high well regarded this son of Conveyance is. Disco Ball isn’t bred to sprint (Orb) and had the misfortune of drawing the rail, but he’s shown plenty in the morning and may be worth including on a ticket or two, even though we suspect he’s a down-the-road type. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics, but the main push goes to Bronn. * * RACE 8: Post 5:38 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 5-Pride’s Gold; 8-Peter’s Kitten Forecast: Pride’s Gold had a nightmarish trip in her U.S. debut and did remarkably well to finish as close as she did, winding up third in what has proven to be a productive race. Off slowly and then forced to race wide without cover every step of the way, the Harty-trained daughter of Animal Kingdom gets her first crack at a mini-marathon distance and the evidence suggests she’ll handle it just fine. Peter’s Kitten is the one to fear most. The daughter of Kitten’s Joy is a consistent sort with solid speed figures for this level and, like Pride’s Gold, has the bloodlines to run all day. Prat, who rode Pride’s Gold, sticks with Peter’s Kitten, which seems to imply that he prefers the Sadler-trained filly. At any rate, we’ll include both in our rolling exotics and then press keying the likely longer-priced runner, Pride’s Gold. 

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7.21.2019:

July 21: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, Hawthorne Racecourse has a 9-race card ready to roll with the first post coming at 7:20 CST. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 6. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. Travis Seekman was the driver with the hottest hands at Hawthorne last night with three pictures. All 11-races were won by different trainers. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 6 3-Full Of Delight-Draws inside, drops and skips a start, but Nfld invader could be ready for a picture in Stickney. 5-Are You Terry- ML chalk tries hard and was jammed up in the stretch last week, in play but might be overbet. 9-Summer Party-Coming close at a $6k tag and can finish in a hurry, loses Leonard so price could be better. Race 7 1-Ashlee's Joy-Steps-up after a sharp win from 8-hole, loses Wilfong but Bates should put in range at 9-1 in ML. 5-Dreams And Schemes-Hasn't raced since 6/9 but comes off a sharp qualifier, has had success here in the past. 6-Moon Jumper-Steps-up after 2 nice efforts for new barn, draws well and best effort puts her in the hunt. 9-Jazzie Babe-Raced from the back after breaking in previous start, fits here even from the outside, best to respect. Race 8 1-My Kind Of Dance-Will use 2-1 ML chalk in a suspect field, but 2-50 so will look to beat. 4-Blue Gem-9-year-old doesn't win often but this is a soft spot and was Bates pick over #2. 6-Hard Headed Women-Having a better meet, won on the engine and if trip works out could make it 2 in a row. 7-Final Gift-Price shot at 15-1 in the ML, last was an improvement, will look for trend to continue and an upset. Race 9 3-Fresh Eyes-Took the long way around from the 10-hole to come 2nd, off that effort looks like a major player. 4-Peppermint Candy-Lightly raced 6-year-old makes 4th start of '19, last was better and could be sitting on a big try. 0.50 Pick Late 4 3,5,9/1,5,6,9/1,4,6,7/3,4 Total Bet=$48 Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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7.21.2019:

Harness Highlights: One 'Hall' of a Class

Harness racing’s 2019 Hall of Fame class will occupy plenty of space at the museum in Goshen, N.Y. Trainers Blair Burgess, Joe Holloway, Jerry Silverman and Linda Toscano, driver Ted Wing and iron horse Foiled Again were among 18 inductees at the ceremony earlier this month. Burgess campaigned Triple Crown winner Glidemaster, Hambletonian victor Amigo Hall, Horse of the Year Real Desire and Meadowlands Pace winner Frugal Gourmet, to name a few. Holloway handled three-time Breeders Crown champion Jenna’s Beach Boy, who won at ages 2, 3 and 4 in the mid-1990s. Always B Miki, a world-record holder and Horse of the Year, began his career in Holloway’s barn. For nearly five decades, Silverman was a force in the Grand Circuit stakes, his emergence highlighted by Romeo Hanover’s 1966 Triple Crown run. Toscano is the first female Hall of Fame trainer, the first to win the Hambletonian (Market Share 2012) and the first to win the Meadowlands Pace (Best In Show 2019). She also handled Horse of the Year Chapter Seven. Wing drove 5,139 winners in a career that spanned five decades. He won driving titles at Roosevelt, Yonkers, the Meadowlands, Rockingham Park and Foxboro. Foiled Again won 109 races from 331 starts and 21 six-figure stakes to earn a record $7.6 million over 12 racing seasons. He was named to the living horse Hall of Fame along with champion pacers Art Major and Captain Treacherous. Broodmares Graceful Touch, Southwind Serena and Delinquent Account were also inducted. Art Major won 20 races and eight stakes as a 3-year-old to earn both the Dan Patch and O’Brien awards as champion pacer. He is the sire of nine millionaires, as well. Captain Treacherous was a champion at ages 2 and 3. He was 8-for-10 with $918,253 in earnings as a freshman and upstaged it with a $2 million sophomore season that included stakes wins in the Breeders Crown, North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, Cane Pace, American-Nationals, Hempt Memorial and Bluegrass. Did you ever dream of owning a Hambletonian winner? Ted Gewertz owned part of three – Giant Victory, Windsong’s Legacy and Deweycheatumnhowe – to earn his place in the Hall. Gewertz is a director at the Hambletonian Society, his latest role in a career that began in the 1960s. Journalist Dave Little and photographer Mark Hall were there to cover it all, earning their place in the Communications Hall of Fame. Little was the racing editor at the New York Daily News for more than two decades and is an expert, on-air analyst at the Meadowlands these days. Hall, a U.S. Trotting Association employee for more than 35 years, is a six-time winner of the George Smallsreed award as the sport’s top photographer. Immortal Hall of Fame honorees included Allen and Connie Skolnick, Dr. Leroy Coggins and Charles Hinkle. The Skolnicks owned Southwind Farm in New Jersey, where stallions Valley Victory, Artsplace and Hambletonian winner Muscle Hill stood. Coggins developed the diagnostic test that is an essential veterinary requirement at racetracks around the world. Hinkle was the radio voice of the Hambletonian and Little Brown Jug in the late 1950s and early 60s. 

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7.21.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis & Wagering Strategies for 7/21/19

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Sunday, July 21, 2019 * Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-pair-of-day-makers-at-saratoga-on-july-21st-2019/ RACE 1: Post 12:20 ET. Grade: B Single: 1-Markhan Forecast: Markhan just won a nice race on the flat at Parx and before that crushed a maiden steeplechase field, so the ex-Irish performer should be the one to beat in the opener, which was rescheduled today after being washed out earlier this week. * * RACE 2: Post 12:55 ET. Grade: C Use: 2-Mandatory Payout; 3-Brush Country Forecast: The morning line favorite, Business Cycle (6/5), has been scratched off the program, so this race takes on a different look. Brush Country plummets to his lowest level ever and has races in his chart that are more than good enough to win, but class droppers like this are shaky, especially at short prices. Mandatory Payout is another that has been facing better and has numbers that fit, so he’s a contender as well. In a race that is best left alone, you can include both in your rolling exotics or go deeper if you so inclined. * * RACE 3: Post 1:30 ET. Grade: C Use: 5-Crypto Gold; 8-Bad Boy Forecast: With even money morning line favorite Value Engineering scratching off the program, this maiden claiming turf router opens up a bit. Bad Boy has been facing straight maidens lately and finishing fairly close without being able to punch it in. His numbers, though, are more than good enough to win a modest affair like this, so the Curlin gelding should get most of the play. Crypto Gold probably is worth including on a ticket or two as well; he’s a first-off-the-claim for Rice (28%) and actually finished first in a race (a maiden $40,000) last May at Belmont Park but had his number taken down. There are far more attractive wagering opportunities later in the program, to be sure. * * RACE 4: Post 2:07 ET. Grade: X Use: 1-Guarana; 5-Point of Honor Forecast: Here’s yet another race to pass, as undefeated Guarana is 2/5 on the morning line after destroying a top field by six widening lengths in the Acorn S.-G1 last month. There’s no reason she won’t handle today’s nine furlong trip, but at her price there is no point in gambling to find out. If you think the daughter of Ghostzapper might be vulnerable, you’ll be interested in Black-Eyed Susan winner Point of Honor, proven at today’s nine furlong trip but not as fast on numbers or nearly as brilliant as the odds-on favorite. If Guarana can’t get the trip, Point of Honor is the logical alternative. * * RACE 5: Post 2:44 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 6-Majority Rules; 7-Spice Road Forecast: Majority Rules came up a tad short in a very promising debut in May at Belmont Park, finishing eagerly but just missing in a strong race for straight maidens over a mile. The son of Tiznow goes two-turns and tries a mile and one-eighth off that one race and we suspect the C. Brown-trained colt will step forward considerably. Spice Road just finished first in a maiden race in the mud at Belmont Park late last month but had his number taken down, so the Street Sense colt will try again and this time, hopefully, maintain a straight course. Like Majority Rules, ‘Road will be trying nine furlongs and two-turns for the first time and shouldn’t be inconvenienced in the least. Both should be used in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Majority Rules.* * RACE 6: Post 3:20 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Chestnut Street; 4-Galadriel’s Light; 7-Trixie’s Time Forecast: This restricted (nw-2) $30,000 claiming turf miler for older fillies and mares contains many question marks and requires a spread. We’ll go three-deep but you should definitely include as many as your budget allows. Chestnut Street launches a comeback for new trainer Handal (had been in the C. Brown stable last year) and won over this course last year when graduating in straight maiden company. The daughter of Scat Daddy will be running on strongly late and if she gets some help up front could produce a winning late bid. Worth noting in this barn’s superior statistics with layoff runners. Trixie’s Time may be a tad better than her 10-1 morning line gives her credit for and could pull off a surprise if she can establish the pace without pressure. Clearly a need-the-lead type, the daughter of Hat Trick hails from a high-percentage outfit and has numbers that make her dangerous at a nice price. Galadriel’s Light looked decent breaking her maiden for a tag last month at Belmont Park, but the speed figure came up modest, which explains her 12-1 morning line. She’s lightly-raced and eligible to produce another forward move, so the daughter of Will Take Charge probably is worth tossing in on a ticket or two. * * RACE 7: Post 3:56 ET. Grade: A Single: 10-Sequin Forecast: Sequin is a rocket ship, plain and simply. Purchased for $500,00 at the Fasig-Tipton March 2-year-old in training sale where she was scintillating in her preview breeze, the daughter of the first-crop sire Bayern blew out around dogs on turf last week in 47 2/5 seconds, fastest of 34 for the distance. She had the misfortunate of drawing the 10-hole in the five and one-half furlong dash, but it shouldn’t matter. The W. Ward-trained filly is 3-1 on the morning but is certain to go lower and is a logical straight play and rolling exotic single. * * RACE 8: Post 4:32 ET. Grade: B Use: 2-Three Technique; 6-Basin; 7-Mr Thrifty Forecast: Basin was nosed out by By Your Side when even money in his debut at Churchill Downs last month and had the form franked with ‘Side won the Sanford Stakes in his next outing here last week. The son of Liam’s Map certainly has a right to produce a forward move off that excellent initial impression for the Asmussen barn, which hits at a solid 21 % with second-timers. Three Technique was bet off the board in his debut (left at 4/5) but had to settle for second money while earning a strong figure in a hot race won by Took Charge last month. The son of Mr Speaker seems certain to improve off that race and enjoy today’s extra furlong, so with J. Ortiz staying aboard he’s the one to fear most. We’ll also include Mr Thrifty, second in his first outing at Parx last month in a photo while more than six lengths clear of the rest. The speed figure says he’s a fit with these, and like the others, he has every right to step forward with a race under his belt. * * RACE 9: Post 5:09 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Variant Perception; 2-Penalty; 8-Halladay; 10-Hoboe Forecast: This first-level allowance turf miler looks highly contentious with a number of solid contenders. Variant Perception is guaranteed a good ground-saving trip from his inside draw and the Curlin colt is steadily improving with experience. Though beaten at 2/5 in a photo at Monmouth Park in late May, the C. Brown-trained four-year-old actually earned a career top speed figure and the colt that beat him, King of Spades, came back to win. Castellano, who was aboard when ‘Perception broke his maiden two races back, returns. Penalty, runner-up in his last pair at this level in Kentucky, is solid on speed figures and should be running on strongly late. Halladay graduated with a nice number sprinting on turf at Belmont Park last month and should be on or near the lead throughout. If not policed, he’ll take them a long way. Hoboe is stuck outside but ran very well in both of his prior starts over the Saratoga lawn and his recent form puts in the thick of things from off the pace. If he can secure room when set down in a race with normal fractions, the Donk-trained gelding could get up in time. * * RACE 10: Post 5:43 ET. Grade: Use: 2-Restoring Hope; 7-Identify Politics; 8-Borracho Forecast: Here’s another deep allowance race with several legitimate possibilities. Identity Politics is a prototype late-running sprinter and was able to wear down a softer field when last seen in mid-May at Belmont Park. The C. Brown-trained son of Into Mischief has been training in steady fashion ever since and should be primed for a forward move while rising one level on the class ladder. He’s Grade-1 placed (second in the Malibu S. at Santa Anita last December) and strikes us as having plenty of room for development. Borracho, a fast-finishing third in the Woody Stephens S.-G1 in a race that fell apart late and was dominated by late-runners, earned a career top speed figure in that outing, one that if repeated today puts him right there. However, both of his prior races at Saratoga last year were poor, so that’s a bit of a concern. Restoring Hope, clearly most effective around one turn, scored nicely in his comeback last March but hasn’t been out since. The work tab for the Jason Servis-trained colt is sketchy, but if the son of Giant’s Causeway delivers his best stuff he’ll be in the battle every step of the way. * * RACE 11: Post 6:16 ET. Grade: A- Single: 5-Morticia Forecast: Morticia is hickory in these abbreviated turf sprints for fillies and mares and should draft into her usual pace-stalking position and then exert her influence when it matters in the final furlong. First or second in 15 of 22 career starts, the daughter of Twirling Candy beats this field with anything close to her best, so we’ll make her a straight play and rolling exotic single. * * RACE 12: Post 6:48 ET. Grade: B Use: 4-Monaghan; 8-Internet of Things Forecast: State-bred entry-level allowance older horses meet in a two-turn inner turf course affair that offers at least a couple of possibilities. Internet of Things looks intriguing, so we’ll put the son of Mineshaft slightly on top in his first try on grass. The C. Brown-trained colt has yet to actually finish first in a race – he won his maiden via disqualification - but with just three career starts the lightly-raced 3-year-old has plenty of room to develop and we suspect he’ll produce a strong forward move under these conditions. Monaghan has rising numbers and just beat a restricted (nw-2) $30,000 claiming field in good style at Belmont Park last month. With continued improvement, the Nevin-trained gelding should be able to act at this level. We’ll sink or swim using just these two in our rolling exotics, with preference on top to Internet of Things. * * RACE 13: Post 7:20 ET. Grade: X Use: 1-She’s a Julie; 5-Wow Cat Forecast: Wow Cat was beaten a neck in this race last year off a long layoff, and this will be her first start since finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff-G1 last November. With a history of firing fresh, an impressive series of recent workouts, and from a barn that hits at 28% with layoff runners the Chilean-bred mare should be tough to beat. She’s a Julie, an excellent third to Elate in the Fleur di Lis H.-G2 at Churchill Downs in her most recent outing last month, draws the rail and should be on or near the lead throughout in a race that projects to have fairly soft early fractions. Second in the Alabama S.-G1 over this main track last year, the daughter of Elusive Quality is thoroughly genuine and consistent and certainly could win if Wow Cat is a race away. Both should be used in rolling exotic play. 

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7.20.2019:

Saturday, July 20: Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Saturday, July 20, 2019  Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-two-top-plays-at-del-mar-on-july-20th-2019/  RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 3-Super Klaus; 4-Dearborn; 6-Tequila Sunrise Forecast: The Saturday opener is a six-runner starter’s allowance main track miler for fillies and mares that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Based on the projected race shape, we’re going to give the edge on top to what we believe is the best closer in the race, Super Klaus. The daughter of Flashback has a prior two-turn dirt win on her resume and accomplished that victory with the kind of late-running style that should give her the edge in this affair. Bejarano stays aboard, knows her well, and should be able to produce her for the last run. Dearborn has numbers that are good enough to win at this level and continues to train in sharp fashion for Bonde. She’s suspect at this distance but on paper looks like the best of the pace-pressing brigade. Tequila Sunrise broke her maiden in April, hasn’t been out since, but returns protected by Baltas in a sign of confidence. She’s a one-paced grinder but against this group that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics and then have a few extra tickets keying Super Klaus on top.   RACE 2: Post 2:33 PT. Grade: X Use: 1-American Anthem; 4-Flagstaff Forecast: The post-position draw – which favors the comfortably drawn Flagstaff – may dictate this second-level allowance main track sprint. On pure form American Anthem is the better of the two, but he’s stuck on the fence while Flagstaff can stalk and pounce or pop and go from the four-hole depending upon the race flow. Flagstaff probably will be the better price of two and continues to train sharply after returning from a layoff to beat a lesser field in early May, but ‘Anthem has three triple digit Beyer figures to go back to and is more than good enough to win off his best effort. However, he could finish only fourth from the rail vs. similar last time out and that was at Santa Anita, where the inside part of the track is not the disadvantage that it is here.   RACE 3: Post 3:05 PT. Grade: B- Use: 4-Loud Mouth; 9-Collins Ave; 11-Contagion Forecast: Collins Ave is eligible for some of that valuable “ship-and-win” money in his first start since being claimed for $40,000 in New York, so you know he’s cranked and ready with O’Neill securing the services of the top local turf rider, Pratt. Clearly most effective when held up early and allowed to run late, the Quality Road gelding is assured that type of ride and could produce a winning late kick in a field that projects to have at least a reasonable pace. Loud Mouth is bred to improve on grass, so we have to use him on that basis alone. The son of Boisterous makes his first start since being transferred to the high percentage Wong barn, and with a series of strong works since mid-May he’s liable to produce a significant forward move. Contagion clearly prefers the front-end but is stuck on the far outside and likely will have to deal with other speed types, so a good trip is hard to envision. His game runner-up effort to Nolde was franked when that one came back to finish a close second in the Oceanside Stakes, so he’s certainly a fit, but during the early stages of the race he’ll need things to break his way.   RACE 4: Post 3:36 PT. Grade: X Single: 1-Catalina Cruiser Forecast: Catalina Cruiser won the San Diego Handicap from the rail last year and it will be quite shocking if he doesn’t do the exact same thing in 2019. Fresh from a superior comeback win in the True North Stakes sprinting at Belmont Park last month, the Sadler-trained son of Union Rags stretches out and looks likely to make the running without any real pressure and then dominate when called upon. There’s no wagering value, of course, but if you’re participating in the rolling exotics he’s a logical short-price single.   RACE 5: Post 4:09 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 8-Blue Moonrise Forecast: Blue Moonrise was more than eight lengths clear of the rest when runner-up in her recent comeback in a race that earned a giant speed figure. Two bullet workouts since then suggest she’ll produce a forward move, but even if she doesn’t the daughter of Malibu Moon should have little difficult earning her diploma from her lovely outside post. At 5/2 on the morning line and likely to go lower with the switch to Prat, the Baffert-trained filly is a straight play and rolling exotic single.   RACE 6: Post 4:38 PT. Grade: B Use: 3-S Y Sky; 8-Just Grazed Me; 9-Gypsy Blu Forecast: In an abbreviated turf sprint that is loaded with speed, let’s focus on those that are capable of winning from off the pace. S Y Sky has won stakes races on both surfaces and under these conditions the daughter of Grazen looks well-spotted to extend her winning streak to three. She earned a career top speed figure when wearing down the top-class sprinting mare Belvoir Bay in the Monrovia Stakes-G3 in late May and has been kept on edge with a series of easy, steady works at San Luis Rey Downs. We’re expecting her to draft into a stalking position to the head of the lane and then go on with it. Just Grazed Me, the other Alexander/D’Amato entrant, has been away since December but she won her debut so you know she can fire fresh, and a healthy series of recent workouts should have her fit and ready. She doesn’t quite have the tactical speed of her stablemate, but with good racing luck she could be dangerous in final furlong. Gypsy Blu, always most effective as a late-running sprinter and a winner over this course and distance last year, can really fly home if room develops and if the speed types go too fast early. The daughter of Papa Clem continues to look extra sharp in the morning and actually could leave a bit higher than her 5-1 morning line. She’s a “must use” in the exotics.   RACE 7: Post 5:07 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 7-Club Aspen Forecast: This maiden special weight sprint for state-bred juveniles appeared fairly wide open at first glance, but after a closer examination it seems the first-time starter Club Aspen has quite a bit in his favor. The son of Clubhouse Ride had a nice five-furlong team gate workout at Santa Anita two weeks ago that should have him plenty fit, and from his comfortable outside post he’ll load last and hopefully break first. The Craig Lewis barn already has won a juvenile sprint this meeting (on opening day with a filly by this same sire) and this colt, a $55,000 purchase during the Fasig-Tipton Santa Anita sale where he breezed a quarter pole in 22 3/5 seconds, was produced by a 2-year-old stakes winning dam. In a race in which five of the seven entrants are first time starters, we’ll take a stand and use ‘Aspen (6-1 morning line) as a straight play and rolling exotic single.   RACE 8: Post 5:36 PT. Grade: B Use: 1-Keeper Of the Stars; 3-Mucho Unusual; 9-Maxim Rate Forecast: The West Coast 3-year-old filly turf division has been unsettled all year and seems to be a different winner in every stakes race. Maybe it’s Maxim Rate’s turn again. A winner of the Senorita Stakes at this one mile trip two runs back, the Callaghan-trained filly was produced too soon, lost ground, and flattened out in the nine-furlong Honeymoon S. in June in her most recent start, but in today’s race, which likely will have a legitimate pace, she seems capable of producing the last run. Mucho Unusual has a found a home grass, will likely enjoy an ideal, ground-saving, pace-stalking trip, and is reunited with Rosario, who the Cal Cup Oaks on her two races back. Fresh from a career-top performance in a strong recent allowance race, the daughter of Mucho Macho Man seems primed for another big effort. Keeper Of the Stars broke a 17-year old course record when winning an allowance race on grass at Golden Gate Fields last month while earning a career top speed figure, and today, in her first start since being transferred to the high-percentage Wong barn, the daughter of Midnight Lute will get tested for class. She’s a devout front-runner leaving from the rail, so there’s no strategy other than to break and go.   RACE 9: Post 6:05 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 5-Save the Story; 6-Pure Xena Forecast: Pure Xena sizzled a quarter in 20 4/5 seconds in the OBS April 2-year-olds in training sale and then brought $370,000 through the ring, quite a price for a daughter of Warrior’s Reward from a modest female family. She’s a very good mover and was especially impressive in recent five furlong team drill at Santa Anita to indicate her readiness. At 4-1 on the morning line, she deserves top billing. In her debut last month at Santa Anita, Save the Story couldn’t handle Amalfi Sunrise – maybe the best 2-year-old filly we’ve seen so far this year – but was six lengths clear of the others while earning a strong speed figure, so we’re expecting the daughter of Will Take Charge to be the one to fear most in this stronger-than-average maiden allowance juvenile five furlong sprint. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll have extra tickets keying Pure Xena on top.   RACE 10: Post 6:34 PT. Grade: B- Use: 3-Ronad R; 4-Foray; 5-Battle of Memphis; 10-Overdue Forecast: Almost every one of the 10 entrants in this one mile turf affair has an angle or two in their past performance chart to make them a “usable” in rolling exotic play. In a race that appears to be loaded with speed, the natural inclination is to find a closer, but what if one of the speed types clears while the others take back? Best advice is to spread, spread, spread. Ronald R was claimed for $40,000 a year ago May but was turned out; he returns protected by Ellis and has back numbers that make him dangerous. He has the proper style for the race and could spring a surprise if his slow and steady series of workouts has him fit enough. Battle of Memphis is an intriguing Midwest invader eligible for some of that valuable “ship and win” purse money and has numbers that fit and a style that should allow him to be dangerous from the off the pace. Overdue didn’t get the best of trips when a good second in a hot race at this level last month, but he’s not blessed with a great deal of acceleration and likely will need to take the overland journey under Prat to have his best chance. Foray is vastly improved for Sadler, but he’s not likely to be handed his coveted front running trip. If he can switch off and stalk, he can win, but with just seven career starts who really knows yet what he’s capable of? 

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7.20.2019:

Saturday, July 20: Meadowlands Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has a 13-race card set to roll this evening. Sophomore trotters will be competing prominently throughout, many of which are Hambletonian eligible. My attention is fixed on the 0.50 Pick 4 which begins in Race 8. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and a 15% takeout. The driver with the hottest hands at the Big M on Friday was Dave Miller with three wins. Trainer Tony Alagna led the conditions with three pictures. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 8 4-Sweet Rock-Comes back in 7-days, gets post relief, drops and Dunn sticks, that's a lot of positives for ML chalk. 9-Another Daily Copy-Was sharper in the spring but last effort was best in a while, could be sitting on a big try. 10-On Duty-Another dropper who beat this kind from 8-hole on 7/6, barn is hot and can grind it out from this post. Race 9 1-Pilot Discretion-Muscle Hill colt is a good one and should be tighter in 2nd start since some time off. 4-Soul Strong-Having a much better sophomore season, had a nice win from the 8-hole, this is a test but will use. 7-Gerry-Even effort in last 3 but stayed on stride. If breaking issues have been cured Tetrick should get into play. Race 10 5-City Hall-9-yr.-old comes off a win and steps-up, Tetrick takes a seat, this guy is 17-39 at Big M, will string along. 7-Joe Joe Joe-D. Miller takes a spin, and this is better spot, should be a factor down the lane and a hot pace helps. 9-Odds On Lauderdale-2nd start since March, has beaten better, can top this crew from 9-hole if dialed on high. Race 11 2-Always A Diamond-Made every call a winning a one last week and looks like a player again tonight. 3-Good Day Mate-Hung in versus #2 last week and was off 14 days, now D. Miller steers and is a square price. 7-Rockin M-Program chalk makes Big M debut, has faced tough customers on smaller ovals, best to respect.  My Ticket Race 8) 4,9,10 Race 9) 1,4,7 Race 10) 5,7,9 Race 11) 2,3,7 Total Ticket Cost) $40.50 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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7.19.2019:

Chiseled, So Sublime in finale of attractive GP Pick 5

Gulfstream Park’s exotic wagering opportunities are many, and a big one hits you right off the bat. And we’re jumping right in. The Pick 5 runs from races 1-5 and has some competitive heats and there’s an opportunity to beat some of the chalk – which is often makes the payoff more than what you’d expect. Here’s a capsule look at the Pick 5 races on the Saturday card from Hallandale Beach. Race 1 There’s a potential spread race right out of the gate, but we’re keeping it at three – Unnamed Soldier, Thorpe d’Oro and Mister Storm. Mister Storm is 7-5 and will be on most tickets but has lost his last three when he looked good in each of those. He’s included but I see it necessary to include others. Unnamed Soldier was a solid second two races back and then broke inward and finished fourth last out. He gets a switch to the hot-riding Edgard Zayas and that certainly won’t hurt his chances. Thorpe d’Oro is the best late threat and just missed vs. similar last time out. There’s always a lively pace at five furlongs and it could work in his favor today. Race 2 Another trio gets the check marks here – Boy Scout, Cash On Hand Starship Taxi. Boy Scout is in from Tampa and was on the board in his last three, including his last one when he was second in a ‘non-winners of three’ race for a higher price on turf. Despite having had 17 tries, he’ll be a player if he runs back to his last one. Cash On Hand is the favorite and has the speed, and Starship Taxi is second to none on the front end. There will be a lively pace and the survivor of this trio can get the graduation cap. Race 3 Two on the card should get it done here as Sweet Kayden has terrific speed from the rail and Venezuelan Warrior has an adjustable running style. Neither will be much of a price, and for good reason. Sweet Kayden’s races have been at a higher level, especially those on dirt, and he’ll likely take command from the rail post. Venezuelan Warrior lost by a nose last time and his last two after a class drop have made him a solid player for this $6,250 claiming price. Race 4 This is second of two races will three runners on the ticket – Five Str Recruit, Johnnythetireman and Goldenlineof. Five Star Recruit ran second on the turf three races back and his connections tried to keep him on grass but weather and course conditions sent those races to the main track. He nearly survived fast fractions but finished second in his last turf attempt and will be a strong player if he runs back to that. I see no reason to believe he can’t. Johnnythetireman never reached contention in his only start, but had an excuse with a rough start. He drops in class and will move up with a clean run at it. Goldenlifeof set the pace and tired going five furlongs and could sprint free on the front end here. It’s a price play and will be dangerous if rider Jose Gallego him to relax. If so, he could around for the finish. Race 5 We’ll bookend this one with Chiseled along the rail and So Sublime on the outside. Chiseled is an eight-time winner at this mile distance, has speed and gets apprentice rider Cristian Torres, who has shown a steady hand on the front end. With the inside post, he’ll have to go and should be solid with his pacesetting duties. So Sublime is the biggest threat and has a good chance to get right on Chiseled flank early. He hasn’t won since September 2018 but has come down the claiming ladder and has shown improvement in his last two. Continued progress could land him in the winner’s circle. Here’s a suggested ticket for the Pick 5 Saturday at Gulfstream Park: 1) #2 Unnamed Soldier, #6 Thorpe d’Oro, #7 Mister Storm. 2) #4 Boy Scout, #6 Cash On Hand, #7 Starship Taxi. 3) #1 Sweet Kayden, #6 Venezuelan Warrior. 4) #2 Five Star Recruit, #5 Johnnythetireman, #8 Goldenlineof. 5) #1 Chiseled, #8 So Sublime. 50-cent Pick Five: 2-6-7 with 4-6-7 with 1-6 with 2-5-8 with 1-8 ($54).

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7.19.2019:

Friday, July 19: Can-Am Pick 4 Analysis

It's Can-Am Pick 4 Friday once again. Leg 1 starts the sequence at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Race 10, followed by Leg 2 at the Meadowlands in Race 12. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 10-Mohawk Park-Leg 1 1-Mister Of All-Back to Mohawk and fits, Filion has been hot and he wins at a 25% clip for the Boyd barn. 8-Highland Dynamite-In good form and could make it 2 straight if Jamieson gets in striking range. 10-Steuben Hanover-3-year-old started the year in good form, this is a test but will respect and post helps price. Race 12-Meadowlands-Leg 2 1-Marloe Hanover-Could be the value play at 10-1 in the ML for Miller and Norman. 2-Lady Lou-Tetrick steers tonight and Alagna trainee scored with a .55-2nd half as the odds-on chalk, using. 5-Caviart Jane-Qualifier was a good one coming off a sick scratch, will respect connections in 1st career start. 6-Reflect With Me-McCarthy lost last by a neck at even money and can get revenge this evening. Race 11-Mohawk Park-Leg 3 1-The Joy Luck Club-Just missed versus better, McNair is back, and speedy mare could be sitting on a big try. 3-Sunday Afternoon-Drops and moves inside, might stay on the back of #1 and trip out at a price. 7-Machnhope-Tossing last and fits better here, could pop at a square price if pace is hot and gets a trip. 8-Kloof Street-Form has been so-so but has been facing tougher, could take a picture if throws best shot. Race 13-Meadowlands-Leg 4 3-Miss Ruby-1-19 in 2019 but this is a level to get 2nd win and comes back to the Big M where does best work. 5-Max Volo-Should like the company and is a player versus these plus Tetrick sticks, but breaking issues must stop. 8-U Need Stones-Program chalk drops into a spot to shine, may blast out and look to wire this field. My Ticket Race 10 Mohawk) 1,8,10 Race 12 Meadowlands) 1,2,5,6 Race 11 Mohawk) 1,3,7,8 Race 13 Meadowlands) 3,5,8 Total Ticket Cost) $28.80 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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7.19.2019:

Friday, July 19: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on Twitter @jsiegelracing.  Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Friday, July 19, 2019 Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Two Top Plays at Saratoga on July 19th, 2019 Today’s Bullet Drills: Preview of Races 3, 7 and 9 at Saratoga on July 19th, 2019 Based on Works RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: C+ Single: 5-Bourbon Mission Forecast: Bourbon Mission, in his second start off a layoff, shows up in a maiden claimer for the first time and clearly is being culled from the stable after originally bringing $150,000 in the Saratoga yearling sale two years ago. He returns to the main track, adds blinkers, switches to I. Ortiz, and has numbers that are more than good enough to beat this field. Is he trustworthy? Probably not, but he does look like a logical winner in a weak affair. You can use him as a no-value rolling exotic single, or, better yet, pass the race. RACE 2: Post 1:36 ET. Grade: B Use: 5-Queen Kahen; 6-Carrizo Forecast: Queen Kahen drops below her claim level, returns to dirt, switches to I. Ortiz, and should be capable of winning this $25,000 claimer for 3-year-old fillies with a repeat of her maiden claiming win two runs back. She has a good stalking style for this seven furlong trip and the barn is off to a blazing start, so all systems are go. Carrizo was claimed for $50,000 in mid-June at Churchill Downs (she finished fourth as the favorite) and today surfaces for half that amount for barn that has superior stats with first-off-the-claim plays. Is this one of those “pad your stats” maneuvers, or are there issues to be concerned with? That’s the claiming game. The daughter of Paynter has back numbers that are more than good enough to win at this level, but does she have one good one left? We’ll use her as a backup in our rolling exotics, but the main push goes to Queen Kahen RACE 3: Post 2:12 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 4-Paradiso; 5-Doll Forecast: Paradiso, a promising runner-up in an off-the-turf maiden affair in her only outing last October, launches a comeback while adding blinkers, and looks dangerous off the bench following a sharp half-mile blowout (47 3/5 seconds, fourth fastest of 71) at Monmouth Park six days ago. At 10-1 on the morning line, she’s worth strong consideration in the straight pool. Doll is strictly the one to beat in her first try on grass, a surface that her pedigree suggests she’ll have no trouble handling. Freshened for seven weeks and hailing from the Jason Servis barn (33% with short layoff runners), the daughter of Verrazano is strong on speed figures with better to come, and in a field without much early zip, she should find herself on or near the lead throughout in this abbreviated sprint for maiden state-bred fillies and mares. We’ll put Paradiso on top due to price considerations but include both in our rolling exotics. RACE 4: Post 2:48 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Shareholder Value; 4-Sir Ballantine Forecast: Shareholder Value moves up a level to the $20,000 claiming ranks after pulverizing a $16,000 field late last month at Belmont Park in a race that earned him a career top speed figure. Claiming off Jason Service can be dicey, but the Rice barn hits with 28% with the first-off-the-claim angle so we’re expecting the Uncle Mo gelding to win right back. Sir Ballantine actually ran in the Carter H.-G1 two races back and now is being cast aside by a barn that isn’t afraid to get aggressive before the wheels completely come off. The son of Stay Thirsty has won at this extended sprint distance in the past and should be moving well through the lane but given the suspicious pattern he’s at best a saver in rolling exotic play. RACE 5: Post 3:28 ET. Grade: B Use: 6-Finite; 7-Mrs. Danvers Forecast: Maiden juvenile fillies sprint six furlongs in the fifth race that features a pair of well-regarded first time starters that should attract much of the play. Finite, a $200,000 Timonium purchase in May, was a bit green in her 10 2/5 seconds breeze during the preview session but appears to have good quickness for stable that excels with first-time starters (22% with a flat-bet profit). An excellent series of workouts at Keeneland prior to her arrival at Saratoga should have her fit and cranked up. Though his record with debut runners is below average, Shug appears to have a very nice prospect in Mrs. Danvers, a homebred daughter of Tapit. A bullet 46 1/5 half mile workout at Keeneland last month catches the eye, so we’ll use her in our rolling exotics while preferring Finite on top. RACE 6: Post 4:03 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Willing to Speed; 7-Clear for Action; 9-Labeq; 11-Cross Border Forecast: This starter’s allowance middle distance affair is a turf raffle requiring a spread in rolling exotic play. Clear for Action, first off the $40,000 claim by Kenneally and a winner of three of his last four starts, is a devout front-runner in a field that should allow him his preferred trip. This barn is off-the-charts with the first-off-the claim angle (40% with a strong flat-bet profit), and the fact this gelding is being protected indicates he’s primed for another major effort. While we prefer him on top, there are others in here that are worth consideration as well. Willing to Speed, second in his last three starts but with speed figures that fit, switches to I. Ortiz and may be the most dangerous of the closers. He’ll need some help up front, though. Labeq finally earned his diploma in his 10th career start but did so with a competitive figure and has enough tactical speed to secure a comfortable pace-stalking trip. Cross Border returned off a year layoff to finish a close second in a hot starter’s allowance turf sprint last month while earning a career top number. It’s questionable, however, if he can be just as effective around two turns. RACE 7: Post 4:39 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Krewe Chief; 2-Cape Angel; 7-Lemonist Forecast: This is yet another contentious turf affair, offering a few possibilities and the potential for a nice priced winner. Let’s start with Cape Angel, a perfect two-for-two over the Saratoga grass course. The son of Cape Blanco had a solid prep in Kentucky in his first outing in six months in mid-June and can be expected to move forward with that tightener under his belt. The Sharp-trained gelding will be trying a mini-marathon distance for the first time and on pedigree this 11-furlong journey should be made to order. At 10-1 on the morning line he offers value both in the straight pool and in rolling exotic play. Krewe Chief seems to lack a winning punch (he’s 3-for-31) but will have no difficulty with the distance and should enjoy an ideal ground-saving trip from his inside draw and be within striking range throughout. Lemonist, first or second in nine of 14 career starts, is a one-paced grinder who just ran well at trip when second in a similar affair last month at Belmont Park. He won’t have to improve much to win and is worth including somewhere as well. RACE 8: Post 5:15 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 2-Engage Forecast: Engage has been away for 10 months but the C. Brown barn rarely sends out a short horse off long layoff (29% with comebackers) so we’re expecting this lightly-raced and talented son of Into Mischief to be plenty fit for a winning effort over a Saratoga main track that he’s proven he likes. Second to Promises Fulfilled in the Amsterdam S.-G1 here last year and a maiden winner over this main track as a juvenile, the son of Into Mischief should have every chance to regain his winning form with a good pace-stalking trip under regular rider J. Ortiz. The work tab indicates he’s fit and ready. Let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 9: Post 5:51 ET. Grade: X Single: 7-Blowout Forecast: C. Brown saddles all three runners that remain in the Lake George S.-G3. Blowout was a very impressive winner of the listed With Applause Stakes last month, and with just four career starts the English-bred daughter of Dansili certainly has room for further progress. Her numbers have risen substantially with every outing and she may be on the verge on stardom. Pretty good payday for the barn in what is nothing more than choreographed afternoon team workout. RACE 10: Post 6:25 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 5-Final Say; 8-Known But to God Forecast: Final Say has little to beat in this modest maiden claimer and the Pletcher-trained colt – originally a $470,000 2-year-old in training purchase – seems set to graduate after finishing six lengths clear of the rest when second in a slightly tougher race at Belmont Park last month. Known But to God returns to dirt, has numbers that fit, and should be prominent throughout and have every chance. He’s a 10-race maiden but is a legitimate contender pretty much by default. These are the two that are most logical in a race that offers little wagering value.

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7.18.2019:

High, Low, & Even Lower

This wasn’t planned. At least I don’t think so. Why would it be? And by whom? How would they know? And, if they did know, why would they even care? As frustrating as betting horses can be…this is just plain torture. Cruel and unusual punishment, I’d say. It’s a long way to go to aggravate a single horseplayer. Even the most devout conspiracy theorist couldn’t conjure up this one. It’s got to be pure coincidence. Bad luck. Fate. How else can you explain an unholy reunion in the Haskell Stakes of runners responsible for personal 2019 Triple Crown high, low and even lower moments? Saturday’s forecast predicts temperatures that are hotter than hell. Not to worry, it’s a dry heat…like my oven! Saratoga already has cancelled Saturday racing and so have other east-coast tracks. At this writing, Monmouth is still in action and the Haskell is on tap. A 5PM ET NBC national television broadcast may have something to do with that, plus a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ free pass also is on the line. So, the show may go on. If it does, let’s hope everyone returns safely, including those Triple Crown veterans who’ve gathered to torment me again. On the first Saturday in May, original Kentucky Derby winner Maximum Security appeared to have completed a pick five wager that would have earned yours truly a near $5,500 payoff for a 50-cent wager. An additional healthy win wager at glorious 9/2 odds also seemed achieved. Well, we all know what happened then. As they say on television, ‘Let’s run the video tape.’ It took nearly 25 minutes for Churchill stewards to deliver the worst miscarriage of justice since the OJ verdict. Am I biased? Yes. Not only did I have a dog in the fight, my dog won! Maximum Security was disqualified from first for interference and placed 17th and my ‘high’ suddenly became a ‘low.’ In the Preakness, yours truly was all over the tris and supers except for a minor detail: I neglected to use nearly 30-1 runner-up Everfast in the two-hole. Oops! Earlier in the season, the son of Take Charge Indy had been second in the Holy Bull and then was a nowhere-ninth in both the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby—beaten at least 15 lengths in each. His form then improved a bit when he was fifth, beaten 10-lengths in the Pat Day Mile. Still, I didn’t see that train coming down the tracks and it cost me. Honestly, after the race, I still don’t see that train coming. Three weeks later, yours truly nailed Belmont Stakes tris and supers…sort of…except he failed to include nearly 22-1 third-place finisher Joevia anywhere on his tickets. In fact, Joevia was the only horse he completely left out of his wagers. Why? Because there was no way the speed horse, who previously had won just two races--both over sloppy tracks in front-running fashion-- was going to last at a mile and one-half around Big Sandy. At least that’s what I thought. All three of my Triple Crown antagonists have gathered to torment me again in the Haskell Stakes. They’re joined by four others. How will it end this time? Which will deliver a crushing blow to my tris or supers? Will it be a new soph spook emerge to haunt my house? Joining my previous tormentors in the Haskell are Pegasus winner King for a Day; Parx allowance winner Spun to Run; Ohio Derby fourth-place finisher Bethlehem Road and California invader Mucho Gusto. Below is one man’s horse-by-horse opinion of the Haskell Stakes field with a suggested wagering strategy. However, I’m not exactly sure why anyone would follow it. Three of these runners already have punished me this season.  1. King for a Day Pletcher/Velazquez  A winner of three of five starts, King for a Day upset 1-20 favorite Maximum Security in the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth last out. ‘King may have caught ‘Security a bit short for that race, but it was run in competitive time with the winner earning an impressive 102 Beyer Speed Figure. The number was the best in the son of Uncle Mo’s five races and extended his streak of improving Beyer Speed Figures. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who rode King for a Day in his previous four starts, will return in the saddle for the Haskell to replace Pegasus-winning rider and Jersey legend Joe Bravo. King for a Day has speed and Velazquez probably will want to maintain the rail position throughout, so look for him to be close to whatever develops on the front end in a race loaded with pace. 2. Joevia Sacco/Lezcano Never imagined that this one would hang around for a serious slice of the Belmont pie but he did. He finished third, less than two lengths shy of winner Sir Winston. This son of Shanghai Bobby is a fresh speed horse with a :58 2/5 bullet work at Monmouth for this. Expect him to have a say in the early pace picture. He is two for two at Monmouth--one a maiden first-out sprint in ’18 and the other the mile and one-sixteenth Long Branch Stakes--both in the slop.  3. Spun to Run Guerrero/P. Lopez  Blinkers go in for this sharp Parx invader that has parlayed two open-length victories into a Haskell starting slot. It took five outings for this son of Hard Spun to break his maiden but when he did, he came back next out to route $50k optional claiming, first-level allowance foes in nearly wire-to-wire fashion. He’s got speed, but not as much as either of the two horses inside of him. He figures as an outsider in here.  4. Bethlehem Road Curry/LA Rodriguez  This son of Quality Road also hails from Parx and ripped off three consecutive dominating wire-to-wire wins at that track, including a $75k stakes race at a mile and 70-yards. Last out he was a well-beaten fourth of six—over 23-lengths back—in the Ohio Derby taken by Preakness show horse Owendale. Bethlehem Road figures to have company early in this race and it’s difficult to imagine how he’s going to survive that battle. 5. Mucho Gusto Baffert/Talamo As if there weren’t enough local speed in this year’s Haskell, they went and imported another quick one from California out of the Bob Baffert barn. Now, Bob Baffert-trained Haskell starters are about as successful as Nick Saban-coached Alabama football elevens. If they don’t win the big one, they sure do come close often. Mucho Gusto was part of Baffert’s second string on the Triple Crown trail. Winner of the Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita, he made the travelling squad but then was sidelined after finishing third in the Sunland Derby. He’s returned in fine fettle; winning the seven-furlong Laz Barrera and the mile and one-sixteenth Grade 3 Affirmed in back-to-back races. He’s been training lights-out for Baffert over a slower Santa Anita surface with three works since the Affirmed—two of them six-furlong bullet moves. Mucho Gusto has shown the ability to rate just off of foes, so that versatility will come in handy in here. Joe Talamo has ridden him in every start and will again Saturday.  6. Everfast Romans/Leparoux  Following his surprising runner-up effort in the Preakness, Everfast finished seventh, beaten just over three lengths in the Belmont Stakes. He’s been in training at his Churchill Downs base since. On paper this appears to be precisely the kind of field that should give Everfast a puncher’s chance—plenty of early pace to set up his closing style. Perhaps countering that perceived advantage is the fact that the Monmouth Park strip notoriously favors front-runners. While Everfast has just one win in 12 starts—a maiden at Ellis in August of ’18—he’s earned nearly $500k on the strength of two seconds and one third! If he’s any kind of price in here he’s worth a look 7. Maximum Security Jason Servis/L Saez While an outside draw for a speed horse usually is a grand thing, racing gods didn’t do ‘Security any favors by putting him on the far outside going a mile and one-eighth at Monmouth. True, he’s got plenty of speed and will use it early, but connections would rather save a bit of that energy for the end. This son of New Year’s Day will be favored in here and should be tighter after his defeat in the Pegasus—which was no disgrace at all. That race produced a 100 Beyer Speed Figure—the fourth consecutive time he’s cracked the Beyer century mark! He’s the fastest horse in the race. However, he’s a short price and has a compromising draw outside several other speed horses. That will force jockey Saez to go faster than desired early. Is he talented enough to overcome that obstacle? Maybe.  Bottom Line   One to Beat: #7 Maximum Security  Next Best: #1 King for a Day #5 Mucho Gusto   Closing Threat: #6 Everfast  Suggested Wagers ($90):   $10 Trifecta ($60)  7 with 1, 5, 6 with 1, 5, 6  $5 Trifecta ($30)   1, 5, 6 with 7 with 1, 5, 6 Race On! 

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7.18.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis & Wagering Strategies for 7/18/19

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on Twitter @jsiegelracing.  Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies for Del MarThursday, July 18, 2019 Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Plays at Del Mar on July 18th, 2019  Today’s Bullet Drills: Preview of Races 6 and 7 at Del Mar on July 18th, 2019 Based on Works  RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 3-Thanks Mr. Eidson; 7-Juggerenaut  Forecast: We’ll go two-deep in the Thursday opener, an uninspiring event for juveniles. Thanks Mr. Eidson has two runs under his belt, both good efforts, each earning respectable speed figures. The Bonde-trained colt drops into an expensive ($150,000) maiden claimer and seems the solid pick at what should be a fairly low price. Juggernaut appears the most dangerous of the new faces. The homebred son of Goldencents is comfortably drawn outside, and we assume that with trainer Keith’s brother Kent taking the mount this colt is preferred over the other Desormeaux entrant, Gorky Park. The work tab for Juggernaut seems decent enough, so we’ll toss him in even though this barn’s record with debut runners doesn’t inspire confidence.  RACE 2: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: C Single: 7-Boru  Forecast: Boru is hardly our idea of a solid single, and if you can find something to beat him, go right ahead. We tried but couldn’t. Beaten as the favorite in his last pair, the Cerin-trained gelding will be heavily-backed again, and he may not need any improvement to handle this modest $62,500 maiden claiming field. However, the son of Curlin has never been known to find anything under pressure, so he’s clearly not one to trust. Best advice is to pass the race and look for better value later in the program.  RACE 3: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 2-Whatsittoya; 5-Mo Dinero  Forecast: Whatsittoya broke his maiden in decent style at Pleasanton last month and the Northern California-based Kyle Frey, who was aboard for that win, shows up to ride, so we’ll take that as a positive. The lightly-raced gelding isn’t necessarily fast enough on pure numbers to win, but he’s never taken a backward move so with continued improvement he could score right back. Mo Dinero, first or second in his last three starts with steadily rising speed figures, should be set for another good effort for a high percentage outfit and is the one to beat in this $16,000 abbreviated sprint restricted to 3-year-olds. In a race without much early speed, the Munnings gelding should be able to settle just off the pace and then have every chance when it matters. We’ll prefer Whatsittoya slightly on top but use both in our rolling exotics.  RACE 4: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 4-Samurai Charm; 5-Text Don’t Call; 6-Miss Fraulein; 9 Senora Power  Forecast: Samurai Charm is a first-timer from the Miller barn with series of decent workouts at San Luis Rey Downs that should have her plenty fit for a good effort. The barn always has been fairly decent with debut runners, and this homebred lands Prat, so we assume she will be competitive in this maiden $50,000 claiming sprint for 2-year-old fillies. Text Don’t Call brought $40,000 in May at Timonium, where she displayed good action when previewing in 10 4/5 seconds, an okay clocking. She should fit with these. Miss Fraulein is bred for speed (Strong Mandate) and shows a bullet workout (48 seconds from the gate, fastest of 20) at a training center in Utah before arriving in California, and so perhaps she can run a bit as well. Senora Power has the benefit of a prior run, finishing a distant fourth in the powerful race won by subsequent stakes winner Comical, and obviously will find this group considerably easier. In what is nothing more than an exercise in reading tea leaves, we’ll try go four deep and hope that’s enough.  RACE 5: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 5-Kazan; 8-Calle Kingpin  Forecast: Calle Kingpin looked good winning an allowance race over the Golden Gate Fields turf course in his most recent outing while on the pace throughout and earning a strong speed figure, so if he gets that type of trip again today – and based on the projected pace scenario he very well might – the S. Sherman-trained horse may be capable of springing another upset. The lightly-raced 5-year-old has a healthy work pattern since raced, so he should run at least as well and perhaps better today, the tougher assignment notwithstanding. Kozan is the likely favorite and certainly can win – he finished second in the Hollywood Derby over this course and distance last December – but the evidence suggests those glory days are behind him. He’s only made it to the post once since a February win at Santa Anita, and his recent workouts have been uninspiring, but the Baltas-trained gelding is reunited with “win rider” Prat and will be hard to beat with anything close to his bet. Calle Kingpin will be the much better price, so he’s the gamble, but both should be included in rolling exotic play.  RACE 6: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: X Single: 1-Sneaking Out  Forecast: Sneaking Out was not permitted to compete in the Melair Stakes that she surely would have won during the final weekend of the Santa Anita season when all of trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s entrants were scratched by an association edict, but she’s trained well since for new trainer Desormeaux and on paper completely outclasses the field. She won her maiden over this track from the rail last year by more than 10 lengths, so we shouldn’t be concerned by her inside draw. However, at 6/5 on the morning line the daughter of Indian Evening no doubt will be too short to play, but we can use her as a no-value rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.  RACE 7: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 6-Harmon; 11-Irish Heatwave  Forecast: There’s little doubt that Irish Heatwave is the logical top pick and the most likely winner of the race, but we’ll be gambling on the Bay Area shipper Harmon, a lightly-raced son of Cairo Prince whose speed figures are rising with every start and whose form suggests that he’s done improving. An easy all-weather maiden winner two runs back, the Gallagher-trained gelding had trouble in deep stretch in his most recent start when finishing third and could have been right there with clear sailing. Van Dyke should have him forwardly placed throughout with dead aim at the head of the lane, so at 12-1 on the morning line there’s good long shot value in the straight pool as the vertical and horizontal exotics. Irish Heatwave has a poor outside draw, but other than that he’s genuine, consistent, a stakes-winner, and has numbers than continue to rise. He’s listed at 4-1 on the morning line but we’ll be surprised if he doesn’t go lower, and if Desormeaux can negotiate a decent trip this son of Unusual Heat may be hard to deny.

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7.18.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis & Wagering Strategies for 7/18/19

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on Twitter @jsiegelracing.  Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies for SaratogaThursday, July 18, 2019 Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Plays at Saratoga on July 18th, 2019 Today’s Bullet Drills: Preview of Races 6, 8 and 9 at Saratoga on July 18th, 2019 Based on Works  RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B Use: 1-Zealous; 4-Golden Tiger  Forecast: When last seen in the winter Zealous was developing into a fairly consistent sort and was finally able to break his maiden in his 10th career start with a speed figure good enough to win at this level. Freshened since February but sporting a sharp, healthy work tab that includes a bullet drill (48 3/5 seconds, fastest of 39) on July 1, the Bond-trained gelding might return even better than he left and has the proper style for this extended sprint distance. With a clean break from his rail post the Tiznow gelding should be able to secure a nice, ground-saving, second flight trip. Golden Tiger has steadily rising speed figures (though still below what Zealous is capable of achieving), and with another forward move he should be able to at least pose a threat. Rosario will have him on or near the lead throughout.  RACE 2: Post 1:36 ET. Grade: C Single: 4-January Won; 6-JustintimeforwineForecast: This race is restricted to two-year-olds that brought $45,000 or less at auction, and thus is considerably softer than a typical open maiden Saratoga juvenile event. Justintimeforwine qualifies after being purchased for that exact amount at the OBS March sale, and after chasing a salty open group last month at Belmont Park he seems sure to improve with Rosario riding him back and the blinkers coming off. Also qualifying for having brought exactly $45,000 last year as a yearling is January Won, a son of New Year’s Day from the McPeek stable. The stats for first-time starters from this barn are bleak, but the work tab at Churchill Downs indicates this colt has some ability, so in a modest affair he must be considered a contender. In a race that we’ll otherwise pass, both should be included in rolling exotic play. RACE 3: Post 2:12 ET. Grade: X Use: 2-Jewel of Arabia; 3-Fierce Lady Forecast: Fierce Lady, a $725,000 buy back at the Fasig-Tipton Horses of Racing Age sale earlier this month, was ultra-impressive breaking her maiden at first asking and will be a short price to score again in this state-bred added money event for fillies. The 87 Beyer speed figure towers over those with a prior run, but stranger danger comes in the form of Jewel of Arabia, bred for much speed (Daredevil) and debuting for the always-powerful Clement/Rosario team. This barn wouldn’t be running her in a stakes as a first-time starter unless that they thought something of her, so while the main push must go to Fierce Lady, you can save with Jewel of Arabia on a ticket or two as a back-up if you’d like. RACE 4: Post 2:48 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 7-Everyonelovesjames  Forecast: Everyonelovesjames seeks his fourth straight win and has speed figures that should allow him to extend that streak in this first-level allowance mini-marathon turf affair. The 11-furlong trip might be pushing his limit, but the son of Freud seems likely to enjoy an easy front-running trip so we’re expecting a flag fall-to-that’s all performance from the Sheppard-trained gelding. Let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.  RACE 5: Post 3:28 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 3-Power Up Paynter; 9-City Man Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf. City Man was entered main track only, so he’s running and probably the one to beat. The son of Mucho Macho Man showed ability when previewing in 10 1/5 seconds at OBS April sale and has been given a strong local foundation by Clement. With Rosario taking the call we’ll assume the the$185,000 purchase is fit and ready. Power up Paynter, listed at 8-1 on the morning line, is an intriguing first-timer from the Rice. Sold for $100,000 at the OBS open sale in June, he displayed some quality in his preview breeze in 10 1/5 seconds while looking pretty quick, so we suspect he has more talent than his moderate local workouts might lead one to believe. Rice’s go-to rider Lezcano takes the call. Slight preference on top goes to City Man, but both should be included in rolling exotic play.  RACE 6: Post 4:03 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 4-Smooth With a Kick  Forecast: Smooth With a Kick shows steadily rising speed figures and appears ready to graduate while stretching out to nine furlongs in a race that may find her dominating throughout on the front end. The C. Brown-trained daughter of Candy Ride was sharp and eager while best of a team in a recent breeze over the Saratoga main track to indicate she’s ready for a significant forward move in her first outing since late May. Let’s make her a straight play and rolling exotic single.  RACE 7: Post 4:39 ET. Grade: C Use: 6-Laughing Matters; 8-Chuckles; 13-Deputy Flag Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf and looks chaotic. We’ll go three deep and hope that’s enough. Deputy Flag draws in as an MTO and returns to the maiden claiming ranks while shortening to five and one-half furlongs. These should be his friends and we’re expecting the Posse gelding to be on or near the lead throughout. Chuckles is a first-off-the-claim ($30,000) for C. Englehart; he’s been a well-bet failure in two prior outings but could be a much better type following a five-month vacation as indicated by a bullet gate workout (48 2/5 seconds, fastest of 64) over the Belmont Park training track last month. Laughing Matters doesn’t really have a move – he sorta finishes where he starts – but with Rosario staying aboard he’s probably worth tossing in on a ticket or two.  RACE 8: Post 5:15 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 2b-Value Proposition; 4-Kid Lemuel; 5-Shootin the Breeze Forecast: Kid Lemuel is a progressive 3-year-old colt who won a nice maiden nine-furlong turf event at Churchill Dows in late May and then finished a strong second (eight lengths clear of the rest) in an off-the-turf first-level allowance event last month. Two easy breezes by the Kenneally-trained sophomore since his most recent outing indicates he’s doing well, so let’s go with the son of Ice Box, who was originally 12-1 on the morning line, but probably will go lower due to the scratch of Opry. Value Proposition was on the lead in the Pennine Ridge Stakes and faded; he needs to be taken back and allowed to produce the last run and given that type of ride today can return to the form that saw him graduate at first asking like a colt with promise over a turf course that had plenty of give to it. Shootin the Breeze is a one-paced grinder but has hit the board in each of his last four starts. He’ll be a square price and is a fit on numbers, so we’ll include him on a ticket or two as well.  RACE 9: Post 5:51 ET. Grade: B Use: 2-Hofburg; 7-Flowers for Lisa Forecast: Hofburg has proven he can fire fresh and returns for Mott for his first start since October with a series of workouts that should have him fit and ready. A winner of the Curlin Stakes over this track and distance last year, the son of Tapit should make a very good four-year-old and seems capable of out-classing this field. He’ll race without blinkers; and there should be enough pace in here to compliment his style. Flowers for Lisa is the likely controlling speed and is a tough-as-nails pro, having finished first or second in 21 of 43 career starts. He won his comeback at Delaware Park last month in typical gate-to-wire fashion but the number was just okay so he’ll have to step it up today. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then have extra tickets keying Hofburg on top.  RACE 10: Post 6:25 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Timely Tradition/1a-Hay Field; 3-High Jingo  Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf. Timely Tradition, entered as an MTO, draws into the race and has form that makes her a solid contender. A winner of her only prior start over the Saratoga main track, she’s best as a late-running sprinter so whatever help she can get up front she’ll appreciate. A winner of seven of 21 lifetime, she knows where the wire is. Her entry mate, Hay Field, has a similar late-running style and also is perfect in one start at the Spa. The entry looks tough. High Jingo couldn’t get the trip as the favorite in a similar second-level allowance turf sprint at Belmont Park over seven furlongs last month but today shortens to five and one-half furlongs and looks like the quickest of the quick. However, she’s suspect on dirt. Tread lightly here. 

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7.18.2019:

Haskell Showdown Saturday – Here’s My All-Stakes Pick 4 Ticket

Where we you when King for a Day shocked Maximum Security in the (Monmouth version of the) Pegasus on June 16?  Ok, ok…maybe that wasn’t as big of an upset as the ’80 US Men’s Hockey Team over the Soviets or Upset over Man o’ War, or even Da’ Tara over Big Brown, it was still a shocking result that most handicappers didn’t see coming. And before anyone says they ‘had’ that upset pegged, remember that Maximum Security was 1/20 odds that day – the lowest a racehorse can be.  People may have ‘had’ it…but they definitely didn’t bet the race that way. I was going to jump into a recap of that race, but my colleague, Jon White, is far superior in that area.  Here’s what he had to say immediately following the Pegasus.  So I’ll turn my attention to the handicapping side of things.  Monmouth is offering a $400,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Pick 4 (Races 9 – 12) that caught my eye, and the docket also includes a $100,000 Guaranteed Late Pick 5 (Races 10 – 14), as well as their popular 20-cent Jersey Shore 6 (Races 8 – 13).  Split 1 Million Points Saturday at Monmouth - Hit the All-Stakes Pick 4 Oh, and if you’re looking for big name horses on the card, outside of Maximum Security, Monmouth has you covered.  Midnight Bisou (and Mike Smith) are entered in the Molly Pitcher Stakes (Race 8), Coal Front (with John Velazquez) are set to run in the Monmouth Cup (Race 10) and Competitionofideas (Joe Bravo aboard) will run in the Matchmaker (Race 11).  Here’s how I’m playing that $400,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Pick 4:  Race 9 – Wolf Hill Stakes Kicking off the sequence with a solid turf sprint stakes race and I’m going to use four horses to get me through this leg – FIG JELLY, TRICK TO DOO, JUSTAHOLIC and MAI TY ONE ON.  None of those look like a slam dunk, but none of them can be dismissed either.  FIG JELLY may be the most talented of these (and the Jason Servis/Luis Saez combo helps) but he’s just 1-for-9 on turf and 0-for-5 at the distance, so he’s a hard horse to have faith in.  JUSTAHOLIC is a sneaky horse to use.  He clearly took to the turf in an allowance race on June 8 and he drew perfectly to work out a stalking trip.  He won’t be the 13/1 he was in his seasonal debut, but he should be an OK price. Race 10 – Monmouth Cup (Gr III) To me, this is one of the most wide-open races on the card and one I’ll be spreading out my ticket in.  COAL FRONT is a logical favorite making his second start after Dubai.  In hindsight, maybe the Met Mile against Mitole, Promises Fulfilled, McKinzie and Thunder Snow wasn’t a great comeback race.  If he can stalk the pace, he’s going to be hard to beat.  But that’s a huge ‘if.’  MONONGAHELA won the G3 Iselin here last month in a new running style, but he may want to sit back a little further this time.  Pletcher’s ‘other’ horse BAL HARBOUR, has been a victim of bad circumstances but he continues run decent races.  He gets a jockey change to Mike Smith and that should make a big difference.  I’m also going to include LEMONADE THURSDAY on my ticket. Split 1 Million Points Saturday at Monmouth - Hit the All-Stakes Pick 4 Race 11 – Matchmaker Stakes (Gr III) On paper, I see no reason the winner here won’t be VALEDICTORIAN or COMPETITIONOFIDEAS.  The former is in the best form of her life and loves Monmouth (4-for-5 lifetime), while the latter is a Grade 1 winner trained by all-world conditioner Chad Brown.  COMPETITIONOFIDEAS hasn’t finished worse than second on the turf in her last five tries and was beaten a half-length and a neck by the highly-regarded Homerique in her last two.  I would give her the slight nod, but I respect VALEDICTORIAN way too much to leave her off the ticket. Race 12 – Haskell Invitational (Gr I) As it comes to the Haskell, Bob Baffert is the de facto king of this race.  He’s won a record eight times, all since 2001, and his list of winners includes American Pharoah, Point Given, War Emblem, Lookin at Lucky and Bayern.  He hasn’t won since 2016, but he’s only started one horse in that span and that was when American Freedom was denied in the slop by mud-loving Exaggerator in 2016.  This year’s entrant, MUCHO GUSTO, looks like the real deal.  The former ‘need the lead’ type has learned to relax this year, as evidenced by his rallying victory in the G3 Affirmed Stakes last out.  If he can stalk, sit and pounce, he may be the horse to have here.  MAXIMUM SECURITY is the speed of the speed and drew better this time.  Last time he was inside of KING FOR A DAY, which allowed his rival to latch to his outside and track him all the way around the oval.  The shoe is on the other foot this time, with MAXIMUM SECURITY outside the other speed.  Couple that with the disqualified Derby winner having a prep under his belt and I expect a much improved performance this time around the oval. I feel that the last time was the right time to bet KING FOR A DAY.  He was nearly 6/1 when he upset MAXIMUM SECURITY in the Pegasus, but he had every advantage that afternoon.  Now he’s stuck on the inside in a speed-laden field and, with horses like JOEVIA, BETHLEHEM ROAD and MAXIMUM SECURITY outside of him, he’s going to have to work out a trip.  He feels like a bounce candidate to me and I’m going to remove him from my Pick 4 at very low odds.  For an in-depth analysis of the Haskell, Jeremy Plonk handicapped it as his Xpressbet Race of the Week.  He makes a strong case for EVERFAST and why he's the right horse to bet at the right price. All-Stakes Pick 4 Ticket Race 9 - 4, 5, 7, 8Race 10 - 2, 3, 4, 7Race 11 - 3, 6Race 12 - 5, 7Ticket Cost - $64 for $1 Split 1 Million Points Saturday at Monmouth - Hit the All-Stakes Pick 4    

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7.18.2019:

Maximum Security Tops Haskell Field

The Grade I Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park this Saturday will be the first of three events during the second half of 2019 that figure to play a significant role in terms of who will get the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. After the 1 1/8-mile Haskell, the other two biggies still to be run in the 3-year-old male division will be Saratoga’s Grade I Travers Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on Aug. 24 and Parx Racing’s Grade I Pennsylvania Derby at 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 21. The Haskell, Travers and Pennsylvania Derby take on added importance this year due to a different horse winning each of the Triple Crown races during the spring. Country House won the Grade I Kentucky Derby on May 4 in a 65-1 upset through the disqualification of Maximum Security. War of Will took the Grade I Preakness on May 18 at 6-1 in the wagering. Sir Winston won the Grade I Belmont on June 8 at 10-1. Country House got sick after the Kentucky Derby and will not race again this year, according to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. War of Will worked five furlongs in a sharp 1:00.40 last Saturday at Saratoga when he galloped out with verve for trainer Mark Casse. War of Will is scheduled to make his next start in Saratoga’s Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on July 27. Sir Winston, also trained by Casse, is out until later in the year. An injury to Sir Winston’s left front ankle is the reason for the delay in the return to competition, according to Casse. Saturday’s Haskell has drawn a field of seven. Maximum Security is the 8-5 morning-line favorite on Monmouth oddsmaker Brad Thomas’ morning line. I think it is a slam-dunk that Maximum Security is going to be bet down to 4-5 or shorter. Here are my selections: 1. Maximum Security (8-5 morning-line favorite) 2. Mucho Gusto (2-1) 3. King for a Day (5-2) 4. Joevia (10-1) I think Maximum Security has an excellent chance to resume his winning ways after finishing second as a 1-20 favorite in Monmouth’s 1 1/16-mile Pegasus Stakes on June 16. The Kentucky-bred New Year’s Day colt stumbled at the start that day and ended up one length behind 5-1 King for a Day. Even though Maximum Security stumbled at the start, he recovered quickly to seize the early lead. But he never was able to shake away from King for a Day. Indeed, King for a Day hounded Maximum Security every step of the way to the top of the lane. In upper stretch, it did appear for an instant that Maximum Security was going to edge away from King for a Day. But King for a Day just would not go away. King for a Day then had the needed response in the final sixteenth to prevail by one length in 1:42.59. He was credited with a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure. His previous top Beyer was the 85 he recorded when he won Pimlico’s 1 1/16-mile Sir Barton Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths on May 18 in his 2019 debut. Prior to the Pegasus, Maximum Security finished first in each of his five career starts. His only defeat during that sequence came when the stewards disqualified him in the Kentucky Derby. After Maximum Security prevailed by 1 3/4 lengths in the 1 1/4-mile classic, he was disqualified and placed 17th for committing a foul when he veered out sharply nearing the five-sixteenths marker to cause interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy. It was the first time in the 145-year history of the Kentucky Derby that a winner was disqualified for an incident during the running of the race. Prior to the Run for the Roses, Maximum Security reeled off four straight victories at Gulfstream Park by a combined 38 lengths from Dec. 20 to March 30. In his final race prior to the Kentucky Derby, he won the Grade I Xpressbet Florida Derby by 3 1/2 lengths at 1 1/8 miles on March 30. Trainer Bob Baffert is represented in this year’s Haskell by Mucho Gusto. The Hall of Fame horseman has won this race a record eight times (Point Given in 2001, War Emblem in 2002, Roman Ruler in 2005, Lookin At Lucky in 2010, Coil in 2011, Paynter in 2012, Bayern in 2014 and American Pharoah in 2015). Mucho Gusto is coming off back-to-back victories in Grade III races at Santa Anita. He won the seven-furlong Lazaro Barrera by 3 1/4 lengths on May 18, followed by a 2 1/4-length triumph in the 1 1/16-mile Affirmed on June 16. One of the primary reasons I’m picking Maximum Security to win the Haskell is his Beyer power. He’s reeled off four consecutive triple-digit figures (102, 101, 101, 100) going into Saturday’s race. Mucho Gusto has yet to record a Beyer higher than a 95. Thus, he likely will need to show improvement in order to win the Haskell. But I do think that could happen. I really liked the way the Kentucky-bred Mucho Macho Man colt rated beautifully in fourth early in his Affirmed triumph when Roadster was the runner-up. Earlier in the year, Roadster had captured the Grade I Santa Anita Derby. While Baffert is giving Mucho Gusto a chance to step up and win a Grade I race this Saturday in New Jersey, I did find it interesting that the white-haired conditioner recently indicated that he feels his best 3-year-old male at this time is Game Winner. Earlier this month, the BloodHorse’s Lenny Shulman asked Baffert for his thoughts as to the pecking order of the nation’s top 3-year-old males heading into the second half of the year. “I’d have to put the real Derby winner [Maximum Security] first,” Baffert said. “I think Game Winner is in the top three. He just went off form, but I think I can get him back. He’s going in the Los Al Derby as a prep for the Travers. Oh, and Mandella’s horse [Omaha Beach]. I forgot about him. Maybe you put him second when he comes back. I don’t know.” Baffert’s comment early this month that he believed he could get Game Winner back into winning form was prescient in that last year’s Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male won the Grade III Los Alamitos Derby at 1 1/8 miles last Saturday. Game Winner prevailed by five emphatic lengths as a 1-20 favorite. Gary and Mary West own both Maximum Security and Game Winner. The BloodHorse’s Bob Ehalt quoted Gary West this week that he was “really happy” with Game Winner’s performance in the Los Al Derby. “We wanted him to have a good race without having to work overly hard for it,” West said. “Sometimes you get what you want and sometimes you don’t. In this case we got exactly what we wanted out of it. He ran a good race and ran the last eighth of a mile in less than 12 seconds [11.85] and that’s pretty unusual for a 3-year-old going a mile and an eighth. I thought that was real encouraging and he was drawing off pretty rapidly at the end of the race. He finished real strong. He came back and wasn’t blowing and I think that race will set him up real well for the Travers.” Two years ago, Baffert sent out West Coast to take the Los Al Derby by 2 3/4 lengths for the Wests. The Flatter colt then won the Travers by 3 1/4 lengths. West Coast recorded a 100 Beyer Speed Figure in the Los Al Derby. He registered a 108 Beyer in the Travers. Game Winner posted a 96 Beyer in the Los Al Derby. WILL KING FOR A DAY RULE AGAIN? The other major player in the Haskell is King for a Day. Can he extend his winning streak to three this Saturday? It is a distinct possibility. Back on June 16, I was a guest with Joe Withee and Rob Rao on The Win Place Show, a radio program heard on Seattle’s KJR-AM. That morning I warned everyone to watch out for King for a Day in the Pegasus. I had heard from a reliable source last fall that trainer Todd Pletcher was very high on King for a Day. That was just before the Kentucky-bred Uncle Mo colt ran in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24. I was told that Pletcher considered King for a Day to be one of his best 2-year-old colts, maybe even his best chance for the Kentucky Derby. King for a Day finished fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Jockey Club. He lost by two lengths at odds of 9-2. He then went on the shelf. He didn’t race again until May 18. On May 18, King for a Day won the Sir Barton as a 2-5 favorite. He subsequently upset Maximum Security in the Pegasus. King for a Day recorded a 93 Beyer Speed Figure in the Sir Barton. He did a whole lot better in the Beyer department when he won the Pegaus, an effort that produced a career-best 102. In terms of this Saturday’s Haskell, I will be shocked if someone other than Maximum Security, Mucho Gusto or King for a Day wins. OMAHA BEACH UPDATE Grade I winner Omaha Beach, who had to miss the Kentucky Derby due to an entrapped epiglottis, currently is in training at Del Mar with Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. Omaha Beach was installed as the 4-1 morning-line favorite for the Kentucky Derby after winning the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. But he was withdrawn from the Run for the Roses due to an entrapped epiglottis that required surgery. Mandella has indicated that Omaha Beach will have a workout soon. Mandella was quoted as saying “there is a chance” that the Kentucky-bred War Front colt could return to competition in Del Mar’s Shared Belief Stakes at one mile on Aug. 25, “if it works out. We’ll see how it goes.” A start in the Shared Belief, if it were to happen, could conceivably serve as a springboard to the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby at 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 21. Even though Omaha Beach was absent from all three Triple Crown events, he currently is ranked No. 1 among 3-year-old males in the Watchmaker Watch, the weekly divisional ratings by Mike Watchmaker, national handicapper for Daily Racing Form. Watchmaker has Maximum Security ranked No. 2, followed in order by Tacitus, Game Winner, War of Will, Country House, Code of Honor, Sir Winston, Mr. Money and Owendale. If Maximum Security wins the Haskell, look for him to move to the top of Watchmaker’s rankings next week. BOB FORTUS PASSES AWAY It was with sadness that I learned the news that respected turf writer Bob Fortus passed away Tuesday morning in Baton Rouge, La. Daily Racing Form’s Marcus Hersh reported that Fortus “died as a result of complications from injuries he sustained when he was struck by a car March 29 near his home in New Orleans.” He was 69. Fortus was a longtime writer, handicapper and editor for the New Orleans Times-Picayune until the newspaper laid him off in 2012. His main beat, of course, was the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. “He was a tireless reporter who, perhaps compensating for not having a background in journalism, was determined to uphold the profession’s highest standards,” Hersch wrote. “Fortus broke local stories and helped with investigative reporting, typically contacting many more sources than he could possibly use in order to establish a balanced point of view.” I wish more reporters these days would take such an approach. “Working the Times-Picayune desk,” Hersh added, “he was a meticulous and exacting editor who improved the copy of untold numbers of scribes passing through the sports department.” In 2013, Fortus was honored with the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters’ Walter Haight Award for lifetime achievement. One of Fortus’ closest friends was Gary West, not the Gary West who races Maximum Mischief and Game Winner, but the Gary West who is an award-winning turf writer. Fortus and West together in 2015 published “Ride to Win: An Inside Look at the Jockey’s Craft.” I once asked Fortus which is correct, to say or write “the Fair Grounds” or just “Fair Grounds.” I thought he was the right person to ask since he had covered that track for so many years. I wanted to know what Fortus did as a writer when he mentioned the track. “It’s the Fair Grounds,” he said to me in no uncertain terms. “That’s how I write it. It’s not Fair Grounds. It’s the Fair Grounds.” I have never forgotten that. I will also never forget Fortus’ wonderful sense of humor. Whenever our paths crossed, he never failed to make me laugh at least once. During his time as a turf writer, Fortus typically covered the Super Derby at Louisiana Downs. But he had to miss the race in 2004 because of a conflict. He reached out to me to find out if I could fill in for him and write a recap of the race for the Times-Picayune. I was at the Super Derby that year as a broadcaster for HRTV. I was able to pinch hit for Fortus at that 2004 Super Derby. And I was honored that he asked me to do so. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLL Here is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 406 Bricks and Mortar (32) 2. 371 Mitole (7) 3. 283 Midnight Bisou (2) 4. 262 McKinzie 5. 214 World of Trouble 6. 189 Sistercharlie 7. 90 Seeking the Soul 8. 86 Thunder Snow (1) 9. 72 Vino Rosso 10. 54 Elate

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7.17.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: Friday, July 19 Stronach 5 Play

Let’s once again tackle a Laurel-Gulfstream edition of the Stronach 5, which will have a 100k guarantee, though the pool has been easily surpassing that number each and every week. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter.Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (4:54 ET) – 3upfm N1X at 1-mile (turf) The opener looks like the type of race where you can make a case for basically every filly entered, so getting as much coverage as you can afford seems like a prudent approach. A field lacking early speed and the addition of Lasix makes #6 MAHKATO (9-2) very attractive, as she looks like a Lone F, and shouldn’t have to run as hard early as she did last time when a close 5th here at the level while taking on winners for the first time. Clearly the gal to beat is #4 GARDENISTA (5-2), as her two Del Park 2nds are better than anyone here has done, and Delacour is having a stellar meet with a limited amount of starters. The wide draw didn’t help #11 ADULT IN THE ROOM (4-1), who was 2nd and ahead of the pick last time, but she seems to have enough tactical speed to negate it, and does make the pivotal third start of her form cycle. Lastly, I’m going to use #2 ALEXA ROSE (9-2), even though she was 4th and a few lengths behind Gardenista last time, and that’s because she’s run just twice in the US, and could be poised for a breakthrough after getting a few stateside trial runs out of the way. Pk5 A horses: 6,4,11,2 With Robb at 29% on the year and 31% off the claim, you should probably find a spot for #1 MUSIC MAKER (8-1), who does rise in class but isn’t too far off these on paper and drew perfectly. I’d also advocate using #10 ZONDA (10-1), who makes her turf debut but is by Scat Daddy, so you know she’s bred to love it, and won’t mind leaving the takes ranks and a pair of races won by rousing winners. Pk5 B horses: 1,10 Leg 2: Laurel Park R9 (5:26 ET) –3upfm 5k N2L at 6 1/2 furlongs While the first leg seems impossible, the second leg almost seems too easy, as #3 SHEZA HANDFULL (7-5) could be odds-on off the stiff class drop and form that buries this group, which is a very modest bunch, and that’s being kind. The obvious worry is she plummets to 5k after being claimed for 20k two-back, but a win will net her 9k, and if she’s claimed that will be another 5k, so the connections won’t take that much of a bath. Pk5 A horses: 3 If you don’t want to stand alone then #9 Country Linedancer (3-1) seems best of the rest off her 3rd at the level last time, but a wide draw and the fact she’s more likely to regress says this is all about the chalk. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 3: Gulfstream Park R8 (5:31 ET) – 3up 35k OC/SAL at 1-mile (turf) In a race where most of these look about the same, taking the one with a ton of upside seems like the right way to go, so let’s put #1 ARMCHAIR JOCKEY (6-1) on top, as his comeback off 14-month layoff was very impressive, and with just six lifetime starts, he might have another forward move in him. You need to use #2 GOLDEN DECISION (3-1), as his two turf races off the Walder claim are strong and he drew perfectly too. The tactical speed of #5 KING ORB (6-1) makes him very playable, and his lone start off the Crichton claim two-back was an impressive win. You could make a case that #8 BAD TO THE CORE (4-1) is the one to beat, as he’s been in a trio of stakes of late, but he’s also marooned out wide and was going 1 1/2 miles in his last two, so he’s down the list here. Pk5 A horses: 1,2,5,8 The quartet we have above seem better than the quartet that remains, so let’s leave it at that, especially since #3 Vassy (7-2), who won last time, and #4 Toupha (8-1), a solid 3rd in his last two, both rise in class and look a little outgunned on paper as it is. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 4: Gulfstream Park R9 (6:01 ET) – 3upfm 25k N2L* at 6 furlongs Finally getting off the rail and to a perfect outside attack post might be all #7 R KISS EM GOODBYE (7-2) needs to breakthrough, as she’s been stuck on the rail in his last two and won the battle before losing the war and finishing 2nd. Just in case the favorite falters, let’s also use #1 MIDNIGHT MIRACLE (2-1), a stalker with five wins in a field filled where the rest have 10 combined, and if someone pressures ‘Kiss Em early, she’ll be there to take advantage late. Pk5 A horses: 7,1 You could make a case for singling ‘Kiss Em, so the fact I’m going two-deep means there’s really no need to use any backups. If you are looking for more coverage, then #4 Elissas Secret (4-1) and #3 Shall Return (3-1) seem best of the rest. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R10 (6:31 ET) – 3upfm 16k N2L* at 1-mile (turf) Being relatively narrow in the first four races was by design, as the finale is impossible, and could go any number of 10 different ways. Obviously I can’t use that many, but I’ll try to get alive to as many as possible, between the A and B lines. Top honors got to #1 SECRET O’ LIFE (4-1), who drew best of all and has good enough form to win as is, but now goes off the Crichton claim, which is an insane 7-for-14 move, so you have to think she moves up in a big way. A drop in class and plenty of tactical speed make #4 LABHAY (5-1) a major player, especially since she was beaten less than 3 lengths in both tries for 35k and now makes her third start off a 13-month layoff. Improving off Delgado is never easy but Sanchez is 8-for-27 on the year yet shows only two claims in the past few years, so he must like what he saw in #7 PURPLE GIRL (12-1), and she was just a good 2nd to a runaway when tackling winners for the first time, so she has some upside too. Pk5 A horses: 1,4,7 There’s no doubt #10 SAND DRIFT (8-1) is one of the ones here, as she’s been taking on better and running competitive figures, but this draw is as bad as it gets, so it’s tough to put her on top line. If you’re forgiving and are willing to draw a line through #3 LONESOME PALM’S (6-1) last race then her form fits nicely here, and she drew well too, so with speed and a nice price, she’s not the worst stab. You could use any of the rest too, but they all have some scars, tough posts, or subpar figures, so the five listed above will hopefully carry the day. Pk5 B horses: 10,3 The tickets: Main Ticket: 6,4,11,2 with 3 with 1,2,5,8 with 7,1 with 1,4,7 = $96 Leg 1 B Backup: 1,10 with 3 with 1,2,5,8 with 7,1 with 1,4,7 = $48 Leg 5 B Backup: 6,4,11,2 with 3 with 1,2,5,8 with 7,1 with 10,3 =$64 

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7.17.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis & Wagering Strategies for 7/17/19

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on Twitter @jsiegelracing.  Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies for Del Mar Wednesday, July 17, 2019 Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Two Top Plays From Del Mar on July 17th, 2019 Today’s Bullet Drills: Preview of Races 2, 5, 7, 8 and 9 at Del Mar on July 17th, 2019 Based on Works  RACE 1: Post 2:00 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-I Can Do This; 3-Julius  Forecast: I Can Do This missed at 4/5 in a first-level state-bred allowance race at Santa Anita last month but this starter’s allowance field represents a bit of a class drop, so we’re expecting the Glatt-trained gelding to make amends in a race that should have plenty of pace to compliment his closing style. We’re curious to see how this main track plays – it can be biased one way or the other on occasion – so it may be prudent to go to school early in the opening day program – if not the entire week – to see where the winners are coming from. There’s a substantial amount of “ship and win” money available to Churchill Downs invader Julius in his first local start for the O’Neill barn, so you this Tapit gelding is cranked up and ready to show his best stuff. However, he’s clearly a need-the-lead type and is suspect around two turns, so with sprinter-stretching-out Secret Courier drawn inside and likely to be sent from the gate, the pace flow could come up fast and contested. We’ll include Julius as a saver in our rolling exotics but the main push goes to I Can Do This.  RACE 2: Post 2:33 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Via Egnatia; 5-Starting Bloc; 6-United  Forecast: United deserves top billing after finishing a closing second with a career-top Beyer speed figure in the Whittingham S.-G2 in late May, though this second-level allowance race really isn’t really all that much easier. The lightly-raced son of Giant’s Causeway likely has further improvement in him for Mandella and will be bearing down late in a race that should have enough pace to give the closers a reasonable look. Via Egnatia seems likely to inherit the role as the controlling speed and given that trip the improving Baltas-trained horse looks dangerous after beating an entry-level field in clever fashion at Santa Anita. A sharp recent workout indicates he’s set for another forward move. Starting Bloc ran well enough in his most race start in late May to make a Black Book segment and has shown a liking for this turf course in the past. The work tab is a little sketchy but if he shows up with his best form he’ll be in the thick of it.  RACE 3: Post 3:05 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Clear the Mine; 3-Ted W.  Forecast: Clear the Mine got away with a soft front-running trip and crushed a $10,000 restricted field at Santa Anita in mid-May; he makes his first start since for new trainer Spawr and is doubled jumped in class in a sign of confidence. The veteran gelding isn’t likely to benefit from a similar trip today, but he’s always been a closer or stalker anyway, so we suspect Delgadillo may choose to let the others go and then make a run. With a prior win over the course and speed figures that fit, the son of Mineshaft rates a slight edge on top. Ted W., first off the claim for Hess (22% with a flat-bet profit) and eligible for the inflated “ship and win” purse money, arrives in good form from Churchill Downs, removes blinkers, and probably will draft into pace pressing position. Around two turns he might be most comfortable on the front end and if he can make the running without being sent hard, he could be tough to catch. RACE 4: Post 3:37 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Incensed; 4-Facts Matter; 5-Giddymeister  Forecast: This $20,000 claiming sprint has at least three major contenders, so we’ll employ a spread strategy in rolling exotic play but otherwise pass the race. Facts Matter looked good winning at Pleasanton last month for this claiming price but that race was restricted and this one is open, so the task is tougher. Still, the McCanna-trained gelding, a winner of three of his last four, is a strong contender on current form. His versatility allows the son of The Factor to be dangerous on the lead or from a stalking position. Giddymeister also has won three of his last four and was impressive beating a lesser field at Los Alamitos in his most recent start while earning a career top speed figure. He hasn’t been close in three prior starts over the Del Mar main track, but he could be a better type now. Incensed, first off the claim for Steve Sherman, is a perfect one-for-one at Del Mar and may be dangerous from off the pace with one of his better efforts.  RACE 5: Post 4:10 ET. Grade: B Use: 4-Honeyfromthesouth; 7-Miss Hot Legs Forecast: Honeyfromthesouth left her previous form behind with a visually pleasing maiden win sprinting on turf at Santa Anita while changing her style from a dyed-in-the-wool speed type to one that can lay back early and produce a run late. Now that Baffert and Garcia know that she can be held up early and be successful, similar tactics seem certain to be employed today, and with good racing luck she can take this class hike in stride at a generous 6-1 on the morning line. Miss Hot Legs pressed the pace and then found something extra under pressure to graduate in sharp style in her second career start last month. She has the makings of a very nice turf sprinter for Callaghan and should continue to improve with experience. We’ll prefer Honeyfromthesouth slightly on top but include both in our rolling exotics.  RACE 6: Post 4:43 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Freedom Ride; 3-Lucky Daughter; 5-I Want One  Forecast: Maiden claiming juvenile fillies sprint five furlongs in the sixth race, a wide-open affair in which nothing would surprise us. Two major contenders with a race under their belt – Freedom Ride and Lucky Daughter – should benefit from their bit of experience and are “must uses.” ‘Ride finished an okay fourth in a straight maiden event at Los Alamitos just 11 days ago and will appreciate this drop into a softer spot, while ‘Daughter made the pace but weakened late in straight maiden company in late June but earned a fairly decent speed figure in that fourth place effort and is the one to beat based on that performance. Among the newcomers, I Want One hails from the high-percentage Lerner barn and is bred for speed on both sides of her pedigree. The works are nothing special, but the pattern is healthy so we’ll toss her in. These are the three we’ll be including in our rolling exotics but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead. RACE 7: Post 5:10 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Bella Renella; 3-Smiling Shirlee; 4-Warrior’s Moon  Forecast: Bella Renella, a promising third in her debut at Los Alamitos, switches to Bejarano and draws the rail, which is fine if she leaves with her field. She actually rallied from off the pace in her only outing but with blinkers being added today she may display more early speed. If she doesn’t leave herself with too much to do, she can be along in time. Warrior’s Moon, a fair fourth in her debut at Santa Anita, gets Lasix and retains Prat, so this Eurton-trained filly seems certain to improve. Smiling Shirlee is bred to win early (Smiling Tiger) and sports a bullet gate workout (47 2/5 seconds) in late June, so there’s reason to believe she’s pretty quick. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics but then press with extra tickets keying Bella Renella on top.  RACE 8: Post 5:44 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 3-Jasikan  Forecast: Jasikan was highly impressive winning a first-level allowance turf miler at Santa Anita in late May while displaying an electric turn of foot, one that should serve him well in this typically crowded Oceanside Stakes that somewhere along the way will require instant acceleration. The lightly-raced Irish-bred colt picks up Prat, lands a comfortable inside draw, and will be along in time with any degree of racing luck. For us he’s a strong straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 9: Post 6:14 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Cool Bobby; 3-Coil Me Home; 4-King Jack  Forecast: King Jack was highly impressive breaking his maiden at first asking with a strong speed figure and has come back to work even better, so we’re expecting the son of Jimmy Creed to score again in this first-level allowance extended sprint. Dan Ward, long-time assistant to Jerry Hollendorfer and before that Bobby Frankel, saddles a colt that he knows very well, so don’t be concerned about the listed trainer switch. We’ll make him the main push in our rolling exotics but then save with a couple of others on a ticket or two. Cool Bobby turns back to a sprint, adds blinkers, is strong in the speed figure department and has won at Del Mar in the past, while Coil Me Home, in the money in his last six, is reunited with “win rider” Prat and has the proper style for this extended sprint distance. He should at least get a piece of it.  RACE 10: Post 6:44 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 8-Give Me the Lute  Forecast: With the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern, Give Me the Lute has much going for him in this maiden special weight state-bred grass miler. Beaten a half-length in a strong recent a maiden turf sprint while earning a career-top number, the Miller-trained gelding has the pedigree to handle the extra distance, retains Prat, and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single. 

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7.17.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis & Wagering Strategies for 7/17/19

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on Twitter @jsiegelracing.  Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies for SaratogaWednesday, July 17, 2019 Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Best Bets at Saratoga on July 17th, 2019 Today’s Bullet Drills: Preview of Race 7 at Saratoga on July 17th, 2019 Based on Works RACE 1: Post 12:50 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Markhan; 5-Renown  Forecast: Renown is an has plenty of back class and can stay forever so it was hardly surprising. that he would eventually gravitate to hurdle racing. The Voss-trained gelding actually finished third (and then promoted to second via disqualification) in the Johns Call Stakes here last year and his subsequent form over the jumps – save for his most recent outing – has been solid. He’s our top pick. Markhan just won a nice race on the flat at Parx and before that crushed a maiden steeplechase field, so the ex-Irish performer probably is the one to fear most.  RACE 2: Post 1:25 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Listentoyourheart; 3-Mission Wrapitup  Forecast: Mission Wrapitup was quite impressive in his debut maiden win – a race good enough to be featured in a Black Book segment – so we’re expecting the son of Mission Impazible to be a major player in this state-bred sprint stakes. The B. Brown-trained juvenile gets an extra furlong to work with, and his stalking style suggests he’ll enjoy it. Listentoyourheart was another first-out winner, doing so with a speed figure that actually was a tad better than ‘Wrapitup’s (69-66). The son of Afleet Alex projects as the quickest in the field, and if not pressured early could easily take this field gate-to-wire. They’re hard to separate, so we’ll include both in our rolling exotics.  RACE 3: Post 2:00 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Stolen Pistol; 7-Discretionary Marq; 9-Fully Vested  Forecast: We’ll go three-deep in the third race, a competitive turf sprint for second-level allowance older horses. Normally a pace forcer or presser, Fully Vested, after a slow start, ran quite well from off the pace in his grass debut at Monmouth Park last month, rallying strongly but running out of room when a sharp runner-up at this level. With an extra half-furlong to work with today, the son of Discreet Cat should be tough to contain if similar patient tactics are employed. “Win rider” Lezcano gets back aboard, an angle we always like. Stolen Pistol, away since last October but training nicely for a barn that has superior stats with layoff runners, won over this course and distance last year with a career top speed figure and always has performed best under Saez. He’s a deep closing sprinter who needs some help up front, but with decent early fractions and good racing luck the son of New Year’s Day should be heard from late. Discretionary Marq is a tough-as-nails turf sprinter who pulled off a 16-1 surprise last month vs. entry-level allowance foes in his first outing since November. He’ll have to improve a bit to win on the raise, but he’s probably worth using in your exotics as a back-up or a saver.  RACE 4: Post 2:36 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Hope Again; 3-Seanow; 7-Hijacker  Forecast: Hope Again is aggressively placed by Thomas after winning a restricted $16,000 affair at Monmouth last month against older horses, but despite the hike in claiming price this field featuring his own age group should be well within his capabilities. Speed figure-wise, he’s right there, and with just five career starts the English-bred gelding may have upside most of the others don’t. “Win Rider” Bravo stays aboard, so we’ll put him on top. Seanow is a need-the-lead type with numbers that make him dangerous if he’s not pressured early. The Pletcher-trained son of Tiznow faded in a recent tougher starter’s allowance affair but a repeat of his win for $40,000 two races back charts well with these. Hijacker remains well above his $20,000 claiming level and is another with recent numbers that put him right there. The Lemon Drop Kid gelding should have every chance with a second flight trip to produce the last run. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics and then press in the straight pool using Hope Again.  RACE 5: Post 3:16 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Myawaya; 8-Devils Rendezvous  Forecast: This maiden special weight sprint for juveniles is restricted to horses that went through the auction ring for $45,000 or less. Talk about meeting the conditions, both Myawaya and Devils Rendezvous brought exactly $45,000, so they’re eligible and likely the two to be most concerned with. Myawaya is a New York-bred daughter of Wicked Strong from the Pletcher barn and has a solid, healthy work tab that includes a 48 1/5 seconds gate work that was the second fastest of 34 six days ago. With Johnny V aboard, she’s the one to beat. Devils Rendezvous, from the first crop of Daredevil, is bred to win early and lands Rosario, so we suspect she’ll be a live item, as well. We’ll try to survive and advance using just these two in our rolling exotics in an unclassified affair with lots of question marks.  RACE 6: Post 3:55 ET. Grade: B Use: 3-Tiple; 5-Matzo Bella  Forecast: Matzo Bella has developed into a useful and consistent turf sprinter and seem well-spotted in this restricted (nw-2) $30,000 claimer for fillies and mares for a winning performances. Her numbers are gradually rising with each outing, she switches to Rosario, and the daughter of Gio Ponti looks capable of producing the last run after just missing in a state-bred first level allowance event last month at Belmont Park. Yes, she’s returning to the claiming ranks while perhaps suspiciously leaving that valuable first allowance condition the table, but she remains above her $25,000 purchase level for Jason Servis, so we’re just fine with the placement. Tiple earned a career top speed figures – one that makes her a strong contender – when winning a maiden $40,000 grass dash last month. It may be significant that I. Ortiz, who we assume had his choice, opts for her over Matzo Bella. The Clement-trained Irish-bred filly will be running on late.  RACE 7: Post 4:32 ET. Grade: C Use: 2-Alfons Walde; 6-Good Governance; 9-Border Town; 12-Bail Out  Forecast: Older maidens compete over a mile on the inner course with several first-timers looking attractive in an open fray. Good Governance has done some good work in the a.m. for C. Brown and should be more than fit for a big effort first time out. He was especially impressive during the spring when based in Florida but for some reason never made it to the post until now. The same can be said for Brown’s other debuting entrant, Border Town, a War Front t that also has shown well in morning trials. Both are “must uses.” Bail Out has better-than-par figures for this level but is an eight-race maiden and may not be totally trustworthy, while Alfons Walde, second in his last pair and drawn nicely inside, should have every chance with a ground-saving, stalking trip, but comes from a low percentage outfit. This looks very much like a chaotic affair, so we’ll spread going four-deep in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race.  RACE 8: Post 5:09 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Takecharge Mirella; 7-Break Curfew; 8-Sharpin  Forecast: Takecharge Mirella broke her maiden over this main track last year and seems capable of getting back on the winning track after failing to land a blow vs. tougher, older, second-level allowance foes last time out. She’s back with 3-year-olds today while surfacing for a high-price tag, so if she can leave cleanly from the rail the McLaughlin-trained daughter of Take Charge Indy should be hard to handle. Break Curfew has the first-time-in-a-claimer angle and is a strong fit based on her close third behind Takecharge Mirella in an allowance affair over a sloppy surface in late April. Off the track since then but with a steady, healthy work tab at Monmouth Park, the C. Brown-trained daughter of Into Mischief should fire her best shot. Sharpin is a “must use” as well; she’s a first-off-the-claim for Handal (22% with a strong flat-bet profit) and is comfortably drawn outside. Despite the class hike, she’s a solid fit on speed figures and should draft into a comfortable pace-stalking position.  RACE 9: Post 5:45 ET. Grade: B Use: 2-Carrera Cat; 6-Talk Veuve to Me  Forecast: Carrera Cat seems the solid choice is this second-level optional claiming sprint for fillies and mares after winning four straight, the last of which coming in open company over a sloppy track that produced a career-equaling top figure. The daughter of Courageous Cat certainly doesn’t require a wet track to be at her best – two of her recent wins were accomplished on dry land – but what seems clear is that she requires the front end to be at her best. The pace scenario looks highly favorable to her, so we’re expecting the Morrison-trained four-year-old to take control early and keep on going. Talk Veuve to Me has been facing infinitely tougher foes and should greatly appreciate today’s class relief. It’s worth noting that she’s eligible to this race only because she was disqualified from an allowance win in Kentucky in April due to a bad post-race test. The daughter of Violence likely will inherit an idea pace-stalking position – we don’t think she’s as quick as ‘Cat - and then have every chance to exert her past class. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Carrera Cat on top.  RACE 10: Post 6:20 ET. Grade: B Use: 5-Single Verse; 6-Darken Day; 9-Violent Point  Forecast: State-bred juvenile fillies sprint five and one-half furlongs on grass in a wide open finale. Violent Point, with the benefit of a prior run, exits a monster race won by Fierce Lady, and while she wound up a distant third, the daughter of Violence flashed excellent early speed and should stick much better with that effort behind her. She’s also bred to like grass, so huge improvement with the surface switch wouldn’t be surprising. Among the newcomers, Single Verse may be the most intriguing. The daughter of Mineshaft is a half-sister to to New York-bred stakes winner Brother O’Connell and brought $145,000 in May at Timonium, where she previewed nicely (10 2/5 seconds). Darken a Day has displayed some ability in the a.m. for Contessa and lands I. Ortiz, so we’ll include her as well. 

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7.15.2019:

Best In Show Takes Center Stage In Pace

Brian Sears figured if he could keep 3-year-old pacer Best In Show hidden in the bushes long enough Saturday night, he might be able to execute a sneak attack on his highly-visible competition in the $682,650 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. Mission accomplished. Best In Show tracked the race favorites in fourth, found a rail seam in the stretch and prevailed in four-horse blanket finish at 27-1 odds in the track’s signature race. He had to run fast to do it, but did so in 1:48 on the one-mile oval. He showed good speed off the gate, but backed off 4-to-5 pace setter Captain Crunch (Scott Zeron), pocket-sitter Workin Ona Mystery (Tim Tetrick) and 5-2 second choice Bettor’s Wish (Dexter Dunn), who was left to grind first-over a long way. The photo-finish camera revealed Best In Show won by a head over Bettor’s Wish, another head in front of Workin Ona Mystery and another head ahead of Captain Crunch, the Pepsi North America Cup champion who blazed the first 3/4s of a mile in the Pace in 1:19.3. “I knew they were racing pretty good,” said Sears, a Hall of Fame driver and three-time Meadowlands Pace winner. “It was all the horses to beat and they were going at it. I was pretty content. I wanted to sneak him around there a little bit. I got a little opening, and he fired for me.” Best In Show, who raced in the non-winners of two condition in May, paid $56.20 to win and keyed exotic payouts of $217 for the exacta and $819 for the trifecta. The $341,325 winner’s share more than tripled his earnings for Richard and Joanne Young, who own and bred the son of Bettor’s Delight/Put On A Show. It also bolstered the resume of trainer Linda Toscano, the first female to win the Hambletonian (Market Share 2012), the first to be inducted to the Hall of Fame, and now the first to win the Meadowlands Pace. “This is another one I never dreamed of,” Toscano said. “This is home for me. This is awesome.” The Pace was one of nine, six-figures stakes on the card. Tim Tetrick drove three winners – Crystal Fashion ($48.40) in the $450,000 Hambletonian Maturity, Stonebridge Soul ($8.20) in the Mistletoe Shalee and odds-on favorite Shartin N in the appropriately named $179,500 Golden Girls. Greenshoe (Sears) re-established himself as the favorite in next months’ Hambletonian with a powerful 1:50.1 score in the $153,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial. Swandre the Giant (David Miller) won the other division in 1:51.3. Lather Up (Montrell Teague), winner of the Graduate Series at the Big M in a world-record 1:46 two weeks ago, followed suit with a front-end score in the 1-1/8-mile, $423,000 William Haughton Memorial in 2:01.1. Odds-on choices Evident Beauty (David Miller) and Millies Possession (Dunn) ran the final quarter mile in :27 and :27.2, respectively, to win in their division of the Delvin Miller Memorial Trot for 3-year-old fillies. 

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7.15.2019:

Five Things to Watch This Week at Del Mar & Saratoga

Del Mar brings the turf to the surf with Wednesday’s opening day card, while Saratoga’s spa presents its second of eight weeks also beginning Wednesday. Whether you prefer fish tacos or Shake Shack, there’s no reason you have to decide between these leading summer joints. Spot your plays wisely and you can enjoy both with discipline and precision. Here’s our handicapping hints for the upcoming days:  Del Mar Handicapping Tips  1. Trainer Bob Baffert dominated summer 2018 at Del Mar with debut runners, winning 11 of 15 bids. In fact, he won his first 8 maiden special weight dirt appearances with first-time starters. John Sadler won with 3 of 5 rookies at the meet, the only other barn than Baffert to debut more than 2 winners.  2. Favorites won 40% on the dirt at Del Mar last summer, thanks in part to 54% winners in maiden special weight races and 45% winners in stakes. The other class categories were closer to a one-third percentile. Favorites on turf delivered only 26%.  3. Last summer’s leading jockeys Drayden Van Dyke and Flavien Prat were successful with the expected leading barns, but also note Van Dyke’s dirt success with Michael McCarthy (7: 4-1-0) and Prat’s dirt record with Simon Callaghan (5: 3-0-1).  4. Shippers who last raced at Belmont Park were the most successful out-of-towners, going 24: 7-6-1 for a $1.30 ROI for each $1 bet. That’s 29% wins and 54% in the exacta.  5. The fast-starting opening week barn to watch is John Sadler. He’s gone 10-for-33 over the past 3 opening weeks at Del Mar during the summer meet. Also note that Sadler went 8-for-17 in Del Mar stakes last summer.  Saratoga Handicapping Tips 1. Churchill and Monmouth shippers flexed their muscle. Belmont led 14-8 over Churchill in total wins opening week with Monmouth solid at 6. But Monmouth preppers won 40% (67% in exacta), while Churchill preppers won 20% of their starts; compare that to 8% overall for Belmont runners.  2. Short-rest Linda Rice angle. The Belmont-prep exception was Linda Rice, whose runners from the Belmont meet went 5: 3-1-0 opening week and all ran back on 27 or fewer days’ rest. That angle probably can’t last long based on eligible runners and the calendar, but watch it for this week at least.  3. Jeremiah Englehart is knocking on the door. A 10: 1-2-3 mark doesn’t look impressive in the win column, but Englehart was runner-up at 17-1 and third at 9-1 among his near-misses. That he was 4-for-5 in the money with horses 5-2 or less indicates he wasn’t misfiring by much. He had the most success with Luis Saez.  4. Expect Bill Mott (1-10) and Rudy Rodriguez (0-6) to improve off their slow-as-predicted opening weeks. We mentioned going into the meet that Mott and Rudy have historically started slow and picked up steam as the meet progresses toward Top 3-4-5 finishes in the standings. Mott had 4 in-the-money finishes beyond his winner and hints at a quicker breakout perhaps.  5. Junior Alvarado had an A+ week. For the rider to go 5-for-18 when his top barn Bill Mott was 1-for-7 in tandem opening week speaks to the breadth of his bookings. Two of those winners were horses coming off layoffs of more than 200 days. That’s done by a good agent in the a.m. Three of his 5 winners were 12-1 or more on the board, and don’t expect a big shift in public perception with elite riders galore in the colony. 

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7.15.2019:

Monday, July 15: Mohawk Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

The co-features tonight at Woodbine Mohawk Park showcase 2-year-old pacers in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold action. The colts and geldings go postward in Race 5 and Race 7 competing for a share of a $108,000 purse. My attention will be on the competitive 0.20 Late Pick 4 sequence which begins in Race 7. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 7 1-Mayhem Hanover-Beaten odds-on favorite loses McNair but picks up Roy and should be in the mix again. 2-Choir Master-Was used hard off the gate from the 8-hole in last, gets post relief and looks like a player. 6-Tattoo Artist-Should be a square price, won at first asking and seems like a nice colt, best to not overlook. 8-Noch Ten-Left from the 7-hole in debut and hit the board after a .56 last half, will use at 8-1 in the ML. Race 8 2-Twin B Tipster-Racing in quick miles and passing foes in the lane, ML chalk is camera shy but a threat tonight. 4-Crisp Mane-Grinder needs to find a way to seal the deal, has been competitive and Henry may find the right trip. 5-Pazza Hanover-McClure provided a nice steer and post time favorite drew-off, an encore could be in the cards. Race 9 2-Cafe Society-Looking for 1st win this year, could be handled more aggressively and ML chalk can finish in a hurry. 3-Trip Aces Hanover-Has been used hard off the gate, Roy takes a seat and could work a different trip. 4-My Baby Girl-Not easy to drive and has been off-stride in 2 of last 4, but can motor late if close on the last turn. Race 10 1-Tarryn A Strip-Has been racing well and JMac may make the most of the rail and sweep by for a picture. 4-Hakima-Has burned some money in last 3 starts, taking a swing McClure provides the right steer for a picture. 6-Chocolatemilktoast-Did skip a start but otherwise fits and should be in the hunt versus this crew. 7-Premier Cabernet-Rolled the 2nd half in 54.3 last week, pace was slow, so it wasn't enough, looks like a major player. My Ticket Race 7) 1,2,6,8 Race 8) 2,4,5 Race 9) 2,3,4 Race 10) 1,4,6,7 Total Ticket Cost) $28.80 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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7.14.2019:

Sunday, July 14: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Sunday, July 14, 2019 Today’s Day Makers: Fourth Race – https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-play-in-race-4-at-saratoga-on-july-14th-2019/ Eighth Race – https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-play-in-race-8-at-saratoga-on-july-14th-2019/ RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: C Use: 5-Days of Spring; 7-Miss Marissa; 9-Sweet Melania Forecast: The Pletcher barn is represented by two main contenders, both of which are stretching out after two sprint preps. Sweet Melania, from the first crop of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, has been a money burner so far, though she did improve her Beyer speed figure 13 points between her first and second starts. In both outings she flashed good early speed before weakening under pressure; in stretching out she’s very likely to be the controlling speed while enjoying much softer splits and then, if she has it in her, be able to keep on going. Days of Spring was one-paced in both of her starts while displaying a bit of improvement in her most recent outing. With Empire Maker on the bottom of her pedigree, the daughter of Uncle Mo should handle the extra ground, and in a modest affair ranks as a contender by default. Miss Marissa was a bit green in her debut but still managed a runner-up effort while five clear of the rest in a muddy track affair last month. We doubt she’s any kind of world beater but won’t have to be against this group. In a race full of question marks, nothing would surprise, which is why we’ve graded this race “C” (pass the race).  RACE 2: Post 1:36 ET. Grade: C Use: 3-Keeping the Pace; 6-Hot Mesa Forecast: After being claimed for $50,000 during the spring, Keeping the Pace graduated in a straight maiden race at Monmouth Park in late May with a career top speed figure, but off that race shows up in a restricted (nw-2) S25,000 claimer, not exactly a sign of confidence from the Servis barn. Trainers that win at 30% can get away with maneuvers like this, so if the son of Elusive Quality has at least one good one left he’ll help the barn pad the stats. Hot Mesa also is fresh from a maiden score and is waiver protected in his first start since beating $20,000 sellers by daylight at Aqueduct in December. Even though it took the Sky Mesa gelding 12 starts to earn his diploma, he’s actually a strong fit on speed figures and the work tab is steady and healthy. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.  RACE 3: Post 2:12 ET. Grade: C Use: 2-Wild Boar; 4-Crack Shot; 8-Risp Forecast: Crack Shot seems the logical top pick after setting the pace through modest early splits and then getting worn down late when second at 25-1 in a similar maiden turf sprint last month. The son of Freud shortens a half-furlong, switches to I. Ortiz, shows three easy breezes since raced and finds himself as the morning line 2-1 choice in a rather shallow straight maiden state-bred affair for older horses. Wild Boar displayed fair form in three starts as a 2-year-old and could be a better type this time around, though the Kimmel-trained son of Tale of the Cat has been something less than impressive in workouts leading up this comeback. On the chance that he moves up on grass, we’ll toss him in, as we will Risp, who showed nothing as the favorite in his comeback last month on dirt but retains Rosario and could run back to his promising Saratoga debut with the switch to the sod.  RACE 4: Post 2:48 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 4-Bank On Shea Forecast: Bank On Shea was visually very impressive when previewing at the OBS April sale, breezing a furlong in 10 seconds flat before galloping out strongly like a superior prospect. The $110,000 son of Central Banker has been training slow and easy at Monmouth Park for Servis (a typical pattern for this stable) but there’s no doubt he has plenty of speed and will show it when asked for it. This stable hits at a powerful 25% with first time starters and with I. Ortiz taking the call this New York-bred juvenile looks primed and ready. Though the race looks stronger than par – Titan’s Will ($85,000, OBS April); Blame the Cake ($160,000, OBS April); and No Salt ($200,000 Saratoga yearling) all are well regarded - we’ll stick with Bank on Shea and hope to get close to his morning line of 7/2 both in the straight pool and as a rolling exotic single.  RACE 5: Post 3:28 ET. Grade: B- Use: 8-Positive Skew; 10-Free to Fly Forecast: We’ll double the fifth race, a $40,000 inner turf middle distance claimer for 3-year-old fillies. The C. Brown-trained Positive Skew drops into a seller for the first time and seems well-spotted after not quite cutting it in entry-level allowance company when well-backed sprinting on grass in late May. She stretches out again, adds blinkers for the first time (barn 28% with this angle), retains Castellano, and should settle in a second flight, stalking position and then have every chance to punch it in. Free to Fly handled $30,000 claimers three runs back in solid fashion and remains well above her purchase price ($20,000) while shipping in from Monmouth Park for this logical spot. She’s a strong fit off her third place effort in an allowance affair at Delaware Park two runs back and will get the patient ride she needs from Gaffalione. ‘Skew gets the edge on top but both should be included in rolling exotic play.  RACE 6: Post 4:03 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1a-Lady Love; 4-Fetching; 5-Flush Forecast: This rather uninspiring entry-level turf router for state-bred fillies and mares finds the second, third, and fourth place finishers from a similar affair June 14 hooking up again, this time over nine furlongs. Fetching, with just two career starts, probably has the most room to improve after winding up a close third despite a less than perfect trip and acts like the extra distance will be of some help. Franco stays aboard and will try to produce her from the head of the lane to the wire. Flush made the running through easy splits and then was worn down late in that common race; it was her first try around two turns (and turf) and she had every chance but couldn’t seal the deal. She’s a contender, but we’re not sure she’ll run better today and maybe even not as well. Lady Love was too little, too late when fourth in that affair but she retains Rosario and should appreciate today’s nine-furlong trip, so we’ll toss her in as well.  RACE 7: Post 4:39 ET. Grade: C Use: 1-Sudden Surprise; 2-Zonic; 5-T Loves a Fight; 8-Binkster Forecast: With no real conviction in this state-bred second-level allowance extended sprint, we’ll pass the race and use four in our rolling exotics. Spread deeper if you feel the need. Binkster is comfortably drawn outside and can dictate the race depending upon how much pressure materializes inside during the early stages. The Bluegrass Cat gelding has been successful on the lead or as a stalker and is more than fast enough to win on speed figures, but his last pair have been below his standard, though a bullet half mile workout in 48 1/5 seconds over the Saratoga main track last week is encouraging. Horse-for-course specialist Sudden Surprise (four wins, 6 starts at Saratoga) returns to his claim level for Rudy after failing in three stakes sprints since being haltered in March. Johnny V. has no choice but to bust out and go from the rail. T Loves a Fight climbs dramatically in class following two sharp, highly rated wins, most recently for $25,000 last month at Belmont Park. He’ll be running on late after hoping for some help up front. Zonic is a first-time gelding with a prior win at the Spa. He usually clunks up for at least a piece of it.  RACE 8: Post 5:15 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 8-Catch a Bid Forecast: Catch a Bid was very impressive breaking her maiden at first asking for Brown/Castellano last month at a generous 7/2 and earned a speed figure that makes her double tough right back. The daughter of Real Solution has been kept on edge with a healthy series of easy workouts over the Saratoga training track and seems primed for another major effort – and perhaps even a significant forward move – in her second career start. Let’s make her a straight play and rolling exotic single.  RACE 9: Post 5:51 ET. Grade: X Single: 4-Break Even Forecast: With the scratching of pace adversary A Bit of Both, the featured Coronation Cup for 3-year-old fillies sprinting on turf looks made to order for unbeaten Break Even in her first try on grass. The Cox-trained filly, perfect in five starts, has won on fast, sloppy, and good dirt track, so turf shouldn’t bother her, and as the controlling speed and with a distinct advantage on speed figures over main challenger My Galina she projects to dominate from gate to wire at this abbreviated sprint trip as a no-value short price rolling exotic single.  RACE 10: Post 6:25 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 8-Mine the Coin; 11-Star of the West Forecast: The finale is a messy maiden claiming extended sprint for older horses. We’ll try to survive using just two. Mine the Coin shows up in a claimer for the first time after three runs and is a first-time gelding, so improvement is possible. A $300,000 yearling, the son of Speightstown has much better than par speed figures for this level but is clearly being culled from the stable in his first outing since February, so his condition is a question. The first-timer Start of the West may have some run; the son of Flashback has taken a while to get to the races despite a series of good workouts in early spring, and in debuting for $20,000 the barn clearly is not enamored with the colt that originally brought $50,000 as a weanling. Still, a little will go a long way in this soft spot, so the Sharp-trained sophomore must be considered a contender by default. 

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7.14.2019:

Sunday, July 14: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse wraps up the weekend with a 10-race card featuring 2-year-old Illinois bred trotters. The headliner from a betting standpoint is the 0.50 Late Pick 4 which begins in Race 7. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. The drivers with the hottest hands at Hawthorne on Saturday were Ryan Anderson and Kyle Wilfong, both pilots took three pictures. The top conditioner on the card was Ronnie Roberts who also had three trips to the winner's circle. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 7 2-Secret Cache-Leonard trainee moves up but has been consistent, likes to pass horses and is in the hunt. 5-From Me To You-Form has been dull but has been facing better and has the speed to prevail versus this bunch. 7-Fox Valley Lolo-3-year-old has been rough-upped in last two but Shehan could find the cover he needs tonight. Race 8 5-Caroline GR-Improved in last 2, beat the NW1 easily from the 8-hole and now draws well so will string along. 8-Ashlee's Joy-9-9 in the money with only 1 win but has been better than this crew, this could be a spot to shine. 10-Foolishlittlegirl-Trainer off and Leonard steers, will need a top effort from this spot but best to respect. Race 9 8-Sand And Rocks-Best chance will be for a hot pace and Plano to find a good cover flow to sweep by late. 9-Susan Sage-This gal is sharp plus tries hard, but it will take a quick start and a good steer by Warren. 10-Fresh Eyes-Will respect Team Leonard, drops but will need a trip and at 6/5 in the ML will use and try to beat. Race 10 1-Princess Oshie-Obviously not the same horse as last year, but this is a spot to wake up and the rail should help. 5-Virgin Eyes-Drops to the lowest level this year and Leonard takes a seat, no excuses allowed for 9/5 chalk. My Ticket Race 7) 2,5,7 Race 8) 5,8,10 Race 9) 8,9,10 Race 10) 1,5 Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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7.13.2019:

Saturday, July 13: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on Twitter @jsiegelracing.  Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies for Saratoga Saturday, July 13, 2019 Today’s Day Makers:  Fifth Race Sixth Race Today’s Bullet Drills – Preview of the Grade 1 Diana Stakes at Saratoga on July 13th, 2019 Based on Works RACE 1: Post 1:02 ET. Grade: B Use: 9-Warm; 10-She’s Not Bluffing Forecast: She’s Not Bluffing earned a pretty good number for the maiden $25,000 level when she graduated for fun last month at Belmont Park and is realistically spotted for a repeat score in this restricted (nw-2) $16,000 extended sprint for fillies and mares. Drawn comfortably outside (just as she was in her win), the daughter of Verrazano should fold into a cozy stalking position and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. Warm shows up in a claimer for the first time, returns to the main track, and is shortened to her maiden-breaking distance of seven furlongs, so there’s plenty to like about this Monmouth Park shipper. These are the two we’ll be including in our rolling exotics, with preference on top to She’s Not Bluffing  RACE 2: Post 1:36 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Winifred J; 2-Prisoner’s Dilemma; 5-Linda’s Ballet Forecast: Linda’s Ballet, Winifred J, and Prisoner’s Dilemma all were entered and withdrawn yesterday in a similar maiden $40,000 claiming grass sprint for state-bred fillies and mares. Linda’s Ballet stumbled at the start in an off-the turf affair last month, so we’ll ignore that outing and key on a pair of solid third place finishes sprinting before that on the Belmont Park lawn vs. New York-bred maiden special weight foes. We like the blinkers off move (good angle for this barn) combined with the class drop, so let’s put the daughter of Maclean’s Music slightly on top. Winifred J has a grass race last November that charts very well here, and after being off the track since February following a pair of poor runs, the Barker-trained daughter of Blame could fire a big shot fresh, especially when factoring in the first-time-for-a-tag angle. Prisoner’s Dilemma is yet another trying claimers for the first time and should improve enough to pose a strong threat. Her runner-up effort at the Big A two races back puts her solidly in the picture. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Linda’s Ballet on top.  RACE 3: Post 2:12 ET. Grade: B Use: 3-Cucina; 5-By Your Side Forecast: The first two-year-old stakes races of the Saratoga season drew just five runners, with By Your Side getting top billing after a debut win at Churchill Downs that earned a pretty good speed figure. The Kenneally-trained son of Constitution likely will enjoy today’s extra half-furlong and his cozy outside draw should allow I. Ortiz to pop and go or stalk and pounce, depending upon how the race flow goes. Cucina actually earned a better Beyer figure (75-70) than By Your Side in his maiden-breaking win, but that victory was accomplished over a sloppy surface, so the number might not be totally trustworthy. We’ll certainly use him in our rolling exotics, but the main push goes to By Your Side.  RACE 4: Post 2:48 ET. Grade: X Single: 6-Zyramid Forecast: Zyramid left at 40 cents on the dollar in his debut at Churchill Downs but was beaten into third, winding up six lengths behind next-out winner Halfmoon Reef after pressing the pace to the top of the lane. Perhaps he didn’t care for the off track, or maybe he was simply over bet, but at any rate we’ll find out what he’s made of today. There are six first-timers in the field, none of whom look especially attractive, so let’s sink or swim with Zyramid in our rolling exotic play but otherwise pass the race. RACE 5: Post 3:28 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Originator/1a-Noble Freud; 7-Turf War; 8-Catch a Thrill Forecast: This first-level allowance turf dash for fillies and mares looks on paper to be highly competitive. Small ticket players looking for a single should strongly consider Catch a Thrill. Apparently most comfortable as a late-running turf sprinter, she made the running and then faded two-turning in the Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland last time out, so the daughter of City Zip turns back in trip, drops in class, and switches to Davis, one of this stable’s go-to riders. We’re expecting the Mark Casse-trained sophomore to be along in time. Originator launches a comeback for Wilkes (solid stats with layoff runners) and ran well over this course and distance as a 3-year-old when stakes placed in the listed Coronation Cup. The daughter of Artie Schiller should be running on strongly late. Noble Freud, coupled with Originator in the wagering, has been freshened since February, won sprinting on grass here two years ago, and could fire a big shot off the bench for a barn that boasts stellar stats with layoff runners. She may be the best of the speed types. Turf War makes her U.S. debut for Brown following a series of steady workouts on dirt at Monmouth Park. Her form in the French provinces last year wasn’t bad, and she could easily be better type on this side of the pond, especially as a first-time Lasix user. You have to toss her in somewhere.  RACE 6: Post 4:03 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Kokokomo; 4-Enforceable Forecast: Here’s the first two-year-old maiden route affair of the season. Kokokomo has been well-backed in both of his starts but has yet to show much early speed, so this stretch out to a middle distance and the switch to grass was not unexpected. The Pletcher barn hits at 24% with the sprint-to-route angle and the son of Uncle Mo finishes his sprints like he’s begging for more ground. At 8-1 on the morning line, he’s worth a gamble. Enforceable also has the two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern we like and a pedigree – he’s a full-brother to Mohaymen – that suggests he’ll enjoy the added distance. His form at Churchill Downs was okay, nothing great, but in what appears to below par field for this level he’s a contender. The main push goes to Kokokomo but we’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics.  RACE 7: Post 4:39 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Special Story; 3-Kazmania; 8-Red Zinger Forecast: Kazmania didn’t get the best of runs in his first start in six months when forced to steady off heels and alter course into the lane in a similar state-bred allowance sprint last month at Belmont Park. The son of Bank Heist certainly can improve and in fact has a highly-rated win in December at Penn National that is more than good enough to beat this field. With clear sailing today, he can be along in time. Red Zinger was scratched on Thursday when entered as an MTO and today gets his preferred conditions following three bullet workouts over the Saratoga training track. The Contessa-trained colt switches to Alvarado and should fold into an ideal pace-stalking trip outside. He placed in both of his starts over the Saratoga main track last year. Special Story, a sharp Finger Lakes shipper, isn’t particularly fast on pure numbers but he’s genuine and consistent, having won three of his last four starts. The veteran Tale of the Cat gelding can be successful on the lead or from off the pace and has won under Lezcano in the past. These are the three we’ll prefer in rolling exotic play; we’ll have an extra ticket or two keying Kazmania on top.  RACE 8: Post 5:15 ET. Grade: B Use: 3-Prosperity; 4-Gracious; 6-Peaceful Forecast: Peaceful ran well enough in her debut to be featured in a Black Book segment and should improve considerably today with that effort under her belt. A strong, closing runner-up at Monmouth Park last month, the daughter of Declaration of War gets an extra half-furlong to work with for a barn that hits at 22% with second-timers. With good racing luck she should be hard to contain in the final stages. Prosperity is a first-timer by Tapit from the Motion barn with a series of sharp works at Fair Hill on her resume. She’s the only debut runner in the field but looks very live and is a “must use. Gracious, second in both of her starts at Laurel Park in the winter, returns for a capable outfit and could easily be better this time around. She’s a daughter of Speightstown from a mare by Medaglia d’Oro, so the switch to grass shouldn’t be any issue. A bullet five furlong drill at Laurel just six days ago catches the eye.  RACE 9: Post 5:46 ET. Grade: X Use: 2-Rushing Fall; 4-Sistercharlie Forecast: The Chad Brown Invitational, also known as the Grade One Diana Stakes, drew six entrants, four of which are stablemates. Rushing Fall has won eight of 9 career starts including the Lake Placid Stakes here last year and can handle any pace scenario or course condition. She’s had the benefit of two runs in 2019 while Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf champion Sistercharlie will be making her first start since November, so the slight edge on top may go to ‘Fall, but it’s really just splitting hairs. A good race to pass, a better one to enjoy.  RACE 10: Post 6:19 ET. Grade: X Single: 5 Payne Forecast: Payne was worn down late by Rowayton when finishing more than six lengths clear of the rest in a tougher first-level allowance sprint than the one he’s entered in today, so we’re expecting the Brown-trained son of Paynter to handle this assignment at a short price. He’s lightly-raced, fast on numbers, switches to Castellano, and has the proper style for this extended sprint distance. At 6/5 on the morning line he’ll be too short to play in the straight pool, but we can use him as a no-value rolling exotic single.  RACE 11: Post 6:52 ET. Grade: B- Use: 7-Prognostication; 9-Sycamore Lane; 11-Battle of Blenheim Forecast: The finale is moderate $25,000 claimer over a mile on grass that requires a bit of a spread in rolling exotic play. Prognostication probably was in need of the race when fading to seventh in a tougher entry-level allowance grass miler at Belmont Park last month in his first outing since last October. He’s back with “win rider” Castellano, has excellent prior form over the Saratoga lawn, and should settle in just behind the leaders and be ready to pounce when called upon. Battle of Blenheim just won a restricted (nw-3) $35,000 affair at Belmont Park and is realistically spotted at this level, his lowest ever. The Pletcher-trained son of War Front should settle in mid-pack and then have every chance to produce a winning late bid. Sycamore Lane is drawn farther out than we’d prefer, but the veteran gelding is in good form and properly spotted by Mott, so if Lezcano can negotiate a decent trip the son of Artie Schiller will be heard from when it matters. We’ll try to get by using just these three, but if you find the need to go deeper, go right ahead. 

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7.13.2019:

Saturday, July 13: Meadowlands Late Pick 4 Analysis

The headliner in East Rutherford New Jersey goes in Race 8, the prestigious Meadowlands Pace with a $682,650 purse. It's a star-studded card which includes the Haughton Memorial, the Hambletonian Maturity, and the Mistletoe Shalee to only name a few of the high caliber stakes. The Late Pick 4 sequence begins in Race 10 and has a $50,000 guaranteed pool. Any Xpressbet account holder who has registered and hits the Pick 4 will be entitled to a split of 1 million XB Reward Points. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 10 2-Warrawee Ubeaut-Very consistent filly is sharp and draws inside, looks like a major player again. 4-Trillions Hanover-Callahan is between the pipes and that helps the price, worth a swing at 8-1 in the ML. 7-Zero Tolerence-1st & 2nd in 2 starts here, had an interesting trip at PcD but was flying late, D. Miller's choice. Race 11 3-Millies Possession-Impressive win in last when off almost a month, a perfect 6 for 6, using but will look to beat. 4-Asiago-Nice try from the outside and could be tighter tonight, will respect chances but will need a top try. 6-The Ice Dutchess-2nd start off a sick scratch, bankroll is >$450k and Gingras can work a trip. 7-Starita-Won from this post last week, looks for 3rd straight, has been very sharp and best to not overlook. Race 12 2-Stag Party-0-6 this year but Coleman trainee has earning of >$500k, 1st start at Big M but should be tough. 6-Another Daily Copy-Drops into a better spot, may try to get on the engine and not look back. 7-On Duty-Steps-up off a sharp win from the 8-hole, went 54.1 the last half and could be posing again. 8-Sweet Rock-Dunn steers and may blast out, twice beaten chalk is a threat and price should be better tonight. Race 13 3-Stonedust-Does best work when racing close to or on the lead and shouldn't have much trouble getting there. 4-Backstreet Lawyer-Drops into a better spot and D. Miller steers, could be sitting on a big try at 8-1 in the ML. 0.50 Late Pick 4  Race 10) 2,4,7 Race 11) 3,4,6,7 Race 12) 2,6,7,8 Race 13) 3,4 Total Ticket Cost) $48 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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7.12.2019:

Friday, July 12: Can-Am Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight's Cam-Am Pick 4 starts at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Race 10 and will be followed by Leg 2 at the Meadowlands rolling there in Race 12. It's another competitive sequence and will be my focus. Tomorrow, the headliner at the Big M is the $650,000 Meadowlands Pace, it is carded as Race 6 and will carry a $650,000 purse. Xpressbet account holders will be eligible for a split of 1 million XB Reward Points if they hit the Late Pick 4 which begins in Race 10. The sequence also has a $50,000 guaranteed pool, so be sure to register. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 10-Leg 1-Mohawk Park 4-Miss Jubilee Hill-10-1 in the ML, if price shot minds manners could catch a gem of a trip and surprise. 8-Magical Winner K-Kadabra colt has speed but needs to mind manners, 2nd time Lasix and is in the mix. 9-All Wrapped up-Beaten chalk raced from the back, should be used more aggressively, also needs to stay flat. 10-Southwind Casha-Winner of 3 straight will be tested from post 10, but this gal keeps trotting and is a threat. Race 12-Leg 2-Meadowlands 2-Eurobond-Makes 1st start in Julie Miller barn, gets post relief and may have found a spot for 1st picture of 2019. 5-Guaranteed-Also should like the company but needs to mind manners, if so can scoot and has won here. 9-Spectre-Has the gate speed to get a good seat, Harmon barn has been rolling, could win at a square price. Race 11-Leg 3-Mohawk Park 1-Double A Mint-Drops and from the rail should be forwardly placed for Roy-Moreau, winner in 9 of 21 at Wbsb. 4-Sandbetweenurtoes-Classy mare can come up big, loses McNair but Jamieson knows and he has been hot. 6-Powerful Chris-Betterthancheddar 3-year-old rolled in 1:50.2, will use 2nd chalk versus older off that effort. Race 13-Leg 4-Meadowlands 3-Rockaholic-Driver change to Dunn and makes 3rd start for a barn that has been going well, using at 10-1 in ML. 5-Good Day Mate-Ginsberg takes a seat and that should help, can pop if in striking range at the top of the lane. 7-Always A Diamond-Returns to the Big M in a better spot for success, Gingras needs to work a trip. 9-Just N Berlander-Looking for 2nd straight at this class, is a player but does need a smooth journey. 0.20 Can-Am Pick 4 Race 10 Mohawk) 4,8,9,10 Race 12 Meadowlands) 2,5,9 Race 11 Mohawk) 1,4,6 Race 13 Meadowlands) 3,5,7,9  Total Ticket Cost) $28.80 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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7.12.2019:

Friday, July 12: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on Twitter @jsiegelracing.  Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies for Saratoga Friday, July 12, 2019 Today’s Day Maker: Fifth Race - Lotta Ott Today’s Bullet Drills: Second and Seventh Race RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 3-Derby Memories; 5-French Revolution; 9-Oso Negro Forecast: The opener is a messy maiden claiming nine-furlong main track affair. Derby Memories, in his second off a long layoff for Gargan (strong stats), was given a run on turf at Churchill Downs against tougher foes and was never in the hunt but should get much more serious today with this drop to the bottom. He’s shown some early speed, and in a field comprised mostly of plodders the son of Curlin could find himself on or near a soft pace. A sharp half-mile move in 48 seconds (fourth fastest of 54) last week should have him on edge. Oso Negro hasn’t shown much yet in two starts, but he’s a first-time-in-a-claimer play switching to the main track and based on his grass numbers he should be a major player in this league. The $440,000 son of Medaglia d’Oro is clearly being culled by the barn but his work tab at Monmouth Park looks healthy, so if he can run at all this would be a nice spot to show it. French Revolution has a similar pattern to Derby Memories; he has the second-off-a-layoff angle and is moving to dirt while dropping in class. Numbers-wise, he’s a fit. These are the three we’ll be using in rolling exotic play in a chaotic affair in which nothing would surprise us.  RACE 2: Post 1:36 ET. Grade: X Single: 13-Daddy Knows Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf, and that’s good news for main track only Daddy Knows, who adds blinkers and should dominate this field, but at a short price that probably won’t be worth taking. You can use him as a no-value rolling exotic single, or simply pass the race.  RACE 3: Post 2:12 ET. Grade: B Use: 3-Complicit; 4-Dream Passage Forecast: Complicit hasn’t been seen since last October, but the daughter of Blame has trained well enough to be fit and ready for Brown (29% with comebackers) and has won off the bench in the past. She has good tactical speed, two prior wins under I. Ortiz, and is likely to benefit from the projected race-shape that favors in her second-flight style. On numbers, she’s a solid fit. Dream Passage seeks her third straight, have won from a pair from lesser fields in gate-to-wire style, both over yielding ground. She probably won’t have everything her own way today, especially if sprinter-stretching-out Pauseforthecause remains in the field, but she’s won from well off the pace as well, so Rosario can let the race develop before committing to a strategy. These are two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with slight preference on top to Complicit.  RACE 4: Post 2:48 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 3-Soul P Say; 4-Kahramani; 8-Lord Simba; 9-Big Muddy Forecast: Low-level claimers sprint seven furlongs in the fourth race, an open affair that has several possibilities. Soul P Say was claimed for $32,000 in April at Oaklawn Park and today shows up for $12,500, obviously an unhealthy pattern. But this barn has a high percentage with first-off-the-claim plays, so the connections might simply be trying to steal a purse. We like this route-to-sprint angle for the son of Soldat, who may be most comfortable around one turn, so the educated guess is that the gelding will fire a big shot fresh, something he’s proven he can do. Big Muddy lands the cozy outside draw while moving up a notch following a strong one-turn mile score at Belmont Park, and a similar effort today puts him in the picture right back. At age five he’s lightly raced (four wins in 10 starts) so he may have another forward move or two in him. Kahramani has been protected in each of his last seven starts since being claimed for $10,000 last November and hasn’t sprinted since winning at Keeneland for $7,500 a month earlier. The Sharp-trained son of Haynesfield should fire his best shot from off the pace and is worth including on a ticket or two, as is Lord Simba, a graded stakes winning sprinter in his younger days when in California for Baffert. The Kenneally-trained gelding earned a confidence-building win in a restricted $16,000 affair in Kentucky last time out; however, based strictly on speed figures he’ll need to step it up in this open claiming affair.  RACE 5: Post 3:28 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Good Shabbos; 4-Lotta Ott Forecast: Lotta Ott, a Day Makers for us today, looks like a very live first-timer from the Asmussen barn in this maiden special weight sprint for juvenile fillies. Bred for speed on both sides of her pedigree, the $110,000 Keeneland yearling buy breezed a half-mile from the gate at Keeneland in 47 2/5 seconds in mid-June, the second fastest of 112 for the distance, and then went 46 3/5 seconds from the gate (third fastest of 66) later in the month. The barn hits with 22% with debut numbers while showing a positive ROI, so we’re expecting a major effort first crack out of the box. Good Shabbos has the benefit of a prior run, having missed by a nose in a straight maiden sprint at Monmouth Park last month. She was more than three clear of the rest and earned a good speed figure, so the daughter of Munnings probably is worth including as a back-up or a saver.  RACE 6: Post 4:03 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 1-Heavy Roller Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf. Heavy Roller should handle this soft assignment with anything close to his best while returning to his ($50,000) claim level for the first time since last September. First or second in 13 of 29 starts, the Sharp-trained gelding will greatly appreciate the class relief and should take full advantage of the opportunity. He’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.  RACE 7: Post 4:39 ET. Grade: B- Single: 9-Filly Dilly; 15-Saloon Girl Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf. Filly Dilly won at first asking in an off-the-turfer at Belmont Park like a nice sort and has come back to train well since, so the daughter of Majesticperfection should be capable of winning right back. One of these days she may get a chance to run on grass, but for now she’s showing that the main track fits her just fine. Main track only Saloon Girl broke her maiden impressively last fall with a strong number and then disappeared. If the Ward-trained filly returns as well as she left, she’ll take some beating. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play, with Filly Dilly getting the edge on top.  RACE 8: Post 5:15 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 5-Doups Point Forecast: With the scratching of our Day Maker Danebury, the focus shifts to Doups Point in this five-runner allowance event over nine furlongs on dirt. So far in his young career the son of Point Entry has preferred to finish second (five times) rather than win (once) and having failed as the favorite in his last two he may be hard to trust. He’ll be a short price again and really shouldn’t have any excuses. We’ll make him a no value rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race.  RACE 9: Post 5:51 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Henbree; 4-Offering Plan; 8-Qurbaan Forecast: Qurbaan won the Bernard Baruch Stakes over this course last year and is exiting three Grade-1 events, so this drop into Grade-3 competition might be just what he needs to get back on the beam. We like the blinkers off angle and the switch to Rosario, so we’re expecting the McLaughlin-trained veteran to be along in time. Offering Plan prefers to lag and blast home, and if a decent-to-fast pace develops as is projected his chances increase. The Brown-trained New York-bred 7-year-old always seems to run well at Saratoga. Hembree is in good form for Maker and should settle somewhere in mid-pack and then produce whatever run he’s capable of. Voodoo Song may be a race away for Rice (so-so stats with layoffs), but his record over the Saratoga turf course (5 wins in 6 starts) is hard to ignore. Still, the race flow doesn’t look too favorable for what has always been a need-the-lead type, and with Gidu certain to go from his inside draw there’s a strong possibility that the ‘Song will be relegated to a stalker or presser role, and that’s never really been his thing.  RACE 10: Post 6:25 PT. Grade: C Use: 2-Fight Night; 5-Abby Normal >Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf and leaves us with little to work with. Fight Night shows up in a seller for the first time, and in her second start off a layoff she’s likely to produce a forward move. Her California speed figures, if repeated today, makes her the one to beat, so in a weak maiden claimer for older fillies and mares we’ll give her the edge on top. Abby Normal has no early speed but has shown a desire to finish and if with some help up front the daughter of Birdstone will be heard from in the final furlong. 

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7.12.2019:

Lafta Favourite in Tough Gulfstream Pick 4 Headliner

Some of the most evenly matched stakes at Gulfstream Park occur in the summer months and Saturday’s $75,000 Treasure Coast Stakes is another to add to the list.  The Treasure Coast, a mile turf race for fillies and mares, is the ninth on the card and opening leg of the late Pick 4. Lafta, a 5-year-old Kitten’s Joy mare trained by Patrick Biancone, tried Grade 3 company in her last two and is even-money on the morning line. A scan through the field indicates that it might not be that easy. In fact, there’s plenty of quality and Lafta should have a fight on her hands.  Lafta’s last win came I the Monroe Stakes, a Gulfstream race similar to this one. There are a lot of $75,000 stakes races that was just below the graded level, and her win was in gate-to-wire fashion and through pedestrian fractions. Lafta most recently was sixth in the G3 Very One, and after running second for about a mile faded to sixth in the 1 3-16th-mile race.  Una Luna is seeking her 3rd straight win and steps up from the optional claiming $25,000 ranks. While she lacks stakes experience, she’s won three of her last four and her times have been good.  Also considered, and used, on the suggested Pick 4 ticket are Midnight Soiree and Birdie Gold. Midnight Soiree was second in the Ginger Punch Stakes, a race that came off the turf, and won the Martha Washington Stakes on turf at GP last year, and Birdie Gold invades from California. She began her career in Peru and her first U.S. start was a doozy, as she was 12ths in the Breeders Cup Fillies and Mare Turf at Del Mar in 2017.  The 10th race could be the easiest on the card as Jettin Out and Gangly are the two on the suggested ticket (which totals $48), but the 11th and 12th races aren’t easy and will likely require multiple selections.  My Ticket Race 9) #1 Una Luna, #2 Lafta, #4 Midnight Soiree, #5 Birdie Gold Race 10) #3 Jettin Out, #9 Gangly Race 11) #2 Best Thunder, #10 El Corazon, #11 Dynamic Dancer Race 12) #2 Northbrook, #4 El Duque, #7 Mr. Cesco, #8 Can’t Have Enough Total Ticket Cost) = $48 for $0.50

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7.11.2019:

‘Where the Grandpa Meets the Granddaughter’

By the time you read this the 2019 Saratoga meeting should be underway. Tickets kissed and cashed. Others torn to shreds. Accounts credited and debited. Ties broken--before the start of a new meeting everyone is first in the standings.  You may have heard that there’s something special about Saratoga. Ask 10 people to name their favorite part of visiting the track with the red and white awnings and you’ll get 20 different responses.  If, like this writer, you are privileged to visit the Spa each summer, then it’s 3/5 that you can’t wait to make the trip. Traditionally, my excursion occurs Travers week and, each year, I desperately want to look forward to it but must deny myself that privilege. You see, Travers is run in near summer’s end in late August and I hate to bid ‘farewell’ to my favorite time of year.  If you’ve never been racing at Saratoga, I’m sorry. It really is a different place, in a good way. Nothing quite like it in the racing universe.  Some will cry ‘foul’ and point to Keeneland or Del Mar and argue that they, too, present comparable ‘boutique’ meetings with racing either ‘As it Was Meant to Be’ or ‘Cool as Ever.’ The former track presents the sport with an eye toward Kentucky tradition and the latter welcomes a Pacific Ocean grandstand kiss. Bluegrass or shorts and flip flops. Take your pick. You can’t go wrong. As far as the complete experience goes, Keeneland and Del Mar are punching in Saratoga’s weight class. However, each of those tracks is so different from the other that, except for the magnificent horseflesh picking ‘em up and laying ‘em down, they don’t share a similar vibe other than fun.  This season is a special one in which yours truly will visit both Del Mar and Saratoga. Like with cashing a juicy daily double, that doesn’t happen often, so, when it does, I get excited. This 2019 Del Mar visit will be different, however. Usual attractions like old friends, racing, sun, sand, golf and authentic Mexican food all will take a backseat. I’m traveling to Del Mar primarily for an introduction to my first and favorite grandchild! Born this year, on Mother’s Day, her parents will accompany her from their home in Hong Kong. Presumably, during the flight, her highness will be swaddled as the most precious carry-on luggage ever to inhabit the friendly skies. In Del Mar she will be presented to relatives gathered for the privilege from various locations between California and the United Kingdom.  Even though I now live on the east coast where Saratoga is a more convenient summer racing fix, I’ve either visited or worked at Del Mar since the early 70s, when I was certain I had discovered paradise. Little has changed since to alter that opinion. This summer, when I visit Del Mar it will be even more magical. Instead of being the place ‘Where the Turf Meets the Surf,’ it will be ‘Where the Grandpa Meets the Granddaughter!’  Before we completely focus on grandchildren, Saratoga, Del Mar and Xpressbet’s $120,000 Fun in the Sun Tournament that begins Saturday, we ought to spend a moment or two closing the book on what happened at Belmont Park last Saturday during the Stars and Stripes Racing Festival. It was a fine racing afternoon that deserves reflection because both winners and also-rans are going to return for more down the road and we must be prepared.  Dwyer Code of Honor is back and appears better than he was earlier this year. He seems to have grown, filled out and matured mentally. During the Dwyer there was no hesitation in his stride. He knew his task and kept to it with an efficient and powerful stride. While there is some question about how much horsepower was behind him Saturday—non-stakes winners Final Jeopardy and Rowaton finished well back in second and third--it’s worth noting that the galloping winner did not require a hot early pace to set up his closing charge. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez apparently recognized early what he had under the hood. Just after the duo had made the lead at the eighth pole, Velazquez threw away the stick; he knew he didn’t need it.  A one-turn mile appears to hit Code of Honor between the eyes. The mile and one-eighth Jim Dandy appears on the radar, followed by the mile and one-quarter Travers. He will be a short price in the ‘Dandy and, if successful, probably favored in the Travers. While he certainly could win going a mile and one-quarter at the Spa, it may not be his optimum distance.  Belmont Oaks Concrete Rose certainly has developed nicely. She’s one performance away from being unbeaten in six career starts—five of them in graded stakes! That lone defeat came in the BC Juvenile Fillies when she broke from the rail in a 14-filly scramble over a yielding turf course that clearly favored outside paths. Concrete Rose gets extra credit for defeating representatives from two of the world’s top outfits—three runners for Chad Brown and a pair for Aiden O’Brien.  Concrete Rose’s success shines in stark contrast to favored Newspaperofrecord—who finished last. The latter again pulled early as jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. unsuccessfully pleaded with her to relax. Finally, Ortiz gave up the fight and turned her head loose. She ran for a bit and then faded. She’s a huge disappointment to this fan who completely misjudged her ability. I thought she was ‘one of the ones.’ She’s not and may be a textbook example of a star filly not developing from age two to three. Yes, she’s been rank this season, but ‘rank’ didn’t matter last year when she mostly went to the front and kept going. This year, she’s being caught.  John Nerud Before the race, on paper, it appeared as if Promises Fulfilled would win. A cozy outside draw seemed an added advantage to the fastest horse in the race. That Promises Fulfilled also caught a flier out of the gate while two other early-speed types broke slowly made the race a mismatch. Promises Fulfilled is a fast horse who is best when he can control the pace like he did Saturday. He won’t always be so fortunate.  Derby Invitational Henley’s Joy finally had a trouble-free trip and that made all the difference. This time he used tactical speed to sit just off pace, moved clear in the lane and had plenty left late. It was his fourth turf win in 10 grass starts and he’s got three seconds, too. While not a dominating force in the division, ‘Joy often was there or thereabouts at the conclusion of some decent graded turf stakes.  Players were understandably mesmerized by not one…not two…not three…but four Chad Brown-trained runners in the race. International training icon Aiden O’Brien also fired two Euro-based projectiles at the target as did Todd Pletcher. And yet the lukewarm starting favorite was none of those. Hall-of-Fame trainer Bill Mott’s Seismic Wave started as public choice at odds of nearly 5-1. He and jockey Joel Rosario rode the rail throughout, loomed a threat while inside into the stretch, was blocked and didn’t recover. Clearly, on paper and one the green the race was a turf grab-bag and Henley’s Joy the prize at 20-1 odds.  Suburban When outsiders wag fingers at the sport and accuse owners and trainers of callousness toward horses, the case of Preservationist’s Suburban stands as evidence to the contrary. For starters, the Suburban was merely the 6-year-old horse’s eighth lifetime race. He made one start at three, one at four, two at five and four at six. Kudos to owner Centennial Farms and trainer Jimmy Jerkens for their patience. That’s a long time to pay bills without afternoon appearances.  Also unusual about Preservationist is that over the last three years he gradually made his way through conditions—maiden, non-winners other than…, two other than… and three other than... The Grade II Suburban was his first stakes race at age six!  Jerkens, finally able to settle Preservationist into a steady regime, worked him along old school lines, including breezes at a mile, seven-eighths and a half-mile blowout before the race. The horse responded by showing speed, rating and then kicking clear. His price dipped late as he went from 6-1 at loading to 7/2 at ‘off’ and the move attracted concern in social media circles. However, nothing’s out of line here. The market merely was corrected itself at the last minute. The latter always was the more appropriate price.  Favored Catholic Boy didn’t help himself by being rank early. Jockey Javier Castellano attempted to wrangle him back but, finally, just let him go and he came up a bit empty. Pavel, who finished third, did his best but wasn’t quite good enough.  Race On! 

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7.11.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: July 12 Stronach 5 Play

Let’s once again tackle a Laurel-Gulfstream edition of the Stronach 5, which will have a 100k guarantee, though the pool has been easily surpassing that number each and every week. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (4:50 ET) – 3up 5k N3L* at 5 1/2 furlongs The opener depends on how strongly you feel about the class-dropping #8 GLAD DAD (7-2), who was just a good—and fast—3rd for 8k (and note the 2nd-place finisher came back to win) and just seems like a better horse than this group of 5k runners. It’s also the type of race where, if you’re not sold on the horse to beat, you could go five or six deep and still not have the winner, which really complicates matters. Since I don’t fully trust ‘Dad, I’m going to use one more and be done with it, and hope to survive, so I’ll also add in #6 TOWNIE (8-1), who has some decent form and now goes to local ace Magee, who has been known to move them up, and he seemingly attracts barn rider Correa, who was last on Magee’s #7 Popular Avenue (4-1). Pk5 A horses: 8,6 Like I said, there are others you can use, but where would you draw the line? Of those, I’d prefer #3 Top Czar (3-1), the aforementioned Popular Avenue, and #10 Wilko’s Goldeneye (10-1), but none of them are very trustworthy. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 2: Laurel Park R9 (5:22 ET) –3up 10k MCL at 6 1/2 furlongs If you need a single then it’s got to be #5 ZITARROSA (8-5), who has run only twice in a raced filled with multiple 0’fers, will run on the dirt for the first time for a tag, enters off a much-improved run on turf, and looks a lot better than a group that doesn’t inspire in the least. Pk5 A horses: 5 The main danger seems to be #7 Stacksdenero (3-1), who has been 2nd in his last two and isn’t a confirmed refuser at 0-for-7, and figures right there if the chalk falters, but that seems like a lot to ask for and not quite worth what it would cost. Others could include #8 Willie the Whale (9-2), who still has some upside off just three starts, while #6 Aggregate (6-1) will likely take some money on debut for Magee, though this is a 19% barn that is 0-for-19 with firsters. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 3: Gulfstream Park R7 (5:28 ET) – 3up 16k N3L* at 7 1/2 furlongs (turf) Narrowing in the first two legs will allow for a bit more coverage late, and this is the type of race where that’s recommended, as it looks like it could go any number of different ways. There’s a lot to like about #1 CASH CALL KITTEN (8-1), as he drops in class off his return from a 370-day layoff, gets back to the turf, drew perfectly, and has a ton of upside off just four lifetime starts, so here’s hoping he moves up off that comeback he had to need. Obviously #2 SON OF OAHU (5-1) is a must-use since he got back to his best off the De La Cerda claim last time and is another who drew well to be inside. It looks like #6 TIPSY KITTEN (6-1) should enjoy a close-up stalking trip just off the speed after just missing at the level last time, and a repeat would put him right on the line with these. I’m going to begrudgingly put in #9 JAGR (4-1), who is probably the best horse here and has the best figures, but this post is just dreadful, which really leaves him with no margin for error. And lastly, a class drop and good post will also agree with #3 THE MIGHTY JUDGE (20-1), who easily beat N2L’s two-back then was in too tough in an AOC last time. Pk5 A horses: 1,2,6,9,3 When you go five-deep in an 11-horse field you have to go with the mindset you either have the winner and your handicapping is good enough, or you don’t and it isn’t, so I don’t want to use any more bullets. If you do want more coverage then #5 Summer Spice (12-1) wasn’t far behind ‘Oahu last time, while pure sprinter and tremendous underlay #4 Captain Gaughen (3-1) has the back class to win, though his current form and this unknown distance are obvious concerns. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 4: Gulfstream Park R8 (6:02 ET) – 3upfm 6.25k N2L at 5 1/2 furlongs If you’ve followed me here before then you know I’m not a big fan of lifetime N2L horses; i.e. those who aren’t interested in winning a horse race. And that’s the dividing line here, as the class dropping #3 DIXIE TALK (2-1) and #2 HEIDI HO (10-1), are 1-for-5 and 1-for-10, respectively, while the house horses, #8 Bird of Peace (6-1) and #6 Lisa Mila (7-2), are 1-for-18 and 1-for-17, respectively. as a rule, I don’t play those types on top (or on the top line), so it makes this one pretty cut and dry for me. Pk5 A horses: 3,2 With the above being said, it’s obvious both #8 BIRD OF PEACE and #6 LISA MILA fit with a group like this, as they have been running well at the level with competitive figures, so I’ll use them, while limiting them to backup roles. Pk5 B horses: 8,6 Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R9 (6:34 ET) – 3upfm 12.5k MCL at 7 1/2 furlongs (turf) You never want to be too overconfident, but it sure looks like #5 MISS ANTONELLA (7-2) or #10 SUNSET SUMMER (5-2) have to win the finale, as they lay over a terribly weak field, with the former, who may well be 7-5, making her first start for Joseph, who is a stiff 32% with newcomers to the barn, and the latter, who beat the top pick last time, looking like the only gal with a pulse here. Pk5 A horses: 5,10 No one else looks remotely close to the top pair, so there’s really no point in wasting bullets on something that isn’t there. Pk5 B horses: The tickets: Main Ticket ($2 play): 8,6 with 5 with 1,2,6,9,3 with 3,2 with 5,10 with = $80Leg 4 B Backup: 8,6 with 5 with 1,2,6,9,3 with 8,6 with 5,10 = $40

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7.10.2019:

Eclipse Award for 3-Year-Old Male Still Very Up for Grabs

Can Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert in 2019 extend his streak to five consecutive 3-year-old male champions? I posed that question back in January. Daily Racing Form first conducted voting for champions in 1937. The Eclipse Awards were born in 1971. Going back to 1937, Baffert is the only person who has trained four straight Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old males. Baffert’s streak began with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in 2015, then continued with Arrogate in 2016, West Coast in 2017 and Triple Crown winner Justify in 2018. No other trainer since 1937 other than Baffert has had even two straight 3-year-old male champions. When Baffert did not win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes or Belmont Stakes this year, it appeared that his run of 3-year-old male champions most likely was going to come to an end this year. But it turns out that at this point in 2019, the door is still open for Baffert to make it five straight 3-year-old male champions. The main reason Baffert is still alive to keep his streak going this year is because each of the Triple Crown events was won by a different horse. Country House won the Kentucky Derby in a 65-1 upset through the disqualification of Maximum Security. War of Will captured the Preakness at 6-1 in the wagering. Sir Winston took the Belmont at 10-1. Maximum Security’s only defeat in his first five career starts was his DQ in the Kentucky Derby. But then Maximum Security stubbed his toe, so to speak, when he finished second as an overwhelming 1-20 favorite in the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on June 16. Yes, the race for 3-year-old male title is wide open. In 2016 and 2017, like this year, each of the Triple Crown races was won by a different horse. In 2016, Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby, Exaggerator won the Preakness and Creator won the Belmont. In 2017, Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby, Cloud Computing won the Preakness and Tapwrit won the Belmont. When a different horse was victorious in each of the Triple Crown races in 2016 and 2017, Baffert capitalized by having a runner whose strong second half of the year produced an Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. During the second half of 2016, Arrogate won all three of his starts en route to the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. He won an allowance/optional claiming race at Del Mar in early August, then made a sensational stakes debut in the Grade I Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 27. Arrogate, in a scintillating Secretariat-like performance, won the Travers by 13 1/2 lengths. His final time for the venerable 1 1/4-mile affair was 1:59.36 in hundredths or 1:59 1/5 in fifths. Greg Wolf recently said on Fox Sports’ America’s Day at the Races that Arrogate broke a track record that had stood for more than 100 years. Paul LoDuca said Arrogate broke a track record that had stood for more than 150 years. Actually, Arrogate broke a track record that had stood for 37 years. Arrogate’s final time in fifths of 1:59 1/5 shaved four-fifths of a second off the track record set by General Assembly (a son of Secretariat) when he splashed his way to a 15-length victory in the 1979 Travers on a sloppy track. Arrogate was credited with a 122 Beyer Speed Figure for his Travers victory. It is the highest figure in the race since the first Beyers were assigned in the 1990 renewal. In Arrogate’s final 2016 start, he ran down the formidable older foe California Chrome to win the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic by a half-length at Santa Anita. California Chrome was voted 2016 Eclipse Awards as champion older male and Horse of the Year. California Chrome also was voted a pair of Eclipse Awards in 2014 as champion 3-year-old male and Horse of the Year. During the second half of 2017, West Coast won three of his four starts. His victories came in the Grade III Los Alamitos Derby, Grade I Travers and Grade I Pennsylvania Derby. In West Coast’s final 2017 start, he finished third behind older rivals Gun Runner and Collected in the Grade I BC Classic at Del Mar. Gun Runner was voted 2017 Eclipse Awards as champion older male and Horse of the Year. At this point in 2019, Game Winner and Mucho Gusto appear to have the best chance to extend Baffert’s streak of 3-year-old male champions to five. Game Winner was voted a 2018 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male. However, he is winless in three 2019 starts. But he’s been firing bullet after bullet in the a.m. at Santa Anita. Game Winner has recorded bullet drills on June 13, June 20, June 28 and July 6 to suggest a big second half of 2019 just might be in store for the Kentucky-bred Candy Ride colt. Mucho Gusto had a bullet workout himself at Santa Anita on July 4. The Kentucky-bred Mucho Macho Man colt goes into the second half of 2019 off back-to-back clear-cut victories at Santa Anita. Mucho Gusto won the Lazaro Barrera Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths on May 18 and Affirmed Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths on June 16. GAME WINNER EXPECTED TO HEAD LOS AL DERBY As of this writing, it looks like Game Winner will be running this Saturday in the Grade III Los Alamitos Derby at 1 1/8 miles. Mucho Gusto seemingly is headed to Monmouth’s Grade I Haskell Invitational at 1 1/8 miles on July 20. Baffert has won the Haskell a record eight times (Point Given in 2001, War Emblem in 2002, Roman Ruler in 2005, Lookin At Lucky in 2009, Coil in 2010, Paynter in 2011, Bayern in 2014 and American Pharoah in 2015). Improbable was considered to be one of Baffert’s better 3-year-olds at the start of 2019 after winning the Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity last Dec. 8. However, Improbable has failed to win any of his four 2019 starts. He has had just one recorded workout (four furlongs in :49.40 at Santa Anita on June 19) since finishing sixth as the 5-2 favorite in the Preakness on May 18. Kentucky Derby winner Country House will not race again this year, according to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. That takes Country House out of the race to get the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male of 2019. Mark Casse recently reported that Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston “is dealing with an injury to his left front ankle and will be out of training for a little while,” according to Daily Racing Form’s David Grening. “I’m not going to rush him,” Casse said of the Kentucky-bred Awesome Again colt. “It will keep us out of the Travers for sure.” Casse went on to say his plan is to have Sir Winston ready for the fall with the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park early in 2020 in mind (not to be confused with the recent Pegasus Stakes run at Monmouth). Thus, it seems that Sir Winston, like Country House, is out of the race to get the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male of 2019. Beyond Game Winner and Mucho Gusto, these currently appear to be the leading candidates to get the 2019 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male: MAXIMUM SECURITY: If he rebounds from his stunning defeat in Monmouth’s Pegasus and wins the upcoming Haskell, he definitely will become the leader in the 3-year-old male division. CODE OF HONOR: He finished third and was elevated to second in the Kentucky Derby via the DQ of Maximum Security. Code of Honor then rallied from last to win Belmont’s Grade III Dwyer Stakes at one mile by 3 1/4 lengths last Saturday. Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey trains the Kentucky-bred Noble Mission colt, who is expected to make his next start in Saratoga’s Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on July 27. OMAHA BEACH: After winning a division of the Grade II Rebel Stakes and Grade I Arkansas Derby, both at Oaklawn Park, Omaha Beach was installed as the 4-1 morning-line favorite in the Kentucky Derby. However, the Kentucky-bred War Front colt was scratched from the Run for the Roses due to an entrapped epiglottis that required surgery. He now is back in training with Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella at Santa Anita.Mandella has mentioned Del Mar’s Shared Belief Stakes at one mile on Aug. 25 as a possible comeback race for Omaha Beach. That could serve as a springboard to the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby at 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 21. Despite missing the three Triple Crown races, Omaha Beach currently is ranked No. 1 among 3-year-old males in the Watchmaker Watch, the weekly divisional ratings by Mike Watchmaker, national handicapper for Daily Racing Form. WAR OF WILL: If he had followed his Preakness triumph with a win in the Belmont, he currently would be in the driver’s seat to get the Eclipse Award in this division. But the Kentucky-bred War Front colt finished a disappointing ninth in the Belmont. War of Will worked four furlongs in :49.40 on Sunday at Churchill Downs for trainer Mark Casse. War of Will might run in the Jim Dandy. TACITUS: He was sent off as the 9-5 favorite in the Belmont and might well have won if not for a wide trip. According to Trakus, the Kentucky-bred Tapit colt traveled 65 feet farther than the victorious Sir Winston in the Belmont. After winning the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby in March and Grade II Wood Memorial in April, Tacitus finished fourth and was moved up to third through the disqualification of Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby. Tacitus will likely make his next start in the Jim Dandy. OWENDALE: He won the Grade III Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in April, finished third in the Preakness when he had a wide trip, then won the Grade III Ohio Derby at Thistledown on June 22. Brad Cox trains Owendale, a Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt. GLOBAL CAMPAIGN: He won Belmont’s Grade III Peter Pan Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths on May 11, an effort that was flattered when runner-up Sir Winston subsequently won the Belmont. Global Campaign was withdrawn from the June 22 Ohio Derby due to a reported foot issue. It’s encouraging that the Kentucky-bred Curlin colt worked four furlongs in a bullet :47.80 on the Oklahoma training track July 5 at Saratoga for trainer Stan Hough. MR. MONEY: Trainer Brett Calhoun is planning to run Mr. Money this Saturday in the Grade III Indiana Derby at 1 1/16 miles. If the Kentucky-bred Goldencents colt succeeds Saturday, it would be his third consecutive victory. Mr. Money won the Grade III Pat Day Mile by 5 1/4 lengths at Churchill Downs on May 4 and Grade III Matt Winn Stakes by 6 1/4 lengths at Churchill on June 15. ENABLE VICTORIOUS IN 2019 DEBUT Making her first start since taking the Grade I BC Turf last Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs, Enable won the Group I Coral Eclipse Stakes by three-quarters of a length in England last Saturday for trainer John Gosden. Once again in the Coral Eclipse, Magical had to settle for second behind Enable. Magical also ran second in the BC Turf. Enable now has won 10 in a row. The 5-year-old Great Britain-bred mare has won 11 of 12 overall. Enable’s primary 2019 objective is to become the first three-time winner of the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France on the first Sunday in October at Longchamp. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLL Here is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 387 Bricks and Mortar (29) 2. 356 Mitole (8) 3. 274 Midnight Bisou (2) 4. 258 McKinzie (1) 5. 212 World of Trouble 6. 126 Seeking the Soul 7. 120 Rushing Fall 8. 88 Thunder Snow 9. 87 Vino Rosso 10. 52 Catholic Boy

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7.8.2019:

Monday, July 8: Woodbine Mohawk Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

The headliners tonight at Woodbine Mohawk Park are two-year-old filly pacers competing in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold action. The 0.20 Late Pick 4 starts in Race 7 and will be my focus. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 7 2-Salutation-Fits here and has had excuses but needs a better trip and a dry track wouldn't hurt. 4-Cafe Society-Will give beaten favorite another chance, if Hudon works a better trip it could be picture time. 5-My Baby Girl-McClure chooses off so Davis Jr. needs to handle carefully, a repeat can happen if stays flat. 7-Pazza Hanover-This is McClure's choice and is in the mix, worth a swing at 8-1 but could be over bet. Race 8 2-Kadabra Queen-Raced big last week, gets post relief, a threat with a trip and could find one in this spot. 3-Catch The Dream-Gets class relief and can be forwardly placed, this is a spot to shine. 4-Exemplar-Similar to #3 and Roy returns, another who can step forward in a competitive race. 9-What Chapter-Hasn't sealed the deal in 6 starts but tries hard, may benefit from quick fractions and sweep by. Race 9 1-Better Be Donna N-Makes 3rd start on Lasix, gets post relief plus starts inside of #6 and could get revenge. 6-Ideation Hanover-Speedy 3-year-old may blast out and get a pocket ride behind #1 like last week and win again. Race 10 1-Abuelita Hanover-Raced big and won at this class in last from the 8-hole, should be tough if minds manners. 4-Premier Cabernet-Should like the company and has been trying hard since coming to Wbsb, could trip out. 6-Hakima-This is the 4th start since taking a break and has been tossing hints, McClure sticks, should be a player. My Ticket Race 7) 2,4,5,7 Race 8) 2,3,4,9 Race 9) 1,6 Race 10) 1,4,6 Total Ticket Cost) $19.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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7.8.2019:

Five Things to Watch This Week at Saratoga

Saratoga opens its doors this Thursday as it has since 1863, just months after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Abraham Lincoln. Even Honest Abe would admit a lot has changed at the Spa, including an eighth week of racing in 2019. The one-time “August place to be” is now the July 11 through September 2 place to be. That means there’s more time to enjoy the iconic little town that’s booming in development … and more betting discipline needed for horseplayers. Each Monday of the Saratoga and upcoming Del Mar seasons, I’ll use this blog space to give you 5 things to look forward to in the upcoming week at each boutique meet. They’ll be handicapping and wagering-centric, not promotions and news bytes. If you’ve followed my work at Keeneland, you’ll know what’s in store. The powerful Betmix database will help drive us toward future plays at Saratoga and Del Mar. Here’s what to watch during opening week at Saratoga 2019: 1. Rookie ‘Insight’ Overblown: Since 2013, first-time starters win 10% overall at Saratoga in 2-year-old maiden races while those juveniles with experience have a win rate nearly 15%. The ROI is negligibly better with the experienced horses as well. Note that the average payoff in 2-year-old races at Saratoga is about a half odds-point higher than all local races (or $1 more on average return). First-time starting 2-year-olds as favorites win 32% at the Spa since 2013, the same number as favorites overall in all races. But note Todd Pletcher hits 41% with debut 2-year-olds who are favored, one of the few places money has spoken the right language. 2. Shanghai’d Pedigree Plays: High-profile sires like Tapit, Into Mischief and Malibu Moon put up numbers on the Saratoga main track last summer, but weren’t extraordinary by percentages. It’s Shanghai Bobby offspring who merit a blind bet after going 8: 5-1-2 last summer on the Spa dirt (all sprints). Three of those winners went off 12-1 or more! Violence was a rock-solid 47% in the exacta with his offspring on the Spa dirt last summer. Also note Bustin Stones babies were 8-18 in the exacta with 4 wins among the NY-breds, while on turf Kantharos was quietly stout along with Majesticperfection outside of the more traditional big-name sires. 3. Most Trusted Rider: The only jockey in the colony to show a positive ROI riding favorites last summer was Joel Rosario, who went 20: 8-6-3 for a $1.10 return on each $1 bet. That’s 40% wins and 70% in the exacta when teamed with the top horse. The Ortiz Brothers combined were 31% wins and 52% in the exacta by comparison when riding the chalk. 4. Rudy & Mott Don’t Start Hot: During opening week of the 2018 meet, Rudy Rodriguez (0-11) and Bill Mott (1-13) struggled. But they wound up third and fourth in the trainer’s standings at season’s end with 14 and 13 wins. During the past 3 opening weeks at Saratoga, Rodriguez has gone 2-25 and Mott 3-34. 5. Monmouth Mayhem: Horses last prepped at Monmouth were 15-for-31 in the exacta on the Saratoga dirt last summer, including a $1.77 win ROI for each $1 bet (just under 20% wins). Before you scream about it being Jason Servis horses, hit pause. He ran only 2 at the meet on dirt via Monmouth and ran second with both. In fact, of the 15 exacta finishers, 11 came from different barns. On turf, the Monmouth runners were far less effective last summer at Saratoga (only 22% in exacta).

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7.7.2019:

World’s A Stage For Atlanta, Lather Up

Atlanta and Lather Up ‘graduated’ in world-record style Saturday night at the Meadowlands. Both 4-year-olds ran the fastest mile ever to win in the $250,000 Graduate series finals in their respective divisions.  Atlanta, who won the 2018 Hambletonian at the Big M, trotted to victory in 1:49.1, the fastest ever. But she needed every inch of racetrack to catch champion Six Pack in the closing yards to win by a neck. Six Pack took over from early pace-setter Manchego and led through 3/4s in 1:22. Atlanta came out from third near the top of the lane and surged late despite drifting slightly to win by a neck. She remained unbeaten in six starts this year for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Brad Grant and Howard Taylor and upstaged Hannelore Hanover’s 1:49.2 mile in 2017 for the same trainer-driver duo of Ron Burke and Yannick Gingras.  “I thought I was a winner at the eighth pole, but (Six Pack) kept fighting,” said Gingras. “At the end of the day, it was two great horses going at it and ours came out on top.”  Lather Up (Montrell Teague) had no such anxious moments in the Graduate final for pacers. He tracked Always a Prince (Brian Sears) from the pocket through sizzling middle splits of :52 for the half and 1:19 for 3/4s before taking aim and equaling Always B. Miki’s world-record 1:46 set in 2017. Lather Up held off late-running This Is The Plan (Gingras) to win by 2-1/4 lengths for his 20th win in 33 starts. He paid $14 to win and increased his million dollar bankroll for owners/breeders Gary and Barbara Iles and trainer Clyde Francis.  The action won’t slow down this week at the Meadowlands. The battle lines have been drawn for the $682,000 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds this Saturday, July 13.  Odds-on favorites Captain Crunch and Bettor’s Wish, who finished 1-2 in the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup last month at Woodbine Mohawk-Park in what one publication called “a race for the ages,” set the stage with sharp elimination victories for the Pace.  Captain Crunch (Scott Zeron) brushed past even-money second choice Workin Ona Mystery (Sears) at the 3/8s pole and held safe for a 1/2-length win in 1:48.3. Bettor’s Wish (Dexter Dunn) cruised to a 2-1/4-length score in a personal-best 1:49.1.  “I think we are in a good spot,” said Bettor’s Wish trainer Chris Ryder. “I suppose we won’t be favored next week. But I think we’re dangerous.” 

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7.7.2019:

Sunday, July 7: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

The Sunday night feature at Hawthorne Racecourse rolls in Race 4, an Open Trot with a $12,000 purse. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 starts in Race 7, it has a $30,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. The driver with the hottest hands on Saturday was Kyle Wilfong with three wins. Conditioner Brett Wilfong led the trainers with three pictures. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 7 3-Meyer On Fire-May push the pace and try to control the race as soon as they say go, could be sitting on a big try. 5-Heza Real Diamond-Paced the 1st half in 57.1, then rolled and smoked the 2nd half in .54, ML chalk looks the part. Race 8 5-Fox Valley Sierra-Drew off versus easier and looks like a player but probably won't get the 2 hole to a 59.2 half. 10-Susan Sage-Will need best from here but finished ahead of a number of these last week and is in good form. Race 9 3-Kelly's Kindness-Bet hard off the bench and broke maiden for new barn, will string along at a square price. 6-Secret Cache-Gets post relief and Leonard may work a better trip this evening. 8-Ashlee's Joy-Often the bridesmaid but last was a sharp effort, can take a picture if Wilfong can get in striking range. Race 10 1-My Uptowne Girl-Winner of 3 straight at this class can keep it going with a similar performance as last week. 3-Camera Queen-Looking for a price here, has been better and could get sucked around and surprise. 5-Fresh Eyes-Here's the biggest threat to #1, faces easier and with the right trip could handle this bunch. My Ticket Race 7) 3,5 Race 8) 5,10 Race 9) 3,6,8 Race 10) 1,3,5 Total Ticket Cost) $18 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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7.6.2019:

July 6-Meadowlands Analysis

The Meadowlands has a topflight 11-race card scheduled with the first post coming at 6:35 EST. The headliners are in Race 6 and Race 10, the Graduate Trot and Pace Finals each with a hefty $250,000 purse. The Meadowland Pace Eliminations roll in Race 7 and Race 8. The top five finishers will return for next Saturday's Final with Elimination winners drawing for post positions 1-6. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 6-Graduate Trot Final-Purse $250,000 4-Atlanta (9/5)-Appears too good right now to be denied even with a tough trip. 3-Fiftydallarbill (4-1)-May blast out and should be forwardly placed, could get a pocket ride behind #4. 9-Six Pack (5-1)-Makes 4th start of the year and 3rd on Lasix, post is an issue but could be sitting on a big try. Race 7-Meadowlands Pace Elimination (First 5 finishers return for the Final)-Purse $50,000 1-Captain Crunch (8/5)-Should make every call a winning one and may not be challenged for top honors tonight. 4-Workin Ona Mystery (5/2)-Could get a pocket trip, and then a runner-up finish behind #1 as in NA Cup. 2-US Captain (5-1)-In form and looks to be in a battle to hit the bottom of the ticket. Race 8-Meadowlands Pace Elimination (First 5 finishers return for the Final)-Purse $50,000 4-Captain Trevor (7/2)-Racing well and likes the bigger oval too, McCarthy knows well and rates a slight edge. 6-Bettor's Wish (9/5)-ML chalk having a great year and comes in fresh, a major player. 5-Hurrikane Emperor (8-1)-Price play is 6-6 at the Big M and is in a spot to put some juice into gimmick payouts. Race 10-Graduate Pace Final-Purse $250,000 2-Always A Prince (5-1)-Impressive win last week brushing up first-over, this post draws give the Prince an edge. 3-Lather Up (10-1)-Finally draws inside on a big track, should get a trip and might be overlooked at the windows. 9-Jimmy Freight (6-1)-Jimmy battles every week, could have won last week if cleared sooner, in the hunt with a trip. Race 10 $20 win on 2 $8 Exacta-2/3, 2/9 $5 Exacta Box-2,3,9 Total Bet=$66 Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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7.5.2019:

July 5-Can-Am Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, the Can-Am Pick 4 returns with a slight twist. Woodbine Mohawk Park has new start time on Fridays and the first post is now 7:50 EST. So, the opening leg is scheduled to roll at Mohawk in Race 10 at 10:50 EST, the second leg goes at the Meadowlands in Race 12 at 10:55 EST. The sequence includes Race 10-11 at Mohawk and Race 12-13 at the Big M. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 10-Mohawk-Leg 1 3-Highland Dynamite-Camera shy but raced well from 8-hole after coming off a break, should be in the hunt. 4-Cheatalotpov-Making 4th start of year, twice beaten chalk has been trying hard and will respect chances. 7-Fingals Wave-Racing better as a sophomore, should be rolling late but will need a good cover flow. 10-All Wrapped Up-Has the gate speed to gain a good seat, Roy is back that helps, but must mind manners. Race 12-Meadowlands-Leg 2 2-Bombshell Hanover-Came a 54.4 last half but winner wasn't to be denied. This time starts inside of #7. 5-Captain Nemo-Also chased #7 but fell short, Nemo paces quick last 1/4's and could be sitting on a big try. 7-Capt Midnight-Has been impressive so far but now starts outside of main foes, will use ML chalk but look to beat. Race 11-Mohawk-Leg 3 5-Black Jack Pat-Filion returns, that should help, draws well, can be forwardly placed, should be the top challenger. 7-Boadicea-3-year-old has been winning easily in fast miles and could be a clean trip away from 5 straight pictures. Race 13-Meadowlands-Leg 4 1-Chief Justice-Was off 14-days before last start and couldn't catch a determined winner, Burke trainee is a threat. 5-Henderson Seelster-Having trouble closing the deal, but Sears has options here and could work a favorable trip. 8-Armagedon Seelster-Swinging for a price, thinking pace could be hot, if so, Berry should be rolling down the lane. 0.20 Can-Am Pick 4 3,4,7,10/2,5,7/5,7/1,5,8 Total Bet=$14.40 Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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7.5.2019:

Catholic Boy a Big Player in Suburban, Belmont Pick 5

Regardless of distance or surface, Catholic Boy is often the one to beat -- that’s certainly the case in the Grade II $700,000 Suburban Stakes on Saturday at Belmont. The 10-furlong race on the main track is the last of the late Pick 5 and All-Stakes Pick 4 on the card. The Pick 4 is the 7th through 10th races, and the Pick 5 is the 6th through 10th. We’re jumping in for the Pick 5, using a $54 ticket, but this can, of course, also be used for the Pick 4 play ($27 for 50 cents). Catholic Boy was a winner on the 2018 edition of this card, but it was in the Grade I Belmont Derby on turf. To prove he doesn’t have to take his track or surface with him, he followed with an easy win in the Grade I Travers over the Saratoga main track. Set to provide the strongest opposition are Marconi and Rocketry, the 1-2 finishers in the Grade II Brooklyn Handicap on June 8. Marconi carved out incredibly slow fractions and held on by a half-length over Rocketry, who came from far back despite those fractions. A turnabout in those results would not be unexpected, but the one they all have to beat is Catholic Boy, who won both of his Belmont turf starts in his career but has never started on the main track. Marconi and Rocketry could benefit from having a race over the track, and for that reason are included on this suggested ticket. Catholic Boy tried the Breeders’ Cup Classic last fall at Churchill Downs, never got involved and was eased. It was a rare blemish on an otherwise terrific set of past performances. He’s a mere $8,000 from the $2 million mark in earnings, and he has an excellent chance to get past that milestone and runs his record to 8 of 12 for trainer Jonathan Thomas. Here’s a suggested ticket for the late Pick 5 Saturday at Belmont Park: 6) #3 Code of Honor, #5 Final Jeopardy. 7) #1 Olendon, #2 Newspaperofrecord, #9 Cambier Parc. 8) #2 New York Central, #9 Promises Fulfilled. 9) #3 Seismic Wave, #12 Demarchelier, #13 Digital Age. 10) #1 Catholic Boy, #3 Rocketry, #4 Marconi. 50-cent Pick Four: 3-5 with 1-2-9 with 2-9 with 3-12-13 with 1-3-4 ($54).

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7.4.2019:

Dancing in the Street

As lyrics from the ’64 Martha and the Vandellas hit song suggest, “Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street.” On second thought, if you’re of a certain age and can fondly recall shakin’ your booty to that tune’s original release, be careful while ‘dancing in the street.’ You’re liable to hurt yourself or even worse get hit by car. Instead, why don’t you spend upcoming summer afternoons watching and wagering on the races with Xpressbet. It’s safer.  From now until Labor Day, there are at least two good reasons for you to visit Xpressbet on a regular basis. First, NYRA recently released its Late Pick 5 from captivity. The wager, offered on the afternoon’s last five races with a 50-cent minimum and an enticing 15% takeout, previously had been held hostage--available exclusively to NYRA Bets customers, New York on-track bettors, and those betting with a New York simulcasting facility. Other eager horseplayers need not apply. Obviously, that restriction has robbed NYRA of stacks since the wager was first launched at Saratoga in 2016. Finally, someone wisely unlocked the gates so handle from the pockets of grateful horseplayers nationwide could roar toward NYRA coffers like water freed from a dam.  By the time you read this, Xpressbet account holders and others already will have ridden the rapids—the embargo was lifted for the first time on Wednesday, July 3. Have no fear, there’s still plenty of loot to chase this weekend. NYRA Late Pick 5 general availability comes just in time for Belmont’s big holiday weekend program—Saturday’s 2019 Stars & Stripes Racing Festival. That extravaganza includes five graded stakes races and the launch of the inaugural $5.25 million Turf Triple series, featuring the Turf Trinity and Turf Tiara for sophs over three legs at Belmont and Saratoga. (Man, that last sentence sure includes a gaggle of alliterative Ts.)  The Turf Trinity begins with the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational on July 6 and is accompanied by the first leg of the filly Turf Tiara, the Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational--both events will be contested at 10 furlongs and broadcast live nationwide on NBC.  Also featured on the lucrative Stars & Stripes card is the Grade 2, $700,000 Suburban Handicap, the Grade 3, $250,000 Dwyer and the Grade 3, $300,000 John A. Nerud, a Breeders' Cup Win & You're In Event to the Breeders' Cup Sprint.  The spring/summer meet continues at Belmont Park Sunday, July 7, before live racing shifts to historic Saratoga Race Course for the 2019 meet beginning on Thursday, July 11.  Saratoga’s opening also is a perfect segue for the second reason Xpressbet is the best place to play this summer: Xpressbet’s $120,000 Fun in the Sun handicapping competition begins Saturday, July 13!  You may recall that Fun in the Sun is the popular and profitable weekly online event that challenges players to earn money based on a live $10 win wager on one horse in each of 10 mandatory races.  There’s $8,500 in weekly prizes$5k to first $2k to second $1k to third $500 to fourth awarded each Saturday—July 13 through August 31--and opportunities for top cumulative earners to collect shares of $80,000 in total seasonal prizes. The top four cumulative finishers will earn entry into the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship—a $12,000 value each!  Once Del Mar opens on July 17, races from that track will join Saratoga events to form weekly Fun in the Sun mandatory lineups. That way players can be challenged by an entertaining weekly East/West-coast, Turf ‘n Surf combo.  Fun in the Sun is for Xpressbet account holders only and there is no registration or entry fee to participate. Fun in the Sun is sponsored by Xpressbet, with no rake, skim or additional takeout. If you’re after ‘value,’ (and who isn’t?) Fun in the Sun has it in spades! And since competition wagers are ‘live,’ players keep what they win! Find the right horse a time or two and the weekly competition pays for itself.  One reason players love Fun in the Sun is because of the two-pronged prize structure. There are weekly winners as well as additional opportunities to collect seasonal prizes. After all, who among us can be hot at the windows each and every summer Saturday? No one. That’s OK, though. With Fun in the Sun a player can have a sub-par Saturday or two…or three…and still have time to rally and score big. Weekly prizes are lucrative, while consistent, dedicated heroes collect real gold in the form of rich cumulative prizes: Pegasus World Cup Handicapping Championship entries.  You know you’re going to play the races from Saratoga and Del Mar. While you’re at it why not play Fun in the Sun and compound your winnings all summer long?  With two exciting ways to get involved with Xpressbet this summer, there’s no reason to delay. Unless, of course, you’re waiting for that Martha and the Vandellas vinyl to quit spinning on the Victrola. In that case, you’re forgiven. Just stay out of the street. Race On! 

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7.3.2019:

How to Bet the Belmont Stars & Stripes Festival All-Stakes Pick 4

It’s a huge weekend in horse racing and Belmont Park’s Stars & Stripes Racing Festival is at the top of the list of ‘must watch’ and ‘must wager.’ Must wager because Belmont has tweaked their Wager Menu, opening up the 50-cent Late Pick 5 to all outlets effective July 3.  Previously, this wager was only available through select outlets in New York.  Plus, they’re also offering a $500,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Pick 4 (Races 7 – 10) that is simply too good to pass up. Plus, at Xpressbet, we’re upping the ante by offering a 1 Million Point Split of anyone who cashes a ticket on that Pick 4.  The All-Stakes Pick 4 includes the Belmont Oaks (Race 7), John A. Nerud (Race 8), Belmont Derby (Race 9) and Suburban (Race 10) Before revealing my ticket, let’s talk through a few recent trends for the big two races. Belmont Derby Since its inception in 2014 (it was previously the Jamaica Handicap and held in October), the Belmont Derby has, somewhat surprisingly, been won by US-based horses in 4-of-5 years.  The lone European-based winner in that span was Aidan O’Brien’s Deauville, who prevailed by a neck in 2016. Additionally, US-based horses have accounted for 9-of-15 Trifecta placings over the last five years, but it must be noted that the race has never been swept by an American trio.  And, in 2017, the 2nd and 3rd place finisher were European. No favorite has won the Belmont Derby, but two were runner-up. Aidan O'Brien, Europe's most recognizable trainer, has been represented by a winner, a runner-up and a third-place finisher in five tries. Belmont Oaks Chad Brown has won this race in 3-of-5 years and he swept the Trifecta in 2017 with New Money Honey, Sistercharlie and Uni.  Europe won its first Belmont Oaks last year as Aidan O’Brien’s Athena powered down the stretch to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Horses who made their most recent start in the US have accounted for 9-of-15 Trifecta races in Belmont Oaks history, but just 2-of-6 horses fit that bill in the last two years.  And here's how I'm betting the All-Stakes Pick 4:  Race 7 (4:30PM ET) - Belmont Oaks (G1, $750K) - 1 1/4 Miles on the Turf When I watched #9 Cambier Parc reel in stablemate, #2 Newspaperofrecord, late in the G3 Wonder Again Stakes, my immediate reaction was that the latter was done. Finished. Washed up. The defending Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner was now 0-for-2 without any excuse. But then I cracked into the fractions and saw Cambier Parc powered home the last quarter in 22.05s and the last eighth in 11.08s.  So while Newspaperofrecord clipped off fractions of 22.49s and 11.49s - incredibly admirable - she just couldn't hold off her stablemate.  What happens here?  Especially with #4 Concrete Rose in the group.  Remember, she beat Newspaperofrecord on the square at Churchill in the G3 Edgewood.  Plus, Chad Brown's 'other' horse #5 CAFE AMERICANO, looks formidable off just two starts.  The Aidan O'Brien horses aren't in good form - #6 JUST WONDERFUL and #3 CORAL BEACH so I'll pass on them.  The Japanese filly, #7 JODIE, is intriguing but this is a lot to ask and this is a strong field.  The international horse to have on the ticket may be #1 OLENDON, who is based in France for Pascal Bary.  My Pick 4 ticket will include all three Chad Brown fillies, plus Olendon.   Pick 4 Horses: #1 Olendon, #2 Newspaperofrecord, #5 Cafe Americano, #9 Cambier Parc Race 8 (5:05PM ET) - John A. Nerud Stakes (G2, $300K) - 7 Furlongs on the Dirt Dale Romans, trainer of #9 Promises Fulfilled, had to be doing backflips when the entires for this were taken and Mitole wasn't among them. Or X Y Jet. Or Roy H. Because, let's face it, Promises Fulfilled is a very nice horse. But he's also a very nice horse that needs the lead and, unfortunately, he's just a step below those horses.  So when he lined up against Mitole in the G1 Churchill Downs and the G1 Met Mile, it just wasn't going to be his day.  He fought valiantly in both races but came up a few lengths short in both.  Now, he looks like the controlling speed and his outside post will give Luis Saez options if someone inside of him (Killbegs Captain, perhaps) wants to go to the lead.  Inside-drawn #2 New York Central ran a big race against a weaker field in the Maryland Sprint Stakes on Preakness Day and is improving as a 4YO.  #7 Do Share would love a pace meltown and #8 Pat On the Back is a NY-bred that is 5-for-10 at Belmont and ran well in the Cigar Mile last fall.   Pick 4 Horses: #2 New York Central, #9 Promises Fulfilled Race 9 (5:44PM ET) - Belmont Derby (G1, $1 Million) - 1 1/4 Miles on the Turf 15 horses entered the Belmont Derby and since only 14 can start, #15 He's No Lemon is stuck on the also-eligible list and will only run if there's a scratch.  As noted above, American horses have fared well in this race, but Aidan O'Brien should always be respected and he's in with two here - #9 Cape of Good Hope and #11 Blenheim Palace.  Neither would be a shock, but neither will be favored, either.  Of the Americans, the only ones I'm really interested in come from the barn of Chad Brown.  He sends out four here - #2 Standard Deviation, #12 Demarchelier, #13 Digital Age and #14 Rockemperor.  While the latter three are drawn far outside, I'm not too worried about posts.  There's a long run into the first turn and plenty of room to sort things out without getting stuck wide.  I'm not going to include any of the three Triple Crown trail horses on my ticket.  Those are #5 Plus Que Parfait (KY Derby), #7 Master Fencer (KY Derby, Belmont) and #10 Spinoff (KY Derby, Belmont).  Pick 4 Horses: #2 Standard Deviation, #3 Seismic Wave, #8 Social Paranoa, #9 Cape of Good Hope, #12 Demarchelier, #13 Digital Age, #14 Rockemperor Race 10 (6:18PM ET) - Suburban Stakes (G2, $700K) - 1 1/4 Miles on the Dirt Ultimately, this race comes down to Catholic Boy vs Everyone Else.  And it's hard to bet against Catholic Boy.  Last year's Traver winner got a nice prep in the G2 Dixie on Preakness Day and is the horse to beat, despite his inside post.  He may face some pressure from the up-and-coming #4 Marconi, who won the G2 Brooklyn last out over a fast-charging #3 Rocketry, who loves this track and distance.  I think Rocketry is the only possible upsetter and is worth including in a ticket.  #11 Pavel has "been there, done that" ans has earned $2 Million the hard way, but these horses are just better than he is. Pick 4 Horses: #1 Catholic Boy My Ticket Race 7 - 1, 2, 5, 9 Race 8 - 2, 9 Race 9 - 2, 3, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14 Race 10 - 1 Ticket Cost - $28 for 50-cents

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7.3.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: July 5 Stronach 5 Play

Let’s once again tackle the Stronach 5, which will have a 100k guarantee, though the pool has been easily surpassing that number each and every week. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (4:50 ET) – 3up 16k N2L at 1-mile (turf) The opener doesn’t look tough as nails, as it usually is, so hopefully we can get through without having to go too deep, and in this instance I’ll use three; #6 GUNSLINGER (4-1), #8 TEN EYCK (7-2), and #3 SEVILLE BARBER (9-2). The former should enjoy a soft pace (especially since #7 Panama Papers will scratch, having won at this condition Monday at Del Park), enabling him to get first run on him two main rivals, which could prove to be the difference, and a drop in class won’t hurt either. An inside post, class drop, and the addition of Lasix could all put ‘Barber over the top, and he’s tactical enough to sit a perfect trip too. The class is clearly ‘Eyck, who invades from NY having faced tons better, but a decided lack of speed may play against him here. Pk5 A horses: 6,8,3 The post is the reason #11 NATIVE FLORA (6-1) isn’t an A, as it’s just brutal, plus he’s unproven going this far and Merryman is ice cold, though he fits nicely on paper and does have a lot of tactical sprint speed, so just maybe he can trip out. It’s not impossible that either #1 Been Redeemed or #2 Conquest Falcon make a dent, though they are definitely below the top quartet and look more like C-level contenders. Pk5 B horses: 11 Leg 2: Laurel Park R9 (5:22 ET) –3upfm 5k N2L at 6 furlongs We’ve got an absolutely inscrutable second leg, filled with lifetime 1L’s who aren’t interested in winning a race, so this one seems the definition of a mine field that will be tough to get through. Looking at it from a pace perspective, there doesn’t appear to be a ton of heat up front, and a drop in class while going second-off a somewhat unfathomable 32-month layoff says that #1 FANCY OUTFLANKER (12-1) should move up today, and that last-of-5 return for 8k wasn’t at all bad, since she was beaten just 8 1/2 lengths. I’m thinking #4 PARCHED GHOST (5-1) is the gal to beat, as she blitzed MCL foes two-back then was in against tougher in an odd spot on the turf last time, so a return to the main track should work. Aside from the top-2 I don’t have any real clue, but I want to use one more, and the dart lands on #5 PERFECT EXCHANGE (9-2), who starts for a sharp Jenkins barn and also goes turf-to-dirt and has hit the board behind three runaway winners in her last three main track runs. Pk5 A horses: 1,4,5 There’s a chance that the turf is what has #2 DIXIE DO GOOD (10-1) running much higher figures, but she could also be a better horse since the layoff, and she drops in class from when last seen on dirt, so I’m going to use her as well, especially since she’s just 1-for-10 in a race filled with several who have countless more losses. Speaking of which, horses like #3 Majorie Mugs (6-1) and #6 Boom Boom Gone (5-1) both fit on paper, but when you’re 1-for-39 and 1-for-17, respectively, I don’t consider you win candidates and are quite comfortable letting you beat me. Conversely, both #8 Country Linebacker (5-1) and #9 Holy Freedom (6-1) don’t have as many losses, but wide draws and muddled form make them play-againsts too. Pk5 B horses: 2 Leg 3: Gulfstream Park R7 (5:28 ET) – 3upfm 50k OC/SAL at 7 1/2 furlongs (turf)d It looks like there’s plenty of speed here in the middle four slots (6-9), and that may be enough to tilt this to the off-the-pace types, so I’ll play it that way and side with #4 JUSTCALLMENORMAN (7-2), who really improved off the Joseph claim when a fast 3rd at the level in April and meets lesser today. The pace will also help #3 UNLOCKTHEPOTENTIAL (6-1) and #2 LIL COMMISSIONER (6-1), who have knocked heads twice of late and fit nicely on figures. Pk5 A horses: 4,3,2 A drop in class from some tough CD races means you need to at least look at #1 PLEASE SIT DOWN (8-1), especially since he’ll be another who is flattered by the pace, even though he’s a bit slow on paper. You should get a fair price on the class-rising #5 FARLEY (8-1), who can trip out and has really picked up his game since stretching out in his last two on turf. I’ll side against #9 Buddy’s Run (5-1), who probably has more upside than the rest off just three starts, but drew terribly in his turf debut, and Nicks is just 8% with this move as well. Pk5 B horses: 1,5 Leg 4: Gulfstream Park R8 (6:02 ET) – 3up 10k MCL at 5 furlongs A lot of people might be singling #2 DRILL DOWN DUDE (8-5) off the Zerpa claim (45%), especially since he goes turf-to-dirt (5-for-7) and drops in class, but the fact that #9 BUFFON (9-5) ran huge when 2nd, beaten just a neck, in his debut for Vaccarezza, who at the time was winless at the meet and 0’fer with firsters, says he can run, and this outside attack post makes him even more attractive, so he actually gets the nod on top. Pk5 A horses: 9,2 The hit-or-miss form of #7 Starship Taxi (5-1), and the fact he’s 0-for-9 with no upside, says he’s going to have trouble with the top pair, which is why I’m not going to use him, especially since I need to narrow somewhere after spreading a bit in the first three legs. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R9 (6:34 ET) – 3up 10k MCL at 1-mile (turf) The final leg is extremely weak, and though I have no idea what to make of #3 PEACE SPEAKER (4-1), who would win this in a gallop off his prior form but hasn’t been out in almost 17 months after he was claimed for 40k out of a disappointing 5th and now returns for 10k, he has worked well for this and 21% jock Rendon is here, so I’ll take the bait. Being a first-time starter in a field like this isn’t a bad thing either, and #6 CAN’T TRUMP KITTEN (3-1) starts for Maker, who is 15% on-debut, and with Zayas here, there figures to be some intent too. I’ll also use #9 ALPERES (7-2), who is best of the proven runners at the level, though running 2nd in three straight and drawing poorly are definite knocks. Pk5 A horses: 3,6,9 The problem with the backups is that you could use several, yet have no guarantee at hitting, so I’m a little leery here and won’t use any, though #2 Barbie’s King (5-1) would be the logical choice, if you’re looking for more coverage. Pk5 B horses: NONE The tickets: Main Ticket: 6,8,3 with 1,4,5 with 4,3,2 with 9,2 with 3,6,9 = $162 Leg 1 B Backup: 11 with 1,4,5 with 4,3,2 with 9,2 with 3,6,9 = $54 Leg 2 B Backup: 6,8,3 with 2 with 4,3,2 with 9,2 with 3,6,9 = $54 Leg 3 B Backup: 6,8,3 with 1,4,5 with 1,5 with 9,2 with 3,6,9 = $108

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7.3.2019:

Mid-Season Report: Top Performances of 2019

Now that it is July, it’s time for my list of the Top 10 performances by a Thoroughbred in the United States during the first half of 2019. A Thoroughbred’s performance can make this list for a variety of reasons, such as: --A win by a big margin while showing brilliance. --Recording a fast final time and/or speed figure. --Being especially game in victory or defeat. --Overcoming adversity. --Defeating a particularly strong group of opponents. --Carrying more weight than usual and/or spotting considerable weight. --Achieving something historic. The importance of the race itself also plays a role in determining whether or not I believe a performance deserves to make the list. And now here is my list of the Top 10 performances this year from Jan. 1 through June 30: 10. BREAK EVEN in Churchill Downs’ Grade II Eight Belles Stakes at seven furlongs on dirt when the track was sloppy May 3. (Owned by Klein Racing; trained by Brad Cox; ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan.) Break Even was in total control of this race from the get-go. Dashing to a clear lead at once, she passed the three-eighths pole with a commanding five-length advantage. Still in front by four with a furlong to go, she won by 5 1/2 lengths in 1:22.13. The 3-year-old Kentucky-bred Country Day filly recorded a 94 Beyer Speed Figure. The Eight Belles was her fourth daylight victory from her first four career starts, all this year. Prior to the Eight Belles, she had won a pair of races at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots by five and 4 1/4 lengths, followed by a 4 1/2-length win in the Purple Mountain Stakes at Oaklawn Park. After Break Even drubbed her rivals in the Eight Belles, she won Belmont Park’s Jersey Girl Stakes by three-quarters of a length on June 9. Even though Break Even’s margin of victory in the Jersey Girl was by far her smallest, her effort in that June 9 race produced a career-best 98 Beyer. 9. WORLD OF TROUBLE in Belmont Park’s Grade I Jaipur Stakes at six furlongs on turf June 8. (Owned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables; trained by Jason Servis; ridden by Manny Franco.) World of Trouble, hammered down to 2-5 favoritism, seized the lead immediately and sped along while clicking off fractions of :21.99, :43.85 and :54.80. The 4-year-old Florida-bred Kantharos colt won by 1 3/4 lengths in a swift 1:06.37. He received a 106 Beyer Speed Figure. “Man, what a horse,” Servis said after the Jaipur. In World of Trouble’s four starts during the first half of 2019, all sprints, he won on a sloppy track at Gulfstream, a fast track at Aqueduct and on the turf at Churchill and Belmont. World of Trouble is one of those few Thoroughbreds to succeed at the Grade I level on both dirt (Grade I Carter Handicap at Aqueduct on April 6) and turf (Jaipur). Indeed, what a horse. 8. MAXIMUM SECURITY in Gulfstream Park’s Grade I Xpressbet Florida Derby at 1 1/8 miles on dirt March 30. (Owned by Gary and Mary West; trained by Jason Servis; ridden by Luis Saez.) This was Maximum Security’s first start going farther than seven furlongs. It was his first race around two turns. It was his first start in a stakes race and first in a graded stakes race. After Maximum Security graduated from the maiden ranks by almost 10 lengths when unveiled at Gulfstream on Dec. 20, he won a pair of starter allowance/optional claiming races at that same venue by 6 1/4 and 18 1/4 lengths. Yes, they let Maximum Security bowl along early in the Florida Derby while on an uncontested lead. One reason that happened was 9-5 favorite Hidden Scroll did not go for the early lead. Many had criticized Joel Rosario for his ride on Hidden Scroll in Gulfstream’s Fountain of Youth Stakes on March 2. They felt that Rosario should have tried to rate Hidden Scroll early when he set a rapid pace and finished fourth. But when Javier Castellano rated Hidden Scroll early in the Florida Derby, many knocked Castellano for doing that. Hidden Scroll did not seem to like it very much when he found himself boxed in through the early furlongs while getting dirt thrown back into his face. It appeared that rating Hidden Scroll and essentially taking away what probably is his best weapon -- his speed -- backfired. But while it is true that Maximum Security enjoyed an easy time of it while leading early in the Florida Derby, the fact is he came home the final three furlongs in a very strong :35 and change. It takes a serious equine athlete to come home that fast. Maximum Security completed his Florida Derby journey in 1:48.86. The Kentucky-bred New Year’s Day colt recorded a 101 Beyer Speed Figure. Maximum Security’s final time of 1:48.86 in the Florida Derby was better than three previous winners in the 13 years who went on to capture the Kentucky Derby: Barbaro, Orb and Nyquist. Since Gulfstream enlarged the main track to 1 1/8 miles for its 2005 season, these have been the Florida Derby times, from fastest down to slowest: 1:47.47 (2017) Always Dreaming* 1:47.72 (2009) Quality Road 1:48.16 (2008) Big Brown* 1:48.79 (2012) Take Charge Indy 1:48.86 (2019) Maximum Security 1:49.00 (2007) Scat Daddy 1:49.01 (2006) Barbaro* 1:49.11 (2016) Nyquist* 1:49.17 (2014) Constitution 1:49.19 (2010) Ice Box 1:49.43 (2005) High Fly 1:49.48 (2018) Audible 1:50.74 (2011) Dialed In 1:50.87 (2013) Orb* 1:52.30 (2015) Materiality *Won the Kentucky Derby For a time, it appeared that Maximum Security had won the 2019 Kentucky Derby. He crossed the finish line first, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of 65-1 longshot Country House. However, the stewards disqualified Maximum Security and placed him 17th for committing a race foul. Maximum Security veered out sharply approaching the five-sixteenth pole to cause interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy. It was the first time in the 145-year history of the Kentucky Derby that a winner was disqualified for an incident during the running of the race. 7. COVFEFE in Pimlico’s Grade III Miss Preakness Stakes at six furlongs on dirt May 17. (Owned by LNJ Foxwoods; trained by Brad Cox; ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan.) In quite a display of sheer speed, Covfefe completed six furlongs in a sizzling 1:07.70 to win by 8 1/2 lengths. Her final time obliterated the track record of 1:09.00 set by Northern Wolf back in 1990. Covfefe, a 3-year-old Kentucky-bred Into Mischief filly, recorded a 107 Beyer Speed Figure for her Miss Preakness triumph. Her 107 ranked as the highest Beyer by a 3-year-old male or female at any distance during the first half of 2019. 6. MIDNIGHT BISOU in Belmont Park’s Grade I Ogden Phipps Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on dirt June 8. (Owned by Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables and Allen Racing; trained by Steve Asmussen; ridden by Mike Smith.) Lurking in fourth early, Midnight Bisou prevailed by 3 1/2 lengths in a sharp 1:39.69 at 8-5. Coming Dancing finished second as the 4-5 favorite in the field of five. Come Dancing’s odds-on favoritism stemmed from her two dominant victories in her two 2019 starts prior to the Phipps. She had won Aqueduct’s Grade III Distaff Handicap by almost eight lengths in April and Belmont’s Grade II Ruffian Stakes by nearly seven lengths on a sloppy strip in May. But Come Dancing was no match for Midnight Bisou in the final furlong of the Phipps. The official Equibase chart for the Phipps recounted Midnight Bisou’s journey to victory: “MIDNIGHT BISOU away in good order, responded when put to mild hand encouragement to inch up towards COME DANCING, loosely drafted behind that opponent before sliding over to the rail nearing the conclusion of the backstretch, sat patiently pocketed on the turn, was forced to wait behind the previously mentioned rival with a few jumps to spare before quarter pole, espied an escape route to the outside coming to the head of the stretch, eagerly angled to it and was fed her cue, responded almost instantaneously to take charge by the eighth pole, extended the winning margin, fed a steady diet of light stick work in the area of the right shoulder to stay on course.” Midnight Bisou, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Midnight Lute filly, recorded a career-best 103 Beyer Speed Figure for her Phipps victory. In my view, Midnight Bisou’s Phipps was the best performance by a female Thoroughbred in the United States during the first half of 2019. 5. BRICKS AND MORTAR in Gulfstream Park’s Grade I Pegasus World Cup Turf at 1 3/16 miles on a yielding turf course Jan. 26. (Owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence; trained by Chad Brown; ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.) With a purse of $7 million, this was the richest grass event in the history of North American racing. Bricks and Mortar, making his second start following a long layoff, rallied from eighth to win going away by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:54.59. His 107 Beyer in the Pegasus World Cup Turf was a career-best figure. The 107 achieved by the Kentucky-bred son of Giant’s Causeway also was the highest Beyer in a grass race longer than one mile during the first half of 2019. Bricks and Mortar’s Pegasus World Cup Turf was, I believe, the best grass performance by a Thoroughbred in the United States this year from January through June. During the first half of this year, Bricks and Mortar was four for four. After the Pegasus World Cup Turf, he won the Grade II Muniz Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in March, Grade I Turf Classic at Churchill in May and Grade I Manhattan at Belmont earlier this month. Bricks and Mortar’s record was such during the first half of 2019 that he ranked No. 1 in the July 1 NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. Here is that poll’s Top 10 on July 1: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 351 Bricks and Mortar (28) 2. 318 Mitole (6) 3. 243 Midnight Bisou (2) 4. 227 McKinzie 5. 189 World of Trouble 6. 122 Catholic Boy 7. 108 Seeking the Soul 8. 103 Rushing Fall 9. 69 Thunder Snow 10. 68 Vino Rosso 4. GUARANA in Belmont Park’s Grade I Acorn Stakes at one mile on dirt June 8. (Owned by Three Chimneys Farm; trained by Chad Brown; ridden by Jose Ortiz.) Fourteen years after Ghostzapper’s resounding victory in the Grade I Met Mile, a daughter of his, Guarana, put on a show when she won the one-mile Acorn this year by six widening lengths in 1:33.58, an effort that produced a 99 Beyer Speed Figure. Guarana’s Acorn win occurred on the same day as this year’s Met Mile. The late Bobby Frankel once told me that the best horse he ever trained was Ghostzapper, who was voted 2004 Horse of the Year after winning the Grade I BC Classic that season by three lengths at Lone Star Park. How marvelous was Ghostzapper’s race when he won the 2004 BC Classic? I ranked it as the best performance by a Thoroughbred in the United States in 2004. Ghostzapper recorded a 124 Beyer Speed Figure when he won the 2004 BC Classic. Through the 2018 Breeders’ Cup, only one horse has ever earned a higher Beyer than 124. Precisionist recorded a 125 when he won the 1985 BC Sprint at Aqueduct. The only two other Breeders’ Cup winners to have earned a 124 are Sunday Silence in the 1989 Classic at Gulfstream and Artax in the 1999 Sprint also at Gulfstream. Ghostzapper raced only once more after his 2004 BC Classic victory. He won the Grade I Met Mile by 6 1/2 lengths the following year. His final time was 1:33.29. His Beyer was 122. Not only did Guarana win the Acorn by a sizable margin in 1:33 and change, what makes her performance all the more impressive is that it was just her second lifetime start. In her only previous appearance under silks, the Kentucky-bred filly won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race by 14 3/4 lengths on a sloppy track April 19 at Keeneland. 3. OMAHA BEACH in Oaklawn Park’s Grade I Arkansas Derby at 1 1/8 miles on dirt when the track was sloppy April 13. (Owned Fox Hill Farms; trained by Richard Mandella; ridden by Mike Smith.) Omaha Beach made an eye-catching move on the clubhouse turn, advancing quickly from fifth to take over soon after entering the backstretch. Once the Kentucky-bred War Front colt reached the front, he settled into a nice, comfortable rhythm rather than get headstrong or rank. In Countdown to the Crown, Jeremy Plonk articulated how impressive Omaha Beach was to win the Arkansas Derby after making such a swift early move. Omaha Beach “motored around the clubhouse turn like Secretariat’s 1973 Preakness when [jockey] Ron Turcotte took a gamble blowing past Ecole Etage,” Plonk wrote. Plonk observed that it would have been understandable to think that perhaps Omaha Beach had moved too soon. But Plonk pointed out how strongly Omaha Beach still ran his final three furlongs, comparing it to three other prominent Arkansas Derby winners: Final 3F Winner (Year) :37.20 Curlin (2007) :37.35 Bodemeister (2012) :37.45 Omaha Beach (2019) :37.78 American Pharoah (2015) Plonk noted that after they had won the Arkansas Derby, Curlin finished third in the Kentucky Derby, Bodemeister ran second in the Kentucky Derby and American Pharoah won the Triple Crown. Omaha Beach’s final three furlongs in the Arkansas Derby had to be as robust as it was in order to hold off Improbable that whole time. Omaha Beach was in front by a length at the three-eighths pole, a length in front at the eighth pole and a length in front at the finish. Improbable was second at each of those points. That is what you call successfully fending off an opponent. 2. MITOLE in Belmont Park’s Grade I Metropolitan Handicap at one mile on dirt June 8. (Owned by William and Corinne Heiligbrodt; trained by Steve Asmussen; ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr.) This year’s Met Mile attracted a stellar field of nine. Most observers considered it to be the strongest group for any race run in this country during the first half of the year. Mitole attended the early pace and rose to the challenge when the real test came to prevail by three-quarters of a length at 7-2. McKinzie, the 8-5 favorite, had a troubled trip and finished second. Thunder Snow came in third, followed in order by Promises Fulfilled, Firenze Fire, Pavel, Coal Front, Tale of Silence and Prince Lucky. Many thought McKinzie would have won if not for his traffic woes. Nevertheless, Mitole merits praise for running one mile in a splendid 1:32.75, not far off the track record of 1:32.24 set by Najran in 2003. Mitole recorded a 108 Beyer Speed Figure for his Met Mile triumph to tie his career-best figure. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Eskendereya colt also was credited with a 108 Beyer when he won Oaklawn’s Grade III Count Fleet Sprint Handicap by 2 3/4 lengths at six furlongs on a sloppy track this year on April 13. The Met Mile was Mitole’s fourth win from four 2019 starts. 1. CITY OF LIGHT in Gulfstream Park’s Grade I Pegasus World Cup at 1 1/8 miles on a sloppy main track Jan. 26. (Owned by Mr. and Mrs. William Warren Jr.; trained by Michael McCarthy; ridden by Javier Castellano.) City of Light put an exclamation point on his racing career that concluded with this brilliant performance. A pace factor from the outset, City of Light splashed away from his opponents in the stretch and won this $9 million event by 5 3/4 lengths at 9-5 in the wagering. Seeking the Soul, who was sent away at 34-1, ran second. Accelerate, the 3-2 favorite in the field of 12, finished third. City of Light and Accelerate were both coming off a Breeders’ Cup victory at Churchill on Nov. 3. City of Light won the Grade I BC Dirt Mile. Accelerate captured the Grade I BC Classic, after which he was voted a 2018 Eclipse Award as champion older male. After the Pegasus, City of Light and Accelerate both headed off to stud at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky. McCarthy was proud that City of Light had performed so admirably in the Pegasus. But the trainer, who did a terrific job from day one with the Kentucky-bred Quality Road colt, also was understandably disappointed that City of Light’s racing career had come to an end. “He’s the horse of a lifetime,” McCarthy told Gulfstream publicity the day after the Pegasus. “I don’t know what else I can say.” In the opinion of many, City of Light’s Pegasus was the finest race he ran during a career in which he posted six wins, four seconds and a third from 11 starts. He was credited with a career-best 112 Beyer Speed Figure. City of Light’s previous top Beyer had been his 110 in the BC Dirt Mile. City of Light’s 112 had the distinction of being the best Beyer Speed Figure recorded during the first half of 2019.

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7.1.2019:

July 1-Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

The feature at Woodbine Mohawk Park rolls in Race 8, a Preferred Trot with a $34,000 purse. The Early 0.20 Pick 4 starts in Race 4, it has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 4 3-Dunbar Hall-Last looked better than the line, couldn't gain on sharp leader but top 2 finishers are not in this field. 5-Mr Contestant-Showed some rare gate speed and almost lasted, moves in a couple of spots, looks like a player. 7-Royal Witch-Takes a good step-up after an easy win in 52.3, has back class and could string wins together. Race 5 2-Just For You-Should like the company in 3rd Wbsb start and benefits from the post draw at 8-1 in the ML. 6-Cloud Nine Hanover-Price shot steps-up after an easy win, has the speed to race up-close and trip out. 10-Dr Spengler-This is a soft spot, has been bet against better and if dialed on high can win from this post. Race 6 1-Cinderella Delight-Big effort in the slop from the 9-hole, will need best for a picture but will respect chances. 3-Kylie Seelster-ML chalk should be tough to beat on a dry strip, this is a spot to shine. Race 7 3-Kameran Hanover-Racing well in last 2 and comes back again in sequence, beaten chalk is a player. 4-Dream Together-There are reasons to avoid but will use, doesn't need to be 100% to beat these. 5-Miami-Nice effort from the 8-hole and now McNair will steer, could pop at a square price. 0.20 Early Pick 4 3,5,7/2,6,10/1,3/3,4,5 Total Bet=$10.80 Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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7.1.2019:

How Will 2019 Sort Itself Out?

The second half of 2019 uncorks today as the calendar flips to July. You don’t have to be an ace handicapper to tout that we’re looking forward to some clarity in the 3-year-old male and handicap divisions. Even an optimist would have to say Q1-Q2 left more questions than answers among those runners. Clearly the most dominant horses of 2019 have been in sub-divisions: Bricks and Mortar in the Turf, Mitole in the Sprint, Midnight Bisou in the Distaff and World of Trouble in the Turf Sprint ranks. They are 16-for-16 with more than $7 million combined in earnings. They’ve won both south and north already on the year. If you demand that a horse ‘make it’ in New York (which I don’t, but many do), all 4 have checked that box in recent weeks. That said, the 2019 Triple Crown gave us zero clarity in the sophomore class, witness to a trio of winners that included Country House via DQ in Louisville, War of Will via perfect trip in Baltimore and Sir Winston via a 4-race losing streak prior to Elmont. It’s fair to say that if all 3 showed up in the Travers, there’s a very good chance someone else would actually go favored. But if you were convinced Derby demotion Maximum Security was the one, his defeat at dimes on the dollar in the ‘other’ Pegasus Stakes left significant plumes of smoke. And Richard Mandella sounds like there’s no timetable in sight for a return to the races by Omaha Beach. Perhaps it’s Tacitus and rising Owendale to settle the sophomore argument. Game Winner could get his swag back in races like the PA Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic back home at Santa Anita. But he still hasn’t won a race this year after winning last year’s 2-year-old championship. The older males on dirt bid retirement farewells to City of Light and Accelerate following their 1-2 finish in the Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 26. The remainder of the division had 5 months to interview replacements, and so far the sequel has lacked a stellar casting call. McKinzie has been beaten 3 of 4 starts, though never worse than second, and may get the first call-back. Seeking the Soul won the Stephen Foster over a track he loves at Churchill, but he’s 1-for-3 on the campaign, as is Gift Box. That makes the divisional standard-setters a combined 3-for-10 this year. But hardware aside, they still will run a Breeders’ Cup Classic this year for the dirt route males. McKinzie leads the British books at 12-1 for that currently with Thunder Snow at 14-1. The latter, winner of the 2019 Dubai World Cup and a good third in the Met Mile, seems the horse to beat right now for the Classic even if his resume isn’t on the radar for an Eclipse Award just yet. But an American campaign awaits and Thunder Snow seems the best Classic projection, and, in turn, championship contender at this point. That Thunder Snow sits 0-for-3 in America lifetime and likely our best Classic division candidate says a lot about where we are as July embarks. The good thing is we have 6 more months to figure this season out.

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7.1.2019:

Harness Highlights

MASTER ‘PLAN’ REVELAS SUN STAKES UPSETS The ‘Plan’ didn’t figure to include an upset victory over reigning Horse of the Year McWicked, multiple stakes-winning speedball Western Fame, or newly-minted millionaire Lather Up, to name a few in the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace last Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. But This Is The Plan executed to perfection, parlaying a pocket trip into his first win of the year in the main event on the Sun Stakes Saturday card. Driver Yannick Gingras hustled This Is The Plan to the lead from post 5, then yielded to favored Western Fame (Daniel Dube), who carried his blazing speed to six wins and nearly $500,000 in earnings this year. McWicked (Brian Sears), out and moving before the half, grinded first-over and inched closer to the lead through a 1:20.4 third-quarter split. But This Is The Plan slipped through on the rail and out-kicked McWicked by neck in a lifetime-best 1:48.2. He paid $26.80 to win. “I thought if I could get a two-hole trip behind Western Fame, we could be at least second,” said Gingras, who drove the winner for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Lawrence Karr. This Is The Plan fit the blueprint on a night of pocket-sitting and upset winners as the favorites came up short in all of the six-figure stakes at the 5/8-mile oval. Stonebridge Soul ($8.80) set the tone in the $300,000 James Lynch final for 3-year-old pacing fillies. She sat off a spirited duel between pace-setter Treacherous Reign (Dexter Dunn) and odds-on favorite Warrawee Ubeaut (Gingras), with neither backing down through the final turn. Tim Tetrick guided Stonebridge Soul through a rail opening in deep stretch and she inched clear to win in 1:49.3 and hold safe a late bid by Zero Tolerance (David Miller) for a length score. Chris Ryder trains Stonebridge Soul for owners Henderson Farms and Robert Mondillo. Shake That House ($19.40) followed suit with a 1:49.2 win in the $500,000 Max Hempt Memorial for sophomore pacers. He tracked Captain Victorious (Gingras) to the top of the stretch, angled out for running room and won by 2 lengths over late-running longshot Brassy Hanover (Corey Callahan), who completed a $438.80 exacta. Odds-on favorite Proof sat a decent, second-over trip but lacked stretch kick and finished out of the money. Hall of Famer Sears drove Shake That House for trainer Chris Oakes and owners Crawford Farms Racing, Alan Johnston, and Northfork Racing Stable. Marseille saved the best for last, springing a 57-to-1 shocker in the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Trot. Marseille (Ake Svanstedt) left quickly from post 7 and was followed by 46-1 Swandre The Giant through a :26.2 opening quarter mile. But the pace slowed dramatically in the second quarter as the outer flow developed. Osterc was first-over but broke stride near the mile mark. Green Manilishi S was forced to go 3-wide but stalled while providing cover to his stable-mate, forcing Greenshoe to rally 4-wide and make up five lengths in the stretch. He nearly did with a furious late burst, but Marseille held on for a head victory over the 1-to-9 favorite in 1:52.3. He paid $116 to win. CLASSIC DRIVE, WORLD RECORD FOR ‘ANGEL’ Guardian Angel AS travels fast, but regular driver Jason Bartlett stepped off the gas pedal for a moment Saturday night that proved critical in a world-record run. Guardian Angel AS won the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic in 1:52, the fastest ever by a trotter, 5 years old and up, on a half-mile track. But it was Bartlett’s crafty ride that enabled the $700,000 earner to post his fourth major victory at as many tracks since early May. Bartlett had the 4-to-5 favorite out and moving before the star-studded field reached the quarter pole, but Emoticon Hanover driver Jody Jamieson was intent on maintaining the lead and keeping Guardian Angel AS parked for as long as possible. Guardian Angel AS ranged up alongside on the backstretch, but Bartlett took a few looks behind him and appeared to restrain Guardian Angel AS from moving too quickly. The tactic proved critical when Guardian Angel AS forged to the lead in early stretch and held off a furious 3-wide rally by Musical Rhythm (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) to win by 1-1/2 lengths. “My first priority was to get him through the first turn without breaking,” said Bartlett. “Then, I got him to the outside and saw that Jody wanted to stay on the lead. So, I let him grind it out the rest of the way. On the third turn I knew I had it won.” 

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6.30.2019:

June 30: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

The headliners tonight at Hawthorne Racecourse are two-year-old trotters going in Violet and Cardinal Stakes action. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 starts in Race 8, it has a $30,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. The driver with the hottest hands on Saturday night at Hawthorne was Kyle Wilfong with four pictures. The top conditioner on the card was Brett Wilfong with two trips to the winner's circle. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 8 1-From Me To You-1st start off the bench and at Haw was in the slop and was fine, could be sitting on a big try. 6-Camera Queen-Breaking issues but just missed in last, makes 4th start for new barn, a threat if minds manners. 7-Sand And Rocks-3-yr.-old takes on older but raced a big 2nd half in slop in 1st local start, using at a square price. 9-Finleys Filly-Will respect 2nd ML chalk and Team Leonard, will use but look to beat both program favorites. Race 9 1-Theresareason-Nice improvement in 4th start of year, Franco may get into striking range sooner, best to respect. 2-Susan Sage-Winner of three straight and barn has been really hot, steps-up but could be up to the challenge. 6-Syrna-Made it looked easy in 3rd start for new barn in slop, back in vs. similar and at 7-1 in ML offers value. Race 10 1-Winter Gram-Raced a big 2nd half and now drops, could get sucked around and win at a square price. 8-Secret Cache-3-year-old steps-up after an easy win, post makes the price and should be a player. 10-Brienne The Beauty-Makes 3rd start on Lasix and last was better with a tough trip, could get cover from #8. Race 11 2-Fresh Eyes-Takes on better after a sharp win in 3rd start for Leonard barn, big chance if races back to last. 8-Fox Valley Halsey-Competitive filly will need a trip from this post but will use at 7-1 in the ML. 10-Jazzie Babe-Bates takes a spin for hot barn, should be a major player as long as pace isn't dull. 0.50 Late Pick 4 1,6,7,9/1,2,6/1,8,10/2,8,10 Total Bet=$54 

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6.29.2019:

June 29-Pocono Downs Sun Stakes Analysis

The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will be the host to four Sun Stake Finals with cumulative purses of $1.8 million. Grand Circuit action will headline the 14-race card. Some of the best 3-year-olds as well as aged pacers and trotters will be in action. Xpressbet customers will receive 10X-XB Reward Points for every wager made on the Saturday Pocono card. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 9-James Lynch Final-$300,000 Purse 1-Warrawee Ubeaut (5/2)-Gets a post edge, likes PcD, is sharp and loves to win, the top choice. 5-Treacherous Reign (3-1)-Last wasn't bad but there is more to offer, Dunn could leave and get a pocket ride. 4-Stonebridge Soul (10-1)-Can make multiple moves and at 10-1 in the ML is well worth using in gimmicks. $10 Exacta 1-5, $5 Exacta 1-4 Total Bet=$15 Race 10-Max Hempt Final-$500,000 Purse 2-Proof (5/2)-Was dominate last week and is very sharp. Winner of 4 of 6 at PcD looks a cut above the rest. 8-CaptainVictorious (7/2)-Looked like Lasix worked in last and could be even sharper tonight, but this post hurts. 7-Shake That House (4/1)-Another who loves the track, may fire out and if gets the top, chances go up. $10 Exacta 2-8, $10 Exacta 2-7 Total Bet=$20 Race 11-Ben Franklin Final-$500,000 Purse 2-Springsteen (5-1)-Allard boys won this stake last year and with this post draw off a big effort, I will put on top. 4-Western Fame (5/2)-The stablemate of #2 and the top threat, best to respect, looked razor sharp off the bench. 1-McWicked (3-1)-Always a threat and could be sitting on a big try in 4th start of year, but the trip could be tough. $10 Win on 2 $10 Exacta Box 2-4, $5 Exacta 2,4/1 Total Bet=$40 Race 12-Earl Beal Jr. Final-$500,000 Purse 2-Greenshoe (2-1)-Appears the best and this post doesn't hurt, his race to lose. 1-Green Manalishi S (3-1)-Melander's 1B will be close enough to pick-up the pieces if #2 fails to finish the deal. 5-Osterc (10-1)-A nice colt that will likely have trouble getting the top but in the mix and will use underneath. $10 Exacta 2-1, $5 Exacta 2-5 Total Bet=$15 Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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6.28.2019:

Friday, June 28: Meadowlands Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has a big 14-race card set to roll tonight. The headliner is carded as Race 2, the Rainbow Blue-Final which features five high-caliber mares battling for a share of a $60,000 purse. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 starts in Race 8, it has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. On Saturday night The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono has a star-studded card with three major stakes leading the way. The $500,000 Max Hempt Pace, the $500,000 Ben Franklin Free for All-Final, and the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Trot are the headliners. Xpressbet players will receive 10X XB Reward Points for every wager on the Sun Stakes Saturday Pocono card. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 8 5-You Should Be Here-Versatile mare draws well and Dunn should keep her in the hunt at a square price. 7-Reclamation-Winner of 6 straight also likes the Big M and fits here, razor sharp and could continue on a roll. 10-Catch An Ace-Very competitive mare doesn't have much gate speed so post is an issue but best to respect. Race 9 1-Super Schissel-Took the long way around in the Goodtimes Final and now draws the rail, should be a big player. 5-Magical Beliefs-Cantab Hall filly likes to win, could offer some value and Dave Miller knows well. 7-Chiplosive-Tries the Big M and is usually competitive on the 5/8's, could take a picture with the right trip. Race 10 1-The Downtown Bus-Has faced tough customers and raced well here from the 12-hole on 5-4, in the hunt tonight. 4-Courtly Choice-Hasn't been as sharp as last year but it's early in the season, now in a spot to get a very good trip. 6-Thinkbig Dreambig-Does best on a big oval, needs a trip but the hotter the pace the better the chance for a win. Race 11 5-Seven Iron-Callahan will have in striking range, has had some success at the Big M, a price shot worth a swing. 9-Eurobond-Post doesn't help but this is a softer spot, new pilot A. Miller can grind it out for a win, if minds manners. My Ticket Race 8) 5,7,10 Race 9) 1,5,7 Race 10) 1,4,6 Race 11) 5,9 Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50 Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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6.27.2019:

Johnny D.’s Ascot Thoughts

One day last week a friend texted to see if I could come out and play. I tapped back that I couldn’t. Which was true. For five consecutive mornings I was glued to the ‘telly’ and Xpressbet for racing from Royal Ascot. Afraid to miss a moment--The Royal Procession; a graded stakes race; a Frankie Dettori flying dismount; Eddie Olcyzk in a top hat, a bandstand sing-a-long!  You see, I’ve been racing at Ascot and it is quite the spectacle. Can’t wait to return. Neither can my wife. It was at Ascot when I first (and last) bought her a ‘bag of champagne.’ To explain: We stopped at a bar just inside the track and she ordered a bottle of bubbly. It was presented to us enclosed in a clear plastic carry-sack filled with ice. Wow! I was amazed. In the states, at Philadelphia Eagles home games salespeople confiscate caps from water bottles as if when launched they’d be as deadly as scud missiles.  The Ascot Royal Meeting is special. Mostly graded runners compete in turf races over a course with a 73-foot climb from the lowest point at Swinley Bottom to the highest at the Winning Post. There’s a one-mile ‘straight’ and also a sort of triangle-shaped layout capable of presenting two mile and five and one-half furlong marathons. During some races, competitors form mid-race herds—near and far side—all in search of the best ‘going.’  European obsession with proper ‘footing’ interests me because the majority of handicappers in this country pay it so little attention. There is a growing group of bias proponents that attempt to declare ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ the best paths. Our dirt track classifications include Fast, Sloppy, Good, Muddy and Sealed Fast. And over here we’re content with turf condition descriptions limited to Firm, Good, Soft and Yielding—which is one less category than is used to detail ‘How would you like that cooked?’  Check out this portion of Friday’s daily ‘Going’ info email from 2019 Royal Ascot Racenews Racecourse Service:  Good, Good to Firm in places  (from Good on the straight course and Good, Good to Soft in places on the round course at the end of Friday)  It has been dry since racing on Wednesday. There was 10 millimetres of rain on Wednesday. A dry and sunny day is forecast, with temperatures up to 22 degrees Celsius.  Chris Stickels, Clerk of the Course at Ascot, said at 9.00am: "It is a lovely, bright, dry and sunny morning. We have now been dry since Wednesday and the track is drying out really nicely."  GoingStick Readings at 8.15am today:  Stand side: 8.2, Centre: 8.4, Far Side: 8.1. Round: 6.7  (Friday GoingStick readings: Stand side: 7.4, Centre: 7.6, Far Side: 7.4. Round: 6.0)> (Thursday GoingStick readings: Stand side: 7.0, Centre: 7.0, Far Side: 7.0. Round: 5.7)  (Wednesday GoingStick readings: Stand side: 8.2, Centre: 8.4, Far Side: 8.2. Round: 7.2)  (Tuesday GoingStick readings: Stand side: 8.9, Centre: 8.9, Far Side: 8.7, Round: 7.4)  Stalls Straight Course: Centre Round Course: Inside  When’s the last time you received such detailed information from a US racing entity? Would ‘never’ be accurate?  Each year, during Ascot, besides the fact that the horse that gets there first wins, I’m reminded about how racing there is different from anything we have in the US. Neither way is right or wrong. Just different, probably due to cultural, historical and economic influences. That means we shouldn’t compare what happens at Ascot to anything on this side of the pond. Let’s just enjoy them both.  For example, instead of presenting a few big racing days like Oaks/Derby; ‘Susan/Preakness; Belmont Festival; Breeders’ Cup, Ascot races five consecutive days, highlighting a major event each afternoon. Also, instead of 12, 13 or 14 races in a single serving, Ascot offers a mere six events daily--first post 2:30 pm and last at 5:35 pm. That brief schedule leaves plenty of room for serious pre and post-race picnicking in the car park—otherwise known as tailgating in the parking lot.  Presenters on the ‘telly’ make a big deal about daily wagering on the color of The Queen’s hat, but that’s a bit of a scam. Exhilarated by the Ascot experience, on my only visit, I foolishly attempted to get 1,000 pounds down on ‘Yellow.’ None of those so-called bookmakers was interested. 20 pounds was their limit. Don’t really blame them. They really could get hurt by a ‘bloke’ with solid inside information. Apparently, something along those lines occurred one day last week when the winning color prematurely was leaked from inside Windsor Castle. Word spread like wildfire throughout the betting ring and the wager was closed quicker than you can say Benedict Cumberbatch.  Obviously, Ascot is trenched in history. Not 151-year-old Belmont Stakes history, either. This is 1711 Queen Anne vintage. That’s when she rode out from Windsor Castle and declared the ground, “ideal for horses to gallop out at full stretch.” However, the first Royal Ascot race meeting wasn’t until 1768. This Ascot grandstand is newly minted. Opened in June 2006, by Her Majesty the Queen after an 18-month renovation. There are more than 100 bars and food outlets around the racecourse, with 39 professional kitchens—25 in the grandstand and one for every two private boxes. Fine dining chefs there hold 8 Michelin Stars and 21 Rosettes, collectively. That combination of historical significance and modern comfort is unbeatable.  Also, pretty impressive is information provided by stewards to the racing public. Below is the Stewards’ Report from a previous day’s races at the recently concluded meeting…that’s right, from a previous day’s races…not from a week ago. Note the detail. You won’t need to read more than one to appreciate how thorough Royal Ascot stewards are. STEWARDS' REPORTS  Race 1 - 2:30pm G3 Albany Stakes - An enquiry was held to consider why Richard Hannon was running KEMBLE (IRE) here at Ascot on going described as Good to Soft, having declared the filly a non-runner at Ascot on 19 June 2019 on ground with the same official description. The trainer's representative stated that the filly had been made a non-runner on Wednesday on the basis of the forecast rain. However, with an intervening dry day and with the ground continuing to dry out, they were happy for KEMBLE (IRE) to take her chance on this occasion. Permission was given for CHILI PETIN (USA) to be ponied early to post. LORELEI ROCK (IRE) wore earplugs in the preliminaries which were removed at the start. An enquiry was held to consider why CHILI PETIN (USA), trained by Wesley Ward, had gone to the start behind 21 of the other runners, contrary to the 'Ponying of Horses to the Start' protocol which states that all horses to be 'ponied' should go down early and at a normal pace, so as not to delay the other runners at the start. After being interviewed, Ward was informed that any future failure to comply with the protocol may result in the privilege of having his horses ponied to the start removed. Following the race, Frankie Dettori reported that LAST SURPRISE (IRE), unplaced, stopped quickly; the Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the filly failed to reveal any abnormalities.  Race 2 - 3:05pm - G2 King Edward VII Stakes - Permission was given for HUMANITARIAN (USA) to wear a hood in the Parade Ring. An enquiry was held to consider interference on the final bend when PRIVATE SECRETARY, placed fourth, ridden by Franki Dettori, interfered with HUMANITARIAN (USA), unplaced, ridden by Robert Havlin, which in turn interfered with PABLO ESCOBARR (IRE), placed fifth, ridden by James Doyle. Dettori was suspended for 3 days for careless riding for manoeuvring to his left when insufficiently clear o HUMANITARIAN (USA), causing Havlin to have to take a check and shift the gelding left-handed and, as a consequence, PABLO ESCOBARR (IRE) was taken off its intended line. Following the race, the Veterinary Officer reported that EAGLES BY DAY (IRE), placed third, had lost its left-fore shoe, and Oisin Murphy reported that PONDUS, placed sixth, ran too free.  Race 3 - 3:40pm G1 Commonwealth Cup - Permission was given for KHAADEM (IRE) to wear a hood in the Parade Ring and be mounted in the chute. ROYAL INTERVENTION (IRE) wore earlpugs in the preliminaries which were removed at the start. Upon leaving the stalls RUMBLE INTHEJUNGLE (IRE), drawn 7, jumped right-handed at the same time as FOREVER IN DREAMS (IRE), drawn 5, jumped left-handed and as a consequence they made brief contact. After viewing a recording of the incident it was found that no riding offence was involved.  Race 4 - 4:20pm G1 Coronation Stakes - The Starter reported MAIN EDITION (IRE) was the subject of a third criteria failure. Mark Johnston's representative was informed that the filly could not run until the day after passing a stalls test. As it was the second occasion within the previous 12 months that MAIN EDITION (IRE) had been reported, a further report within the same period would mean the filly would be prevented from having a stalls test for 6 months. MAIN EDITION (IRE), drawn 7, jumped right-handed leaving the stalls making brief contact with JUST WONDERFUL (USA), drawn 6, which in turn made contact with JUBILOSO, drawn 5. After viewing a recording of the incident it was found that no riding offence was involved. The Stewards wished to hold an enquiry into the Running and Riding of JUST WONDERFUL (USA) but were unable to do so as Aidan O'Brien had left the course. They adjourned their enquiry to Ascot on 22 June 2019.  Race 5 - 5:00pm - Sandringham Handicap - Permission was given for INVITATIONAL and LAYALEENA (IRE) to wear hoods in the Parade Ring. Hayley Turner, the rider of the winner, THANKS BE, was suspended for 9 days and fined £1,600 for using her whip above the permitted level inside the final 1 1/2 furlongs. James Doyle, the rider of MAGNETIC CHARM, placed second, was suspended for 2 days for using his whip in an incorrect place on the run to the line. The performance of NONCHALANCE, which finished unplaced, was considered. John Gosden's explanation that the filly may be suited by a return to 7 furlongs was noted. The performance of LAYALEENA (IRE), which finished unplaced, was considered. Sir Michael Stoute could offer no explanation for the filly's performance.  Race 6 - 5:35pm - Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap - Permission was given for SPARK PLUG (IRE) to be mounted in the chute and go early to post. BAGHDAD (FR) wore earplugs in the preliminaries which were removed at the start. The performance of JOHNNY DRAMA (IRE), which finished unplaced, was considered. G M Lyons' explanation that the gelding may be have unsuited by the step up in trip was noted; JOHNNY DRAMA (RE) was routine tested.  Despite what the marketing brochures might sell you, not everyone that attends Ascot adheres to a formal dress code. However, if you’re planning to enter any area of the track governed by one, don’t mess around. It’s easier to sneak a dog into a cat show than it is to slip into the Royal Enclosure while wearing an unapproved hat.  Absolutely, I couldn’t come out and play. Miss a Royal Ascot moment? No way. It’s too special and too different from what I’m used to. When asked to describe her Ascot experience NBC’s Dylan Dreyer offered, “It’s like the Kentucky Derby and the Royal Wedding had a baby.”  Good answer. Or, as they say across the pond, ‘Spot on!’  Race On!

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6.27.2019:

Huge Racing Weekend – Summit of Speed, Queen’s Plate & More

Let’s face it – every summer Saturday in horse racing is a big one.  Heck, every Saturday in horse racing matters.But some are just a little better than others.  And this is one of the big ones.  If you love playing stakes races with major implications, Woodbine (Queen’s Plate), Gulfstream (Summit of Speed), Belmont (Mother Goose) and Churchill (Bashford Manor, Debutante) have you covered.If you like playing those Mandatory Payout Jackpot Pick 6’s, you’ve got chances at Churchill (Saturday) and Gulfstream (Sunday).  Granted, Gulfstream's 'Rainbow' was hit on Thursday, but there should be plenty of fresh money on Friday and Saturday to make Sunday's offering worth playing.  If pacers and trotters are your thing, Pocono Downs’ huge Saturday card features $2 Million-plus in purses.  And if you just love playing all different types of races (I’m guiltiest of this), Xpressbet gives you the opportunity to bet more than 75 tracks this Saturday – everything from the US and Canada to Australia, South Korea, France, Ireland and the UK.  Here are five things that stand out to me on Saturday, along with some pretty lucrative Xpressbet promotions.  1. Split 1 Million Points on the Summit of SpeedSaturday’s 14-race Summit of Speed card is a big one at Gulfstream Park, especially with a Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on the line in the Grade 2 Princess Rooney.  Couple that with four other stakes races on the card, including the Grade 3 Smile Sprint, and this loaded card is one that you’ll want to check out.The Smile Sprint attracted an evenly-matched field of seven and this one could be such a good betting race that out pro handicapper, Jeremy Plonk, made it his Xpressbet Race of the Week.  Read his blog to find out who he likes and how he’s playing.  Seven fillies and mares also entered the ‘Rooney, with defending champion Stormy Embrace expected to be a formidable foe.  She loves Gulfstream Park (5-for-11 lifetime) and her biggest rivals will be local threats Trenchtown Cat and Royal Asscher.  Saguaro Row ships in for Mike Stidham off a pair of allowance wins at Keeneland and Belmont.  Hit 5 Exactas on Saturday’s Gulfstream card to win even bigger.  We’re giving a 1 Million Point Split to anyone who achieves that.  Good luck!  2. Queen’s Plate Saturday at Woodbine + 1 Million Point SplitWoodbine has $700K in Guaranteed Wagers on Saturday and none are bigger than the $300K Guaranteed Late Pick 4 (Races 10 – 13), including the Queen’s Plate, Canada’s version of the Kentucky Derby.  Hit that Pick 4 to Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points.  With just a 20-cent minimum, you can get involved without spending an arm and a leg.The Queen’s Plate attracted a loaded field of 14, including Grade 3 winner Avie’s Flatter and Woodbine Oaks winner Desert Ride.  Avie’s Flatter is a perfect 2-for-2 on the Woodbine synthetic surface and Javier Castellano is in from New York to ride him.  Mark Casse has won this race twice since 2014 and sends out a pair of entrants, Skywire and Federal Law.  The card also features the Grade 1 Highlander Stakes, starring Caribou Club and Extravagant Kid, the Grade 2 Dance Smartly, starring Holy Helena and Starship Jubilee and the Grade 2 King Edward, showcasing Synchrony.3. Get 10X Points Saturday at Pocono DownsWith more than $2 Million in purses, Saturday night’s Sun Stakes card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono (or, simply, Pocono Downs) is one that we think you’ll enjoy.  Top pacers are on display in the $500K Max C. Hempt Memorial and $500K Ben Franklin, while top trotters compete in the $500K Earl Beal Jr. Memorial.  Familiar drivers like Yannick Gingras, David Miller, Dexter Dunn, Tim Tetrick, Brian Sears, Corey Callahan and Ake Svanstedt are in town to ride.  First post is 7:00PM ET and Pocono offers a Pick 4 (Races 9 – 12) and a Rainbow Pick 5 (Races 10 – 14), along with a wager menu that includes Exactas, 50-cent Trifectas and 10-cent Superfectas on every race, as an Early and Late Daily Double and a Pick 3 (Races 3 – 5).Bet Pocono with Xpressbet on Saturday to receive 10X XB Rewards Points for all of your wagers.  You have to register to play in this offer, but registration is free and takes just a few seconds.  If you're looking for picks, Xpressbet's Harness Handicapper, Al Cimaglia, has you covered.  Follow him on Twitter for his thoughts and analysis.  His Pocono Downs blog will be posted on Saturday.  4. Mandatory Payouts at Gulfstream and Churchill There's no denying some of the wind came out of the sails here on Thursday as a lucky handicapper took down the $3.1 Million Jackpot Pick 6 at Gulfstream Park.  That enticing morsel was going to be paid out Sunday and track officials were expecting anywhere from $8 - $12 Million in the pool.  But hey, it happens, and you have to tip your cap to the lucky gal or guy that had the winner.  On the bright side, Gulfstream's Rainbow 6 is still paying out Sunday and there will be new money infused into the pool on Friday and Saturday.  It won't be millions, but it won't be anything to turn your nose at, either.  And Saturday is Closing Day at Churchill and that means their Jackpot Pick 6 'must go' as well.  The carryover there is a healthy $294,725 and, if that continues to grow, we're easily looking at a seven-figure pool on Saturday.  Plus, Saturday's card includes three stakes races, highlighted by the Grade 3 Bashford Manor and $125K Debutante, both for two-year-olds.  First post is 12:45PM ET and the Pick 6 starts with Race 7 at 3:50PM ET. 5. Dunbar Road in the Mother Goose I remember the Kentucky Oaks, when two of the horses I liked the most - Dunbar Road and Point of Honor - drew to the also-eligible list and ultimately scratched.  I made immediate dividends betting Point of Honor back in the Xpressbet Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico (or, to put it better, I won some of the money back I lost on Oaks day betting against Serengeti Empress).  Now it's Dunbar Road's turn.  Between Oaks Day and now she has run once, a Belmont N1X that she turned into a personal runaway at pennies on the dollar.  This race should be more of a challenge, but the way this filly runs it shouldn't be much more of one.  She endured a three-wide trip throughout and plenty of inexperience to nearly win the G2 Gulfstream Park Oaks in March and, given her rail draw here, she shouldn't have any problem carving out a trip. Her chief rivals are Jeltrin, who won the G2 Davona Dale at 50/1 and was a decent 3rd in the G1 Acorn on Belmont Stakes Day and Mark Casse's Wings of Dawn, who ships down from Canada off a pair of synthetic track scores.  Ultimately, though, this race should be about Dunbar Road and her continuing to ascend the ladder of three-year-old fillies.  The G2 Mother Goose is Race 8 of 9 at Belmont on Saturday and post time is 5:18PM ET.  So that’s that – 75 tracks, nearly one-thousand races and chances to pick winners from every corner of the globe.  Not a bad way to spend a Saturday (or Sunday) afternoon.  Good luck! 

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6.26.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: June 28 Stronach 5 Play

Let’s once again tackle the Stronach 5, which will have a 100k guarantee, though the pool has been easily surpassing that number. With a doozy of a sequence that could pay big balloons, I’ll take real swing this week and remove the rubber band off the bankroll a bit. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (4:49 ET) – 3upfm 16k claimer at 1-mile (turf) Nothing comes easy in the opening leg, though there does appear to be plenty of speed, so I’m looking for stalker/closers, with the list starting with a pair of Del Park invaders--#10 SHIFRA MAGICIAN (6-1) and #9 JERMYN STREET (10-1)—as they both drop in class and have some tactical speed that should allow them first run on #6 FED UP FIRED UP (5-1), who passed a few late last time at Pim in a very fast starter-allowance and will be rolling in the lane. Lastly, I’ll also toss in #3 JUMPIN’ NANCY (12-1), who could offer value after a 6F sprint on the Tapeta at PID in her seasonal debut, and if you dig a bit, you’ll see she was facing tons better on the grass last year, and it’s noteworthy Boyce is here too. Pk5 A horses: 10,9,6,3 I don’t really trust #2 DANCINGWITHPAYTER (10-1), who enters off an 18-1 upset, but she’s tactical and drew well, and it’s not like the top trio are any great shakes, so doubling up isn’t impossible either. You could basically say the same for #5 CAPUCINE (8-1), who won last time at Del Park, in what was her second start off a long layoff. If #1 DELIGHTFUL LANA (7-2) gets loose she’ll be tough, like she was in winning two-back, but with a lot of heat to her outside, she’s only a B, unless the scratches help her a lot. Pk5 B horses: 2,5,1 Leg 2: Gulfstream Park R9 (5:28 ET) – 3upfm 25k* at 7 1/2 furlongs (turf) We’ve got a post position race here, as you don’t want to be too wide going this trip on the GP lawn, as there’s a ridiculously short run to the first turn. We’ve also got a race with a decided lack of speed, which is why I’m hoping for an aggressive ride on #1 SAMMIE SUNSHINE (6-1), who has been coming out of dirt sprints and should be able to make the lead if Zayas wants, and the last time she ran on turf (and only time showing in her PPs), she was a close 4th sprinting against much better. The ones to beat are the steep dropping #3 KYLLA INSTINCT (5-2), though Maragh hasn’t figured her out in two starts off the Attfield claim, and the consistent #6 THINKIN COWTOWN (7-2), who has also been facing better and goes second-off the layoff too. Pk5 A horses: 1,3,6 (Please note that, to keep the backup tickets down, I’ll be singling #1). I’m going to go it alone with the top-3, since they seem better than a meek group, and the rest are tough to trust as well. If you’re looking for a few more, then #4 Colonels Daughter (10-1), #7 Lady Greatness (8-1), and #10 Motherwell (20-1) are hardly impossible if the A’s all falter. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 3: Laurel Park R10 (5:55 ET) –3upfm 40 MCL at 5 1/2 furlongs (turf) I’m going to go four-deep here, with #10 LIVE AID (10-1) on top, as being a firster in this field isn’t a bad thing, and Voss does a great job on the grass and reaches for Russell, so there could be some intent as well. As for the proven gals, MSW dropping #5 ENGLISH HARRIS (3-1), who was a very fast 3rd two-back and had a nightmare trip last time, might be too much for these at the level, while #6 ECHO OF VICTORY (7-2) has speed and an outside attack post, and adds blinkers off two good 3rd-place runs, and #2 OLD LINE MAGIC (7-2), has been 2nd in both career starts and showed a lot more tactical speed last time, so she could be poised for a breakthrough in what is often the pivotal third career start. Pk5 A horses: 10,5,6,2 I’m going to call it a day with those four, as they are a cut above, and there’s a chance that ‘Victory is too much for them on the drop and a clear run (especially if ‘Aid needs one), so I don’t want to be spending potentially wasted money on any backups. If you are going a bit deeper, then #8 Wildcattin (8-1) seems best of the rest, though trying turf in your fifth start after four decent dirt runs seems a bit desperate too. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 4: Gulfstream Park R8 (6:02 ET) – 3up 40k N2L* at 6 1/2 furlongs The trainer change from Hills to Kassen and a return to dirt sure woke up #6 VERY AMUSING (12-1), who ran off with a fast figure to beat eons lesser last time, and while taking on winners is never easy, the price will be right and the light bulb may have gone on, so I’m coming right back to him. The much more likely winner is #2 CABRE (3-1), who was beaten just a neck trying winners off a five-month layoff last time and will be tough if he doesn’t regress off such a taxing effort. Pk5 A horses: 6,2 Without a lot of speed there’s a chance that #1 BIG SPENDER (10-1) gets brave and forgets to stop, and while he needs to improve off his neck MCL win last time, he’s got plenty of upside and showed a ton of fight too. I’ll also use #4 HE’S SMOKIN HOT (6-1), who gets the ultimate equipment change and runs as a first-time gelding and should trip out from close range. You can also give a look to #7 Steady Earner (7-2) and #3 Gnarly (9-2), but at underlaid odds without a lot of reason to improve, I’m comfortable letting them beat me. Pk5 B horses: 1,4 Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R9 (6:34 ET) – 3upfm 20k MCL at 7 1/2 furlongs (turf) The finale is darn tricky, since the obvious two best horses and the clear ones to beat—#10 SPANNED (2-1) and #12 BLUESY KITTEN (5-2)—drew terribly and it’s almost as if you have to try and beat them, especially when we’re talking about 20k maiden claimers. I’ll go for the upset with #6 REORGANIZE (12-1), who looked liked a new horse off the layoff last time, when a close but very troubled 4th, in a race you have to think he needed. Pk5 A horses: 6,10,12 I don’t like anyone else, especially since the favorites might bury this field, so there will be no B’s used. If you want a bit more coverage, then #5 Buttonhook (10-1) and #3 Good Timing Man (10-1) rate the best of the rest. Pk5 B horses: NONE The Tickets:  Main Ticket: 10,9,6,3 with 1,3,6 with 10,5,6,2 with 6,2 with 6,10,12 = $288Leg 1 B Backup: 2,5,1 with 1 with 10,5,6,2 with 6,2 with 6,10,12 = $72Leg 4 B Backup: 10,9,6,3 with 1 with 10,5,6,2 with 1,4 with 6,10,12 = $96

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6.26.2019:

What if Eclipse Award Votes Were Cast Today?

We are just about halfway through 2019. With that in mind, what if there were such a thing as Mid-Year Eclipse Awards? These would be my votes, excluding the 2-year-old, human and steeplechase categories. MID-YEAR THREE-YEAR-OLD MALE: 1. War of Will, 2. Maximum Security, 3. Omaha Beach. If Maximum Security had won the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on June 16, he would have been my choice in the category. But after he finished second as a 1-20 favorite in the Pegasus, my choice instead is War of Will. War of Will, trained by Mark Casse, won three graded stakes races during the first half of 2019. He took the Grade III Lecomte and Grade II Risen Star at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots and Grade I Preakness at Pimlico. The Kentucky-bred War Front colt would have been a slam-dunk choice if he also had won the Grade I Belmont Stakes instead of finishing ninth. But despite his disappointing performance in the Belmont, he gets the nod from me in this category. I still believe Omaha Beach was the best 3-year-old male I saw during the first half of 2019. But I think that by winning three graded stakes races, including the Preakness, War of Will has achieved just a bit more than Omaha Beach so far this year. After winning a division of the Grade II Rebel Stakes and Grade I Arkansas Derby, both at Oaklawn Park, Omaha Beach was installed as the 4-1 morning-line favorite in the Kentucky Derby. However, Omaha Beach was scratched from the Run for the Roses due to an entrapped epiglottis that required surgery. He now is back in training with Hall of trainer Richard Mandella at Santa Anita. Maximum Security won the Grade I Xpressbet Florida Derby. He then finished first in the Grade I Kentucky Derby, but the stewards disqualified him and placed him 17th for committing a race foul. Maximum Security veered out sharply approaching the five-sixteenth pole to cause interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy. It was the first time in the 145-year history of the Kentucky Derby that a winner was disqualified for an incident during the running of the race. In terms of who eventually will get the 2019 Eclipse Award in this category, it is wide open heading into the second half of the year. Races still be run that figure to be key are the Grade I Haskell Invitational at Monmouth on July 20, Grade I Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 24, Grade I Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing on Sept. 21 and Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 2. MID-YEAR THREE-YEAR-OLD FEMALE: 1. Guarana, 2. Serengeti Empress, 3. Bellafina. The sky appears to be the limit for Guarana, who has dazzled in both of her career starts. When unveiled at Keeneland on April 19, Guarana splashed away from her rivals to win a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race on a sloppy track by nearly 15 lengths on April 19. Off just that debut victory, Guarana then won the Grade I Acorn Stakes by six widening lengths at Belmont Park on June 8. The Kentucky-bred Ghostzapper filly, trained by Chad Brown, completed one mile in an excellent 1:33.58. Making Guarana’s Acorn all the more impressive was she drilled no less than Serengeti Empress, who was coming off a win in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks. Serengeti Empress also won the Grade II Rachel Alexandra in New Orleans earlier this year. Bellafina reeled off three straight graded stakes victories at Santa Anita this year before being defeated in the Kentucky Oaks. She won the Grade II Santa Ynez, Grade II Las Virgenes and Grade I Santa Anita Oaks, but then ran fifth in the Kentucky Oaks. MID-YEAR OLDER DIRT MALE: 1. Mitole, 2. McKinzie, City of Light. This choice is easy. Mitole is four for four this year. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Eskendereya colt, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, is a three-time graded stakes winner thus far in 2019. He won the Grade III Count Fleet Sprint Handicap on a sloppy strip at Oaklawn in April and Grade I Churchill Downs Stakes in May prior to getting the job done in a strong edition of the Grade I Met Mile at Belmont earlier this month. McKinzie, runner-up in the Met Mile when he had a troubled trip, won the Grade II Alysheba at Churchill on May 3 with authority by 4 3/4 lengths. His Alysheba effort subsequently was flattered by Seeking the Soul when he recently won the Grade II Stephen Foster at Churchill after finishing third in the Alysheba. City of Light, in the final start of his racing career prior to beginning stud duty, won Gulfstream’s Grade I, $9 million Pegasus World Cup by almost six lengths in January. Among those left in his wake were Seeking the Soul, who finished second, and Acclerate, who came in third. Accelerate went into the Pegasus World Cup off a triumph in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic. MID-YEAR OLDER DIRT FEMALE: 1. Midnight Bisou, 2. Elate, 3. She’s a Julie. This is another easy choice. Midnight Bisou, like Mitole, is four for four this year, all in graded stakes races. The Kentucky-bred Midnight Lute filly is, also like Mitole, an Asmussen-trained runner. Midnight Bisou has won this year’s Grade III Houston Ladies Classic at Sam Houston Race Park, Grade II Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn, Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap also at Oaklawn and Grade I Ogden Phipps at Belmont. Elate, second in the Azeri and third in the Apple Blossom, won the Grade II Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs. She’s a Julie finished third in the Fleur de Lis after winning the Grade III Bayakoa Stakes at Oaklawn and Grade I La Troienne Stakes at Churchill. MID-YEAR MALE SPRINTER: 1. World of Trouble, 2. Mitole, 3. X Y Jet. It’s a tough call for me in this category between World of Trouble and Mitole. I’m giving the slight edge to World of Trouble, who is for four this year. All of World of Trouble’s 2019 victories have come in races at seven furlongs or shorter. Plus, World of Trouble is a Grade I winner on both dirt and grass this year, quite a feat. World of Trouble won the Grade I Carter Handicap on the dirt at Aqueduct in April. He also was victorious in the Grade I Jaipur Stakes on the turf at Belmont in June. He’s a three-time graded stakes winner in 2019. The 4-year-old Florida-bred Kantharos colt also won a Grade II grass sprint at Churchill in May for trainer Jason Servis. Not all of Mitole’s four 2019 wins have come in races at seven furlongs or shorter. As mentioned earlier, one of Mitole’s victories this year came in the Met Mile, though some consider a one-turn mile race like that to be kind of a long sprint. X Y Jet won an allowance/optional claiming sprint in the slop at Gulfstream in February. He then posted a 1 1/2-length win in the Group I, $2.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen at Meydan in March. MID-YEAR FEMALE SPRINTER: 1. Mia Mischief, 2. Break Even, 3. Covfefe. Mia Mischief, yet another Asmussen-trained runner, won Churchill’s Grade I Humana Distaff by 1 3/4 lengths in May at seven furlongs. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Into Mischief filly then won the six-furlong Roxelana Overnight Stakes by three-quarters of a length at that same venue last Saturday when the vanquished included 3-year-old Covfefe. Break Even is five for five in her career, all this year in races at seven furlongs or shorter. The 3-year-old miss has one graded stakes victory to her credit. She won C Churchill’s Grade II Eight Belles by 5 1/2 lengths on a sloppy track May 2 at seven furlongs in a dominant performance. Covfefe, in an eye-catching display of sheer speed, won Pimlico’s six-furlong Miss Preakness Stakes by 8 1/2 lengths in a sizzling 1:07.70 on May 17. Her final time destroyed the track record of 1:09.00 set by Northern Wolf back in 1990. But after Covfefe won the Miss Preakness, she was outrun by the older and more seasoned Mia Mischief last Saturday in Louisville. MID-YEAR MALE TURF: 1. Bricks and Mortar, 2. Catholic Boy, 3. Bolo. Bricks and Mortar, trained by Chad Brown, has won each of his four starts this year, all on the turf. And all four of those victories by the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Giant’s Causeway have come in graded stakes races. He won the Grade I, $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf at Gulfstream in January, Grade II Muniz Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in March, Grade I Turf Classic at Churchill in May and Grade I Manhattan at Belmont earlier this month. Catholic Boy made his 2019 debut a winning one in Pimlico’s Grade II Dixie Stakes on May 18. Granted, it was not a Grade I race, but that still was a fine comeback effort on his part, particularly in that he broke from the outside post in the field of 10. For third in this category, I opted for Bolo over Delta Prince in a close call. They each won a Grade I race during the first half of the year. Delta Prince won the Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland in April, but then finished seventh when Bolo won Santa Anita’s Grade I Shoemaker Mile in May. MID-YEAR FEMALE TURF: 1. Rushing Fall, 2. Vasilika, 3. Homerique. Not only is Rushing Fall two for two this year, both victories have come at the Grade I level. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred More Than Ready filly, a member of the powerful Chad Brown string, won the Grade I Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in April and Grade I Just a Game at Belmont earlier this month. Vasilika is four for four this year, all in graded stakes events at Santa Anita. She won the Grade III Megahertz in January, Grade II Buena Vista in February, Grade II Royal Heroine in April and Grade I Gamely in May. Homerique is two for two this year, with both wins coming in graded stakes races at Belmont. She won the Grade III Beaugay in May and Grade II New York earlier this month. MID-YEAR HORSE OF THE YEAR: 1. Bricks and Mortar, 2. Mitole, 3. World of Trouble. My choice is Bricks and Mortar, a triple Grade I winner during the first half of 2019. Few horses win three Grade I races in an entire year, let alone in just half a year. A “ROYAL DOUBLE” FOR BLUE POINT Blue Point achieved something pretty darn cool in England last week at the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting. He won the Group I King’s Stand Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths at five furlongs on June 18, then just four days later captured the Group I Diamond Jubilee Stakes at six furlongs in a nail-biter of a finish by a head. What a neat horse. In Blue Point’s most recent start prior to his “royal double” last week, he won the Group I, $2 million Al Quoz Sprint on the turf in Dubai. He is five for five this year. Ascot-lover Blue Point and Australia’s Choisir in 2003 are the only two horses to win the King’s Stand and Diamond Jubilee at the same Royal Ascot meeting since World War II. Blue Point also won the 2018 renewal of the King’s Stand. Charlie Appleby trains Blue Point for Godolphin. The 5-year-old Irish-bred son of Shamardal will race no more. For Blue Point “to do what he did within five days [at Royal Ascot] was the pinnacle of his career,” Appleby was quoted as saying to the Racing Post. All told, Blue Point won 11 of 20 lifetime starts and accumulated earning of $3,336,810. He certainly demonstrated an affinity for racing at Ascot (six starts, five victories). Blue Point will begin his new career as a stud in England next year at Sheikh Mohammed’s Dalham Hall Stud. OWENDALE TAKES OHIO DERBY Backed down to 3-5, Owendale rallied from last in the field of six and proved a punctual favorite in the Grade III Ohio Derby at Thistledown last Saturday. Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Florent Geroux, Owendale won the 1 1/8-mile affair by a half-length in 1:50.88. Math Wizard, off at 5-1, gave it a good try and finished second. Long Range Toddy ended up third at 2-1, a little more than nine lengths behind Math Wizard. Global Campaign, winner of the Grade III Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont on May 11, was withdrawn from the Ohio Derby. He reportedly has a foot issue. Owendale has won two of his last three starts. The Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt won the Grade III Lexington Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths on April 13, then finished third in the Preakness on May 18 prior to his Ohio Derby triumph. As I noted last week, Owendale recorded the best Thoro-Graph figure of the 13 starters in this year’s Preakness. AN AMUSING EXCUSE FROM A JOCKEY In last Sunday’s Churchill Downs barn notes, Kevin Kerstein asked trainer Phil Baur to name the worst excuse a jockey ever gave him after a poor ride. “Sorry, boss, I rode him like a camel,” Bauer said. “How am I supposed to get mad at him after saying that?” THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLL Here is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 354 Bricks and Mortar (27)2. 327 Mitole (7)3. 240 Midnight Bisou (2)4. 239 McKinzie5. 188 World of Trouble6. 129 Catholic Boy7. 106 Seeking the Soul8. 104 Rushing Fall9. 87 Thunder Snow (1)10. 66 Vino Rosso

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6.24.2019:

Harness Highlights: 'Classic' Trot Brewing at Northfield

What do you get when a Triple Crown winner, Hambletonian champion, two-time Breeders Crown winner, 4-year-old millionaire mare and two others riding multiple-race winning streaks unite?  A ‘Classic’ for sure, or to be specific the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic this Saturday at Northfield Park. Defending champ Marion Marauder, with a $3.1 million bankroll and 2016 Triple Crown on his resume, headlines the list of probable entries at the Tuesday draw.  But he will need his A-game to fend off: Pinkman, the 2015 Hambletonian winner and $2.5 million earner; Emoticon Hanover, who trotted to back-to-back Crown victories in 2017-18; Homicide Hunter, who blazed to a world-record 1:48.4 victory last year; Musical Rhythm, a winner of six consecutive races; and multiple stakes winner Guardian Angel AS, fresh off a three-peat in the $100,000 Maxie Lee Invitational at Harrah’s Philadelphia.  First race post time Saturday is 6 p.m. The under-card features multiple divisions of the Ohio Sires Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers and the finals of Northfield Park’s Spring Late Closers series. SUN STAKES SATURDAY AT POCONO  More than $2 million will be on the line when the starting gate swings open on Sun Stakes Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. If last weekend’s eliminations are an indication, it could prove one of the most memorable racing nights of the year.  Western Fame carried his blinding speed to a 1:48.1 victory in the Ben Franklin prelims but, not to be outdone, Lather Up upset reigning Horse of the Year McWicked in 1:50.1 in the other elimination at the 5/8-mile oval.  Trainer Marcus Melander sent out Greenshoe and Green Manalish S to victories in the Earl Beal Memorial Trot eliminations, and trainer Tony Alagna did the same with Tall Drink Hanover and Odds On St Lucie in the James Lynch Memorial prelims.  Proof paced in 1:48.1, slightly faster than fellow Max Hempt Memorial elimination winners Captain Victorious and American 

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6.24.2019:

Monday, June 24: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

The featured players on the 10-race Woodbine Mohawk Park card are 3-year-old colts and gelding trotters competing in two divisions of OSS-Gold action. The 0.20 Early Pick 4 sequence with a $50,000 guaranteed pool starts as usual in Race 4 and will be my focus. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 4 1-Officer Jones-Regular pilot is back and that could help if slow starter can avoid gaping at the start. 2-Racemup-3-1 chalk in a race most don't like to win, will include and spread out in this leg. 4-My Sterling Mafia-3rd start for new barn, draws better and should be in the mix at a square price. 5-Kwik Talkin-Beaten chalk drops and has no excuses in this spot but is only 2 for 22. 8-Pro Beach-Steps-up and is also camera shy. Does have the gate speed to get on the engine and not look back. Race 5 4-Dunbar Hall-Comes off 2nd win of a rough year, steps-up but the upswing could continue versus this crew. 7-PL Jill-Musical Rythm and other tough customers aren't around, and this is a spot to shine with a top effort. Race 6 2-Southwind Avenger-Did well in the Good Times, and 8/5 ML chalk should handle these. 7-Only For Justice-Should also like the company and could be forwardly placed, will use just in case chalk falters. Race 7 2-Foot Soldier-Inside post draw should keep beaten favorite in the hunt to the wire. 3-Sports Teen-Comes off a good try, now makes 4th start for new barn, Filion should keep close and try to roll by late. 4-Shades Of Bay-1-16 isn't inspiring but finds a soft spot, ML chalk should have no excuse with a clean trip. 5-Osiris Blue Chip-5-year-old has won 5 times in '19, versus this bunch that puts him in the mix for Drury-Auciello. My Ticket Race 4) 1,2,4,5,8 Race 5) 4,7 Race 6) 2,7 Race 7) 2,3,4,5 Total Ticket Cost) $16 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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6.24.2019:

Patience Can Be a Player's Best Friend

I spent a week away from work in the past seven days, something called a ‘vacation.’ What a rare and interesting concept this vacation. Zero racing peeks online, on social media or television … couldn’t tell you a single horse from Royal Ascot and didn’t read about the Jerry Hollendorfer situation until Monday morning. I also avoided all email (500-plus to sort, yippee) as well as watching or reading an ounce of national news, going on a cable news cleanse of sorts. What happened since last Monday? I had not an inkling.  Turns out, you miss a lot being out a week. But you gain a lot, too.  I highly recommend disconnecting from the world for at least a little while. Jump in the pool. Take a long walk or hike. Play some tennis or shoot some hoops. Shop and dine until the wallet screams “mercy!” Whatever takes you away, go there and stay for a bit. Don’t give in to the temptation of who’s hot at Belmont, or what some knucklehead is boasting about on Twitter. Push away and know that it will all come back to you … in a hurry.  It took less than an hour Monday morning for the sobering reality to hit. Jerry Hollendorfer has been ruled off at Santa Anita and Golden Gate, but welcomed by NYRA. John Velazquez was suspended 9 days for whip infractions at Royal Ascot that will be enforced by NYRA. Trainer Steve Asmussen now faces repeat New York state charges for labor violations.  And these were just the current Hall of Famers making negative news ... much less the fact I read we almost went to war with Iran during my respite.  Yes, a lot happens in a week. It obviously doesn’t take much to get back into the swing of what you missed in the headlines. They can quickly dampen your enthusiasm.  As for getting back to the business (or pleasure) of betting, that’s also like riding a bicycle. You didn’t lose your skills in a week’s time. In fact, you might come back to the action a more patient player and see things from a more relaxed perspective.  Nothing stops a horseplayer like impatience. Over-doing it when you’re winning. Over-doing it when you’re chasing. Over-doing it when you’re simply bored and wanting action. Your first best friend at the track is a mentor who can teach you the handicapping and wagering ropes. Your best friend from that point forward is patience.  Getting away for a week … and truly staying away … takes discipline and patience, and trust in others when in a position of leadership. But I’m very glad that I did it. The rewards you get from that are obvious in the moment, a clearer mind and happiness, and perhaps they can project forward upon your return to the bustle.  Enjoy your summer at the races and beyond! 

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6.23.2019:

Al Cimaglia, June 23: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse has an 11-race card scheduled to wrap-up the weekend. The headliner for betting purposes is the 0.50 Late Pick 4. That sequence begins in Race 8, it has a $30,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. The driver with the hottest hands on Saturday night was Kyle Wilfong with five wins on the 14-race card. Terry Leonard led conditioners with two trips to the winner's circle. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 8 2-Heidi High-Driver change helps and could get the pocket trip behind #9, should benefit from a cleaner trip. 9-Louzotic-Has ruled this class but hasn't had a bad post draw in a long time, have to respect but won't single. Race 9 5-Are You Terry-Better post draw, drops and I like the driver change to Wilfong, will take a swing at 9-1 in the ML. 7-Over Speeding-Comes off an easy win, steps-up and trip may not be as good, but still will respect Team Leonard. 8-Unbroken Circle-Won 1st off a claim like a good horse, loses Leonard but gets Bates, using, looks like a player. Race 10 4-Frontier Ginger-Sheds the 9-hole, drops to a better spot, Husted's choice over the #2 could be posing. 8-My Uptowne Girl-Won at this class last week after skipping a start, loses the rail but offers value at 25-1 in the ML. 9-Finleys Filly-ML chalk came off the bench with a good effort and Leonard trainee should be tighter tonight. Race 11 2-Sports Analyst-Can beat this field with the right trip, needs to avoid a very sluggish start. 7-Waymore-Razor sharp winner of 2 straight deserves respect, but from this post will play but use 2 others as well. 8-Youmakemyheartsing-Tries hard, fits but needs the right trip, can take a picture with live cover and a good steer. My Ticket Race 8) 2,9 Race 9) 5,7,8 Race 10) 4,8,9 Race 11) 2,7,8 Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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6.22.2019:

Saturday, June 22: Meadowlands Pick 4 Analysis

There is a 13-race card scheduled to roll at the Meadowlands this evening. The feature comes in Race 10, a condition pace with a $25,000 purse. The 0.50 Pick 4 sequence starts in Race 8, it has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus. On Friday, the drivers with the hottest hands at the Big M were Dave Miller and Yanick Gingras with two pictures each. The trainers with the most wins were Ake Svanstedt and Ron Burke, both with two trips to the winner's circle. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 8 3-Bravo Tex N-Positive driver change, Miller should keep in striking range, and that could trigger 1st win of 2019. 8-JK Parlay-Big try in last and had missed a start, could be better tonight and take a picture with a good steer. 10-Shneonucrzydiamnd A-Post is a concern but drops and is 2nd time Lasix, last was better, upswing may continue. Race 9 5-Tie Your Shoe Ed-Needs to find some live cover, if so, should be right there at the wire. 6-Tact Tate N-Similar to #5 and loses A. Miller, gets class relief and fits better with this group. 7-Mike's Powerhouse-Needs to finish off a mile but may blast out and get on the engine without much strain. 10-Sams A Champ A-Has some gate speed to get a good seat, this is a soft spot for hot barn. Race 10 4-Sweet Rock-Really has no excuse versus this crew but is trip dependent, so will use and look to beat the chalk. 5-Sagebrush Kid-Loses Callahan but Kirby knows well, steps-up but is in sharp form. 6-Incredible Shark-Should be able to leave and find a close-up trip, in the hunt with a good drive. Race 11 1-Super Feeekeh-A hodgepodge race and from the inside this guy should be put in play. 3-Byby Landon-Having a tough year but with this post draw could get on the engine and not look back. 4-David The Saint-Fresh horse, qualified well, if ready in 1st start since 4/20 will be in the mix with a suspect field. My Ticket Race 8) 3,8,10 Race 9) 5,6,7,10 Race 10) 4,5,6 Race 11) 1,3,4 Total Ticket Cost) $54 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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6.22.2019:

Dream of Summer Highlights Enticing Santa Anita Pick 5

The Dream of Summer Stakes is the highlight of the Saturday card on closing weekend at Santa Anita and is right in the center of good-looking Pick Five to start the day. With the 50-cent increments, you can add a lot of numbers, but if get carried away, you will realize how quickly math can work against you. They add up in a hurry, so it helps to have a couple of races you can whittle down to a single or a pair. The first two and fourth races appear to require the most numbers, while the Dream of Summer (third race) and the fifth look more attractive with fewer checkmarks. Starr of Quality is the odds-on favorite in the Dream of Summer, a mile challenge for California-breds. She backed out of the Grade 2 Santa Margarita. She’s mostly in open races against optional allowance company and rarely hasn’t jumped into the state waters much. In May 2018 she throttled restricted allowance fillies and mares and hasn’t seen them since. A drop back to Cal-breds will make her the one to beat. Coco Kisses also is worthy of inclusion. She failed in open company and a pair of bad efforts on turf her only blemishes. Posterize and Wild Bean are strong entrants in the fifth and final of the sequence. Posterize is favorably placed in a state-bred sprint. It took him six times to break his maiden but his victory was in such easy fashion that a repeat effort would be plenty of enough for the win this time around. Wild Bean beat open company and is a big player in this restricted test. My Ticket Race 1) #2 D K’s Crown, #4 Bobs Blues Man, #5 Clear to Close.  Race 2) #1 Believe Indeed, #5 Zuzanna, #7 An Eddie Surprise.  Race 3) #2 Starr of Quality, #4 Coco Kisses.  Race 4) #1 Holy Ghost, #8 Fortune of War, #9 Mr. Magico.  Race 5) #2 Posterize, #5 Wild Bean. Total Ticket Cost) = $54 for $0.50

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6.21.2019:

Friday, June 21: Can-Am Pick 4 Analysis

It's another Friday night Can-Am Pick 4, and a competitive sequence it is. The opening leg rolls at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Race 10 and it concludes in Race 11 at the Meadowlands. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 10-Mohawk Park-Leg 1 3-Shower Play-May need a start but some in this group are reaching too high in this class, that's not the case here. 6-Alexis Faith-Loses McClure but should like the company, if JMac works a trip it could be picture time. 8-American Sara-Racing well since joining the Boyd barn, Filion can work a trip and fly down the lane. Race 10-Meadowlands-Legs 2 4-Ice Attraction-Gets class relief and could be sitting on a big try in 4th start of year, best to respect at 8-1 in the ML. 5-Two AM-Been off since 5/31, but is a player at this class if dialed on high for team Buter. 6-Pappy Go Go-Another facing easier, ML chalk looks the part and Tetrick should have in striking range. 7-Yes Mickey-Has been facing tough customers and Dunn is back, last time aboard almost won a Pref Hcp on 5/24. Race 11-Mohawk Park-Leg 3 3-Sandbetweenurtoes-Classy mare doesn't win as often, but draws well, gets McNair and this is a spot to shine. 7-Sunday Afternoon-May blast out and if crosses over behind #3 chances for success at a square price go up. Race 11-Meadowlands-Leg 4 2-Givemeyourheart-Camera shy, has trouble finishing but this is a soft spot and may have found a beatable field. 3-Fox Valley Hermia-Comes off a flat effort after starting slow, McCarthy can provide a more aggressive steer tonight. 4-Our Els Dream N-Blasted out from 9-hole on a dead track last time here, this post draw may make a big difference. 5-Anotherprettyface-Will need best but barn has been going well, if Zeron keeps close can roll by late. My Ticket Race 10 Mohawk) 3,6,8 Race 10 Meadowlands) 4,5,6,7 Race 11 Mohawk) 3,7 Race 11 Meadowlands) 2,3,4,5 Total Ticket Cost) $19.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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6.20.2019:

When Sophs Tumble

Both 2019 Kentucky Derby winners—Country House and Maximum Security--and the 151st Belmont Stakes victor—Sir Winston--hit rough patches this week. Country House, who originally finished second in the Derby but was elevated to first via disqualification, has been shelved for the rest of the year. Sidelined by an illness following the Derby, he hasn’t raced since and won’t for a while. The son of Lookin At Lucky had just returned to serious training when conditioner Bill Mott decided to pull the plug on the remainder of a 2019 campaign. No detailed explanation was given except that, according to Mott, the colt required a vacation. And not just your usual summer, two-week, pack-the-kids-in-the-car-and-head-for-the-beach kind. ‘House will get at least six months of R &R. Sunday, Maximum Security returned from a post-Derby vacation and competed at Monmouth Park. He was a 1-20 favorite against five foes and figured an absolute cinch to win. Then something funny happened: the gates opened, and Maximum Security stumbled to his knees. He quickly recovered, however, and by the first turn had assumed his usual position in front of the field. He was dogged outside by King for a Day and, early on the far turn when jockey Luis Saez began to scrub on the favorite like a washerwoman would a stubborn stain, those 1-20 odds looked as though the numbers should be reversed. Determinedly, Maximum Security kept trying, but King for a Day wore him down to earn the win. The name of that race was Pegasus, contested in Oceanport, NJ. That’s not to be confused with the event of a similar appellation renewed annually in Hallandale Beach, FL. The latter boasts several more zeroes in purse value and features a nearby iconic icon statue. Sunday’s spot was chosen to serve as a Haskell Stakes tune-up for Maximum Security; as a sparring session of sorts. A paid workout. A day at the beach. Apparently, one competitor didn’t receive the email; didn’t hear that he wasn’t supposed to win. King for a Day emerged a tiger instead of a tomato can. He took Maximum Security’s punch in mid-stretch, shook it off like a sneeze, and countered with a knockout blow to win by a length. Of course, once Pegasus dust had settled, it quickly was replaced airborne by alibis. Many of those blamed the stumbling start as catalyst for defeat. It wasn’t the only culprit. While the slip certainly didn’t help the asterisk-wearing Kentucky Derby winner, it wasn’t the main reason he lost Sunday. What really kept Maximum Security from finishing first for the sixth consecutive time in as many starts was a combination of factors. Mainly, give credit for that to King for a Day. After winning the Sir Barton at Pimlico on the Preakness undercard he was ‘ready for his closeup,’ Mr. Pletcher. The Pegasus is the second stakes win and third triumph out of five starts for the developing son of Uncle Mo. He’s steadily improved for owners Red Oak Stable and presumably has more in the tank. On the other hand, Maximum Security clearly was not at his best for the race. Sidelined since the Kentucky Derby, where he gave all in repelling a wave of challengers in the final quarter, he had registered just two works since May 4—a May 22, four-furlong leg-stretcher in :53 4/5 and a three-furlong blowout in 37, both at Monmouth. Do the math. That’s 24 days between breezes and just two works in 43 days! Plus, about a week before the race, trainer Jason Servis, who wins races like Babe Ruth hit home runs, was so concerned about Maximum Security’s health that he sent a sample of the colt’s blood to a lab for analysis. Now, for my money, before a race it’s never good to have your blood outside of your body unless, of course, you’re Lance Armstrong. Don’t know exactly what the immediate future holds for Maximum Security, but connections didn’t seem overly concerned with the results. “It stinks getting beat,” said trainer Jason Servis, while philosophically waxing, “but that’s horse racing.” Servis added, “I think the stumble cost me the race. I think his next race will be better.” That ‘next race’ probably will be the Haskell at Monmouth. Wednesday of this week, according to a report originally released by Daily Racing Form, Belmont Stakes hero Sir Winston was ruled out of action because of a slight ankle injury. Ironically, trainer Mark Casse suggested that the Pegasus—the one in Florida, not the one in New Jersey—could be a suitable long-range target. Out west, another sophomore favorite took it on the chin in the Grade 3 Affirmed at Santa Anita. Named after the 1978 Triple Crown winner, the mile and one-sixteenth event for 3-year-olds attracted a small field of just six runners. Morning-line and starting favorite was Santa Anita Derby winner and Kentucky Derby also-ran Roadster. Second choice was Mucho Gusto, a multiple Grade 3-winning colt who eats and sleeps just down the shedrow from Roadster in the Bob Baffert barn. Fresh off a wire-to-wire score in the recent seven-furlong Laz Barrera stakes, Mucho Gusto had a recency edge over Roadster and an early-speed advantage, too. While wide he stalked the Affirmed pace, moved to the lead in the lane and won comfortably. Fittingly, Mucho Gusto completed the Laz Barrera/Affirmed Stakes parlay—Barrera famously trained Affirmed. Roadster, also a bit wide while finishing second in the race, again proved he’s a grinder that probably needs more ground for his best. Off since the Kentucky Derby, the race ought to serve him well in the conditioning department. Perhaps the Travers is in his future. There’s a good chance that several sophomores mentioned above—at least the ones still racing--will clash in the Haskell Stakes at Monmouth. Seems a logical spot for Maximum Security and King for a Day. Baffert already has suggested that ‘The Shore’s Greatest Stretch’ is a likely late-July destination for Mucho Gusto. Overall, the 3-year-old picture seems as muddled as it was in March. The divisional crown is up for grabs and two out of four Triple Crown race winners won’t be around to dispute it. So, where does that leave us? Disappointed? Frustrated? Unimpressed? Maybe. If so, hang in there. Usually, when sophs stumble, one soon emerges to save the day. Stay tuned! Race On! 

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6.20.2019:

Royal Ascot Continues Through Saturday – Free Picks + 10% Exacta Bonus

Xpressbet customers have spent the last three days enjoying the pageantry and quality racing of Royal Ascot and we’ve tuned in at 9:30AM ET to watch the world’s best horses compete in races named for kings and queens.  If you’ve been playing along, you know exactly what we’re talking about.  There’s nothing like having money on a 20-plus horse cavalcade down the straight at Ascot.  Payouts have been strong and winning performances by horses like Crystal Ocean, Arizona and others are the types of efforts the racing world won’t soon forget. If you haven’t played Royal Ascot yet, we’ve got good news for you – there are two more days to do so.  Friday and Saturday’s cards are loaded with group stakes races and recognizable horses like Bound for Nowhere, Ten Sovereigns, Blue Point, Japan, Masar and Southern France. And at Xpressbet, we’ve got an offer going on that we’re pretty excited about.  We’re giving our customers a 10% Bonus on their Exacta winnings, up to $100 a day.  That means, if you play your cards right, you can earn up to $200 in cash over the next two days at Royal Ascot.  Not too shabby, right?  And the best part is all you have to do to play is Log In to your account and register for free for the promotion. Here are four horses I’ll be betting over the next two days.  Who do you like?  Be sure to follow Xpressbet on Twitter for Royal Ascot updates every morning.  Friday, June 21 If you’re looking for the ‘smart’ bets on Friday, look no further than the combination of trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore, as they represent the favorites in Race 2 with Japan (6/5), Race 3 with Ten Sovereigns (6/5) and Race 4 with Hermosa (1/1).  All three horses stand a massive chance to win their respective races.  The only downside…value will be very difficult to find if those horses deliver.  Here are a few other horses I’m focused on: Race 1 (9:30AM ET) – Albany Stakes (Group 3) - #25 Silent Wave (20/1) Wesley Ward was denied his Royal Ascot glory on Tuesday as Kimari was beaten a head in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes and, despite having two representatives here, I think his run of near misses will continue.  Ward sends out a pair of Keeneland maiden winners, Chili Petin (5/1) and Nayibeth (4/1) but both fillies are making their turf debuts and have been forced to acclimate to a new environment.  Godolphin’s Silent Wave (12/1) was well backed and impressive when she broke her maiden at Goodwood at short odds and she’s a daughter of one of the world’s premier stallions, War Front.   It’s always tough to handicap races with a bunch of inexperienced horses but you’ve got to trust Charlie Appleby and James Doyle…they know how to win events at racing’s highest level.  Race 6 (12:35PM ET) – Duke of Edinburgh Stakes - #3 Baghdad (5/1) There’s always value to be found in a 19-horse field, so I’m not ashamed to pick the favorite.  Baghdad won the King George V Stakes last summer at the Royal Ascot meet and is in strong form, entering off a victory at Newmarket last out.  Plus, he’s ridden by Ryan Moore – always a positive – and he has not lost a turf race in three tries dating back to October 2017.  Saturday, June 22 The biggest storyline for Saturday’s Closing Day card is Blue Point’s attempt at a Royal Ascot Group 1 Double.  He won the King’s Stand Stakes on Tuesday and comes back in today’s Diamond Jubilee on just four days’ rest.  That’s a lot to ask, but he clearly likes Ascot and is in peak form.  Race 4 (11:20AM ET) – Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) - #3 City Light (7/1) As a racing fan, you’d love to see Blue Point win this race – but as a bettor, you have to stand against him.  I was going to bet Inns of Court in here but he was declared out. That lands me on City Light, who was beaten just 1/2-length by Inns of Court last out in France.  City Light came within a head of winning this race in 2018 and seems poised to get his revenge this time around.  US invader Bound for Nowhere was done no favors by the result of the King’s Stand, with Imprimis being a non-factor.  Race 6 (12:35PM ET) – Queen Alexandra Stakes – #2 Corelli (5/1) This has been an extraordinary meet for Frankie Dettori and his last chance for victory comes with Corelli in the Queen Alexandra.  He was beaten just 1/2-length by my Duke of Edinburgh choice Baghdad in his latest race at Newmarket and I guess I’m keying on that to be a key event.  Corelli, a son of Point of Entry, has won 3-of-6 career starts and should relish the extended trip.  And for as well as Frankie is riding, any choice against him would almost be a mistake. 

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6.19.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: June 21 Stronach 5 Play

We’re back to battle with the Stronach 5, while hoping the weather cooperates after hitting all the turf races last week, only to see one of the other legs get washed off. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R9 (5:22 ET) – 3up 16k Starter Handicap at 1-mile (turf) Don’t be surprised if, in this space next week, we’re talking about a big carryover, as this is a sequence that looks next to impossible, as it’s full of depth and evenly matched fields. And because of that, we’ll have to be aggressive in a few races, since the bankroll simply won’t be able to cover everyone I’d like (which is also a ringing endorsement for the A/B type of play). Speaking of being aggressive, I’ll waste little time doing so in the opener, as #1 FLOWMOTION looks like a standout in a field where everyone else looks the same, and any of those GP runs would win this, and do so relatively comfortably. Pk5 A horses: 1 We could use any number of backups, and that makes the ticket expensive, so we’ll have to cut down later in the sequence with a few of the A-level contenders, since I do want some coverage here. It starts with the outside runners, #10 HIGH NOON RIDER and #11 SIR BRAHMS, since they have been in solid form of late, and if ‘Flow regresses for whatever reason, they’ll be there to take advantage. I don’t really know what to make of #5 DOTHAT DANCE, who upset ‘Rider last time for fun off the Schoenthal claim at 30-1 but was way behind him and ‘Sir two-back, but that win was so powerful, and he could again get a soft turf course, so I’ll use him, while admittedly not expecting much. Pk5 B horses: 10,11,5 Leg 2: Gulfstream Park R9 (5:28 ET) – 3upfm 40k MCL at 1-mile (turf) Things get more difficult here, so I’ll spread and go four-deep, with #2 RASBERRY BALLET, who figures to hit hard on the MSW drop; #6 SISTER GEMA, the best of the proven runners at the level; #9 ANUMATI, another MSW dropper, though this terrible draw won’t help; and also #3 UNCOMMON FACTOR, who really improved off the Kurtinecz claim last time, with a bunch of trouble to boot. (Also, if #13 SHE FLED THE SCENE draws in, she’s a must-use A, horrific draw and all.) Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 2,6,9,3 (Please note that to keep the cost of the backup tickets down involving the 10,11,5 in Leg 1, I’m only using the 2 and 6 in this leg and the 1 in the final leg.) There’s a lot going on with #11 LA INCONDICIONAL, since she drops from the MSW ranks, adds blinkers and Lasix, and that turf debut might win this, though this poor draw makes it impossible to put her on the A-line. Pk5 B horses: 11 Leg 3: Laurel Park R10 (5:55 ET) –3upfm 16k MCL at 5 1/2 furlongs (turf) When I’m taking an 0-for-10 runner on top you know the field is weak, and that’s the case here, as #3 KITTEN’S FRIEND, who has had her fair of chances, simply looks a lot better than a field where there are several who simply can’t win, and it’s also worth nothing she’s only 0-for-4 on turf, and that April 4th against better is going to win this. I’ll also use #7 BURAK, who seems like the only other with any hope, and the drop and cutback off a very troubled 7th last time should agree with her. (If #11 THAT’STHEWAYTODOIT draws in she goes to the top of the list, since her turf runs make her the filly to beat, wide post and all.) Pk5 A horses: 3,7 It’s tough to really get interested in anyone else here, so I’m going to go it alone with the top pair and hope to get through. If you’re looking for more coverage then #4 Broadway Trouper, #6 Queens or Better, and #10 Bodhicitta all have a bit of form and aren’t impossible with some improvement. Pk5 B horses: Leg 4: Santa Anita R5 (6:12 ET) – 3up AOC (40k/N1X) at 5 furlongs (turf) I’ve been relatively condensed early, which was the plan since this is one of the more inscrutable legs, and I want as much coverage as possible. I think we can split the field a bit into those who want to be involved early and those who can settle and come from somewhat off the pace, and there’s enough of the former to think the speed comes back here and lands in the lap of the latter. I’ll go outside the box with my top pick, #1 VERY VERY STELLA, who hasn’t been on the turf in ages but immediately goes there off the O’Neill claim, and that’s a 35% angle, so the fact he’s on the grass is significant, especially since he can stalk and has some recent two-turn dirt foundation. Both #8 NORTH COUNTRY GUY and #9 ERI THE TROJAN also have stalking gears and proven recent turf form, so they make the top line too, as does #3 THE RULE OF KING’S, who should offer some value since he’s been running on dirt of late, but has a fast-figure turf stakes 7th last summer at Del Mar. Pk5 A horses: 1,8,9,3 I’m going to use who I think is the best of the speed, and that’s #7 MORGAN S., as he’s drawn outside his two main pace rivals, and enters off a win, though dueling and lasting won’t be easy. Lastly, I’ll toss in #5 REGAL BORN, since he fits the race flow profile and had some solid turf form from last summer to fall back on. Pk5 B horses: 7,5 (Please note that to keep the cost of the backup tickets down, I’m only using the 1 in the last leg.) Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R9 (6:34 ET) – 3upfm 20k MCL at 5 furlongs (turf) The rail is no bargin but #1 HANNAH’S STORM’S two turf races—against MSW foes—would beat this field handily, so she’s going to hit hard on the drop, and if you’re on a very slim budget, you could do worse than singling her in the finale. However, I’d like at least a bit more coverage, especially since #5 RUN TIZ RUN really outran her odds (67-1) on debut, when she chased early and held to finish a lose 6th, and off that tightener she should be able to improve and potentially surprise at overlaid odds. The one who could attract the most upset speculation is #6 PEACEFULLY, since she was bet down to 8-5 on debut but had a rough go of it on the rail and didn’t fire when 9th behind ‘Run, though now she goes off the Vitali claim (18%) and drew much better. Pk5 A horses: 1,5,6 (Please note that for the backup tickets involving the 10,11,5 in Leg 1, I’m only using the 1 in this leg.) I guess I have to use #9 NY BETH GETSITDONE, since she was a close 2nd last time, while ahead of ‘Run and Peacefully, but she’s also 0-for-10 with no upside and a wide draw, so let’s limit her use to underneath only. You can use others here, most notably #4 Little Bella and #8 Chaos Rising, but the former goes for an ice-cold Vaccarreza barn that is 0-for-25 with firsters, and the latter didn’t fire off the trainer switch, so neither seems worthy of making the cut. Pk5 B horses: 9 The tickets: Main Ticket: 1 with 2,6,9,3 with 3,7 with 1,8,9,3 with 1,5,6 = $64Leg 1 B Backup: 10,11,5 with 2,6 with 3,7 with 1,8,9,3 with 1 = $48Leg 2 B Backup: 1 with 11 with 3,7 with 1,8,9,3 with 1,5,6 = $24Leg 4 B Backup: 1 with 2,6,9,3 with 3,7 with 7,5 with 1,5,6 = $48Leg 5 B Backup: 1 with 2,6,9,3 with 3,7 with 1,8,9, with 1 = $24

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6.19.2019:

Maximum Security Ambushed at Jersey Shore

King for a Day ruled the day when he managed to topple overwhelming 1-20 favorite Maximum Security in last Sunday’s 1 1/16-mile Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park. When I was a guest with Joe Withee and Rob Rao last Sunday morning on the Win Place Show, a radio program heard on Seattle’s KJR-AM, I issued a warning to the listening audience. I said to watch out for King for a Day in the Pegasus. I had heard through the grapevine last fall that trainer Todd Pletcher was very high on King for a Day. That was just before the Kentucky-bred Uncle Mo colt ran in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24. A reliable source told me back then that Pletcher considered King for a Day to be one of his best 2-year-old colts, maybe even his best chance for the Kentucky Derby. King for a Day finished fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Jockey Club. He lost by two lengths at odds of 9-2. He then went on the shelf. He didn’t race again until May 18. On May 18, King for a Day came off the bench and won the 1 1/16-mile Sir Barton Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths as a 2-5 favorite. He employed the Sir Barton as a useful springboard to last Sunday’s Pegasus. Trained by Jason Servis, Maximum Security went into the Pegasus having crossed the finish line first in all five of his career starts. The colt’s only defeat had come at the hands of the stewards in a controversial renewal of the Grade I Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4. After Maximum Security prevailed by 1 3/4 lengths in the 1 1/4-mile classic, he was disqualified and placed 17th for committing a foul when he veered out sharply nearing the five-sixteenths marker to cause interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy. It was the first time in the 145-year history of the Kentucky Derby that a winner was disqualified for an incident during the running of the race. Prior to the Run for the Roses, Maximum Security had reeled off four straight victories at Gulfstream Park by a combined 38 lengths from Dec. 20 to March 30. When Maximum Security won the Grade I Xpressbet Florida Derby by 3 1/2 lengths at 1 1/8 miles on March 30, it served notice that he might prove a tough customer next time out in the Kentucky Derby. Though Maximum Security stumbled at the start in the Pegasus, he recovered quickly to seize the early lead. However, he never could shake away from King for a Day. Indeed, King for a Day continually hounded Maximum Security all the way to the top of the lane. For a moment in upper stretch, it appeared that Maximum Security was going to edge away from King for a Day. But King for a Day just would not go away. When asked in the final furlong, King for a Day flexed his muscles to get the job done by one length at 5-1 in the wagering. Maximum Security had to settle for second while finishing well clear of the others in the field of six. Direct Order, a 33-1 longshot, ended up third, nearly six lengths behind Maximum Security. Ridden by Joe Bravo, King for a Day clocked in at 1:42.59. He was credited with a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure. His previous top Beyer was the 85 he recorded in the Sir Barton. Maximum Security emerged from the Pegasus none the worse for wear. “He scoped good and cleaned up his feed tub last night,” Servis said to the BloodHorse’s Bob Ehalt the day after the race. “The [stumble at the] break definitely compromised us. I saw that he got a 100 Beyer Speed Figure, which means he has triple-digit Beyers in his last four races, which is pretty good for a 3-year-old.” Monmouth’s Grade I Haskell Invitational on July 20 is next up for Maximum Security. MUCHO GUSTO COULD HAVE BIG SAY IN HASKELL In light of Mucho Gusto’s sparkling victory in last Sunday’s Grade III Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita, he might prove a very tough customer in the 1 1/8-mile Haskell, which is likely to be his next race, according to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. With Joe Talamo in the saddle, Mucho Gusto rated beautifully when fourth early in the Affirmed while racing wide. The Kentucky-bred colt moved up readily to take command entering the stretch and went on to win by 2 1/4 lengths at 9-5. Even-money favorite Roadster, also conditioned by Baffert, finished second among the six Affirmed starters. Earlier this year, Roadster won the Grade I Santa Anita Derby. He then finished 16th and was moved up to 15th through Maximum Security’s disqualification in the Kentucky Derby. Despite all that Mucho Gusto already has accomplished, I think he might still have plenty of upside inasmuch as his sire is Mucho Macho Man. Though Mucho Macho Man was good enough at 3 to finish third in the Kentucky Derby, he did his best running at 4 and 5. In his final start at 5, Mucho Macho Man won the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic at 1 1/4 miles. BIG DAY FOR UNCLE MO Uncle Mo was voted a 2010 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male. He not only sired Pegasus winner King for a Day, he also was represented last Sunday by Miss Mo Mentum, who captured Woodbine’s Grade III Trillium Stakes at 7-1. She had finished seventh as the 5-2 favorite in the 2018 Trillium. By the way, keep an eye out for a 2-year-old son of Uncle Mo by the name of Mo Hawk. He seems to be on the verge of making his debut. It is my understanding this could be a special colt. He currently resides in the Baffert barn at Santa Anita. Baffert trained Mo Hawk’s dam, Princess Arabella, who was undefeated and untested in three lifetime starts. Princess Arabella won twice at Santa Anita by the same margin, 3 1/2 lengths, then annihilated her opponents when she took the 2012 Sunland Park Oaks by eight lengths. MR. MONEY AND BAJA SUR SCORE STAKES VICTORIES While the favorite failed to win both the Pegasus and Affirmed last Sunday, two 3-year-olds who did succeed as the chalk in stakes races were Mr. Money at Churchill Downs and Baja Sur at Emerald Downs. After finishing fifth in the Grade II Louisiana Derby on March 23, Mr. Money has put together back-to-back impressive wins at Churchill. Mr. Money won the Grade III Pat Day Mile by 5 1/4 lengths at one mile on May 4 (96 Beyer Speed Figure). And then last Saturday night, the 3-year-old Kentucky-bred colt rolled to a 6 1/2-length triumph in the Grade III Matt Winn Stakes at 1 1/16 miles (98 Beyer). He was 7-1 in the Pat Day Mile, a 3-5 favorite in the Matt Winn. Brett Calhoun trains Mr. Money, who has lots of Breeders’ Cup blood flowing through his veins, so to speak. Mr. Money is a son of Goldencents and the Tiznow mare Plenty O’Toole. Goldencents won the Grade I BC Dirt Mile in 2013 and 2014. Tiznow won the BC Classic in 2000 and 2001. A race worth a lot of money probably is next for Mr. Money, according to Calhoun. That race is the $500,000 Indiana Derby, a Grade III event at Indiana Grand on July 13. Baja Sur was backed down to 1-5 favoritism in the 6 1/2-furlong Coca-Cola Stakes at Emerald. Off alertly, he set the pace and appeared on his way to another victory by a big margin when he opened a three-length advantage at the eighth pole. He had won his previous three career starts by 5 1/4, 10 1/2 and five lengths. But this time Baja Sur’s margin of victory was “only” 1 3/4 lengths, though it should be noted that he was far from all out. Franklin Ceballos rode Baja Sur. The final time was 1:15.60. Blaine Wright trains the Washington-bred Smiling Tiger gelding, who paid $2.60 for each $2 win ticket. That broke the record for the smallest $2 win payoff in the history of the race. The previous smallest $2 win payoff had been $3.20 when Name for Norm was victorious in the 1997 renewal. RICH OHIO DERBY ATTRACTS FIELD OF SEVEN This Saturday’s Grade III, $500,000 Ohio Derby at Thistledown has drawn a field of seven 3-year-olds. I felt that Global Campaign, trained by Stan Hough, was going to be tough to beat at 3-1 on the morning line. But Daily Racing Form’s Nicole Russo reported that Global Campaign “will be scratched due to a nagging foot problem, Thistledown director of racing Patrick Ellsworth confirmed Wednesday.” Owendale, conditioned by Brad Cox, is the 9-5 favorite on the Ohio Derby morning line. He made an electrifying move on the far turn while on his way to a 1 3/4-length victory in Keeneland’s Grade III Lexington Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on April 13. He then finished third in the Preakness. But even though Owendale did not win the Preakness, keep in mind he actually did record the best Thoro-Graph figure of everyone who ran in that race. COUNTRY HOUSE, SIR WINSTON ON THE SHELF Kentucky Derby winner Country House is not going to race again this year, while Belmont Stakes victor Sir Winston has been sidelined by an ankle injury. Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott announced last Saturday that he was not satisfied with how Country House had been training and will turn the Kentucky-bred Lookin At Lucky colt out for 60 days, if not longer, Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee reported. Three days after the Run for the Roses, Country House exhibited signs that all was not well with him in what now is being characterized as a minor illness. He spent a week to undergo a thorough checkup at the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky. After getting cleared at the clinic, Country House resumed training. But now the plug has been pulled on his 2019 campaign. “I think we just need to give him a rest,” Mott said. At 65-1, Country House registered the second-biggest upset in the history of the Kentucky Derby, topped only by Donerail’s 91-1 shocker in 1913. According to trainer Mark Casse, Sir Winston “is dealing with an injury to his left front ankle and will be out of training for a little while,” the DRF’s David Grening reported. “I’m not going to rush him,” Casse said of the Kentucky-bred Awesome Again colt. “It will keep us out of the Travers for sure. My plan is to have him ready for the fall with the Pegasus in mind.” Gulfstream Park’s lucrative Pegasus World Cup (not to be confused with the Pegasus Stakes that was run last Sunday at Monmouth) is expected to be held again early in 2020. Gulfstream’s Pegasus World Cup had a purse of $9 million this year. Sir Winston won the Belmont Stakes at 10-1 on June 8. Casse also gave an update on Preakness winner War of Will, who finished ninth in the Belmont. Casse told Grening that the Kentucky-bred War Front colt “could run in the Jim Dandy on July 27 or simply train up to the Travers on Aug. 24.” TRIPLE CROWN RACES OF 2019 LACKED CLARITY Justify swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes last year to become only the 13th winner of this nation’s coveted Triple Crown. I think it’s safe to say that almost everyone would agree that Justify gave the best performance in each of the three races. But there was no such clarity this year regarding those three races. Far from it. Interestingly, according to Thoro-Graph, the horse who finished first in all three of this year’s Triple Crown events did not run the best race. As I have stated many times, I think Beyer Speed Figures do have value, which is why I often refer to them. But in my opinion, the figures calculated by Thoro-Graph are vastly superior to the Beyers. Regarding Thoro-Graph, the lower the number the faster the race, which is the opposite of the Beyers. In terms of the Beyers, the winner of a race will never get a smaller figure than the horse who finished second, the horse who finished second will never get a smaller figure than the horse who finished third, and so on and so forth down through the order of finish. In the case of the Thoro-Graph Figures, a horse who finishes second, or even lower, can get a better figure than the winner. This, I believe, is a much more realistic evaluation of a horse’s performance. 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 far as Thoro-Graph is concerned, the best figure (and thus the best performance) in each of the three Triple Crown races this year was posted by Game Winner in the Kentucky Derby, Owendale in the Preakness and Tacitus in the Belmont. Game Winner finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby. As mentioned earlier, Owendale ran third in the Preakness. Tacitus (who traveled 65 feet farther than the victorious Sir Winston, according to Trakus) finished second in the Belmont. Let’s take a look at the various Thoro-Graph and Beyer figures for the three Triple Crown events this year. Below are the 10 best Thoro-Graph figures in this year’s Kentucky Derby, followed by the 10 best Beyers: T-G Fig Horse 1/4 Game Winner1/2 Country House1 Tacitus1 1/4 Maximum Security2 1/4 Master Fencer2 1/2 Improbable2 3/4 Code of Honor3 1/4 Cutting Humor3 1/2 War of Will3 3/4 Plus Que Parfait Beyer Horse 101 Maximum Security99 Country House97 Code of Honor96 Tacitus96 Improbable96 Game Winner96 Master Fencer95 War of Will94 Plus Que Parfait89 Win Win Win Below are the 10 best Thoro-Graph figures in this year’s Preakness, followed by the best 10 Beyers: T-G Fig Horse 3/4 Owendale1 Improbable1 Win Win Win1 1/2 War of Will1 1/2 Everfast2 1/2 Laughing Fox2 3/4 Warrior’s Charge4 1/2 Bourbon War5 1/4 Anothertwistafate5 1/2 Signalman Beyer Horse 99 War of Will96 Everfast96 Owendale94 Warrior’s Charge93 Laughing Fox93 Improbable90 Win Win Win85 Bourbon War83 Anothertwistafate83 Signalman Below are the 10 Thoro-Graph figures in this year’s Belmont, followed by the 10 Beyers: T-G Fig Horse 1 Tacitus2 3/4 War of Will3 Sir Winston3 1/4 Tax3 1/2 Intrepid Heart3 1/2 Master Fencer3 1/2 War of Will3 3/4 Joevia4 Everfast6 1/2 Bourbon War Beyer Horse 95 Sir Winston94 Tacitus93 Joevia92 Everfast92 Master Fencer92 Spinoff92 Tax90 Intrepid Heart87 War of Will82 Bourbon War THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLL Here is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 371 Bricks and Mortar (30)2. 335 Mitole (6)3. 256 Midnight Bisou (2)4. 229 McKinzie5. 195 World of Trouble6. 121 Catholic Boy7. 113 Seeking the Soul8. 105 Rushing Fall9. 77 Vino Rosso10. 81 Thunder Snow

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6.17.2019:

Harness Highlights: Captain' Sails to Cup Record

The ‘Captain’ came ready to crunch some record numbers at Woodbine-Mohawk Park last Saturday. Namely, Captain Crunch set a track and Canadian record when he paced to a pulsating 1:47.2 victory in the 36th running of the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-olds. The champion freshman pacer from last year bounced back from a near disastrous elimination run the previous week, when he broke stride on the first turn and recovered to finish fifth, earning a spot on the starting gate in the 10-horse Cup final. “I knew that the horse raced really well just to make it to the final so I really wasn’t worried,” said trainer Nancy Johansson. “I don’t want to sound cocky or anything but I knew he was the best horse going into it and it was just up to him to show everybody.” Montreal native Scott Zeron is a believer after his first-hand view from the driver’s bike. Captain Crunch hustled to the lead from post 8, settled into third behind pace setter Workin Ona Mystery and came out to challenge the favorite nearing the final turn. He drew even as they reached the quarter pole in 1:20, powered clear in mid-stretch, then held off a late charge from pocket-sitting Bettors Wish (Dexter Dunn) to win by � of a length in what Harness Racing Update called “a race for the ages.”. “It feels unbelievable,” said Zeron. “This has been the end-all, be-all for me. It’s completed my entire bucket list.” “I didn’t want to be in that spot I was in, but … he overcame it with just his greatness.” Captain Crunch paid $10.30 to win and keyed a $41.90 exacta and $59.70 trifecta with Workin Ona Mystery holding third. The 2018 Breeders Crown winner topped C$1 million in earnings with his ninth win in 14 starts for Brothers Stable, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms. His 1:47.2 clocking was 2/5 of a second faster than the previous record shared by Cup winners Thinking Out Loud (2012) and Betting Line (2016). Captain Crunch likely will return to the U.S. to prepare for the July 13 Meadowlands Pace. How fast he will get there is anyone’s guess. 

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6.17.2019:

Monday, June 17: Woodbine Mohawk Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

The Monday night feature at Woodbine Mohawk Park rolls in Race 3, a Preferred Trot with a $34,000 purse. My focus will be on the Late Pick 4 sequence which begins in Race 7. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 7 5-Galagher Seelster-Drops from $12k claimers and should be a player if Jamieson works a good trip. 7-Casimir Overdrive-Tossing 1st start after claim, was too far back, could leave here, not much other gate speed. 8-Outlaw Gunpowder-Gets a new pilot, who can grind his way around and pop at a square price. 9-Who Said Not To-Form has been dull but might be a wake-up spot, will use but look to beat the lukewarm favorite. Race 8 3-Superlative-Came off the bench with a win, this is a stiffer challenge, but competitive mare should be respected. 4-Dr Spengler-Raced well but was handled carefully, must mind manners but could be dialed up in 3rd start of '19. 6-Kadabra Queen-Rolled home in 55.4 and short field shouldn't hurt chances for another picture. Race 9 1-Exemplar-This is a comfortable spot and should be in the hunt if minds manners for Roy-Moreau. 4-Wild And Crazy-Won at this level on 4/29, McNair is back for a spin and he could work a nice trip from this post. Race 10 1-Cruise Captain-Has faced tough foes, fits better here, gets post relief, will consider at 10-1, main foes are outside. 9-Priceless Beach-Has fired hot off the bench, it will take a big effort to make it 4 straight but will respect. 10-Quatrain Blue Chip-Coleman trainee comes off a nice try on a sloppy track, post is a challenge but helps price. My Ticket Race 7) 5,7,8,9 Race 8) 3,4,6 Race 9) 1,4 Race 10) 1,9,10 Total Ticket Cost) $14.40 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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6.17.2019:

Father's Day Lesson for Racing

Millions celebrated Father’s Day on Sunday across this great country, and thousands of them joined for camaraderie at the racetrack. Perhaps no other pastime has been as dependent on mentorship as developing a love for the horse races. It’s a passion that can be self-acquired, but a process that almost begs of someone showing the next generation the ropes. Secretariat captivated many to the races in the 1970s; John Henry and Cigar followed suit in the 1980s and ‘90s; and the likes of Smarty Jones, Zenyatta and American Pharoah did their part in more recent decades. But for every 31-length memory, or ageless wonder pulling victory from the jaws of defeat, or 16-race winning streak, or horse from the wrong side of the tracks, or even Triple Crown realizations, there has been a need for what’s next. The curious need nurtured, and they need a person or persons willing to put in the time to develop them from an interested party into a pari-mutuel participant.  For many of us, myself included, Dads filled such a role. Or perhaps it was Mom, or an Uncle or Grandparent. The gender and title don’t matter as much as the mentor’s mere presence. Regardless of who delivered the guidance, the vast majority of eventual horseplayers began with a guiding hand from another. Someone taught you the daily double from the pick three, a filly from a mare, or the nuances of reading the toteboard for overlays.  But today’s society is far different. The internet and social media age has devoted us to screen time, not face-to-face interactions. We don’t learn plumbing from a neighbor or grandparent, but rather by Googling a Youtube video on clogged drains. If we don’t understand the intricacies of ice hockey during Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, we need not be next to our friends rinkside or in a sports bar to explain it. We use our thumbs for 30 seconds on our phone and become instantly informed. We don’t learn everything and every nuance, to be sure, but we learn enough to get by and quench a quick thirst. Soon after, we forget about it until the next time we need it; then we just look it up again. Thirty seconds with our thumbs has taught us it’s that easy.  We don’t learn information in today’s world, but rather learn how to find it on-demand. Don’t believe me? How many phone numbers do you know today vs. 10 years ago? When is the last time you read a map vs. trusting an app to get you to a new city? Handicapping and betting horse races is memorizing phone numbers and learning where things are on maps. That is, unless you have an app for that …  Technology isn’t alone in the world of change. Families also aren’t what they once were. The decline of the American family has left fewer authority figures, on average, in our households. This isn’t some sort of statement of machismo or sexist-leaning commentary. It’s mathematics. Fewer family units mean fewer extended families, grandparents and the like. There are fewer Moms, Dads, Aunts, Uncles, Grandmas and Grandpas in our lives to pass along anything requiring mentorship, not the least of which is horse racing. My guess is those close to hunting, fishing and baking could tell you the same thing. These are rites once passed along by adults to the next generation, male or female.  So as horse racing battles itself in how to position for the future, especially in this toxic environment of 2019, we must realize that a major void exists in our once built-in developmental process. Father’s Day reminds us that we were lucky to have such influential forces working for free in this industry for so many generations. Now we have to fill the voids at what figures to be a very expensive cost ... and pitch it to an audience that has been taught to find it and forget it. 

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6.16.2019:

Sunday, June 16: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse has 11-races set to roll tonight. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 8 and it has a $30,000 guaranteed pool. Two-year-old trotters will be featured on the card in Night of Champions-Leg 1 action. Last night at Hawthorne the driver with the hottest hands was Casey Leonard with six trips to the winner's circle on the 13-race card. The top trainer on the night was Terry Leonard with three pictures. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 8 2-Valar Morghulis-2nd time Lasix for beaten chalk and now Leonard takes a seat, could be set for a better effort. 8-Winter Gram-Tried hard off a tough trip in last, should be rolling late and could surprise with a trip. Race 9 2-Waymore-Scorched the 2nd half in 55.1 for an easy win. This field shouldn't pose a problem if races back to last. 4-Storming D Odds-Longshot makes 4th local start, fits better with this post draw and will take a swing at 25-1 in ML. Race 10 1-Susan Sage-Rolled home off a nice trip but now gets a positive driver change and post relief versus similar. 5-Red Hot Packerette-Faded in 1st start off the bench but Leonard sticks and should be tighter. 8-Fox Valley Zola-Beaten chalk has been facing better, in the hunt with a good steer. Race 11 1-Shes First Class-Needs to avoid a slow start and finally draws inside, tries hard and should be a player. 7-Swaneelou-Has had excuses and fits better in 4th start off the bench but Wilfong needs to work a good trip. My Ticket Race 8) 2,8 Race 9) 2,4 Race 10) 1,5,8 Race 11) 1,7 Total Ticket Cost) $12 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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6.15.2019:

Saturday, June 15: Woodbine Mohawk Park-All Stakes Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, all eyes will be on Woodbine Mohawk Park as their signature race, the $1,000,000 Pepsi North America Cup rolls in Race 11. It's a star-studded card with over $2.5 million in purses up for grabs and $250,000 in guaranteed pools. The All Stakes 0.20 Pick 4 begins in Race 9 and it has a $100,000 guaranteed pool. Xpressbet customers who register for the contest and connect on the $100,000 guaranteed All-Stakes Pick 4 will win a split of one million XB Rewards Points. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 9-Mohawk Gold Cup $100,000-Purse 2-McWicked (7/5)-World-class pacer should have things his own way despite being off close to a month. 8-Thinkbig Dreambig (5-1)-Got caught 1st over in a .54 2nd half, can fly late if the champ falters. Race 10-Fan Hanover Final-$454,000 Purse 1-Tall Drink Hanover (4-1)-Followed #4 last week, makes 3rd start off the bench, looks to have best shot at an upset. 4-Warrawee Ubeaut (9/5)--Winner over $600k last year could be even better as a sophomore, the one to beat. Race 11-North America Cup-$1,000,000 Purse 2-De Los Cielos Deo(4-1)-Turned heads in last when blistered 2nd half in 51.2, will respect but not sure on the trip. 4-Workin Ona Mystery (2-1)-Hard to find a fault, has been razor sharp, should get the lead or a 2-hole trip. 5-Captain Victorious (12-1)-Might surprise with some luck and could be overlooked at windows, using in gimmicks. 8-Captain Crunch (5/2)-Will excuse break in last, a main player despite drawing 8-hole and price will be better. Race 12-Roses are Red Final-$330,000 Purse 4-Shartin N (4/5)-Winner of 7 of 8 this year and makes it look easy, barring an awful trip it should be 8 of 9 in 2019. My Ticket Race 9) 2,8 Race 10) 1,4 Race 11) 2,4,5,8 Race 12) 4 Total Ticket Cost) $16 for a $1 wager Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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6.14.2019:

Friday, June 14: Can-Am Pick 4 Analysis

First off, an early shoutout about this weekend's North American Cup at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Comments and selections for the $100,000 Guaranteed All-Stakes Pick 4 will be posted on Saturday. Xpressbet customers who register for the contest and hit the Pick 4 will win a split of one million XB Reward Points. Comments and selections below for tonight's Can-Am Pick 4 are based on a fast track. Race 10-Mohawk Park-Leg 1 4-Sunday Afternoon-Fits with these and now draws inside at this class, worth a swing at 10-1 in the ML. 5-Artistic Madision-8-year-old hasn't been the same horse but makes 4th start for Aucielo and last was better. 6-Black Jack Pat-Steps-up after and easy win in 1st start of 2019 and could be up to this challenge too. 7-Witch Dali-Fell just short in season debut but was used hard in 1st quarter, knows how to win and McNair sticks. Race 10-Meadowlands-Leg 2 3-Pinkman-This guy is camera shy last 2 years, but this is a spot for a suck around trip and he can scoot home. 4-Trolley-Will toss last, is 10 of 19 at the Big M, looking for a square price while trying to beat the ML chalk #5. 6-Cruzado Dela Noche-Another who should fare better here than in last at Phl, could be sitting on a big try. 7-Pappy Go Go-Price shot at 12-1 in ML looks to be worth a play, will need best but tries hard and could blast out. 9-Marion Marauder-Here's the wild card, qualifiers were fine, can take a picture if dialed on high in season debut. Race 11-Mohawk Park-Leg 3 7-Foot Soldier-Drops and makes 2nd start for hot Gallucci barn, should like the company and is McNair's choice. 8-Phantom Seelster-Having issues and drops, was bet down in last, will need more but will respect chances. Race 11-Meadowlands-Leg 4 3-Inverse Hanover-Missed a start before last start and finished 2nd, expecting an aggressive steer and big effort. 7-Percy Bluechip-Gingras returns and that should help, like #3 comes right back, expecting a big try. 8-Catch An Ace-Raced big in 2nd start off bench and took a picture at this class, will respect an encore possibility. My Ticket Race 10 Mohawk) 4,5,6,7 Race 10 Meadowlands) 3,4,6,7,9 Race 11 Mohawk) 7,8 Race 11 Meadowlands) 3,7,8 Total Ticket Cost) $24 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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6.14.2019:

Santa Anita Sunday Rainbow 6 Mandatory Payout Picks

Sunday is Rainbow 6 Mandatory Payout Day at Santa Anita, and the Pick 6 marks the return of highly regarded 3-year-old Roadster, who has been away from the races since a troubled 16th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby six weeks ago. Roadster resurfaces Sunday in the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes, and it looks like Bob Baffert wants to get this one in a big way. Only six horses are in the 1 1-16th-mile race on the main track, and half are trained by the Hall of Famer. It’s a reunion of Roadster and jockey Mike Smith, who rode the Quality Road colt in his first four starts and then opted out when he committed to Omaha Beach, who was withdrawn. Smith finished 11th on Cutting Humor. Florent Geroux was aboard Roadster, who was clearly didn’t enjoy the ‘off’ conditions and was very ride throughout. The Derby is an absolute toss-out for Roadster and a return to good form is probable. He won the Santa Anita Derby over Game Winner and Instagrand and is back to much friendlier environs. Roadster is joined by stablemates Kingly and Mucho Gusto. Kingly hasn’t seen this level of competition and his success has come at Golden Gate Fields. Meanwhile, Mucho Gusto is a three-time graded winner and will give fits to any rival bent on getting the lead. Mucho Gusto is a gate-to-wire threat but Roadster looks like the classier model and can recover from the Derby doldrums. Despite the 20-cent minimum on the Pick Six, it’s easy to run up the cost. A single on Roadster is the choice here, and that opens a lot of other races in which to spread out. That looks like a necessity as the early races are highly competitive. The suggested ticket here follows a 5x3x4x3x1x2 approach. Here’s a suggested ticket for the mandatory payout Rainbow 6 at Santa Anita on Sunday: Race 4: #2 Top Brass, #3 American Currency, #4 Tough But Nice, #6 Giddymeister, #7 Puriano Race 5: #3 Mucho Unusual, #5 All Star Cast, #8 Ladymidtown Race 6: #1 Smiling Rose, #3 Rather Nosy, #5 Tapitha Bonita, #7 Convince Race 7: #1 Zaffinah, #2 Pantsonfire, #5 Lynne’s Legacy Race 8: #5 Roadster Race 9: #8 Boru, #10 Zorich 20-cent Rainbow 6: 2-3-4-6-7 with 3-5-8 with 1-3-5-7 with 1-2-5 with 5 with 8-10 ($72)  

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6.13.2019:

Triple Crown Recap: Parity Prevails

Following the conclusion of a wagering endeavor, horseplayers should review previous handicapping opinions. Please note: Cursing and aggressively mutilating losing tickets is not considered an acceptable debriefing. Turning the page to the next race encourages short-term memory development—a requisite for gambling survival--but contributes nothing toward long-term edification. Effort spent in single post-race review—win or lose--serves as a valuable learning experience. Rehashing an entire card functions as the equivalent of a semester spent learning The Art of Wagering.  Posting of the ‘official’ for the Belmont Stakes marks the unofficial end to the first half of the racing season. At least it does for us, and we’ve currently got control of the keyboard, so…  In the rear-view is nearly six months of results. The most recently retired winner of the Pegasus World Cup already has satisfied his initial harem and fresh frosh faces are a staple on nearly every nationwide card. To us, the Stephan Foster, presented this Saturday evening at Churchill, kicks off the season’s second half. Haskell, Travers and Breeders’ Cup await down the road.  At this seasonal mid-point, it serves us well to review previous handicapping opinions in major races--where we went right, wrong or completely wrong. Even though visiting the past sometimes smarts like a stick to the eye, as we stated earlier, lessons worth learning await.  This year’s Triple Crown season failed to feature a particularly outstanding performance; however, it was entertaining. The broohaha caused by Maximum Security’s illegal lane change in the Kentucky Derby won’t soon be forgotten. In a prep season where a different horse seemed to win each Kentucky Derby prep race, it was fitting that the first on-track disqualification in 145 renewals produced two winners! Country House resides in record books as the official 2019 Derby victor, but doubts surrounding the legitimacy of that title will linger as long as disputes survive regarding the victor in the Civil War.  2019 produced three (or four) different winners of Triple Crown races: Country House (or Maximum Security) in the Kentucky Derby; War of Will in the Preakness and Sir Winston in the Belmont.  Beforehand, there were plenty of warning signs that there’d be no dominant 3-year-old this year. In 34 Road to the Kentucky Derby point races--Sept. 15, 2018 through April 13, 2019--just five horses won more than one of them. None won three. Parity prevails.  Game Winner had a flying start in 2018 and took the American Pharoah at Santa Anita Sept. 29 and the BC Juvenile at Churchill Nov. 2. He’s winless since. War of Will appeared unbeatable in Louisiana and annexed the Lecomte (Jan. 19) and Risen Star (Feb. 16) at Fair Grounds. A freakish moment out of the gate in the Louisiana Derby ended his bid at short odds for a third prep-race tally. Long Range Toddy staggered his pair of triumphs over two years, first by taking the Springboard Mile at Remington Dec. 16, 2018 and then by winning a division of the Rebel at Oaklawn March 16, 2019. Tacitus got hot late and parlayed the March 9 Tampa Bay Derby into the April 6 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Omaha Beach found his best stride in a division of the Rebel and extended it in the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn. He was the morning-line Kentucky Derby favorite but was forced to scratch due to a throat issue. Following simple surgery, complications forced him to remain in Kentucky until recently when he returned to trainer Richard Mandella’s California string.  Below are this player’s Bottom Line analyses as they appeared in this space Thursdays before each Triple Crown race, followed by a recap of where they hit or missed.    Kentucky Derby Bottom Line  Ones to Beat: 7. Maximum Security, 16. Game Winner Next in Line: 5. Improbable 17. Roadster Favorite Price ITM Chance: 19. Spinoff Most Likely Exotic Fillers: 2. Tax 3. By My Standards, 8. Tacitus, 13 Code of Honor  We had the Kentucky Derby winner pretty well sniffed out. Sort of. We didn’t see Country House posing for pictures but went strongly in favor of Maximum Security. The first on-track win disqualification in Derby history cost us a nice Pick 5 score and extended a personal season-long wagering slump.  Those listed as ‘Ones to Beat’ both ran well: Maximum Security clearly committed a foul but wasn’t about to lose the race. Game Winner raced very wide throughout to finish sixth (moved to fifth), beaten less than four lengths. Improbable, among those listed as ‘Next in Line,’ finished fifth (moved to fourth), just in front of Game Winner.  Roadster and Spinoff were obvious disappointments in 16th and 18th, respectively. Interesting that this player bought into the ‘wide trip/sloppy track excuse for Spinoff and took the bait with the Todd Pletcher-trained runner in the Belmont Stakes where he again disappointed.    Preakness Bottom Line Should Run Well: 12. Anothertwistafate  Vulnerable Favorite: 4. Improbable  Can’t Ignore: 1. War of Will  Exotic Add: 3. Warrior’s Charge For Superfecta Lovers Only: 2. Bourbon War, 5. Owendale, 7. Alwaysmining, 8. Signalman Not on Tickets: 6. Market King, 9. Bodexpress, 10. Everfast, 11. Laughing Fox, 13. Win Win Win  Was flat-out wrong about Anothertwistafate in the Preakness. Apparently we overestimated his ability on a dirt surface. He’s a terror on the synthetic and had raced well twice on dirt but couldn’t handle Preakness competition on natural footing.  We definitely earned props, though, for naming Improbable as a ‘Vulnerable Favorite.’ He finished sixth. Winner War of Will wasn’t ignored in the ‘Can’t Ignore’ category. In hindsight, he probably was the best ‘value’ of any winner of a TC winner this year. 6-1 was an incredibly solid price off his strong winter form, rest and troubled Derby trip!  ‘Exotic Add’ Warrior’s Charge ran well enough to complete the Superfecta at a solid 13-1. Third-place finisher Owendale was mentioned in the ‘For Superfecta Only’ section. Unfortunately, Bourbon War, Alwaysmining and Signalman are still running. That was too many Superfecta add-ons and, in review, suggests I had no clue about how that wager might conclude.  Everfast, a 29-1 shot, closed inside for second and obliterated every ticket of ours. Didn’t see that train coming and we left Pimlico quite a bit lighter than when we arrived.    Belmont Bottom Line  Clearly One to Beat: #10 Tacitus  Price Exotic Chances: #5 Bourbon War, #6 Spinoff, #7 Sir Winston, #8 Intrepid Heart  Reasons to Doubt: #9 War of Will  We had this one nearly perfect. Our top choice and key horse Tacitus didn’t come home on top but ran well to be second. A wide trip combined with a rail-skimming, perfect journey for winner Sir Winston did Tacitus in. One Belmont positive was the identification ‘Reasons to Doubt’ Preakness winner War of Will. The colt didn’t work between the Preakness and Belmont even though his connections had planned to. A change in plans seldom is a good thing with healthy 3-year-olds.  Sir Winston’s 10-1 score as a ‘B’ horse in a successful Pick 4 wager combined with several earlier multiple Pick 3 tallies to provide this horseplayer with a winning afternoon and an end to life in the handicapping doldrums.  Currently, the race for top 3-year-old is as wide open as the field in pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination. Like Joe Biden, Maximum Security is the favorite. However, if War of Will, Tacitus, Omaha Beach, Sir Winston, etc. should get hot in the coming months the crown could be theirs. Remember, just three few years ago at this half-way point most of us hadn’t even heard of eventual Saratoga track-record setter, Travers and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Arrogate.  Race On! 

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6.13.2019:

Five Horses I’m Betting on Stephen Foster Night at Churchill Downs

There’s no such thing as a Triple Crown hangover in horse racing as we get right back at it this Saturday with five graded stakes races at Churchill Downs, headlined by the G2 Stephen Foster Handicap, starring Yoshida, Gift Box, Seeking the Soul, Tom’s d’Etat and others.  The ‘Foster is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series ‘Win and You’re In’ race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the card also includes the Fleur de Lis, featuring an automatic pass to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.  Xpressbet customers who bet Churchill Downs on Saturday are advised to check out the All-Stakes Pick 4 (Races 6 – 9) that includes the ‘Foster, Fleur de Lis, Wise Dan and Regret.  Hit it and you’ll Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points.  Please note, you do have to register for that promotion.  But hey, registration is free and takes just a click or two.  We’re also offering the same 1 Million Point Pick 4 Split promotion Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park.  I won’t try to handicap that card, but our Harness Racing Guru, Al Cimaglia, will you have covered for that.  Check out our News Section on Saturday for his picks.  As for Churchill on Saturday, here’s a horse I’m going to be betting in each of the five stakes races on the card, as well as my recommended All-Stakes Pick 4 ticket.  Race 5 – Matt Winn (Gr 3, $150K)The Pick: #6 Mr. MoneyMR. MONEY was 7/1 when he upset Instagrand in the G3 Pat Day Mile on the Kentucky Derby understand.  He won’t be near that price this time around but that was a major effort to build on, especially considering the Pay Day runner-up, Hog Creek Hustle, went on to win the G1 Woody Stephens at Belmont in his next start.  Nolo Contesto is interesting in that he has raced against the likes of Roadster, Omaha Beach and Game Winner this year and has held his own.  He even beat Omaha Beach in a maiden race in January.  Signalman reportedly bled in the Preakness and we should expect a solid effort from him.  Race 6 – Wise Dan Stakes (Gr 2, $250K)The Pick: #1 Get Western In a full field on the turf, I’m as worried about finding a horse that projects to have a good trip as much as anything else.  Horses drawn outside and deep closers are running against it in my view.  So I’m going to pass on Admission Office, March to the Arch and some others.  I’ll assume Siem Riep and Noble Commander send, which would open up a great stalking trip for GET WESTERN, who ran a really nice race last out for Charles Lopresti.  And you know he’d love to win this race, named after the beloved Wise Dan, whom Lopresti trained to 23 victories and Horse of the Year honors in 2012 and 2013.  I’m curious to see how El Picaro performs, but willing to pass on betting him in his first race since November and his first race outside of Chile.   Race 7 – Fleur de Lis (Gr 2, $250K)The Pick: #5 Blue Prize (ARG)Look, if Elate comes out and wins this thing, nobody will be surprised.  She’s an impressive mare, a two-time Grade 1 winner, and her Saratoga battles against Abel Tasman are two of the most memorable performances in the Distaff division this decade.  Unfortunately, she hasn’t shown me as much this year.  The Speed Figures are still solid (98 and 96) but she just hasn’t shown that killer instinct down the stretch.  That’s why I’m going with BLUE PRIZE at a better price.  She was moving like a winner in my eyes in the G1 La Troienne last out before she hit a wall.  First race in six months will do that to you.  I’ll trust that she’s a little sharper this time around.Race 8 – Stephen Foster (Gr 2, $600K)The Pick: #6 Gift Box Talk about a phenomenal field. Yoshida, Seeking the Soul, Tom’s d’Etat, Gift Box…these are all superior performers and this has the makings of a great race.  I’ve chased Yoshida far too many times to throw my support into that corner, but I don’t blame anyone who bets him.  Seeking the Soul was not sharp in his first race back from Dubai, but at least he has that under his belt.  He doesn’t strike me as a horse that is capable of winning something like this right now, though.  Tom’s d’Etar is a favorite of mine but not sure he’ll work out a great trip from the 9-hole.  The inclusion of GIFT BOX really intrigues me.  He just ran 1 1/4-miles at Santa Anita on May 27 and the fact that he’s back here tells me John Sadler things this horse is doing really well.  He’s already defeated McKinzie this year and drew midpack, which seems perfect for him.  I’d like to see him stalk the early pace a little more than he has in recent starts, but he should be ready to roll off that last start.Race 9 – Regret (Gr 3, $150K)The Pick: #4 VarenkaI’m not often impressed by the maiden-breaking performances of horses that need five tries to find the winner’s circle, but VARENKA couldn’t have been more impressive in her seasonal debut at Belmont last month.  And, in fairness to her, she spent 2018 chasing fillies like Newspaperofrecord and Dogtag, so it’s not like she was in against inferior competition.  In that Belmont race, she stayed on the rail, saved ground and just exploded down the stretch to an effortless ‘under wraps’ victory.  A similar run would find her making it 2-for-2 this year.   Recommended All-Stakes Pick 4 TicketRace 6 #1 Get Western #3 First Pemio #6 Siem Riep #9 Inspector Lynley #11 March to the Arch #12 Admission Office Race 7 #2 She's a Julie #3 Elate #5 Blue Prize (ARG) Race 8 #6 Gift Box #7 Tenfold #9 Tom's d'Etat #10 Quip Race 9 #4 Varenka Total Ticket Cost = $36 for 50-cents

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6.13.2019:

A Second Jewel for Casse

The gas tank situation was considerably different for the horse I picked to win last Saturday’s Belmont Stakes (War of Will) than it was for my selection to take the 2018 renewal (Justify). After Justify won the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby and 1 3/16-mile Preakness Stakes for trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Mike Smith, the undefeated colt was seeking a Triple Crown sweep in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont. Many wondered just how much gas Justify would have in the tank for the stretch run of the Belmont. That’s why when Baffert said these three words to Smith before last year’s Belmont, it pretty much spelled doom for Justify’s nine foes: “The tank’s full.” Bet down to 4-5 favoritism, Justify led through the early stages of the race they call The Test of the Champion. In my Belmont Stakes recap for Xpressbet, I wrote: “With a quarter of a mile remaining, the answer as to whether there was enough fuel in Justify’s tank was answered emphatically in the affirmative.” Justify prevailed by 1 3/4 lengths and thus became a Triple Crown winner. He would never race again. My picks for Xpressbet in last Saturday’s 151st running of the Belmont were 1. War of Will, 2. Tacitus, 3. Sir Winston, 4. Spinoff. Tacitus was sent away as the 9-5 favorite. War of Will was the 7-2 second choice in the wagering. Sir Winston and Spinoff each were 10-1 when they exited the starting gate. War of Will raced in contention through the early furlongs. But in the final quarter of mile, the needle on War of Will’s gas gauge was near E. He retreated in the stretch and finished next-to-last in the field of 10. Many had taken a stand against War of Will in the Belmont due to the fact that he was the only horse this year to go through the grind of running in all three Triple Crown races. That approach seemed to be validated when War of Will ran out of steam in the lane. However, Mark Casse, War of Will’s trainer, does not agree with those who say running in all three Triple Crown races was the reason for the colt’s disappointing Belmont performance. On Steve Byk’s radio program At the Races, Casse said Monday it’s his belief that War of Will just did not handle the Belmont Park main track, an oval that is nicknamed “Big Sandy.” Whether War of Will lost because running in all three legs of the Triple Crown took a toll and/or the colt struggled on that particular surface, Casse nevertheless managed to still win the race with Sir Winston, who rallied from eighth to get the job done. As I noted in the Los Angeles Times racing newsletter last Friday, of the 10 horses to run in this year’s Belmont, not one of them had ever won on the Belmont Park main track. Sir Winston was the only one of the 10 to have even finished second. That was one of the reasons I did pick Sir Winston third. Sir Winston’s breeding was another reason I felt he had a license to do well in the Belmont. “His pedigree suggests he might relish lone-distance races,” I wrote in the newsletter. “His sire is Awesome Again, who won the 1 1/4-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1998. Sir Winston’s maternal grandsire is 2005 Belmont winner Afleet Alex.” I also noted that Sir Winston would be ridden by Joel Rosario, who won the 2014 Belmont on Tonalist. It turned out that Rosario played a major role in Sir Winston’s victory. Rosario’s ride was a masterpiece. Exiting the gate from post 7, Rosario deftly moved Sir Winston down to the inside rail shortly after the start. This proved to be a key maneuver, especially vis-a-vis both War of Will, who raced wide throughout after breaking from post 9, and Tacitus, who raced even wider throughout after starting from post 10. MAKING ALL THE RIGHT MOVES Sir Winston and Rosario continued their rail-skimming journey all the way until they approached the top of the stretch. They briefly had to bide their time in heavy traffic turning for home. Just before reaching the top of the stretch, Rosario moved slightly away from the rail into the two path, then quickly angled further out into the four path for the stretch run. Charging to the front just inside the eighth pole, Sir Winston went on to win by one length in 2:28.30. Tacitus came on willingly to finish second in an admirable effort in light of his wide trip. Pacesetter Joevia held on well enough in the final furlong to finish third at 21-1. In my view, if Jose Ortiz had somehow been able to avoid racing wide throughout, Tacitus quite possibly would have won. But I don’t feel it was a bad ride. I think it was just bad racing luck after having to break from post 10. Owned by Tracy Farmer, Sir Winston lost the first two races of his career by 13 3/4 and 11 3/4 lengths. The Kentucky-bred colt finished sixth on the dirt at Churchill Downs last year on June 14, then ran ninth on the turf July 21 at Saratoga. Sir Winston made his next three starts on synthetic footing at Woodbine. He finished in a dead heat for first in a maiden race on Sept. 12, ran third in the Grade III Grey Stakes on Oct. 21, then won the Display Stakes on Dec. 8. In Sir Winston’s 2019 debut, he ran fourth in Aqueduct’s Grade III Withers Stakes on Feb. 2. Tax, who won the Withers, finished fourth in last Saturday’s Belmont. After the Withers, Sir Winston was disrespected by the betters to the tune of 46-1 in the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby at 1 1/16 miles on March 9. With Julien Leparoux in the saddle, Sir Winston finished fifth, four lengths behind the victorious Tacitus. Two days later, Byk said on his radio program during an interview with Casse that Sir Winston had run “a sneaky good race in the Tampa Bay Derby that nobody’s talking about.” Casse then said something very interesting: “Sir Winston’s my little secret weapon.” Thirteen weeks after Casse said that, the trainer’s “secret weapon” captured the Belmont Stakes. In Casse’s March 11 interview with Byk, the veteran conditioner talked about how “extremely proud” he was of Sir Winston. I remind you that Sir Winston had just finished fifth at odds of 46-1. Yet, Casse was “extremely proud” of the progress Sir Winston had made up to that point. Sir Winston “showed absolutely nothing early on, but I kept saying to Mr. Farmer that this horse is better than he gets credit for,” Casse said to Byk. “The problem is he has no speed. “I have to say,” Casse continued, “Julien Leparoux has ridden many, many horses for me. And he seldom gets excited. He got off of Sir Winston [after the Tampa Bay Derby] and was as excited as I’ve ever seen him. He told me that if he’d known him better, we probably would have won. He said he couldn’t get him to run at all [early]. He said that when he finally got him outside, he just took off with him. “There obviously was a lot of pace in the race. So it did collapse some. But he was running over the top of some serious horses [late]. I always told Tracy that a mile and a sixteenth was too short for him.” At that time, Casse said there would be “only one shot” for Sir Winston to earn enough points to get into the Kentucky Derby. That one shot would be Keeneland’s Grade II Blue Grass Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on April 6. “If he gets to the [Kentucky] Derby, he will be running at the end of the mile and a quarter,” Casse said. But there would be no Kentucky Derby for Sir Winston. He failed to threaten in the Blue Grass and finished seventh. Considering Sir Winston’s Belmont trip in which he had dirt kicked back at him for furlong after furlong until the top of the stretch, it is a sign he has matured a lot since early March. After the Tampa Bay Derby, Casse said dirt being kicked back at Sir Winston was something the colt did not like one bit. It was a primary reason why Casse opted to run Sir Winston in the Blue Grass instead of Aqueduct’s Grade II Wood Memorial at the same distance and on the same day. “There’s a little more kickback at Aqueduct than there is at Keeneland,” Casse said on March 11. “And the kickback is what gets him in trouble. It’s why he doesn’t show more [early speed]. Dylan Davis rode him in the Withers. He said the kickback got him in big trouble. And even Julien [after the Tampa Bay Derby] said he doesn’t react well to the kickback. Keeneland’s probably the best track in North America [for that].” Casse then again said something very interesting: “Distance will not be an issue whatsoever for Sir Winston.” And what happened when Sir Winston got the chance to go a long distance, 1 1/2 miles, in the Belmont? He appreciated the longer trip and registered his third victory in 10 career starts. HE’S COME A LONG WAY BEYER-WISE When Sir Winston lacked the points necessary to get into the May 4 Kentucky Derby, Casse decided to run him in Belmont’s Grade III Peter Pan Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on May 11. Sir Winston finished second to Global Campaign. Sir Winston was credited with a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure in the Peter Pan. In addition to being the only Belmont Stakes starter to have finished in the exacta on the Belmont Park main track, he was the lone Belmont Stakes starter to have ever recorded a triple-digit Beyer. Yet, despite those attributes, he somehow paid $22.40 for each $2 win ticket following his Belmont Stakes triumph. These are the Beyer Speed Figures for the Belmont Stakes winners going back to 1990: 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) REST OF YEAR SHOULD BE FUN FOR SOPHS Now that the Belmont Stakes has been decided, the national 3-year-old male division could be quite entertaining during the rest of 2019. This division is wide open in terms of who will get the Eclipse Award. I still rank Omaha Beach as the best 3-year-old male that I have seen so far this year. We will just have to wait and see if he does or does not eventually prove to be the best of this group. After Omaha Beach won the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 13, he was installed as the 4-1 morning-line favorite in the Kentucky Derby. But Omaha Beach was scratched from the Run for the Roses due to an entrapped epiglottis. Omaha Beach underwent throat surgery on May 3 at the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky. After the operation, he was sent to WinStar Farm in Kentucky. Omaha Beach originally was scheduled to return to trainer Richard Mandella’s Santa Anita barn on May 18, but it was decided to keep the War Front colt in Kentucky for a longer time. Dr. Rolf Embertson, who performed the surgery, felt Omaha Beach’s swelling was subsiding slower than the veterinarian had hoped, according to BloodHorse’s Christine Oser. Omaha Beach finally returned to Mandella in California earlier this week. However, Omaha Beach is scheduled to undergo further testing before the colt resumes training, according to Daily Racing Form’s Steve Andersen. “Mandella said he wants to make sure Omaha Beach’s throat has recovered from a procedure to aid his breathing conducted in early May,” Andersen reported. Omaha Beach “will not resume racetrack training” until the inspection is completed, Andersen added. “We’ll take him to get a video scope to see it,” Andersen quoted Mandella as saying. “It needs to be good enough to get the swelling out of the tissue. It’s down 80%, at best. We don’t want to go too quick and get it to come back.” The calendar simply is not on Omaha Beach’s side with respect to his prospects to get the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male of 2019. There is no possible way he can run in Monmouth Park’s Grade I Haskell Invitational at 1 1/8 miles on July 20. It also appears to me that as far as Omaha Beach making a start in Saratoga’s Grade I Travers Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on Aug. 24, that race also probably is out of the question. It seems to me the most likely possible scenario for Omaha Beach is for him to target Parx Racing’s Grade I Pennsylvania Derby at 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 21. I think the date and distance of the Penn Derby make it the most realistic goal for him at this point, with possibly some sort of prep race beforehand. If Omaha Beach were to win a prep race and the Pennsylvania Derby, then also win or at least run the best of any 3-year-olds in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 2, he would seem to have a good chance to be voted the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. But maybe it’s just wishful thinking on the part of this Omaha Beach fan to think that he can possibly even make the Penn Derby. If he does not resume training pretty soon, the race they might say they are aiming Omaha Beach for is the Grade I Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. The NTRA’s final Top Three-Year-Old Poll of 2019, which appears at the end of this column/blog/article, tells us who the current leaders are to get the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. That title, right now, certainly is up for grabs, thanks mainly to a different horse winning each of the three Triple Crown races this year: Country House (Kentucky Derby), War of Will (Preakness) and Sir Winston (Belmont). Topping the final Top Three-Year-Old Poll is Maximum Security, who finished first in the Kentucky Derby but was disqualified and placed 17th for veering out sharply approaching the five-sixteenths pole and causing interference. Prior to that, he had won the Grade I Xpressbet Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS Here is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 446 Bricks and Mortar (35)2. 408 Mitole (8)3. 296 Midnight Bisou (2)4. 290 McKinzie5. 233 World of Trouble6. 138 Catholic Boy7. 134 Gift Box8. 116 Thunder Snow (1)9. 108 Rushing Fall10. 75 Vino Rosso Here is the final NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll for 2019: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 425 Maximum Security (24)2. 347 War of Will (8)3. 342 Tacitus (8)4. 312 Omaha Beach (6)5. 279 Sir Winston6. 262 Country House7. 169 Code of Honor8. 121 Game Winner9. 82 Guarana10. 37 Owendale

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6.13.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: June 14 Stronach 5 Play

With the Triple Crown behind us, let’s refocus our attention to the extremely popular Stronach 5, which has routine seen pools well in excess of 150k. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R9 (5:20 ET) – 3up St/AOC (25k/16k) at 1-mile (turf) Tough sledding in the opener, though we may be able to split the field in two, as there are several here who are deep, deep closers, which means they’ll be at the mercy of the pace, which seems on the modest side. The outside posts aren’t ideal, but both #8 NATE’S TIZZY (7-2) and #7 DONE ACTING (8-1) have some tactical speed, which not only could help negate their poor posts, but also allow them to really get an advantage based on the race flow, and both have been in fine form of late. Let’s use the best of the closers, in #5 MINISTER’S STRIKE (4-1) on the class rise, and #3 ENOUGH IS ENOUGH (5-1), who was really in deep with his style down at GP. Pk5 A horses: 8,7,5,3 Let’s lean on the A’s here, since anyone else would be a real reach, though #2 Barin (12-1) and #9 Sir Brahms (6-1) would top the list of the rest. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 2: Gulfstream Park R9 (5:28 ET) – 3up 12.5k N3L* at 5 furlongs (turf) In a race loaded with speed this one could fall apart late, which is why #9 EARTH (5-2) could be a potential single, especially since he’s been a good 2nd in his last pair at the level and meets a crew that just doesn’t match up to his recent form. However, going second-off the layoff and drawing outside the heat is a big coup for #6 FLIPSHOT (6-1), who has a hint of a rating gear, which will get him first run on the pick, at a nice price too. Pk5 A horses (listed in order of preference): 9,6 *** Please note that to keep the price of the Leg 4 backup down, we’ll use #9 Earth as a single *** There’s a good race-bad race pattern working with #8 FUZZY IRISH RACHEL (20-1), and that close 4th to Earth last time says we’re getting the bad race today, but he also had some trouble that day and would have been closer with a clean run, so with all the speed signed on, let’s toss him in at a big, big price. There’s a chance #1 Another Softball (4-1) is the speed of the speed, which would make him scary, but there’s so much of it to his outside, let’s make him prove it on the rise while going for three in a row. Pk5 B horses: 8 Leg 3: Laurel Park R10 (5:51 ET) –3up 16k N3L* 1 1/16 miles (turf) At the risk of being a bit too overconfident, I think we can narrow this one down relatively nicely, as #1 ELECTRO (5-2) and #6 UHWARRIE SKY (7-2) are clearly the two to beat, especially since they just ran 2-3 at the level and meet a very weak field right back. However, we can get a ton of value with #4 NICK PAPAGIORGIO (10-1), who had no chance behind a crawling pace on yielding ground against tons better in his turf debut, yet he tries again, which suggests Keefe, who does a very good job in these parts, thinks he’s going to handle the surface, should it be on the firm side. Pk5 A horses: 1,6,4 This is another race where we’ll go it alone with the A’s, since I think we have the right two, as well as a live longshot, and there’s just no one else who you can trust. If you are looking, then #7 Kid Jeter (9-2) is next up on the totem pole, followed by #5 Affluential (6-1), but the former rises in class off slow figures and the latter has no speed and was just eased (albeit on the dirt), so we should be comfortable making them beat us. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 4: Santa Anita R5 (6:12 ET) – 3upfm AOC (80k/N1X) at 5 furlongs (turf) It’s tough to go against #7 YES I AM FREE (2-1), since he’s a turf stakes sprint winner and his grass races lay over this field, so he’s our Lone A, and the only reason he’s not a single is that he’s gone from Casse to Miyadi and is now dangled for 80k, which is very odd, based on his resume. Pk5 A horses: 7 There’s plenty of pace here, and #2 TOOTHLESS WONDER (10-1), who is bred for the turf, should be stalking, so at a nice price he could surprise in his grass bow. The more logical upset candidate is #8 UNBRIDLED’S SKYE (5-2), who impressed running 2nd over the course/distance in his turf debut and fits the race profile, and can improve off that trial run too. Pk5 B horses: 2,8 Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R9 (6:34 ET) – 3upfm 6.25k N2L at 6  furlongs It’s pretty obvious we have a two-horse race here, with heavy favorites #11 ABACO DREAM (5-2) and #6 PRINCESS LATINA (9-5) laying over the field on class and figures. There’s really no reason to get cute, so let’s use them both and move on, with the former getting the edge based on her outside attack post and the fact she’s dropping stiffly in class and is proven against winners, which is still a question the former, a fleet MCL winner has to answer. Pk5 A horses: 11,6 Anyone else would be not only a big reach, but a big surprise, so there’s no need to use any backups, though #1 Bird of Peace (6-1) looks third-best off two recent in-the-money runs. Pk5 B horses: NONE The tickets: Main Ticket: 8,7,5,3 with 9,6 with 1,6,4 with 7 with 11,6 = $48Leg 2 B Backup: 8,7,5,3 with 8 with 1,6,4 with 7 with 11,6 = $24Leg 4 B Backup: 8,7,5,3 with 9 with 1,6,4 with 2,8 with 11,6 = $48

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6.10.2019:

Belmont Bettors Swam Upstream

Saturday’s Belmont Stakes Day card almost had to deliver on its promise of starpower. Nearly every division of older horses was represented at the Grade 1 level, and the stars came out to play. And while it proved a treat to watch, betting it was another matter. Races that looked like $3 or $30 prospects on paper pretty much proved as such. But with $101 million bet, most ever on a non-Triple Crown-at-stake day at Belmont, the wagering public either didn’t care or didn’t believe it. They went all in on races that played out with short prices or head-scratchers, the toughest environment in which to find success at the windows. Rushing Fall started it out with the Just A Game and paid just $3.40 as a lone-speed situation already in the camp of the race’s best horse. She led a tap-in putt exacta at $5.60 to Beau Recall. A veritable 2-horse race in the Ogden Phipps was next as lone-speed Come Dancing failed to cash in her key chip at 4-5 when the classy and simply much-better Midnight Bisou rolled by her at $5.40. The exacta was worth just $5. Business didn’t pick up much in the Jaipur as 2-5 shot World of Trouble was never in any trouble en route to a $2.80 wire job. The exacta to Om returned just $7.40. The Acorn was fourth in line and on paper this one seemed to be the chance to break out a price horse. Favorite Guarana came off a sloppy-track Keeneland maiden win in which all 7 returnees from the race had lost, including some in maiden claiming races and others off-Broadway in Ohio. Second choice, Kentucky Oaks upsetter Serengeti Empress, had all-or-nothing form in 8 previous starts. Despite all that, the public had them pegged 1-2 and they ran to order at 9-5 and 3-1, returning $5.80 to win and $11.70 on the exacta. Through 4 Grade 1s, you couldn’t muster a 2-1 shot or a $12 exacta for a buck. If you were gasping for air on price patrol, you weren’t alone. The back 4, if you will, turned the corner but in a very abrupt way. After being lulled to sleep with chalk, the Woody Stephens went bonkers with a superfecta dotting the tote at 18-1, 17-1, 15-1 and 31-1. If you were hip to the Hog Creek Hustle, congratulations. The $39.80 win and $328 exacta could have salvaged an account balance. The super returned $3,445 for a dime and could have went all-Clint Eastwood on you and made your day. After being hit with a hammer about a speed and rail bias from anyone on the simulcast, national TV or Twitter feed, the Woody Stephens top trio rallied from 10th, 11th and 8th…and wide at that. A silver lining to the Woody Stephens was that my confidence in Honest Mischief was sky high off his Keeneland maiden breaker. In fact, he was my best bet on the card. But the public crushed him to 2-1, far too low to accept in this 11-horse field, and he became a pass. He wound up sixth and I wound up fortunate to have stayed on the bench. The only oasis among the lineup of Grade 1s came in the highly anticipated Met Mile. Perhaps the race of the year, it was sensational sprinter Mitole who offered a more-than-fair $9 return that horseplayers could sink their balances into. Of course, you had to like him to beat $14 million earner Thunder Snow, Belmont beast Firenze Fire and horrible-tripped 8-5 favorite McKinzie to do so. But the Met Mile at least delivered a solid win price on a solid horse. The exacta came back just $11.70 with hard-luck McKinzie in the runner-up. The tri was about $55 for a buck. You weren’t breaking the bank here, especially if you were chasing after a day of difficult price connections. Any respite from chalk was short-lived as Bricks and Mortar delivered another brickhouse performance in the Manhattan. America’s leading grass performer scored at $3.30 and led an all-Chad Brown exacta ($9.60) and trifecta ($46 for $1). For those of us who thought it might be the ‘other-Chad’ at 8-1 on either Robert Bruce or my tab Raging Bull, this wasn’t to be our day. And finally, the main event in the Belmont Stakes proved to be as much of a cluster at the wire as it was on the tote. Not a single horse was above 20-1 for most of the betting, and only Joevia topped that mark at 21-1 in the final odds. Favorite Tacitus settled for second at 9-5 as Sir Winston rallied as the fifth wagering choice and one of 4 runners who were either 10-1 or 11-1 prices. The top 9 (of 10) finishers in the Belmont Stakes were within 7 lengths at the wire. Sir Winston was about as bettable as any, I suppose, and congrats if you had him at $22.40 or the exacta at $48. Those potentially could get you out of trouble on the day and into the black if weighted properly and if the bankroll remained to back up a correct opinion. The tris and supers using speed horses Joevia and Tax ballooned. I absolutely enjoyed watching Saturday’s races from start to finish. But betting them was an exercise that looked unattractive on paper and turned out to be an equally difficult task. But like I always say in such times, “That’s why they invented ‘the next race.’ 

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6.9.2019:

Sunday, June 9: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse has a 10-race card scheduled with the feature coming in Race 5, a Fillies and Mares Open with a $12,000 purse. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 7, it has a $20,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. The driver with the hottest hands on Saturday at the Stickney oval was Casey Leonard with three trips to the winner's circle. No trainer on the card had more than one win. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 7 1-Fox Valley Halsey-Leonard takes a spin, that doesn't hurt and either does the post draw, 9/5 chalk looks the part. 4-Ideal's Nicole-Will need a big try but this is the 4th start since arriving in town, could bring a top effort. 8-Lilly Von Shtupp-Not a bad try in last coming off a sick scratch, thinking this effort could be even better. Race 8 3-Winter Gram-Trip dependent but last was better and could get sucked around for 1st win of the year. 6-Brienne The Beauty-Has had excuses but 3-year-old can contend with best effort. 10-Fox Valley Lolo-Flew down the stretch in the Violet and fell short, a player from this post with a good start. Race 9 5-Youmakemyheartsing-.56 last half to roll by these last week and an encore could be in the cards. 8-Mykonos-Knocked-out of action with broken equipment as an odds-on chalk, can take a picture tonight. Race 10 2-Valar Morghulis-9/5 ML chalk drops from stakes competition should be a major player. 7-Pretty Iris-Steps-up after a sharp win from the 10-hole and will be tough to beat with a similar effort. 9-Jazzie Babe-7-year-old is still sharp as a tack and will continue to respect chances for a picture. My Ticket Race 7) 1,4,8 Race 8) 3,6,10 Race 9) 5,8 Race 10) 2,7,9  Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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6.8.2019:

Saturday, June 8th: Battle of Lake Erie and Pick 3 Analysis

Northfield Park is the home of Grand Circuit action this evening. The headliner is the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie for older pacers and it is scheduled to roll in Race 12. The talented 4-year-old Jimmy Freight, who leaves from post #7 can surpass the $1,000,000 mark in career earnings with a first or second place finish. Filibuster Hanover tops this group with over $1.5 million in earnings. The Ron Burke trainee is 10-1 in the morning line and has drawn the 8-hole. The program chalk, Rodeo Rock leaves from the rail and has banked $289,400 this season which leads the field. My $1 Pick 3 ticket is posted below. Comments and selections are based on a fast track. Race 12 1-Rodeo Rock (3-1)-1st start at Nfld but has 1/2-mile experience, likes to win and should be in the hunt. 2-Bully Pulpit (12-1)-Local entry is sharp, Merriman might get the top or a 2-hole ride, price shot at 12-1 in the ML. 5-Southwind Amazon (15-1)-9-year-old is another Nfld regular, similar to #2 and can compete with a trip. 7-Jimmy Freight (4-1)-Jimmy hasn't brought his "A" game this year, maybe tonight, can win with a top effort. Race 13 2-Godiva Seelster (3-1)-ML chalk can be a player with this post draw, should be forwardly placed throughout. 4-Tiger's Sue (6-1)-Page should be able to work a nice trip and this mare fits, best to respect. 7-Camera Lady (4-1)-Burke trainee with Wrenn between the pipes, can win from an outside post versus this crew. Race 14 1-RHP (4-1)-Has been racing well, now steps up but gets a favorable post draw, could get the pocket behind #2. 2-Arthur Pendragon (2-1)-Best effort can top this field, form is so-so since barn change, will respect but not a lock. My Ticket Race 12) 1,2,5,7 Race 13) 2,4,7 Race 14) 1,2 Total Ticket Cost) $24 for $1.00Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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6.7.2019:

Friday, June 7: Can-Am Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight's Can-Am Pick 4 appears to be an opportunity for some nice prices to take top honors. My $28.80 ticket is posted below and is based on a fast track. Race 10-Mohawk Park-Leg 1 2-Mighty Mach-Can roll late and if Waples works a close-up trip could surprise at a juicy price. 4-Better Moonon Over-Got through to win last at a 20-1, closed in 54.3 and will respect for an encore. 5-Battle Strong-ML favorite has been sharp and looks to be a major player tonight. 8-Sugartown-Too far back to a slow pace and had to tip out wide, Roy returns and may bring a better effort. Race 10-Meadowlands-Leg 2 1-Prophet Blue Chip-Back to the Big M, draws the rail, in a spot to shine, and has won at this class. 2-Mcclinchie N-Camera shy but has won 20% of Big M starts, best in this field, ML chalk should like the company. 9-Bettor Spirits N-1st start at Big M and 3rd in JenBo barn, could fire out and not look back. Race 11-Mohawk Park-Leg 3 1-Circle The Page-Competitive mare drops and fits with this crew, Henry should put in play. 3-Quebec Blue Chip-3-year-old makes 3rd start on Lasix, will take a swing for a price from this post. 7-Machnhope-ML chalk is looking for an encore, likes to win, could take another picture tonight with a good trip. 8-Buttermilk Hanover-Having a rough year but drops to a soft spot, could pop with a good steer from McClure. Race 11-Meadowlands-Leg 4 2-Explosive Ridge-Makes 1st start for a hot barn, a dry track helps, with this post could trip out at a square price. 3-Checkmate Time-Price shot for a trainer who has been winning, could fire hot off the bench and likes the Big M. 8-Zlatan-Has had issues but has faced better here, also needs to come out swinging in 1st start since 5/17. My Ticket Race 10 Mohawk) 2,4,5,8 Race 10 Meadowlands) 1,2,9 Race 11 Mohawk) 1,3,7,8 Race 11 Meadowlands) 2,3,8Total Ticket Cost) $28.80 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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6.6.2019:

Pick 4 Analysis: War of Will Has Another Go At It

War of Will has a good chance to join the list of horses that have won of the three Triple Crown races, and he’s the choice here. But he’s not alone on this Pick 4 ticket that ends with this running of the Belmont Stakes.  War of Will is deserving of a rest after this one, which completes his participation in the full series. That’s not easy to do; neither is getting the 1.5 miles. There’s no doubt in my mind that War of Will is the best horse in this one, but stablemate Sir Winston will be rolling at him, as will Tacitus.  War of Will’s chance for a Triple Crown ended early when he was chopped off at the knees in the Kentucky Derby. A splendid recovery occurred in the Preakness when got a perfect trip and held on with something left.  War of Will clearly is an upper-echelon talent, but consistency has not been his forte. And that gives you hope if you’re trying to beat him.  Sir Winston has a good kick and was second in the Peter Pan Stakes, and Tacitus was the Wood Memorial winner. Sir Winston was meant to run all day and Tacitus bypassed the Preakness for this. Here’s a look at the other Pick 4 races on the Belmont card:  Race 8 (Woody Stephens S.): Complexity gets back to the races for the first time since the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, when he went off at 5-2 and faltered to 10th. He has no shortage of good works for his return and is back to the track on which he won the Champagne Stakes.  Nitrous and Mind Control will keep Complexity from thinking this is a morning drill. Nitrous coasted to victory in the Bachelor Stakes and is a quality sprinter, while Mind Control looks to won the Bay Shore Stakes.  Race 9 (Met Mile): Mitole is the best six- or seven-furlong runner in the nation. Can he gets EIGHT furlongs? We’ll find out in what looks like a memorable dash.  Mitole has won six in a row dating back to April 2018 at Oaklawn. He will be the one to catch once they turn for home.  McKinzie has come on nicely since missing the Triple Crown races last year. Gift Box beat him by a nose in the Big Cap and he came back for an easy score in the Alysheba at Churchill.  Prince Lucky is the price horse in the mix. His poor finish in the Westchester can’t really be explained, but he’s reunited with John Velazquez and seeks a return to running as he did in outstanding victories at Gulfstream. Prince Lucky is hard to beat when he fires, and Todd Pletcher’s horse often fire over the Belmont strip.  Race 10 (Manhattan): Bricks and Mortar has won all four of his races since taking more than a year off and he escaped with narrow tallies in his last two. He’s been workmanlike and is a much use, but it won’t be a great shock here if he loses. Qurbaan lost to Bricks and Mortar by a half-length and Mike Smith keeps the mount, which is never a bad sign. Two other interesting runners are on the ticket as well: The longshot Epical and Channel Maker. Epical is troublesome on the front end and Channel Maker was up in time to win the Man O’ War last out.  Here’s a suggested ticket for the Pick 4 at Belmont Park on Saturday:  8) #4 Complexity, #6 Nitrous, #9 Mind Control. 9) #2 McKinzie, #3 Mitole, #9 Prince Lucky. 10) #4 Qurbaan, #8 Bricks and Mortar, #9 Epical, #10 Channel Maker. 11) #7 Sir Winston, #9 War of Will, #10 Tacitus. Late Pick 4: 4-6-9 with 2