Saturday Spot Plays

Let’s look at a few spot plays for Saturday’s races. We had originally written up Belmont’s seventh but that has been taken off the turf. As of this posting, Belmont’s 9th is still on the turf, but obviously if it comes off, then that makes the play moot.

Belmont Race 6 – 3/up, Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, dirt – #9 Switzerland (8-5) is the favorite but has lost at 2-5, 4-5, and 2-5, though last time he did catch a sloppy track. He’s still untrustworthy. We’ll try #2 Wonderful Light (8-1), a sibling of G1 winner By the Moon. He debuted last time and ran fine with a mild inside run late in a race dominated up front. He should improve in his second start for trainer Michelle Nevin.

Belmont Race 9 – 3/up, n2x, 10 furlongs, turf – #6 Infinite Wisdom (12-1) stretches out to 10 furlongs for the first time, but his dam won the Group 1 Italian Oaks going 11 furlongs and the Grade 2 Bewitch going 12. His comeback race featured a very slow pace and Infinite Wisdom had to chase wide the whole way, fading late. He has a right to improve in his third start of the year and should get a good forward trip in a race that likely will feature a moderate pace.

Monmouth Race 2 – 3/up, F&M, Maiden Special Weight, 8.5 furlongs, dirt – Chad Brown has the likely favorite and horse to beat in #6 Our Cause (6-5), who was a wide second behind a moderate pace on May 28th. But we’ll take a shot with #7 Silencer (4-1). Silencer hasn’t run since November 27th, but that was her debut and she took some money, especially for a Bill Mott first-time starter. She chased wide in a race that was won wire to wire with the show horse fading to third and Silencer likely needed that race, like most Mott firsters. Obviously the layoff is a concern but she’s a decent alternative behind the obvious favorite.

Monmouth Race 4 – 3 yo fillies, OC 50k/n1x, 1 mile, dirt – This is an interesting race with Rudy Rodriguez shipping in #2 Bonita Bianca (2-1) for her first start since December 30th. In that race, she benefited from a super-fast pace in sweeping by to beat New York-breds. She won the one-turn Maid of the Mist against NY-breds in October and is the horse to beat. But there are reasons to be concerned. Her late-running style might not fit this track and Rodriguez is 1-15, $0.90 ROI (100 – 240 day layoffs in dirt routes) per DRF Formulator. #1 Frank’s Folly (3-1) is one alternative, but she has one sloppy track race that is good enough and she is going to be a short price. We’ll go with #4 Waitingforaspark (6-1) stretching out for Anthony Margotta, who is having a tremendous meet. Her debut was solid at Tampa with a slow start and some traffic. She then buried a field with an outside move on May 14th (granted that might have been the place to be that day). But in a field where you are looking for someone to take a step forward, we’ll take this third-time starter bred to route – by Bodemeister out of a Monarchos mare.

Monmouth Race 8 – 3/up NJ-breds, n1x, 6 furlongs, dirt – This is another fun race. The last time they ran this race we liked #9 Follow the Rainbow (7-2), who broke slow but didn’t run especially well. We’ll use him again, thinking he should improve second off the layoff, but the horse we want is a new face, #3 Chub Scout (8-1). There is some other speed in here, but he is very fast and is drawn inside (the rail has been good lately though it rained overnight so be sure to follow the earlier races). Chub Scout came off the bench on May 27th and was part of a very fast pace, but he put away Jersey Joe B and held off a late runner to get a very nice win. His pace rival, Jersey Joe B, came back to win and improve his figure by seven points.

Monmouth Race 10 – Jersey Shore Stakes – 3yo, Stakes $60k, 6 furlongs, dirt – #4 Proforma (2-1) is the horse to beat, dropping out of the Chick Lang on Preakness Day, a race that was his first start in five months and largely held together. He should improve and if he gets back to his races from the fall, he’ll be tough. However, we’ll play #6 Alex Again (5-1) for John Servis. He’s turning back out of two Parx route races, a good move for Servis – he’s 15-53 (28%, $1.98 ROI going route to sprint on dirt in the last three years) per DRF Formulator. This horse, however, does have speed to be close enough in his sprint races. It’s a mild concern he did not run well outside Parx but those were tough fields, both at Gulfstream and one was off a layoff. He’s the upset pick.

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Belmont Day Mutlis

Let’s take a look at two multi-race tickets that we’ll play today at Belmont.

Pick 3 beginning with Race 4
Race 4 – Acorn We really like Salty here and will start our Pick-3 with her. She ran well in the Kentucky Oaks, a race in which she had to zig-zag around the far turn and into the lane with traffic while late runners like Abel Tasmen swept by with clear runs from behind the fast pace.

A – 8
C – none

Race 5 – Ogden Phipps – It’s very hard to go past Songbird, whose merits are obvious and she’s likely the lone speed. But there are two backups that we will use just in case – after all, with today being her first start since November, if Songbird is to get beat, today might be the day to do it. #2 Paid Up Subscriber had a terrible trip last time, being bottled up on the inside at Churchill and she ran fine two-back going seven furlongs at a distance that is way too short. #7 Carina Mia had trouble with Songbird last year but those were going two turns and she is a one-turn horse. She had a good comeback in the Humana Distaff last time.

A – 5
C – 2, 7

Race 6 – Jaipur – As noted in our undercard write-up here, we like Disco Partner in this race. His return last time was huge and with any step forward second off the layoff, he will be very tough. #3 Pure Sensation is probably the horse to beat but we’ll also use #5 Holding Gold who ran well at Keeneland and didn’t handle the soft turf last time. As a backup, we’ll toss in #10 Stormy Liberal who comes in from California and while he beat back to back four horse fields, he’s drawn well and should get a good stalking trip.

A – 2, 3, 5
C – 10

We’ll play this singling Salty. If Songbird wins the Phipps, we’ll have four in the Jaipur. If we can upset Songbird, we’ll still have our three mains in the last leg.

Continue reading

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The Belmont Stakes – J Boys Echo Can Spring Upset

The long winding Triple Crown season wraps up at about 6:37 pm today in Elmont, New York with the 149th running of the Belmont Stakes.

This version, unfortunately, has neither Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming nor Preakness winner Cloud Computing, who are both off waiting for a summer campaign. Classic Empire, who would have been favored in here, is out with an injury, leaving a wide open race even more chaotic. Let’s go through the field.

Previously: Belmont Undercard Thoughts

#1 Twisted Tom (20-1) – This horse is filled with stamina in his pedigree and comes off a grinding win at Laurel where he pressed a pretty solid pace. He ran well in the context of that race, but has never run faster than a 78 Beyer and might be overbet due to his connections (Chad Brown and Javier Castellano) and will be a big surprise.

#2 Tapwrit (6-1) – He was a decent sixth in the Derby after a slow start in the Derby (he wasn’t bumped as bad as others because he broke a step slow but was off tardy) and he was moving pretty well late (though on the better inside). Tapit has sired the winner of this race two of the last three years, but we’ve always had doubts about how good this horse is. He was awful in the Blue Grass and his races in the Tampa Bay Derby (a win) and Sam Davis (second to McCraken) were fine, but nothing special – remember, McCraken was hurt and missed the Tampa Bay Derby and the runner-up was Derby longshot State of Honor. We’ll use him underneath and as a backup, but that’s it.

#3 Gormley (8-1) – He ran a little better than it looks in the Derby, tracking the pace while wide the whole way and was eased up on in the last furlong. He was, however, off the good inside for the whole race. That said, his Santa Anita Derby was painfully slow and with a perfect trip and might be better going shorter than longer.

#4 J Boys Echo (15-1) – He’s our upset pick. We used him underneath in the Derby and he had a terrible trip. He got slammed a few strides out of the gate and was shuffled back to the rear of the field (save Thunder Snow), out of position. He wasn’t originally being pointed for this race, but is here after Dale Romans was impressed with his training. Romans, by the way, is at his best when overlooked in big races. His Blue Grass, two back, featured a slow pace that hurt him plus J Boys Echo missed the break in that race. His Gotham was good, albeit with a perfect trip. There are some stamina concerns (his sibling Unbridled Outlaw is better going around a mile) but he is by Mineshaft out of a Menifee mare so there is stamina there), and in a wide open race, we’re going to take him to spring the upset.

#5 Hollywood Handsome (30-1) – Dallas Stewart has made a habit of spicing up the exotics of Triple Crown races and will try again with this runner, off a win in a Churchill Downs allowance race. This horse was outrun in the Louisiana Derby and Illinois Derby and seems up against it here.

#6 Lookin at Lee (5-1) – This late-runner had a perfect rail-skimming trip in the Derby and was fine in the Preakness but didn’t really threaten, while a bunch were coming late – the race was collapsing a bit behind the top two. These late runners are often overbet in the Belmont and 5-1 is an awfully short price for a horse that has gotten good pace after good pace to attack.

#7 Irish War Cry (7-2) – In the initial viewing of the Derby, it looked like he ran terribly – he ranged up beautifully on the outside and had nothing in the lane. Granted, he was wide off the good inside, but he had nothing in the lane and we can’t be too enthused about taking a short price on him today. His big wins – the Wood (speed favoring track) and Holy Bull (very slow pace) – were aided by circumstance. We’re rooting for this Jersey-bred but will tread lightly and use him underneath.

#8 Senior Investment (12-1) – Like Lookin at Lee, he’ll come from way back. He was moving pretty well at the end of the Preakness but just picked up some pieces as the race was falling apart behind the top two. He won the Lexington two back with the benefit of a very fast pace and he’ll beat us.

#9 Meantime (15-1) – He’s half to sprinter/miler Sweet Reason and nearly pulled a 50-1 upset in his debut when second to today’s rival Patch. He’s the pace-setter here, but it’s hard to see him wiring the field. Second in the Peter Pan last time to the impressive Timeline, he drifted way out coming into the lane as well. He’ll probably be loose early on, but is he going to be able to wire the field? Our guess is no.

#10 Multiplier (15-1) – Trainer Brendan Walsh is very good with these marathon types – he won the Las Vegas marathon with Cary Street in 2014 and with Scuba in 2016, the latter a very useful marathon runner, so he can get a horse ready for this type of test. Multiplier ran fine in the Preakness as he was on the inside forced to weave between rivals while Senior Investment and Lookin at Lee were on the far outside. He’s the deep closer that we prefer (though it should be noted his pedigree – by The Factor out of a Trippi mare) is all speed.

#11 Epicharis (4-1) – The Japanese runner has had some foot issues earlier this week and didn’t go to the track after his workout on Tuesday. That, combined with the fact that he hasn’t run in 11 weeks, makes him impossible to trust. While he ran a decent second in the UAE Derby, Master Plan, who would be 25-1 in here, was third so the quality of the field (as dirt runners – Thunder Snow is a top turf horse) is a little suspect too. He’ll beat us. (UPDATE – Epicharis has been scratched)

#12 Patch (12-1) – He got cut off moving between horses on the far turn of the Derby, basically ending his chances. He was way overbet in there (14-1) with fans betting him off of his story – he has one eye. That said, we’ve always thought this horse was a long distance runner. The question of course is of quality. But why can’t he grind his way to an on-the-board finish here? He’s only had four starts, so what chance did he really have in the Derby? He’s been freshened for this and we’re giving him a fighting chance.

The Pace – Meantime should go to the lead with Irish War Cry and Twisted Time up close (we wouldn’t be shocked if they put Twisted Tom on the lead). Epicharis probably won’t be too far out either. We’d expect a fair pace, but not a sizzling one.

Final Analysis – J Boys Echo is our top pick and we hope Robby Albarado keeps him a little closer today, which shouldn’t be an issue as long as he doesn’t have issues out of the gate like his last two starts (last time, he was bumped, two back in the Blue Grass was his own issue). Patch might be the grinding distance runner that can get a piece of this race in just his fifth career start. Tapwrit has been freshened for this race by Todd Pletcher and should get a good inside/out trip. Irish War Cry is the favorite, but has been aided by circumstance in his two big wins.

The Play – We’ll bet J Boys Echo to win and box him in the exacta with Patch, Tapwrit, and Irish War Cry.

Trifecta Play
$1 – 4 / 2, 4, 7, 12 / 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12 for $28
$.50 – 12 / 2, 4, 7, 12 / 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12 for $14

Good luck!

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Belmont Day Thoughts

The Belmont Stakes card at Belmont on Saturday is truly spectacular, with six Grade 1 races throughout the day, capped of course by the last leg of the Triple Crown but with elite racing all afternoon.

We’ll have a few multi-race tickets coming on Saturday morning, but in this post, we’ll go through and post a few of the horses that we are going to key around.

Race 4 – Acorn Stakes (G1) – 3/yo fillies, 1 mile, dirt – We’re all about #8 Salty (4-1) and hopefully we get that 4-1 morning line price. She was our pick in the Kentucky Oaks last time but had a terrible trip, having to pick her way through horses inside while having to wait in a few spots as Abel Tasmen swept past. The turnback to a one-turn mile should suit her fine (her best Beyer was earned going a one-turn mile at Gulfstream) whereas #3 Abel Tasmen (2-1) improved when she stretched out to two turns.

Race 6 – Jaipur (G3) – 4/up, 6 furlongs, turf – There’s not a ton of “turf sprint” speed in here, which is a concern, but we still want to take a shot with #2 Disco Partner (6-1), who should be a solid price in a competitive field. Disco Partner ran second to #3 Pure Sensation (3-1) in this race last year when trained by Jim Ryerson. He made his first start for Christophe Clement in the seven-furlong Elusive Quality last time and crushed a decent field with a quick move on the turn. He should handle the six furlong distance (he did win the 5.5 furlong Troy at Saratoga last year) and if he takes a step forward in his second start of the year, look out. Pure Sensation is the best of the speeds and the one to beat but Disco Partner is the one we want to bet.

Race 7 – Woody Stephens (G2) – 3/yo, 7 furlongs, dirt – Turnbacks often thrive in these late-spring springs for three year olds. #7 Wild Shot (4-1) turned back to win the Pat Day Mile last time and #8 American Anthem (5-2) did the same to win the Laz Barrera. This time, we’re taking #11 Petrov (8-1) to turn back and win this race. He’s drawn perfectly outside and comes out of four straight two-turn races. He went way off form at the end of the Oaklawn season but seems to have been freshened up for this race. American Anthem is the horse to beat. Wild Shot ran well last time but won’t be much price (and that race didn’t come back as fast as it looked live). #4 Gold For the King (15-1) skipped a spot against New York-breds for this one and should get pace at a price.

Race 8 – Just a Game (G1) – 4/up, fillies & mares, 1 mile, turf – #1 Dickinson (5-2) ran a huge race to beat Lady Eli at Keeneland last time – Lady Eli got the jump on her and Dickinson came off the rail and ran her down in a great performance. #2 Roca Rojo (9-5) is very logical for Chad Brown off a win in the Distaff Turf Mile on Derby Day (and she is 3-3 at Belmont). But the horse that we’ll key around is #7 Antonoe (8-1) for Chad Brown. This Juddmonte runner came to the US from France, got Lasix, and buried a second-level allowance at Keeneland. She did not get off well from post 10, tucked in, and burst up the inside to win going away, running down the pace-setter.  Juddmonte obviously thought a lot of her, running her in five straight graded stakes races before sending her to the US and running her in this race after just the one allowance prep. She’s the up-and-coming horse that will be a good price.

Race 9 – Metropolitan Handicap (G1) – 4/up, 1 mile, dirt – The Met Mile. This version lost a little star power when Connect got hurt, but it also opens the race up. We’re going to key around #11 Tommy Macho (10-1) who can be somewhat of an all-or-nothing horse. But when he’s on, he’s run some big races at this one-turn mile distance (though both at Gulfstream). He had a big win in the Hal’s Hope three back when he took a little bit to get going but crushed the field. Then two-back in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, he had to chase Sharp Azteca, who is a contender here but we want to see trainer Jorge Navarro win a big race in New York, where he has struggled (and Sharp Azteca has to deal with more pace). He then went to the Carter, where he was compromised by a speed-favoring track and a terrible ride where he got stopped cold while making a rail move. He’s a bit of a stretch, but is drawn well and should get a good trip at his preferred distance.

Race 10 – Manhattan Handicap (G1) – 4/up, 10 furlongs, turf – There a few main contenders here but we’ll focus on two – #4 Time Test (5-1) and #7 Divisidero (4-1). First off, Time Test will be much shorter than that. He did get beat by Smooth Daddy last time, which is not impressive, but he really wants firm turf and he gets it here. His races last year give him a great chance. However, and this shouldn’t surprise you, our top pick is Divisidero. We thought he ran great last time, running down #1 Beach Patrol (7-2) after that one set fairly moderate fractions and the stretch to 10 furlongs suits him perfectly. #3 World Approval (3-1) is a contender but might want to go longer and had a perfect trip pressing a very slow pace last time. He figures to be overbet.

We’ll have a write-up of the Belmont itself in the morning.

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Belmont’s Thursday Late Pick-4

Belmont kicks off their Belmont Stakes Racing Festival with an excellent Thursday card that includes three stakes races, though just one is in the late pick-4 we are going to attack here. This is a very challenging sequence with some very interesting races. Let’s take a look.

(We’re typing this before the morning lines are out.)

Race 6 – OC $25k/n1x – 3/up, 11 furlongs, turf – NYRA has bumped up the purses for these marathon turf races and this race drew a contentious field of 14. One of the results, in this case a positive one, is you get a lot of horses that are not typical turf marathon horses. It adds a layer of complexity that we welcome. Hopefully a few of the horses stretching out go forward and string the field out a bit, as we like a few horses that have outside posts.

The probable favorite is #7 Richmond Street, but he’s one we’re OK with opposing. He is just 1-8 with four seconds and last time simply followed wire to wire winner Alasaal while that one set extremely slow fractions. The horse we want out of that race is #14 St Louie, who is drawn poorly but was wide in there and moving pretty well late in a race that featured a final quarter mile in 22.07 seconds. #13 Marchant was also compromised by the very slow pace in that race. #9 Sunset District ran a competitive figure (85) in an 11-furlong Monmouth turf route last year. He prepped for this with a  solid fourth in a Monmouth allowance when encountering some traffic trouble at the top of the lane and as he tried to get outside in the stretch. Jersey-based trainer Derek Ryan is a solid 5-31 ($2.02 ROI) in NYRA turf races per DRF Formulator over the last five years. #10 Flying Bullet should have no trouble with the distance, bring out of Breeders Cup F&M Turf winner Perfect Sting. He got wired last time going 8.5 furlongs. #6 Birchwood Road improved last time when showing improved speed for Tom Morely and has an 11 furlong race here last year that would put him in the mix.

As a longshot, how about #2 Shamsaan, who adds blinkers for Kiaran McLoughlin. He’s by Bernardini out of an unraced Dynaformer mare. The second dam was a confirmed distance runner. He’ll be a huge price and had no chance in his last start against Secretary at War and subsequent Penn Mile winner Frostmourne.

As you can see, it’s a wide open race. St Louie is drawn poorly but is our top selection, but we’ll use Sunset District and Flying Bullet as As as well.

A – 9, 10, 14
B – 6, 13
C – 2, 7

Race – Alw n1x – 3/up, 6.5 furlongs, dirt – This race has a ton of speed so we’re focusing on off-the-pace runners. #4 So Noted comes off an 11-month layoff but should get a set-up here and trainer Charlton Baker is 21-81 ($2.20 ROI) per DRF Formulator in 180+ day layoffs in dirt sprints. He’s our top pick.

The favorite is #5 Patternrecognition, for Chad Brown. He won his debut impressively sitting off a fast pace with a 94 Beyer. He beat two next-out winners (though one won on turf) and likely will be able to sit off the pace. He’ll need to.

#11 Divine Interventio is 2-11 with four seconds and two thirds, but will benefit from the projected pace scenario, though is not a reliable win candidate. Finally, we’re tossing in #10 River Dell, who switches to Tom Morely off an awful race at Gulfstream (we bet him). We’ll guess something went wrong that day and he too fits the projected pace. #3 Bombs Away will beat us. This Shug McGaughey returnee did not run well when stretched out and while he did show serious promise last year, might need one off the bench and is drawn poorly with the other speed to his outside.

A – 4, 5
B – 11
C- 10

Race 8 – Intercontinental Stakes (G3) – 4/up, F&M, 7 furlongs, turf – We’re going to chalk out here and lean on the favorite, #9 Take These Chains. This Chad Brown trainee is 3-3 with three open-length wins including a 3.5 length romp at this distance on April 28th. In there, she buried Rumble Doll, a solid stakes caliber runner who came back to improve her figure seven points last week when second by a nose.

If she gets beat, the one horse who I think can do it is #5 Mississippi Delta. This Mark Casse charge drops out of the Distaff Turf Mile on Derby Day where she didn’t really have much chance behind Roca Rojo and Believe in Bertie (though granted she was on the outside, the best part of the track). Two back, she was wired by Celestine at Gulfstream, who set a dawdling pace. We’ve always felt she was better in these one-turn races (while 6th in this race last year, she had a traffic-filled trip, never clear in the lane).

A – 9
B – 5
C – none

Race 9 – Maiden Special Weight – 3/up, NY-breds, 6 furlongs, turf – Let’s finish this up with a NY-bred turf sprint scramble. #11 Uncle Tbone ran pretty well last time, setting a solid pace and was just caught late going seven. He should appreciate cutting back to six furlongs in this race. #7 Summer Mischief is a second time starter that moves to the grass for Christophe Clement. Her dam never ran on turf but the second dam was a multiple winner on the grass and Into Mischief is a solid turf sire. #9 Daring Destiny is a Linda Rice first time starter (she’s 5-47 with FTS in turf sprints with a $1.05 ROI per DRF Formulator). This one is by the outstanding turf sprinter Ahvee’s Destiny. While Linda Rice horses are often better second time, we’ll use on pedigree alone here.

#12 Danny’s Rush ran well while wired sprinting in September and is dangerous off the bench for Bill Mott. #3 Money Laundering set a very fast pace in his dirt debut and moves to the grass. The dam was 0-1 on turf, but won three times on synthetics and the second dam won on the grass.

#6 Charge Latouche hasn’t been out in two years (though that’s no problem for trainer Michael Dickinson – I guess if he wins this will be the second greatest comeback since Lazarus). His first turf race was pretty good in a very good field and apparently something went wrong in the second start. It’s still a two-year layoff, but we’ll use as a backup.

Again, there’s a lot going on here. And we’re not using #5 Uncle Chester, who will be one of the choices. However, he is 0-10 on turf and six furlongs might be a bit short (though the pace could be solid, we just want a few others).

A – 7, 9, 11
B – 3, 12
C – 6

We’ll play the A-A-A-A ticket for $1 and the others (3A/1B, 2A/2B, 3A/1C) for 50-cents each. The total play is $83.50. Good luck!

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Saturday Spot Plays

Our last post looked at the Pick-4 today leading into the Penn Derby at Penn National, but there’s a lot more great action around the east coast today. Let’s take a look at a few spot plays we’ll be interested in making.

Belmont Race 9 – Pennine Ridge (G3) – 3yo, 9 furlongs, turf – This is a very good race with three of the best two year olds from last year with a few up and comers thrown in. #6 Oscar Performance (4-1), the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf winner last year, has run poorly twice this year. He was surprisingly rated at Keeneland and then stopped badly at Churchill (softer turf) last time. You could give him a pass for those, but at a short price, he’ll have to prove it to us that he’s back on his game. The favorite is #9 Good Samaritan (8-5), a deserving choice who had a terrible trip in the Breeders Cup and then had to go very wide at Churchill last time. He should improve stretching out and might have been a little short last time for his first start in seven months. Our exacta partner for him is #4 Makarios (10-1) who has found a home on the grass for trainer Nick Zito. His two turf races at Gulfstream were outstanding – he missed the break and came flying on January 22nd and after being reluctant to load, swung out and buried the field on February 26th. He was a good third in the Transylvania two-back and won an allowance race last time on just 19 days rest (though Channel Maker, a solid runner in his own right, was probably best after traffic). He’s been rested for this and is the only runner in the field with a win going 9 furlongs. We’ll play Makarios to win and for every $10 in exactas, play  $7 with Good Samaritan over Makarios and $3 the other way.

Belmont Race 4 – 3/up NY-breds, n1x, 1 mile, turf – We’ll take a shot with #11 Clutch Cargo (8-1) in this race for New York-breds. Clutch Cargo won his first turf start here last year, passing five horses in the last 8th of a mile. We can give him a pass for his Aqueduct race in November (that turf course can be quirky). He returned on April 22nd and had legitimate trouble on the far turn and quarter pole, steadying back to the rear of the field, ending his chances. He should improve second off the bench for Mike Hushion. The winner of that race, Mr. Harlan, came back to run second against state-bred n2x rivals and improved his Beyer figure by 11 points. We’ll play with the 1 and 3 in exactas.

Monmouth Race 11 – Eatontown Stakes (G3) – 3/up F&M, 8.5 furlongs, turf – We were going to oppose #13 Time and Motion (9-2) from this poor post at a shortish price in here, but she’s scratching to run in the New York next week#8 Zipessa (5-1) is the one to beat. You can forgive her try in the Sheepshead Bay; that race was too far and she set an ambitious pace against a good field on yielding turf. Her races last year are certainly good enough. #6 Grand Jete (6-1) probably will be around 4-1 with these connections (Joe Bravo and Chad Brown), but boy was she impressive in her stakes debut. She did not beat a good field in that race, but won easily under wraps. She’s the pick.

Monmouth Race 10 – 3/up NY-breds, 6 furlongs, dirt – A few of these come out of an allowance race in the slop on Opening Day. The one you do not want out of there is #2 Guinness Spice (6-1), who had a perfect trip behind a spirited pace battle and clunked up for third and should have done better. #5 Lucky Six (7-2) and #6 Phone My Posse (5-1) hooked up that day, with Lucky Six running well for second, but they could get going again today, with added speed from the inside and outside runners (the latter first time Todd Pletcher). The pick is #4 Follow the Rainbow (7-2) who is first off the bench for Jason Servis (27% from 52 starters, $2.54 ROI in 120+ day layoffs in dirt sprints per DRF Formulator).

Good luck!

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The Penn Derby Pick-4

Our pick-4 play on the Memorial Day NY-bred card at Belmont hit for $232 so let’s come back with the Penn Derby Pick-4 today at Penn National.

Race 6 – Penn Oaks ($200k) – 3yo fillies, 1 mile, turf – #2 Dynatail (8-1) has run some pretty good races in fast paced heats – the Florida Oaks and Hilltop both fell apart and she was on fast fractions. Last time, she held in pretty well to just miss, two weeks ago at Pimlico. She might have to sit off #3 Romantic Music (15-1), but Dynatail is a contender that figures to be overlooked going out for under-the-radar trainer Mike Dini. #4 Party Boat (3-1) for Graham Motion won the Memories of Silver last time (defeating Dynatail) and has a versatile running style that should lead to her getting a good trip. The horse she beat was seventh in the Soaring Softly last Saturday at Belmont. I thought Party Boat’s race on March 4th in the Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream was ok but she was aided by a clean trip in a race where others had trouble. #7 Adorable Miss (2-1) looked beaten on the turn in a small stakes at Gulfstream on May 6th, but swept by in the last furlong to win going away. She quickened late to beat those rivals, but being by Kitten’s Joy out of a Mineshaft dam, she might want more ground than this flat mile. But she was impressive. #6 Spanish Harlem (8-1) has one turf start, a soft-turf second to stakes-caliber Sophie Germain (who hasn’t been out since that debut for Chad Brown). They wanted to run Spanish Harlem on turf last time but got rained off but she’s by More Than Ready and is sneaky enough in an open race to use. Finally, #1 Noble Ready (5-2) ran ok for second behind Adorable Miss last time and the flat mile versus the 8.5 furlongs of the last one might help her. She’s second off the layoff and her two year old races were good enough to give her a shot.

So we just listed all the contenders (thanks for nothing!). How to narrow? Our top three are Dynatail, Party Boat, and Adorable Miss. We’ll use the other contenders as Cs.

A – 2, 4, 7
B – none
C – 1, 6

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NY-Bred Showcase Day Pick-4

NYRA runs a few NY-bred showcase cards throughout the year, with this one coming together a few years ago when they moved the Met Mile off Memorial Day. Personally, these cards are great, and the late pick-4 sequence today is very good.

Let’s take a look, and hope that we do a little better than the awful Pick-3 play we had yesterday at Monmouth.

Race 7 – Mike Lee – 3yo NY-breds, 7 furlongs, dirt – This race lost a few players with Bobby on Fleek and Bavaro coming out, but there should still be a very fast pace. #6 Syndergaard (2-1) is the favorite but ran very poorly in the Walker at Churchill in his return this year. He had a little bit of trouble, but still should have run better and it’s fair to wonder if he comes back the same this year as he was last year. The expected pace should set up well for #1 T Loves a Fight (5-1), who certainly looks like the best closer in a race that sets up for that running style. He ran well behind Gold For the King last time, who would have been second choice in here. We’ll use Syndergaard a little bit of #8 Sal The Turtle (10-1) but mostly will be leaning on T Loves a Fight.

A – 1
B – none
C – 6, 8

Race 8 – Commentator – 3/up NY-breds, 8 furlongs, dirt –  #5 Diversify (5-2) is the favorite and will have to deal with some other pace horses in here, though he’s run well all but once and last time was a good second to Met Mile-bound Rally Cry. Still, there should be some pace in here and that could help #10 Empire Dreams (12-1) who makes his first start for George Weaver. Last time, he had little chance behind Send It In while making a very wide move in the Alex Robb on New Year’s Eve. #9 Governor Malibu (5-1) had his form really tail off at the end of last year and his return race wasn’t especially strong either, but he likes wet tracks and should get a good trip today. #8 Weekend Hideaway (6-1) did win this race last year, though probably an easier version. However, he loves a wet track, is drawn well outside, and ran very well last time pressing a fast pace that would fall apart while he held on well for fourth. #6 Royal Posse (4-1) is one that we’ll toss in late but think he prefers two turns and 8.5 – 9 furlongs, rather than this one-turn mile.

A – 5, 8, 10
B – 9
C –

Race 9 – Kingston – 3/up NY-breds, 8 furlongs, turf – #1 Macagone gets in and ensures a solid enough pace, plus he gets some give the ground, but he also tends to run better at Aqueduct. #2 Lubash (5-1) ran very well last time at Gulfstream behind the solid War Correspondent, and while he prefers very firm going, we won’t let him beat us. #8 Offering Plan (4-1) always puts in a run and Chad Brown will have him ready to go off the layoff. He had a few tougher trips last year too. #10 Kharafa (5-1) gets his preferred turf, with some give in the ground and was stuck in traffic last time behind Disco Partner. This is obviously a wide open race, but Offering Plan and Kharafa are our top two (we were also going to use Get Jets before he scratched).

A – 8, 10
B – 1
C – 2

Race 10 – Bouwerie Stakes – 3yo NYB fillies, 7 furlongs, dirt – This race starts with #3 Bluegrass Flag (3-1) who is very fast and the favorite for Tom Morley. She ran a huge race last time, setting a strong pace and drawing off. It’s hard to find anyone else in this race capable of going with her early, and while she has to get another half-furlong, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. If Bluegrass Flag falters, we prefer #7 North End (4-1). She ran well with trouble in her debut, then blew out an overmatched field going a two-turn mile on March 17th. We can forgive her try in the Gazelle, where she had no chance on a speed-favoring track in a race that held together. Back against NY-breds, she offers a little value behind the favorite. #8 Holiday Disguise (7-2) has received some strong paces in her last two wins. #9 Noble Freud (5-1) was no match for Bluegrass Flag last time but now makes her second start for Chad Brown. The horse we’ll oppose is #1 Swing and Sway (6-1). The inside is not the best spot to have drawn going 7 furlongs and trainer Ron Moquett tends to perform better at Oaklawn than New York.

A – 3, 7
B – none
C – 8, 9

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Below the fold, one bonus play at Monmouth Park.

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A Monmouth Park Sunday Pick-3

We missed our double yesterday with the key horse in the Red Bank Stakes, Synchrony, compromised by a very slow pace when several riders grabbed back, handing an easy lead to winner Irish Strait.

Irish Strait is a Jersey-bred, 3/4 brother to Wood Memorial winner and Belmont Stakes candidate Irish War Cry.

Let’s look at a Pick-3 on today’s card that we’ll play into a single in the Blue Sparkler Stakes.

Race 6 – 3/up, Claiming $12,500, 8 furlongs, turf – We said this yesterday for the Red Bank and got burned, but there is some speed in this race, which should feature a solid pace. Our top play is #10 Act of Madness (6-1) for trainer Kathleen O’Connell. In his last race, a starter allowance at Tampa, he rallied well in a race that was dominated by two runners that ran 1-2 all the way around the track and gets top rider Antonio Gallardo today.

The race flow should also benefit favored #12 Exclusive Strike (5-2), but he is hard to trust off a five month layoff at age 10, though he often fires and likes Monmouth. #4 Barter (10-1) is a major player that should benefit from the expected race shape as well. He was prepped at Tampa for his New Jersey summer by John Tammaro III and ran a few decent races here last year against tougher. #3 Chamois (3-1) has Joe Bravo, who likely takes just off the pace and should get a good trip. he’s also been facing much tougher. Finally, he’s probably not good enough, but #11 E Biscuit (20-1) should get some pace and has races from last summer that give him a shot. Barter dusted him at the Meadowlands in the fall but for most of that meet, you had to at least spend part of the race on the inside, which E Biscuit did not do.

Race 7 – F&M, 3/up, OC 50k/n3x, 6 furlongs, dirt – This is a pretty difficult race. Our top pick is #3 Appealing Maggie (7-2), making her first start for Lacey Gaudet. She ran some good races last year including a stakes win over this track. Her first start of this year was forgivable with an inside post (you want to be outside at Laurel), a bad break, and a rush up to challenge. #5 Court Dancer (6-1) might be the speed of the speed and has the best pace figures in the field for Jason Servis. She comes back off a three month layoff following a very difficult spot, going with Hot City Girl through very fast fractions in a NY-bred stakes race.  Jersey-bred #7 Bustin Out (5-2) is 7-13 at Monmouth and is drawn well outside, but comes back on eight days rest and this is a much tougher field. She’ll deal with more pace today. If things get too hot up front, we prefer #2 Bodacious Babe (3-1). Paco Lopez should be able to get a good trip behind the pace battle.

Race 8 – F&M, 3/up, Stakes $60k, 5 furlongs, turf – This play runs through #5 Miss Matzoball (6-1) for trainer Roy Lerman. Five furlongs might be a touch short, but she should get a fast pace to attack here and she did win twice going five at Gulfstream last year. The concern is the layoff, but there should be enough pace to set her up and her turf sprints – against the likes of Lady Shipman and Exaggerated – have come against much tougher fields.

Here’s the play (DRF Ticketmaker).

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