Analysis, Selections, and Tickets: Belmont and Keeneland (10/21/17)

We’re two weeks away from the Breeders’ Cup, and Saturday’s cards at Belmont and Keeneland provide ample opportunities to build one’s bankroll. Belmont has a showcase day for New York-breds, while Keeneland’s slate is headlined by the Grade 2 Raven Run. I’ve got a pair of multi-race exotics tickets at each track, and I’ll analyze them below!


$0.50 Pick Five: Race #1

R1: 2,3,4,7
R2: 4
R3: 1,3,6
R4: 3,5,8
R5: 3,4

72 Bets, $36

We start off with what I think is the most wide-open race of the sequence. #7 APPEALING BRIEFS will probably be favored, but he’s 0-for-9 and has had many chances. I want coverage, and I’ll get it with three horses towards the inside. I’m most intrigued by #3 GRAND VALOUR, who never had a chance last time out given the early fractions and should improve with a faster pace.

My single comes in the second, which doubles as the first stakes race of the day. This is the Maid of the Mist, and I think #4 PURE SILVER will be very difficult to beat. She was 3-for-3 before getting into a suicidal speed duel with eventual Grade 1 Frizette winner Separationofpowers in the Spinaway. She’s clearly the fastest horse out of the gate, and if she gets an easy lead, she’ll be tough to run down.

I’m using the three logical horses in the Iroquois. #6 COZZY SPRING was the last horse I threw into the wager, simply because I needed to be covered in case she proves quickest out of the gate. I’m also going to use the two likely betting favorites in the Ticonderoga. #5 FIFTY FIVE gets significant class relief, and #8 TIZZELLE has never run a bad race, but I also want to make sure I use #3 BROKEN BORDER. She’s won four of her last five starts, all at Belmont, and her lone defeat came in a two-turn race against open company that did not set up for her late kick. 12-1 is way too big a price, especially if there’s a pace meltdown.

I’ll hope to close this out by going two-deep in the payoff leg, the Empire Classic. #3 TWISTED TOM will likely be favored and should probably win, but #4 CONTROL GROUP has won three in a row and will be prominent early in a race that doesn’t appear to have much early speed.

$0.50 Pick Four: Race #8

R8: 3,8
R9: 2,5,7
R10: 1,4,5,6,8
R11: 3,8,9

90 Bets, $45

To say this sequence isn’t easy would be an understatement. I usually don’t like to put $45 tickets out there, and this ticket doesn’t have a single, but if you’re playing it, this is how I’d advise doing so.

I’ll kick it off by using the two likely choices in the Hudson. #8 T LOVES A FIGHT and #3 WEEKEND HIDEAWAY ran 1-2 in an allowance two back in Saratoga, and those two appear toughest in this spot. If you’ve got deeper pockets, you may want to throw in #5 CELTIC CHAOS, but I didn’t have the budget to do so.

I’ll go three-deep in the Mohawk. #5 OFFERING PLAN and #7 BLACK TIDE will take money, but I also need to use #2 NEVISIAN SKY, a stablemate of Offering Plan who should be flying late. He’ll be a much bigger price compared to that one, and Black Tide’s presence assures a legitimate pace.

I’m five-deep in the Empire Distaff, and this is the most puzzling race in a very puzzling sequence. Two longshots intrigue me in a race where I’m not sold on any of the favorites. #5 NO HAYNE NO GAYNE took a big step forward in her first start off a layoff earlier this month, while #6 BONITA BIANCA loves Belmont and has never run a bad race. Both are 10-1 and provide real value.

Finally, I’ll go three-deep to finish it out. #9 LULU’S POM POM was the victim of, shall we say, a questionable DQ last time out at Saratoga. She likely wins with a similar effort, but two intriguing prices merit consideration. #3 COSMOISELLE is a first-time starter bred up and down for the turf, while #8 SPA TREATMENT has run OK in two turf sprints and maintains rider Javier Castellano.


$0.50 Pick Four: Race #2

R2: 1,8
R3: 1,5,7
R4: 5,7
R5: 1,2,5,10,11

60 Bets, $30

I found this sequence pretty challenging, especially given the payoff leg. With a little luck, we’ll get a price home along the way to make this pay a bit.

I’m going two-deep in the kickoff leg. #1 JEANNE’S SPEIGHT makes her first start for new trainer Robertino Diodoro, while #8 HONOR’S PARADE was claimed last out by Tom Amoss, who cuts this daughter of Parading back to a sprint (which should be a more agreeable route).

The third is a tough optional claimer with several stakes-quality horses. My top pick is #7 CONQUEST WINDYCITY due to his affinity for Keeneland, but his recent form indicates he may be headed the wrong way. As such, I’ll also use likely favorite #5 SEEKING THE SOUL and #1 SOCIETY BEAU, who returns to dirt and was an impressive allowance winner here in the spring.

The fourth features the shortest price in the sequence. #7 KIRBY’S PENNY has won four of her last five and will be a heavy favorite. I’m using her, but this spot represents a sizable step up in class, and I don’t think she’s a cinch. #5 CHINA GROVE, meanwhile, drops in class after spending most of her career knocking heads with stakes-quality opposition. She won a stakes race at this distance earlier in the year, and trainer Ben Colebrook has enjoyed a strong meet to this point.

We finish things off with a grass grab bag, and I needed to spread here. The most intriguing price of the five I used (to me, at least) is #2 MOUNTAIN MOMMA, who’s shown ample early speed in three starts at Arlington. Keeneland’s turf course is kind to early speed in route races, and Florent Geroux’s ridden very well here this fall. Having said that, while I think she’s a must-use at her 8-1 price, she’s certainly not a standout, and my advice is to go as deep as you can.

$0.50 Pick Four: Race #7

R7: 2,7 (9)
R8: 2,3,9,13,14
R9: 3,4,7,9
R10: 4,5

80 Bets, $40*

See that asterisk? That’s because my ticket, as constructed, uses two also-eligibles in the second leg. If one or both fails to draw in, or if they draw in because one or two of my other three horses in that leg scratches, add #9 AMERICA’S TALE in the first leg.

That first leg is a confounding maiden race. I took a bit of a stand by going two-deep, and one horse I used is a big price. #7 ELUSIVE TRUTH ran well in her debut and should step forward, but #2 PRINCESSOF THE NYL outran her odds when third at 45-1 in her unveiling last month. Jack Van Berg has saddled a few winners this meet, and 15-1 seems like too big a price on a well-meant second-time starter from that barn.

The eighth is a turf sprint, and the key to this ticket’s construction is if the AE’s draw in. I think both #13 EILA and #14 MONAVISTA CROSSING are contenders, and if they get into the race, I need to have them on my ticket. I’ll also use three logical contenders. #2 CHERRY LODGE has speed, #3 SPELLKER won at this route in the spring, and #9 SMILING CAUSEWAY has never finished out of the exacta in five career starts.

The third leg is the Grade 2 Raven Run, and I’m four-deep, with my top pick being a big price. That’s #3 PINCH HIT, who has shown versatility in a strong 2017 campaign. She won the Dogwood last time out at this distance, and it’s a plus that she can win while rating or while being on or close to the lead. I’ll also use #4 NONNA MELA, #7 TEQUILITA, and #9 CLASSY TUNE, all of whom will take some play at the windows.

I’ll go two-deep to finish off the ticket. #4 FREEDOM seems like the lone speed on paper, and over a course that’s kind to such a running style, that’s a big plus. I’ll also use #5 HALLIE BELLE, who came off the bench running last time out at Laurel. She’s run pretty well in two career starts, and Saturday could be graduation day with another step forward.

Keeneland Analysis, Selections, and Tickets: 10/7/17

It’s opening weekend at Keeneland, and there are plenty of reasons to be excited. Saturday’s card boasts five consecutive stakes races, as well as some compelling undercard events, and I’ll have three different multi-race tickets to go through.

One quick note before we get started. As you may know, I’ve put together a survey asking for feedback on, as well as thoughts on a few ideas I’ve got going forward to continue to make this site a resource for handicappers. If you haven’t taken it yet, it only takes a few minutes, and it’s located here.

Anyway, on with the show, starting with the early Pick Four!

– – – – –

$0.50 Pick Four: Race #2

R3: 1
R4: 2,4,5,7,8
R5: 1,8

50 Bets, $25

Our first horizontal wager begins with a race where, to be honest, I did not have a clue. I think any of the five fillies and mares signed on could win, and analyzing races on the Beard course is not one of my strengths. I’m using them all, and hopefully we get a bit of a price home.

My convictions are much stronger in the third race, which features the debut of a highly-touted 2-year-old. That’s #1 CONQUISTADOR, who fetched $2.45 million at auction earlier this year and has been working lights-out for trainer Mark Casse. Casse and jockey Julien Leparoux are riding high after three wins on Friday, and I don’t think the rest of this field is any great shakes. I’ll single this son of Tiznow, and I’ll be very surprised if we get close to his 3-1 morning line odds (6/5 or 7/5 is probably more likely).

Things get tougher again in the fourth, another 2-year-old race and one that boasts a full field going two turns. I’m five-deep, and while #8 TIZ MISCHIEF merits respect, that was a pretty sizable leap forward from start one to start two, and there could be a bounce coming. I want coverage, and that includes 15-1 shot #4 MEISTERMIND, a half to Mine That Bird and Dullahan who dumped the jockey in his debut. I’m not holding that against him, and if this son of Bodemeister runs to his pedigree, that price is a major overlay.

This sequence ends with the first stakes race of the day. It’s the Grade 2 Woodford going 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf, and I’m two-deep. #8 HOGY may be better than ever, but it’s tough to back one-run closers in these events, and my top pick is #1 CONQUEST PANTHERA. He was seventh in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile last time out, but finished just two lengths back of runner-up Lancaster Bomber. His best races have come going sprint distances, and I think he could sit an ideal trip just off the early speed.

$0.50 Pick Five: Race #5

R5: 1,3,8
R6: 4
R7: 3,4,6
R8: 2,7,9
R9: 3,10,14

81 Bets, $40.50

There’s a $250,000 guaranteed pool for this wager, so I’ve put a ticket together. It’s built around a horse that will likely be the shortest price of the day, but if we get some prices home around that one, we could score for some serious money.

I added #3 COMMEND in the first leg, which doubles as the payoff leg of the early Pick Four. I’m not sold by either of his wins this year, but he did make Hogy work at Kentucky Downs last time out, so I threw him in here for the sake of coverage. I can afford to do that because I think #4 FINLEY’SLUCKYCHARM will be exceptionally tough to beat in the sixth, the Grade 2 TCA. She’s done very little wrong around one turn, and if she doesn’t win, many tickets will go up in smoke (mine included).

The seventh is the Grade 1 First Lady, and I’m using the three logical horses. #3 DONA BRUJA has been very good since coming to the U.S., and she ran a strong second in the Grade 1 Beverly D. going longer. I think she’ll relish the cutback in distance, but in case she doesn’t, I’ve also got #4 ROCA ROJO and #6 DICKINSON on my ticket. Of those two, I prefer the latter, as the former seems to find trouble more often than I’d like.

The eighth is the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity, and this is a tough race. I’m taking the stance that the Grade 1 Hopeful is a legitimate race, so I’m using the 2-3 finishers from that event. However, my top pick is #2 EZMOSH, who’s gotten better with each start and graduated with a pretty fast win at Churchill Downs. The inside draw should help him going into the first turn, and the presence of Javier Castellano doesn’t hurt, either.

We’ll look to finish things off in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile. I’m going deeper on my Pick Four, but I’m using my three top horses here. #10 HEART TO HEART is my top pick and will be tough if he gets loose on the lead. Having said that, I’m also using a few longshots on this ticket. #3 SUEDOIS has spent most of the last two years running against high-level European competition and gets Lasix for the first time, all of which makes him very appealing at 15-1. Add in that his jockey probably had his choice between this one and #7 MONDIALISTE, and you’ve got a genuinely live horse. Another live one is #14 AMERICAN PATRIOT, who won the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile here earlier this year. His trip to Ascot didn’t go well, and his last-out effort was a clunker, but I think both races are throw-outs. Some Americans just don’t like Ascot, and the turf course at Saratoga was a bog the day of the Grade 1 Fourstardave. Despite the horrible post, I’ll give him another shot at a juicy price.

$0.50 Pick Four: Race #6

R6: 4
R7: 3,4,6
R8: 2,3,4,7,9
R9: 3,6,8,10,14

75 Bets, $37.50

The first two legs of my late Pick Four are the same as the second and third legs of the Pick Four. I opted to go deeper in the last two legs, throwing in two additional horses in the Breeders’ Futurity and Shadwell Turf Mile.

I have some reservations about #3 LONE SAILOR and #4 TEN CITY, but both figure to be prices in the third leg. Even though the race was rained off the turf, Lone Sailor ran a smashing race to graduate at Saratoga, and Ten City ran two very good races earlier in the year. His longer races have been just so-so, but there’s a chance he recaptures that form in this spot, and I need to have him on this ticket because of it.

I’ll also add in #6 BALLAGH ROCKS and #8 MISS TEMPLE CITY in the Shadwell. The former was beaten just a half-length at this route in the Maker’s 46 Mile and ran well in each of his last two starts, while the latter won this race last year and certainly has an affinity for this track (even though she may not be the same horse she was a year or two ago).

Relay for Life Contest Selections/Analysis: 4/15/17

Handicapping contests can be a fun way to put your skills to the test, and there’s one recurring contest that I really enjoy playing. A student from St. John’s University runs it, and the skinny is that you get a $2 across-the-board bet on each of eight or so contest races, with the winners getting some cool stuff. The cost is a $5 donation to Relay for Life, a worthy cause if ever there was one.

As such, today’s post summarizes my selections in these races. If you’re interested in my Pick Fours, I’ll have two on my Twitter page for your consumption (one at Keeneland, one at Oaklawn). If you’d like to play the contest, the appropriate links are up at the top of the page. In the meantime, here are my picks (and alternates, in the event of scratches) and why I like them!

Keeneland, R4: #9 Connected Fitness (6-1)

This is a maiden special weight event with a big field, so it’s the perfect contest race. This is great for me, because I think 6-1 is a sizable overlay on Connected Fitness, a first-time starter with a huge worktab for trainer Horacio DePaz. DePaz has connected at a 32% rate with debuting runners, go-to rider Jose Ortiz climbs aboard, and the pedigree suggests this filly can run. She’s a half to Race Day, a multiple Grade 2 winner, and her dam (Rebalite) is a half-sister to Lite Light, a brilliant filly who ran in the early-1990’s and was owned by MC Hammer (yes, THAT MC Hammer). I think she means business, and I hope we get a bit of a price on her. ALTERNATE SELECTION: #4 Malibu Bonnie (8-1).

Aqueduct, R7: #7 My Impression (2-1)

I don’t like betting favorites in contests unless I’m convinced they’re extremely well-meant. That’s the case here with My Impression, a five-time winner in 10 career starts. She’s been running against much better horses; a glance at her PP’s reveals tries against the likes of Time and Motion and Dickinson, who merit respect in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland. She’s got a bit more early zip than she showed last time out, and I think she’s the most likely winner. ALTERNATE SELECTION: #4 My Sweet Girl (6-1).

Keeneland, R8: #7 Lady Aurelia (6/5)

Here’s the second of two favorites that I think will be very tough to beat. At her best, Lady Aurelia may be the best turf sprinter on the planet. She was very impressive in two wins overseas against top-notch competition last year, and this will serve as a prep for a return trip to Royal Ascot. Anything remotely close to her victories last year will make her very difficult to beat, and despite the big field that lines up here, anything over even-money Saturday would probably be an overlay. ALTERNATE SELECTION: #10 Pretty Perfection (5-1).

Keeneland, R9: #4 No Dozing (4-1)

Given the losses by McCraken and Tapwrit in the Blue Grass, the 3-year-old races at Tampa Bay Downs may not be as imposing as they look on paper. However, this spot represents significant class relief for No Dozing, who’s worked well ahead of his try on Saturday and could sit a perfect trip just off the speed. He chased fast fractions last time out, and he could be in an ideal position to have first run on the early leaders in a race featuring a short stretch run to the first wire. ALTERNATE SELECTION: #2 Souper Tapit (10-1).

Oaklawn, R9: #2 Domain’s Rap (8-1)

Midnight Storm is an imposing favorite, and he’s my alternate choice in the event of a scratch. However, the presence of Madefromlucky should ensure that Midnight Storm doesn’t sit a perfect trip as the lone early speed. Domain’s Rap has been worse than third just once in nine starts at Oaklawn, and his last effort was a solid second behind Mor Spirit. Before that, he was third to eventual Dubai World Cup runner-up Gun Runner in the Razorback. Midnight Storm may not be on the same level as those horses, and if Madefromlucky puts pressure on our likely favorite, I expect Domain’s Rap to be picking up the pieces late at a nice price. ALTERNATE SELECTION: #3 Midnight Storm (1/2).

Keeneland, R10: #4 Dickinson (8-1)

I have all the respect in the world for Lady Eli, who’s won seven of nine starts and whose best race probably wins this. However, the rail draw is a concern for her, and she may need the race off a long layoff. As such, for contest purposes, I’ve opted for the in-form Dickinson, who’s won four of five starts (including two graded stakes races) since being switched to the turf. I like that her form didn’t suffer when going away from Gulfstream Park last time out in the Grade 2 Hillsborough, and her workouts since that effort have been very sharp. I’ll gladly take a swing, and if Lady Eli beats me, I’ll live with it (unless Dickinson scratches, in which case, she’s my alternate!). ALTERNATE SELECTION: #1 Lady Eli (even).

Oaklawn, R11: #9 Untrapped (6-1)

I wanted to get away from the two likely favorites. Classic Empire makes his first start since the Holy Bull and may need a race, while Malagacy will break from the far outside in this 12-horse field. Among the rest of the field, the one with the most potential to improve may be Untrapped. Mike Smith comes on, trainer Steve Asmussen adds blinkers, and he’s yet to run a bad race to this point in his career. He may have moved a hair too soon when third in the Rebel, and if the work on April 2nd is any indication, he could be ready to fire a big shot. ALTERNATE SELECTION: #11 Conquest Mo Money (15-1).

Pick Four Analysis: Wood Memorial, Blue Grass, Santa Anita Derby Day (4/8/17)

We’ve got three Kentucky Derby prep races coming up Saturday. Last week, this space featured how to play these races on $20 budgets. However, we had a very good day with Pick Four tickets, as two of them hit (including a $6 ticket at Gulfstream that returned nearly $230!). With that in mind, I’m going to focus on Pick Four sequences at Aqueduct, Keeneland, and Santa Anita that all feature these prep races and could present some value.


$0.50 Pick Four: Race #9

R9: 8
R10: 3,7,8
R11: 1,4,5,8
R12: 1,3,7

36 bets, $18

RATIONALE: #8 Unified will be a popular single in the opening leg, the Grade 1 Carter, and for good reason. He defeated Mind Your Biscuits in his 4-year-old debut, and that rival went on to cruise home in the Dubai Golden Shaheen. #2 Tommy Macho and #9 Ocean Knight are solid horses, but if Unified repeats or improves upon his last-out effort, he’ll be very tough to beat.

I used the logical horses in legs two and three, the Wood Memorial and the Gazelle. The only horse that will likely take money in the Wood while remaining off my ticket is #2 Mo Town, whose Remsen win has lost plenty of its luster with those he beat not doing much since then. I went four-deep in the Gazelle, and I hope that’s enough, as I’m not sold on this year’s crop of 3-year-old fillies and it seems like many of these can win.

The nightcap features my price play of the day across all three tracks. The entry of #1 Broken Engagement and #1A Super Luke will likely be favored, and #3 Build to Suit merits respect, too. However, there’s a longshot that I think you need to use. #7 Money Laundering’s pedigree doesn’t jump off the page, but he fetched a respectable $40,000 at auction last May after being bred for just $3,500. A deep dive shows that his dam is a half-sister to Hilda’s Passion, a Grade 1-winning sprinter. The workouts are solid, trainer Bruce Levine can win with first-time starters, and with the exception of Broken Engagement and maybe #5 Altesino (who’s 0-for-7 with six minor cashes, the kind of horse I HATE betting in a Pick Four sequence), the form among those that have run before isn’t anything to write home about. He’s 15-1 on the morning line, and I hope we get that price.


$0.50 Pick Four: Race #7

R7: 2,3,6,7,8
R8: 4,5,6
R9: 2
R10: 2,4,7

45 bets, $22.50

RATIONALE: The fields in this sequence aren’t huge, but this Pick Four could still pay handsomely. There may not be a single prohibitive favorite in this group of races, and if you can find a spot to take a stand, I think you can create some value.

The Shakertown kicks things off, and it’s a handicapping puzzle. If you want to hit the “ALL” button, I get it (that turns the ticket into a $40.50 play), but I was able to at least throw four horses out. The Madison (the second leg) is no picnic, either, but I settled on going three-deep with horses that are in good form: #4 Constellation, #5 High Ridge Road, and #6 Paulassilverlining.

My single comes in the third leg, the Ashland. #2 Elate salvaged third in the Grade 3 Honeybee despite an absolutely awful break, and the horse that won that race, It Tiz Well, will likely be the second choice in a much tougher spot (the Santa Anita Oaks). Elate has hinted at tons of potential in her short career, and barring more adventures leaving the gate, I think she could sit a dream trip just off the early speed. If she does, I think she’ll be tough to beat.

In the Blue Grass, I used three of the four logical horses. I’m not sold on J Boys Echo, who may have trounced a weak field in the Gotham and gets a stiff class test here against some of the top 3-year-olds in the country. I’ll let him beat me if he’s good enough, and I’ll settle on #2 McCraken, #4 Tapwrit, and #7 Practical Joke.


$0.50 Pick Four: Race #8

R8: 2,3,6,9
R9: 1
R10: 1,4,6,8 (2)
R11: 2,3,5,9,10

80 bets, $40

RATIONALE: Some Pick Fours should be treated like win bets with enhanced odds, and this is one of them. I’m going deep in three of the four legs and singling #1 Sircat Sally in the Providencia. She’ll likely be even-money, at best. However, if this Pick Four hits, I’ll likely get at least 4-1 on my money, making it a worthwhile investment.

That payoff is because the other three races are very tough. The Santa Anita Derby kicks things off, and while #9 Iliad is a nice horse and a worthy favorite, he’s no cinch. #6 American Anthem’s effort in the Rebel is a complete throw-out, and the 1-2 finishers in a March 9th allowance event, #3 Battle of Midway and #2 Reach the World, have both worked lights-out since then.

The 10th is the Echo Eddie for Cal-breds, and it’s the first of two very challenging races to close things out. #8 California Diamond is an honest horse who’s never been out of the top two in 10 career starts, but this may be the toughest field he’s faced at the state-bred level. If there are any scratches of horses I’ve used in this race, throw in #2 B Squared, a sibling to Grade 1 winner Ralis who I just didn’t have the budget to use.

As far as the 11th is concerned…good luck. We’ve got class drops, equipment switches, and jockey changes, all among a group of horses that, by and large, hasn’t shown a whole lot. There is one big price I used here. #10 Great is 20-1 on the morning line, but he takes a drop into the maiden claiming ranks for the first time and exits what seems like a very strong maiden special weight event. That race last month was his first outing since November, and improvement is certainly logical at a big price.

Keeneland Opening Day Late Pick Four Analysis (4/7/17)

Friday is Opening Day at Keeneland, and we’ve got a late Pick Four sequence that, with a little bit of luck, could pay handsomely. I won’t do this for every racing day, but for Opening Day, it’s prudent to go through the late Pick Four sequence and offer a ticket.

As with the Rainbow Six write-up from Sunday, I’ll go race-by-race and explain my rationale. Hopefully, this $36 ticket will be a more fruitful endeavor!

RACE #7: 2, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13 (12)

This is a very difficult race to decipher, and if you’ve got deep enough pockets to hit the “ALL” button, go right ahead. I’ll be using six horses in here, and hopefully that’s enough. Four are second-time starters, and that counts #13 Tweeting, who is on the also-eligible list. If there are any scratches, or if Tweeting does not draw in, replace the scratched horse with #12 Swat, who merits respect coming off the layoff for the team of Eddie Kenneally and Javier Castellano.

One horse to watch at a price in here is #2 Miss Adele, who’s been working lights-out at Payson Park in Florida. Roger Attfield hasn’t had a great year so far, but Paco Lopez hops aboard after a strong Gulfstream meet, and this one is a juicy 15-1 on the morning line.

RACE #8: 3

The first of two singles on my ticket comes in the eighth. #3 Mutaraamy is a standout by any measure in this six-furlong allowance. It’s safe to assume he’s had his issues, as this gelding will make just the fourth start of his career on Friday. However, his best race likely means a romp in this spot, and all indications are that such an effort is on the horizon.

RACE #9: 4

#4 Oscar Performance was last seen beating a number of these rivals in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He makes his 3-year-old debut in this spot, the Grade III Transylvania, and despite the layoff, I can’t go against him. On paper, he looks like the main early speed in here, and while I respect the likes of Ticonderoga, Sonic Boom, and Big Score (all very solid turf horses in what could be a fun division to follow), any of those three would have to improve substantially to beat Oscar Performance if that one fires his best shot.


You may have seen this coming after the back-to-back singles. The fact is, I do not have a clue how to break down the payoff leg of this Pick Four sequence. This is a very tricky condition, featuring turf horses running on dirt, horses on the way up the class ladder, and horses dropping down. I couldn’t begin to narrow this down, but thankfully, I didn’t have to in order to come in under my soft budget of $40. I’m using them all here, and hopefully, we can sit back, relax, and get a price home to close things out.


R7: 2,6,7,8,11,13 (12, in the event of a scratch)
R8: 3
R9: 4
R10: ALL

72 bets, $36