How to Bet the Beholder Mile

Unique Bella winning the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) - Benoit Photo Saturday’s feature at Santa Anita Park is the $400,000 Grade 1 Beholder Mile.The race named for the star Richard Mandella trainee only drew a field of six, but it does not lack star power given the presence of Unique Bella, Vale Dori and Paradise Woods. Don Alberto Stable’s #6 Unique Bella makes her first start since a poor break led to a disappointing second place effort [...]

Finding Value in an Unexpected Place

Justify winning the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) - Jim McCue Photography Being a profitable horseplayer not only takes proper preparation in the days leading up to a card, but also requires paying attention to detail in the minutes leading up to a race. One thing that can get overlooked amid time spent on handicapping and ticket structure is checking pools before placing bets. You may like to plan your bets out beforehand, which overall is not a bad [...]

How to Bet the Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness Stakes Daily Double

The biggest racing weekend of the year in Maryland is upon us and that means the Grade 2 $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on Friday followed by the Grade 1 $1.5 million dollar Preakness Stakes on Saturday afternoon. In addition to all of the wagering opportunities available daily at Pimlico Race Course, there is a multi-day Daily Double featuring each day’s main event. Here are my thoughts on the two big races: Race 11, Friday, Black-Eyed Susan Stakes The mile and an [...]

Shapiro’s Final Verdict: Kentucky Derby 2018

Audible winning the Florida Derby (gr. I) - Photo by Adam Coglianese Photography We are just a few days out from the world-famous Kentucky Derby set to go to post at 6:50 local time on Saturday evening. The first leg of the Triple Crown has been as enjoyable as ever to analyze starting months ago given the talented crop set to break from the gates in the twelfth race on Saturday’s 14-race card at Churchill Downs. So without [...]

Shapiro’s Fair Odds Line for the Kentucky Derby as of April 25th

We are just 10 days away from one of the more fascinating Kentucky Derby’s in recent memory. This year’s group of colts is as top heavy and strong as I can recall. I am unlikely to be involved in the Win pool unless my opinion on a top choice becomes stronger over the next week and a half, but demanding fair value is a must. At the moment I have clear separation between my Top 4 and the rest of [...]

Poll Vault: Unlocking the Secrets of Shapiro’s Derby Top 10

Churchill Downs - Coady Photography Racing fans tend to be some of the most opinionated folks I know and at no time is that more obvious than the days and weeks leading up to North America’s most prestigious race. Handicappers use a number of methods to communicate those opinions, but one thing my colleagues and I enjoy as a means of debating our thoughts and evaluating contenders for the Kentucky Derby is discussing our top ten lists. Some [...]

Spot Plays for Big ‘Cap Day at Santa Anita Park

Beautiful Santa Anita Park has a star-studded 11-race card on tap for Saturday afternoon headlined by the battle between McKinzie and Bolt d’Oro in the Grade 2 San Felipe. There are plenty of opportunities to make money throughout the card that starts at 12 PM local time, but here are a couple of spot plays I will be getting involved in at “The Great Race Place.” Race 3 The third offers horseplayers an extremely challenging optional claimer run at a [...]

East or West, who holds the stronger Kentucky Derby hand?

It’s a light week ahead on the Road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve, so now’s a good time to take stock of the division following the first 50- points-to-the winner-prep race. With less than seventy-five days until the first Saturday of May racing fans are continuing to formulate opinions on the crop of 2018. With that comes the discussion of whether an East or West Coast based horse is likeliest to find the winners’ circle at this [...]

An Early Preview of Next Month’s San Felipe Stakes

Solomini (outside) rallies past McKinzie (inside) and Instilled Regard (middle) in the Los Alamitos Futurity(©Benoit Photo) The San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park is not until March 10th, but the two-turn event for three-year-olds is shaping up to be the race of the winter in Southern California. The mile and a sixteenth affair conducted over the main track appears likely to attract three of the top five colts on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” leaderboard as [...]

Big challenge for Stormy Liberal in Hong Kong Sprint

Stormy Liberal wins the 2017 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. Pic: Breeders' Cup Ltd. Californian speedster Stormy Liberal pulled off a major upset when he left Marsha and Lady Aurelia, both group one winners in Britain, in his wake in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1). But he faces just as tough a task if he is to travel across the Pacific and beat the locals in the $US2.35 million Hong Kong International Sprint (G1) over six furlongs at [...]