Ascot spot plays: Playing Dettori and Gosden on Saturday
A fantastic day of racing will take place around the globe Saturday, and internationally minded handicappers can enjoy a steady stream of high-class competition all day long.
Stateside, Del Mar and Saratoga will carry the afternoon action, with champion Maximum Security leading the charge in the San Diego H. (G2) and rising star sprinter Volatile highlighting the Alfred G. Vanderbilt (G1).
But the morning is just as packed, thanks to a nine-race card at Ascot in England. Superstar mare Enable will take center stage in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (G1), but the undercard is even more enticing from a betting standpoint.
Trainer John Gosden and jockey Frankie Dettori will surely count Saturday as a success if they win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth with Enable, but they’re also teaming up with several live contenders in races earlier on the card.
While we wait for the afternoon action to heat up, let’s tackle Ascot with a trio of Gosden/Dettori spot plays.
Race 2: British EBF Fillies’ Novice S. (7 furlongs, 8:15 a.m. ET)
This 7-furlong maiden dash for 2-year-old fillies has attracted 10 entries, including nine first-time starters.
Rather than take a shot with an inexperienced and unproven contender, why not favor the chances of #3 Isle of May?
A daughter of the pure speedster Kodiac, who has sired plenty of high-class sprinters, Isle of May is trained by Gosden on behalf of Godolphin.
She debuted in a 6-furlong sprint at Newmarket on July 9 and ran a gutsy race in defeat. She rallied to finish just a half-length behind 9-4 favorite She’s So Nice and earned a solid 80 Racing Post Rating.
Isle of May figures to take a step forward in her second start, and she’ll be guided Saturday by Dettori, the leading rider over this course at the prestigious Royal Ascot meet last month.
Rather than attempt to gauge the relative merits of the unraced fillies, let’s keep things simple and bet Isle of May to win.
$20 to win on #3 Isle of May
Race 3: Pat Eddery S. (7 furlongs, 8:50 a.m. ET)
#7 Saeiqa is a 0-for-2 maiden, but he is dropping in class for the Pat Eddery, after he finished third in the 6-furlong Coventry (G2) at Royal Ascot last month.
With Dettori in the saddle for Gosden, Saeiqa brings high-profile connections to the table and is the field’s top-ranked runner in terms of Racing Post Ratings. Sire Shalaa was a two-time Group 1-winning juvenile sprinter for Gosden and Dettori, so Saeiqa has the pedigree to enjoy stakes success at an early age.
Assuming his 3-1 morning-line odds hold up, a win bet on Saeqa is in order. We’ll also key him on top of a trifecta, with logical contenders #2 Chindit, #4 Cobh, #6 Naval Crown, #8 Saint Lawrence, and #10 Twaasol underneath.
$20 to win on #7 Saeiqa
$1 trifecta: 7 with 2,4,6,8,10 with 2,4,6,8,10 ($20)
Race 6: Class 2 handicap (1 mile, 10:00 a.m. ET)
Gosden and Dettori will team up yet again with #2 Tsar, who appears well spotted. A son of talented miler Kingman, Tsar is 2-for-3 in mile races and enters off a comfortable win against Class 3 company at Great Yarmouth three weeks ago.
He is will climb the class ladder for Saturday’s handicap, but this field didn’t come up particularly tough, with fellow Class 3 winner #1 Johan looming as Tsar’s stiffest opposition.
Let’s box Tsar and Johan in the exacta and swinger, to bank on them both to finish in the top three.
$5 exacta box: 1,2 ($10)
$15 swinger: 1,2