Churchill Downs spot plays: Is Covfefe vulnerable in the Dogwood?

There are 11 races scheduled for Saturday, September 21 at Churchill Downs, but the most interesting events on the card are the final two of the afternoon. The $125,000 Dogwood Stakes for 3-year-old fillies attracted a small but intriguing field, while the finale is a deep maiden special weight with an abundance of entries.

Spot plays for opening day at Del Mar

Summer has officially arrived at Del Mar, “Where the Turf Meets the Surf.” Del Mar’s anticipated summer race meet gets underway Wednesday with a 10-race card. It’s a can’t-miss event on the racing calendar, so even if you can’t make it out to California to attend in person, we can still take ~$50 and celebrate opening day with a couple of spot plays: Race 7: maiden special weight Call it a hunch, but I’m siding with the 12-1 first-time starter [...]

Promises Fulfilled stands out in John A. Nerud Stakes

Promises Fulfilled (right) edges Whitmore in a thrilling renewal of the Phoenix Stakes (G3) - Keeneland Photo Following a series of troubled defeats against tougher company, it appears #9 Promises Fulfilled has found the perfect spot to rebound in Saturday’s $300,000 John A. Nerud Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park. This seven-furlong sprint serves as a “Win and You’re In” qualifier to the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Park, a race in which Promises Fulfilled finished [...]

Spot plays for the Debutante, Bashford Manor and more

Magic Dance winning her debut at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography The 2019 Churchill Downs spring meet wraps up Saturday, with a 12-race card that features three stakes races. Juveniles will take the spotlight in the $125,000 Debutante Stakes and $125,000 Bashford Manor Stakes (G3), while older sprinters will shine in the $120,000 Kelly’s Landing Stakes. Let’s put together a few spot plays for the stakes races. Race 8: Kelly’s Landing Stakes #8 Warrior’s Club looms as the [...]

Why I’m betting Firenze Fire in the 2019 Met Mile

Firenze Fire winning the Champagne Stakes (G1) - Photo courtesy of NYRA/Coglianese Photography The Belmont Stakes (G1) is going to be an exciting race, but from a sporting standpoint, the highlight of the spectacular June 8  card at Belmont Park is the $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (G1). The field for this prestigious one-mile race is packed with some of the best older horses in training. There’s #2 McKinzie, a two-time grade 1 winner entering off a dominant performance in the Alysheba Stakes [...]

How to Bet the 2019 Pimlico Special

Cordmaker winning the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial - © Jim McCue Photography In my opinion handicappers looking to play Friday’s $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3) at Pimlico have two options for determining which horse to bet. The quickest solution—one that probably stands as good a chance as any at picking the winner—is to pull a name from a hat. Or throw a dart. Or ask your dog. Or whatever other means you use for making random decisions. You have [...]

2019 Kentucky Oaks/Kentucky Derby Double Will Pays

Serengeti Empress winning the Kentucky Oaks (G1) - Coady Photography The frontrunning 13-1 upset by #13 Serengeti Empress in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs has produced some eye-catching potential payoffs in the Kentucky Oaks/Kentucky Derby Double. Bettors who successfully picked Serengeti Empress in the first leg of the two-day double will be live to $1 payoffs between $110.60 and $1,679.30, depending on which horse(s) they paired her with in the Kentucky Derby. The complete list of “will [...]

How to Bet the 2019 Kentucky Oaks/Kentucky Derby Double

Abel Tasman winning the Kentucky Oaks (G1) - Coady Photography Do you think you’ve identified the most likely winners of the 2019 Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs? Then why don’t you combine your opinions and play the popular Oaks/Derby Double? This specialty bet pairs the May 3 Kentucky Oaks with the May 4 Kentucky Derby in a classic “daily double” and attracts a few million dollars in wagers each year. If you can [...]

How to Bet the 2019 Old Forester Turf Classic

Bricks and Mortar winning the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) - Photo by Ashley Blum/Adam Coglianese Photography Three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown has won dozens of major turf races across the country, but the $1 million Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs has so far proven elusive. That figures to change Saturday, when Brown sends out morning-line favorite #12 Bricks and Mortar to contest the 1 1/8-mile race, which immediately precedes the Kentucky Derby and [...]

How to Bet the Lucrative Derby Day Allowance Races

King Zachary winning the Matt Winn Stakes (G3) - Coady Photography Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs is packed with high-class graded stakes races, but the 14-race card also includes four lucrative optional-claiming allowances races offering six-figure purses. With that kind of money at stake, the races have attracted quality, competitive fields. And since they’re prominently positioned in popular wagers like the early and late Pick 5, they’re important races to handicap if you want to play the [...]