Award Winner Looks Prize-Worthy in Gulfstream Maiden Race

Gulfstream Park (Coglianese Photos) It’s well known that Todd Pletcher is tough to beat at Gulfstream Park, where he has been the leading trainer at the winter/spring Championship Meet on fifteen occasions. Pletcher is particularly tough with his two-year-olds and three-year-olds, which is why it comes as no surprise to see Pletcher with two entrants in Saturday’s seventh race at Gulfstream, a one-mile maiden special weight for two-year-olds. But does this mean that handicappers should simply concede that [...]

Betting Out-of-State Shippers in the Remington Springboard Mile

Dunph winning the Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion Stakes - Coady Photography Since its inaugural running in 2009, the $400,000 Remington Springboard Mile Stakes at Remington Park has been rising steadily in prestige, attracting better horses and stronger fields to the extent that it was added to the Road to the Kentucky Derby series last year. As a result, it’s growing tougher for the local runners to defend their home turf, which is why I’ll be leaning toward out-of-state shippers [...]

Betting a Cold Exacta in the Louisiana Champions Day Sprint Stakes

Monte Man winning the Heitai Stakes - Photo by Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr While some handicappers understandably shy away from betting heavy favorites, under the right circumstances, I’m more than happy to back a short-priced contender if I think I can make a nice score in the exotic wagers. Such is the case in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint Stakes at Fair Grounds, a six-furlong event that has attracted some of the best Louisiana-bred sprinters [...]

How to Bet the Valedictory Stakes

Melmich - Michael Burns Photography Want to take on a difficult handicapping challenge this weekend? Then come join me in analyzing Sunday’s $125,000 Valedictory Stakes (gr. III) at Woodbine. The uncommon (and very testing) 1 ¾-mile distance would make this race tricky to handicap even if it were being run on dirt or turf, the two most common racing surfaces in North America. Add in the fact that it is actually being conducted over the synthetic Tapeta track [...]

Betting a Baffert Exacta in the Los Alamitos Futurity

Improbable winning the Street Sense Stakes - Coady Photography Just how many times has the Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert won the $300,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (gr. I), which will be renewed for the 38th time on December 8th? Well, technically, Baffert has never lost the Los Alamitos Futurity. Since the race was moved to Los Alamitos in 2014, Baffert has prevailed in every edition, and he also won the race six times during its glory days at [...]

Keying Mother Mother in the Starlet Stakes

Mother Mother winning the Rags to Riches Stakes - Coady Photography At first glance, the December 8th $300,000 Starlet Stakes (gr. I) at Los Alamitos isn’t the most appealing race from a betting perspective—with just six starters, payoffs could be on the small side. But then again, the 1 1/16-mile Road to the Kentucky Oaks prep race is packed with quality, so it’s not like there’s an overwhelming favorite towering over the field. And if we can beat the [...]

Why I’m Keying the Favorites in the Hollywood Derby

River Boyne - © Benoit Photo With relatively few opportunities remaining for horses to compete against Grade 1 company before the end of 2018, fourteen three-year-olds have turned out to contest Saturday’s $300,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. I) at Del Mar. But while the huge field size suggests that the race should be wide-open in nature, I’m strongly drawn toward the two favorites #4 River Boyne and #6 Raging Bull, in part because I believe their most recent efforts [...]

Will Mendelssohn Prevail in the Cigar Mile?

Mendelssohn winning the UAE Derby - Coady Photography More often than not, the $750,000 Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) at Aqueduct is won by a horse exiting a Breeders’ Cup race, whether it’s the Classic, the Dirt Mile, or even the Sprint. It only makes sense. With its Grade 1 ranking, its hefty purse, its perfect placement on the calendar, and its one-mile distance that is ideal for a wide variety of horses, the Cigar Mile is a [...]

How to Bet the Exotics in the Remsen Stakes

Network Effect winning his debut at Saratoga - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography If you’re among the many handicappers who figure to place their betting dollars on #5 Network Effect in Saturday’s $250,000 Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct, I certainly can’t blame you. What’s not to like? He’s got the powerful team of trainer Chad Brown and jockey Javier Castellano in his corner, and he’s done little wrong in two starts to date. After breaking his maiden by [...]

Betting Regional Class Advantages, Part 1

Elsa winning the Jimmy Durante Stakes (gr. III) at Del Mar - © Benoit Photo While the old saying “a good horse can come from anywhere” is certainly true, it’s also true that good horses are more likely to come from some places than others. A great example comes from California, where a greater emphasis is placed on dirt racing than turf racing. That’s not to say that California can’t produce good grass horses, but compared to the [...]