Shancelot’s speed stands out in H. Allen Jerkens Stakes

H. Allen Jerkens conditioned some fast horses during his Hall of Fame career, but I’m not sure any displayed as much raw speed as #1 Shancelot, who will be favored to win the $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) on Saturday at Saratoga.

Why I’m betting Shancelot in the Amsterdam Stakes

Shancelot winning an optional claiming race at Monmouth Park - © Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO “The best horse I’ve ever trained.” Those were the words trainer Jorge Navarro used to describe #12 Shancelot after the son of Shanghai Bobby dominated a June 23 six-furlong optional-claiming race at Monmouth Park by 6 1/4 lengths. Now Navarro’s belief will be put to the test, when Shancelot breaks from the far outside post in Sunday’s $200,000 Amsterdam Stakes (G2) at Saratoga. Considering Navarro [...]

How to Bet the 2019 Charles Town Classic

War Story - Photo by Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup) The $1 million Charles Town Classic (G2) at Charles Town will be contested for the 11th time Saturday, and the previous ten renewals have produced some clear-cut clues to help us identify the most likely winner. Favorites have not been very successful in the Charles Town Classic, probably because the 1 1/8-mile race features three turns over a six-furlong bullring racetrack, which tends to produce a wild race from [...]

Handicapping the Gulfstream Park All-Stakes Pick 4

Hi Happy winning the Pan American Stakes (gr. II) - Photo by Lauren King/Adam Coglianese Photography With 43 horses spread across four races, the all-stakes Pick 4 on Saturday at Gulfstream Park is shaping up to be a great sequence with lots of options for handicappers to consider. One of the challenges of playing sequences like this is keeping ticket costs reasonable—with so many horses to consider playing, it’s easy to wind up spending more than is logical [...]

Talented 2yos Take Center Stage at Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs Scenic (SV Photography) With the 2019 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) looming on the distant horizon, Tampa Bay Downs will kick off their annual schedule of stakes races for young Derby and Oaks contenders with the Inaugural Stakes and Sandpiper Stakes on December 15th. These six-furlong sprints, one for colts and one for fillies, serve as stepping stones toward more significant two-turn tests at the Florida track in 2019, including as [...]

Claiming Crown Kicks Off Gulfstream Park 2018-2019 Championship Meet

Gulfstream Park (Coglianese Photos) The 2018-2019 Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park will kick off with a bang on December 1st with the 20th running of the Claiming Crown, a series of nine races restricted to current or former claiming race competitors. With total purse money of $1.1 million, the Claiming Crown races have attracted deep and competitive fields that should be very appealing from a handicapping standpoint. Let’s take a quick look at what to look forward to [...]

Why I’m Betting Shaft of Light in the Belmont Sprint Championship

Shaft of Light winning the Russell Road Stakes at Charles Town - Coady Photography The field might be small, but you can’t knock the quality of Saturday’s $350,000 Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park, a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) in November at Churchill Downs. Six horses, ranging in age from four to seven, have been entered in the seven-furlong sprint, with weight assignments ranging from 116 to 122 [...]

How to Bet the Smile Sprint Stakes

X Y Jet winning the Mr. Prospector Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park (Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography) Want to see a horse that exemplifies the definition of pure speed? Then you should tune in to watch and wager on Saturday’s $250,000 Smile Sprint Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park. The six-furlong sprint serves as an early summer prep race on the road to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, so all eyes figure to be focused on the blazingly fast #8 [...]

Saturday Afternoon Spot Plays for Starter Stakes Day at Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park Scenic Turf Gate (Coglianese Photos) There is no graded stakes action on Saturday at Gulfstream Park, but that is because it is Starter Stakes Day in Hallandale, Florida. The entire twelve race card is filled with conditional stakes events written for horses that have competed in claiming races in the past. Here are two horses I will build my Saturday around at Gulfstream Park: Race 8 Like a few of the other races on Starter Stakes [...]

Is X Y Jet Vulnerable in the Mr. Prospector Stakes?

X Y Jet winning the 2015 Mr. Prospector Stakes (gr. III) - Photo by Lauren King/Adam Coglianese Photography The only graded stakes race on the North American racing schedule this Saturday is the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park. Fortunately for bettors, it’s also among the most intriguing races of the day from a handicapping perspective. Ten horses have been entered in the six-furlong sprint, with the probable favorite being #6 X Y Jet. Trained [...]