Mike Maker-Trained Runners Loom Large in Elkhorn Stakes

Zulu Alpha winning the Sycamore Stakes (G3) - Keeneland Photo Is it possible trainer Mike Maker could sweep the trifecta in Saturday’s $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes (G2) going 1 1/2 miles at Keeneland? I don’t think it’s a far-fetched notion. Certainly a victory would come as no surprise. Maker’s former claimer #10 Zulu Alpha seems to have forgotten how to lose, with four wins from his last five starts, including graded stakes triumphs in the Sycamore Stakes (G3), [...]

An Unusual Betting Strategy for the Jeff Ruby Steaks

Somelikeithotbrown (far right) vying for victory in the 2018 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I) - Photo by Carolyn Simancik/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM /Breeders' Cup Because it is held over the synthetic Polytrack surface at Turfway Park, the $200,000 Jeff Ruby Steakes (gr. III) tends to attract an unusual blend of horses. Synthetic specialists stepping up in class, proven dirt and turf runners trying a different surface, clear-cut Kentucky Derby contenders, and horses who weren’t even nominated to the Triple [...]

How to Bet the Fountain of Youth Day All-Stakes Pick 4

Hidden Scroll winning his debut at Gulfstream Park - Photo by Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography The Saturday, March 2 card at Gulfstream Park includes a $750,000-guaranteed all-stakes Pick 4 covering the final four races of the day, including the much-anticipated Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II). The sequence looks a bit chalky, but I do like one live longshot in the finale, and if the sequence is indeed chalky than we should be able to hit it for [...]

Why I’m Betting Longshot Kulin Rock in the Mac Diarmida

Zulu Alpha winning the Sycamore Stakes (gr. III) - Keeneland Photo Sometimes, it seems like trainer Mike Maker is able to work miracles with little-known grass runners, turning them into graded stakes winners seemingly overnight. His strategy tends to be simple, at least to the casual observer. It goes something like this—find a nice, solid competitor, stretch him or her out in distance, and see what happens. That exactly what Maker will do with #9 Kulin Rock in [...]

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 [...]

Keying Avie’s Flatter in the Coronation Futurity

Woodbine Racetrack(Michael Burns Photo) This is hardly a creative opinion—to the contrary, it’s an opinion that will surely be shared by many—but it’s rather difficult to envision a scenario in which #3 Avie’s Flatter loses the $225,000 Coronation Futurity for Canadian-breds at Woodbine. In a race where three of the seven starters have never reached the winner’s circle, Avie’s Flatter stands out on pretty much any metric you consider. Class? Avie’s Flatter is the lone stakes winner in [...]

How to Bet the Red Smith Stakes

Zulu Alpha winning the Sycamore Stakes (gr. III) - Keeneland Photo Just how many times has trainer Mike Maker claimed turf horses, stretched them out in distance, and turned them into graded stakes winners? The list goes on and on—I even wrote a whole article about it earlier this year—and the latest example is #3 Zulu Alpha, who runs in Saturday’s $200,000 Red Smith Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct. Prior to being claimed by Maker, Zulu Alpha was [...]

Why I’m Betting Mr. Misunderstood in the River City Handicap

Mr. Misunderstood winning the Commonwealth Turf Stakes (gr. III) - Coady Photography He’s arguably the fastest horse on paper, he has a perfect record over the local turf course, and he’s dropping in class out of a Grade 1 race. What’s not to like about #3 Mr. Misunderstood in Saturday’s $100,000 River City Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill Downs? I certainly don’t see any convincing reasons to oppose him. Trained by Brad Cox, the four-year-old son of Archarcharch [...]

Why I’m Betting Bandua in the Dueling Grounds Derby

Photo courtesy of Kentucky Downs There are plenty of talented horses entered in Sunday's $400,000 Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs, but to be perfectly honest, I never seriously considered picking anyone but #6 Bandua to win. My reasoning is simple. Kentucky Downs, thanks to its undulating European-style turf course, is quite unlike any other racetrack in North America. Some horses relish the challenge, while others struggle over the unusual conditions. Then there’s the fact that the [...]

Saratoga 2yos Analysis: Bill Mott Gets Hot

Two weekends ago, the juvenile races at Saratoga were dominated by trainer Steve Asmussen. Last weekend, it was Bill Mott’s turn to take the spotlight. The Hall of Fame trainer, best known as the conditioner of two-time Horse of the Year Cigar, has been enjoying a strong Saratoga meet with nine wins from his first 42 starters. Two of those victories came on Saturday, courtesy of the two-year-olds Casa Creed and Mucho. Both ran very well in their respective races, [...]