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 [...]

Trainers to watch (and wager on) at Del Mar

Del Mar - © Benoit Photo. Trainer statistics are commonly employed by bettors handicapping horse races. Isn’t it helpful to know a trainer excels with turf horses and juveniles but is less successful with dirt runners and older horses? In preparation for the much-anticipated 2019 Del Mar summer meet, which kicks off on Wednesday, July 17, I’ve used Statsmaster to compile a handful of intriguing trainer trends and statistics. With luck these angles will produce profitable plays throughout [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Tips and Trends for Handicapping Marathons

Turf racing at Belmont Park - Photo by Coglianese Photography Marathon horse races held over 1 ¾ miles or farther aren’t all that common in North America, and when they are on the agenda, some handicappers find themselves puzzled by the unusual challenge of handicapping such long-distance races. What do you even look for when handicapping marathons? Obviously, horses with proven form running long distances are ideal, but in the absence of such horses, I’ve found that three [...]

Using Trainer Angles in Handicapping, Part 3: Blinkers

Bob Baffert at Saratoga - Photo by Courtney Heeney/Coglianese Photography Question: What do American Pharoah, Justify, Arrogate, Bayern, Dortmund, West Coast, Mastery, and Dream Tree all have in common? Answer: They all won Grade 1 races for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, and furthermore, they all won their second career starts while racing without blinkers for the first time. Handicapping races using trainer angles has become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to online tools such as [...]

Using Trainer Angles in Handicapping, Part 2

Trainer Mike Maker - Coady Photography The history of horse racing is filled with rags-to-riches stories of horses rising from humble beginnings to enjoy success at the highest levels of the sport. Legendary Hall of Fame inductees such as Lava Man and Stymie have taken the “claim-to-fame” route, rising from the ranks of claiming races to win some of the biggest races in the country. Finding a horse with the ability to make that jump in class is easier said [...]