Spot Plays for 2019 Louisiana Derby Day

Bricks and Mortar winning the Pegasus World Cup Turf (gr. I) - Photo by Ashley Blum/Adam Coglianese Photography A marathon day of racing is scheduled for Saturday, March 23 at Fair Grounds. Thirteen races are on the card, including the $1 million Louisiana Derby (gr. II), a prominent steppingstone toward the 2019 Kentucky Derby. That race is unquestionably the main highlight, but the undercard includes several other interesting stakes races that could offer opportunities to make nice wagering [...]

Why I’m Betting Haikal in the Gotham Stakes

Instagrand winning the Best Pal Stakes (gr. II) at Del Mar - © BENOIT PHOTO There is an abundance of early speed entered in Saturday’s $300,000 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct, so it’s hard not to envision the one-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race unfolding at a rapid pace. For example, #6 Instagrand led gate-to-wire in his two impressive victories last year. #7 Not That Brady has set the pace in his last four starts. [...]

Precieuse Gives Brown Strong Hand in Honey Fox Stakes

Gulfstream Park (Coglianese Photos) Trainer Chad Brown is renowned for his success training top-class turf horses, especially those formerly based in Europe—think Sistercharlie, Zagora, Flintshire, Real Solution, etc. It appears Brown could be poised to unleash another such star in Saturday’s $150,000 Honey Fox Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park, a one-mile turf race for fillies and mares that will mark the seasonal debut of #1 Precieuse, an Irish-bred filly owned by Peter Brant. When based in France [...]

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 [...]

Why I’m Betting Copper Town in the Hal’s Hope Stakes

Gulfstream Park (Coglianese Photos) An unusual blend of horses is set to contest Saturday’s $100,000 Hal’s Hope Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park, and in my opinion, demanding a bit of a price in the wagering could be a wise idea. Three of the nine entrants in this one-mile test are running for the first time since late spring 2018, including the stakes-winning pair of #5 Quip and #9 Prince Lucky, who will be making their first starts [...]

Spot Plays for Southwest Stakes Day at Oaklawn Park

Jack Van Berg breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography High-class Monday racing action isn’t common, but Oaklawn Park is making an exception by scheduling three graded stakes races for February 18, Presidents’ Day. It’s a fun card with a lot of options, so let’s go through the fields and look for some spot plays…. Race 3: Maiden Special Weight There are some promising first-time starters in this race, including #1 Good as Money (a Calumet [...]

Spot Plays for Risen Star Day at Fair Grounds

Synchrony winning the 2018 Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. III) - Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr. Planning to watch and wager on the Risen Star Stakes (gr. II) this Saturday at Fair Grounds? Don’t forget to check out the other appealing races on the card! I’ve already shared my thoughts on the Risen Star, but that’s just one of the dozen races on the agenda. After going over the rest of the card, I’ve found four other spot plays throughout [...]

Is Knicks Go Vulnerable in the Sam F. Davis?

Knicks Go winning the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) - Keeneland Photo I don’t think anyone will deny that #3 Knicks Go was among the best two-year-olds of 2018, but that doesn’t mean that he’ll be unbeatable in Saturday’s $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) at Tampa Bay Downs. Knicks Go will surely be favored in the 1 1/16-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race, but he’ll be making his first start in 2 ½ months [...]

Picks and Plays for Louisiana Premier Night at Delta Downs

Monte Man winning the Heitai Stakes - Photo by Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr Saturday night is Louisiana Premier Night at Delta Downs, a special day of racing with ten stakes events packed into a twelve-race card that kicks off at 6:25 p.m. Eastern. The card is naturally stacked with multi-race wagers, including rolling doubles and Pick 3s. Let’s go through the stakes races and look for some plays…. Race 2: Starlet Stakes #1 Midnight Fantasy has [...]

Is Maximus Mischief Vulnerable in the Holy Bull Stakes?

Maximus Mischief winning the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct - Photo by NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography/Chelsea Durand When ten horses line up to face the starter in Saturday’s $350,000 Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, all eyes will be on the heavy favorite #8 Maximus Mischief. On paper, this 8.5-furlong Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race should be a walk in the park for Maximus Mischief. The son of Into Mischief compiled a perfect 3-for-3 [...]