Picks and Plays for Saturday Stakes Races at Fair Grounds

Great Wide Open winning the Buddy Diliberto Memorial at Fair Grounds - Photo by Hodges Photography Fair Grounds racetrack in New Orleans certainly knows how to put together a fun day of racing! The upcoming Saturday card features six stakes races worth a combined $700,000, and the best part is that they’re arranged in consecutive fashion without any maiden, allowance, or claiming races to interrupt the action. That makes the card very appealing from the standpoint of multi-race [...]

Picks and Plays for Sunshine Millions Day

X Y Jet winning the Smile Sprint Stakes (gr. II) - Photo by Coglianese Photos/Kenny Martin The annual Sunshine Millions program at Gulfstream Park might not be quite what it was a decade or so ago, when there were more races and bigger purses, but the four races scheduled for Saturday are shaping up to be competitive events with some high-quality participants. I’ve gone through the card and come up with a few spot plays totaling $100. Feel [...]

Picks and Plays for Saturday Stakes at Laurel Park

Late Night Pow Wow winning the Charles Town Oaks (gr. III) - Coady Photography The fields might be a bit on the small side, but four interesting stakes races are among the highlights of an action-packed day of racing scheduled for January 12th at Laurel Park. The card kicks off at 12:30 p.m. Eastern, with the first stakes race following an hour later. I’ve handicapped the four main attractions, and while finding value in small fields is challenging, [...]

Picks and Plays for the Tropical Turf and Marshua’s River Stakes

Heart to Heart winning the Gulfstream Park Turf Stakes (gr. I) - Photo by Leslie Martin/Adam Coglianese Photography Gulfstream Park is doing their best to keep us entertained while we wait for the eagerly-anticipated Pegasus World Cup (gr. I) and Pegasus World Cup Turf (gr. I) on January 26th. The Florida racetrack has packed their upcoming weekend stakes slates with high-class events, including the Tropical Turf Stakes (gr. III) and the Marshua’s River Stakes (gr. III) on Saturday, [...]

Picks and Plays for the Las Cienegas and La Canada Stakes

Santa Anita - Photo by © Breeders' Cup/Todd Buchanan 2014 Although most of the attention at Santa Anita this time of year is focused on three-year-olds and Kentucky Derby prep races, the upcoming Saturday card is a bit different, aimed at showcasing older mares on both dirt and turf. The 6.5-furlong $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes (gr. III) over the unique downhill turf course is first on the agenda, and will be followed two hours later by the 8.5-furlong [...]

Using Trainer Angles in Handicapping, Part 5

Bob Baffert at Saratoga - Photo by Courtney Heeney/Coglianese Photography You’ve probably heard the talk—the talk of how trainer Bob Baffert has become essentially unbeatable with his two-year-olds. Maybe “unbeatable” is a bit of a stretch, but it isn’t far from the truth either. In 2018, Baffert’s two-year-olds compiled an otherworldly 32-for-62 record—that’s 52% wins—and when you consider that Baffert frequently runs two horses against each other, his record for the year was nothing short of jaw-dropping. So [...]

Why I’m Betting Well Defined in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes

Gulfstream Park (Coglianese Photos) When six horses head to the starting gate for Saturday’s $100,000 Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park, most handicappers will have their eyes on #4 Code of Honor, and understandably so. Although the Mucho Macho Man is not an official Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race, the one-mile event serves as a stepping stone toward Gulfstream’s three Derby prep races and will mark the seasonal debut of the highly regarded Code of [...]

Why I’m Betting Nero in the Malibu Stakes

McKinzie winning the Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita © Benoit Photo Get ready, everyone! Racing in North America will be taking a one-day hiatus on December 25th to celebrate Christmas, but we’ll be right back in the thick of things on December 26th when the annual winter/spring meet at Santa Anita kicks off with a stakes-packed afternoon of racing. Among the highlights is the $300,000 Malibu Stakes (gr. I), a seven-furlong sprint for three-year-olds that has attracted [...]

Why I’m Betting Aqueduct Specialists in the Gravesend Stakes

Skyler's Scramjet winning the Tom Fool Handicap (gr. III) - NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography Aqueduct can be a bit of a tricky racetrack—slow, tiring, and distinctly different from the other tracks in New York—which is why I’ll lean toward proven Aqueduct specialists when handicapping Sunday’s $100,000 Gravesend Stakes. First and foremost in my mind is #6 Skyler’s Scramjet, who went on quite a tear at Aqueduct last winter with three wins from five starts. Actually, he went 3-for-3 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 [...]