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 [...]

Raging Whiskey brings strong form lines to Sanford Stakes

At this time of year hardly any stakes races for 2-year-olds have been run, and comparing the form of juveniles from different tracks is a tricky process. But when examining the entries for Saturday’s $150,000 Sanford Stakes (G3) at Saratoga, #2 Raging Whiskey jumps out. Somehow this son of Bourbon Courage has already been beaten by two future stakes winners, which says something about the quality of competition he’s been facing. Raging Whiskey debuted in a seemingly unremarkable 4 1/2-furlong [...]

Why I’m betting Pavel in the 2019 Suburban Stakes

Pavel winning the 2017 Smarty Jones Stakes (G3) at Parx Racing - Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO Once in a while, the world-traveling #11 Pavel steps up and runs a big race against top-class competition. I believe he could be ready to deliver one of his peak efforts in Saturday’s $700,000 Suburban Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park. Pavel might be 0-for-3 this season, but his last couple of runs have been deceptively good. In the Dubai World Cup (G1)—held [...]

Promises Fulfilled stands out in John A. Nerud Stakes

Promises Fulfilled (right) edges Whitmore in a thrilling renewal of the Phoenix Stakes (G3) - Keeneland Photo Following a series of troubled defeats against tougher company, it appears #9 Promises Fulfilled has found the perfect spot to rebound in Saturday’s $300,000 John A. Nerud Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park. This seven-furlong sprint serves as a “Win and You’re In” qualifier to the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Park, a race in which Promises Fulfilled finished [...]

Spot plays for the Debutante, Bashford Manor and more

Magic Dance winning her debut at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography The 2019 Churchill Downs spring meet wraps up Saturday, with a 12-race card that features three stakes races. Juveniles will take the spotlight in the $125,000 Debutante Stakes and $125,000 Bashford Manor Stakes (G3), while older sprinters will shine in the $120,000 Kelly’s Landing Stakes. Let’s put together a few spot plays for the stakes races. Race 8: Kelly’s Landing Stakes #8 Warrior’s Club looms as the [...]

Royal Ascot spot plays: Sands of Mali in the Diamond Jubilee

Royal Procession. Queen Elizabeth the Second arriving at Royal Ascot - Photo by Horsephotos.com It’s been a fun run, but the five-day Royal Ascot meet wraps up Saturday with one last stakes-filled card, highlighted by the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1). To celebrate the final day of racing, let’s examine the three group races on the agenda and try to end the meet on a winning note. Race 2: Jersey Stakes (G3) #13 Space Blues has yet to compete [...]

Royal Ascot: Spot plays for Day 4

Racing at Royal Ascot - Photo by Horsephotos.com The penultimate day of racing at the 2019 Royal Ascot meet features four more group stakes races, including a high-quality renewal of the Coronation Stakes (G1). Favorites have struggled during the first three days of the meet, perhaps in part because of the soft ground, but with the course drying out, the action might be a bit more predictable Friday. Let’s dig in and come up with a few spot [...]

Royal Ascot: Spot plays for Gold Cup day

Horses and jockeys during the 2017 Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot - Photo by Horsephotos.com The highlight of the racing action on Day 3 of the 2019 Royal Ascot meeting is the Gold Cup (G1), a 2 1/2-mile test of stamina that ranks among my favorite races anywhere in the world. I’m also intrigued by the much shorter Norfolk Stakes (G2) for 2-year-olds, so let’s come up with a few plays for these two competitive events. Race [...]

Royal Ascot: Three spot plays for opening day

Imprimis winning the Shakertown Stakes (G2) at Keeneland - Keeneland Photo On Tuesday racing fans around the globe will turn their attention to Ascot Racecourse in England, where the five-day Royal Ascot race meet will take place June 18-22. The prestigious and much-anticipated meet will feature high-class horses from around the world in 30 races, including 19 group stakes. The opening-day card is particularly deep, with three group 1 races on the agenda. Want to get in on [...]

Why I’m betting Tom’s d’Etat in the 2019 Stephen Foster Handicap

Tom's d'Etat winning an allowance race at Churchill Downs - Coady Photography There will be no shortage of quality horses for handicappers to choose from in Saturday’s $600,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/8-mile event is the highlight of the racing weekend in North America, offering a hefty purse and a “Win and You’re In” berth to the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). On five occasions, the Stephen Foster winner has gone on to [...]