The national simulcasting slate is light today, and some of the tracks running will have weather issues, which we would like to avoid. So we will head to Turf Paradise in Phoenix, where the afternoon will be perfect, sunny and about 80, and where there's a passable 8-race midweek card. We have handicapped for fast and firm; let's go.
Turf Paradise, Race 1, 2:40 pm ET
$8,500 claiming, 6 furlongs, dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A field of eight drew into this conditioned $8,500 claimer. This one looks easy to us: the filly with the fastest last race Beyer Speed Figure is also the filly with a significant edge in early speed: it's 5-Mika the Mistress. On a speed-favoring dirt surface like the one at Turf Paradise, there's only one thing to do with this, and that's bet the horse to win. We expect Mika the Mistress to go right to the front, set what will be for her very comfortable fractions, and stay in front all the way to the finish line. She's 9/5 on the morning line, but will probably lower at post time; we will bet her to win anyway. The bet: Turf Paradise, Race 1, $40 to win on 5-Mika the Mistress.
Turf Paradise, Race 3, 3:38 pm ET
$3,500 claiming, 4 1/2 furlongs, dirt, 3 & Up
Eight horses drew into this claiming sprint. We like the 7/5 second choice, 6-Heat Score, who broke his maiden on October 16, at this distance and at Turf Paradise, and was claimed out of that race by trainer Dan McFarlane. McFarlane has incredible stats first off the claim -- an otherworldly 38% win rate -- and that, plus the fact that he has good speed figures, makes Heat Score the pick. We will bet him to win, and we will also (see below) bet him in the Daily Double comprising Races 3 and 4. The bets: Turf Paradise, Race 3, $30 to win on 6-Heat Score; $10 double, 6 (Heat Score) with 7 (Sharp Holiday).
Turf Paradise, Race 4, 4:07 pm ET
$3,000 claiming, 5 1/2 furlongs, dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
This bottom-level claimer drew a full field of eight. We like a horse on the outside, 7-Sharp Holiday. This 6-year-old mare was claimed by trainer Chad Ferguson two back, out of a $3,000 claimer, a race she won. Ferguson stepped her up in class to an allowance race, where she faded to finish fifth. Back at the $3,000 claiming level, we think she rebounds with a win. She's in good form, has tactical speed, and should get a good stalking trip from her outside post position. We will bet her to win at 2-1. The bet: Turf Paradise, Race 4, $30 to win on 7-Sharp Holiday.
Turf Paradise, Race 5, 4:36 pm ET
$6,250 claiming, 7 1/2 furlongs, turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
A field of seven goes in this conditional $6,250 claimer. There's a standout here, 4-Trappiza. She's won two in a row since being shipped from Southern California and into the barn of high-percentage trainer Robertino Diodoro, and we expect her to make it three straight this afternoon. She's got the most early speed AND the best closing kick, so go to the windows: she is a case of a horse who appears to be so overwhelmingly superior that it's worth taking a short price on her. We will bet her to win at 7/5, and we will also wheel her in the Race 5 double, singling her with all the runners in Race 6, which appears to be wide open. The bets: Turf Paradise, Race 5, $40 to win on 4-Trappiza; $2 double, 4 (Trappiza). There are eight entrants in Race 6, so the double will cost $16.
That's all for today. Good luck at the windows.