The paddock at Penn National Racecourse in Grantville, PA.
The paddock at Penn National Racecourse in Grantville, PA.|

FREE Thursday Horse Racing Pick: RT and SmartCap head to chilly Penn National for tonight's 5th race

Race 5 post time is 7:54 pm ET.


For today, we are going to beautiful Grantville, Pennsylvania and Penn National. It should be dry and a brisk 39̊ at first post.

The 5th race is a $28K allowance for three-year olds and up going six furlongs. This should be an interesting race with four of the seven runners coming in off a win.

Digging a bit deeper, we see that Equibase assigned this race a 93 in class rating and there are four entrants to hit that number in the past six races:

#3 Big Dave (3/1) hit 93 in his last race in a $20K claimer and a cutback from a mile to six furlongs. Going further into his pp’s, this Successful Appeal gelding has a history of bouncing downward after hitting a high number.

#5 Martinkelly (6/1) Fort Erie shipper has hit a 95, 88, 93 & 99 his last four, yet it was versus purses worth $14.8, $11.1, $16.4, $14.2K, & $14K. Moving up to twice as tough may prove too daunting for this guy

#4 Studio B (5/2) hit the number in July whilst going away with a four and a half length score. Loves Penn going 7:2-2-3 for $49K.

#1 The Red Shield (3/1) hit a 93 on 2017, was benched until September of this year and has had an impressive, results-oriented campaign since, going 4:3-1-0 and those purse values were $32, $32, $16.4 and $11.8. Second leading trainer Kim Graci has done a deft job of bringing this gelding along after a two-year sabbatical. Another lover of Penn, his record is 9:5-2-2 for $83K

Other notable item of interest:

#2 Camgo (7/2) ships in from the deep trenches of Parx and just won a $16K claimer from off the pace. He retains Emmanuel Esquivel in the irons where he and seventh leading trainer Kathleen DeMasi are clipping at 25% winners.

The way I see it…

#1, #2 and #5 are going to be the pace leaders with the #4 and #3 laying nearby. Given that #4 has the best final fractions of this group to wit :12.49, 12:50, 12:48 et al., it appears that this race will set up perfectly for his late kick. The switch back to jockey Dana Whitney is a welcome move as his last five on this guy he’s either won, or never been far off a V. Finally, getting the strongest overall SmartCap class numbers and a close speed rating, makes this guy our standout.


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SmartCap is an algorithm-based system that helps the horse player identify key contenders in a race.

Developed by a math prodigy from West Point, you will receive a graph like the one below, per race, when you order SmartCap.

The figures along the left represent each entrants’ best last race, with the top number being the speed and the bottom number is its class. In this example, #10 comes out clearly ahead in class and speed which gives him an edge. Why is that number important? It identifies the horse that is in shape and like human sports competitions, the person(s) in the best shape has the advantage.

The graph on the right represents a horses’ overall rating. When you look at this graph, you will notice on the top far left, the track and race number. This is from Penn National, race two. To the right of this is this races’ class rating and its money – money being the separator for class. So, in this example, we have a $5K race and the class rating is 73. The 73 is the rating set by Equibase. At Penn 2 for this, you have a horse who raced a 62.9 overall versus a 106.2 overall. Now, #7 has a slightly better speed rating yet has been racing against lesser competition. The #10 has the best last, close speed rating, and by far best class, it would be a play. It won going away.

If you are unfamiliar with Equibase, they are the most reliable source for PP’s in the industry. Additionally, one reason why you may see us posting picks to the same tracks is Equibase installed their own GPS technology at Mahoning Valley, Penn National and is the official timer at Golden Gate, Laurel, Woodbine and Pimlico.


  • You must consult your PP’s regardless of what this graph tells you – especially in routes because this is where jockey skill makes the paramount difference. You can have the best horse in a certain race and if the jockey cannot work out a solid trip, it’s done.

  • Steer clear from an off track. Always check the weather before placing your order.

  • We are only providing you with a tool to identify potential horses in a race. You are directly responsible for your own wagering.

  • Pick your spots. It is a losing proposition to bet every race.

  • We rarely handicap maiden races and two-year-old races can be daunting – again, consult your pp’s before indulging.

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A sample SmartCap race chart.
A sample SmartCap race chart. RT
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