It's a Tuesday in January, which means the simulcasting lineup is light. We're going to cherry-pick the best races from a few different tracks to try to grind out a few shekels. It's an all-dirt lineup today, with four races within about an hour of each other, and we expect fast conditions everywhere. Let's go.
Mahoning Valley, Race 6, 3:04 pm ET
Allowance, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 3 & Up
This first-level allowance race in Ohio drew a field of eight. We like 7-Tickety Boo: this very well-bred 7-year-old mare (by Giant's Causeway, out of an Unbridledmare) caught wet tracks in her last two starts, and while she does OK in the slop, her earlier races show that she is better on fast dirt. We think this is a case of hidden form, that she's better than she showed in her last, and today she gets an ideal outside post that will suit her stalking running style. We think that on a fast track, she will win, and it's possible that she blows the rest of the field away. At 3-1, she merits a play. We will bet her to win. The bet: Mahoning Valley, Race 6, $40 to win on 7-Tickety Boo.
Turf Paradise, Race 3 3:40 pm ET
$3,500 Maiden Claiming, 5 1/2 furlongs, dirt, 4 & Up
There are two terrible favorites in this race: 8-Paitaska, who's 6/5, and 6-Radiotron, who's 8/5, are a combined 0-for-21 in their careers, and each of them has repeatedly failed to win a race in spots like this. One of them may win this one, but at short prices, we will be lining up to bet against both.
We like 2-Decoster, a five-year-old gelding and first-time starter from the Paul Treasure barn. He's a five-year-old making his first career start, which means he has obviously had some physical problems, but all these horses, who are older horses who have yet to win a race, probably fall into that category as well. Decoster has a good workout pattern, with numerous drills evenly placed, which if nothing else suggests that he is sound. Treasure has hit before in this spot (1-for-9 in 2020 with first-time starters), and he has the most potential upside of any horse in the field. At 6-1, he's worth a bet to beat the massively underlaid favorites. We will bet him to win. The bet: Turf Paradise, Race 3, $25 to win on 2-Decoster.
Parx Racing, Race 9, 4:01 pm ET
Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Dirt, Fillies & Mares 4 & Up
This is the featured race at Parx today, a first-level allowance for older female horses. 8/5 morning line favorite 3-Flashndynamite is a strong play: she has good speed figures, a good post position, and a stalking style that is a perfect fit for the fast-but-not-suicidal pace we are expecting. We see her sitting just behind the pacesetters, and seizing control of the race at the top of the stretch. We will bet her to win. The bet: Parx Racing, Race 9, $40 to win on 3-Flashndynamite.
Sunland Park, Race 5, 4:11 pm ET
$15,000 Maiden Claiming, 6 furlongs, dirt, 3-year-old Fillies
At the risk of being blunt, this is the slowest group of Thoroughbreds we've seen in some time. Eight sophomore fillies will go to the gate in this bottom-level maiden claimer, and seven of them have experience, with a combined 30 career starts, 27 of which were out of the money (three horses have each finished third once). Because of this, we're looking at a first-time starter, 2-Dani's Cat, who actually has some things to like about her: she's pretty well bred, by Storm Dani, a Storm Catstallion,and a Forest Wildcat mare; she has trained consistently, if not spectacularly; and she is trained by Sal Gonzalez, who wins at a more-than-respectable 12% rate with firsters. She will have to overcome inexperience, and she will be ridden by very low-percentage jockey J.C. Villanueva, (9-for-185 in 2020, a 5% win rate), but the flip side is that she will not have to be the second coming of Ruffian to win this: staying upright and maintaining a straight line may be enough. We'll bet her to win at 8-1. The bet: Sunland Park, Race 5, $25 to win on 2-Dani's Cat.
That's all for today. As always, good luck at the windows.