We're going to move around a little bit today: one race at Mahoning Valley in Ohio, one race at Parx Racing in suburban Philadelphia, and then a play in the early Pick 4 from Sunland Park in New Mexico. It's an all-dirt affair today, and we expect fast dirt at all these places. Let's go.
Mahoning Valley, Race 5, 2:36 pm ET
Maiden Special Weight, 5 1/2 furlongs, dirt, 3-year-old fillies
Nine sophomore fillies line up for this, a dirt sprint for maidens. 6-Waverly Sunset is a strong play here: after two tries in maiden races on synthetic tracks, one at Presque Isle Downs in Erie and one at Turfway Park in Kentucky, when she finished far up the track in both, this filly tried natural dirt at Mountaineer Park, again in a straight maiden race, where she finished second, less than a length behind the winner. The assumption here is that she doesn't like the synthetics, and is a dirt horse. The 41 Beyer Speed Figure she earned in her last at Mountaineer is the best in the field, which is good; even better is the fact that she earned it under adverse conditions, trying to make up ground on a track that was biased in favor of speed. This is like swimming upstream, and suggests that she's even better than her speed figure suggests. On a fair track, which we expect she will get today, she should run even better -- and that will be enough to win this race, and perhaps even to demolish the rest of this field. We are very skeptical that we will get her 3-1 morning line price, but we will bet her to win anyway. The bet: Mahoning Valley, Race 5, $50 to win on 6-Waverly Sunset.
Parx Racing, Race 9, 4:01 pm ET
Starter Allowance, 1 1/16 miles, dirt, 4 & Up
This starter allowance drew a field of eight. With two of them coupled because of common ownership, there are seven betting interests. It's a good race to handicap.
We like a New York shipper, 5-Mohican. This 6-year-old gelded son of Pioneerofthenile won his last race, a $25,000 claimer, at Aqueduct on January 12. He earned a good 83 Beyer Speed Figure for that effort, the top last-race fig in the race. We like the fact that his last race was good, but we also like the fact that his trainer, Rudy Rodriguez, has identified this race as a good spot for him. Rodriguez is a high-percentage trainer based in New York who does not ship to Parx very often; we are assuming he is not coming for the ambiance in Bensalem, but for the winner's share of the $35,000 purse. We will bet him to win at 5/2. The bet: Parx Racing, Race 9, $30 to win on 5-Mohican.
Sunland Park, Race 1, 2:25 pm ET
Sunland Park, Race 2, 2:51 pm ET
Sunland Park, Race 3, 3:17 pm ET
Sunland Park, Race 4, 3:44 pm ET
We've lumped these together because we're going to take a stab at the early Pick 4 at Sunland. We like the sequence as a multi-race wager: there are a couple of races that are wide open, and a couple, that we feel we can confidently winnow down to a few contenders.
In Race 1, we are taking all: it's a wide open, bottom-level maiden claimer that seems ripe for an inscrutable long shot to win. In Race 2, we have 1, Iron Britches, and 6, Deputy's Echo. The former will be in front, the latter will be trying to close; one of them should win. In Race 3, we are confident singling 3, Jewel of Navarone. In Race 4, the last leg of the Pick 4, we will spread three wide, with 1 (Just Call Me Ken), 6 (Avenatti), and 7 (Memory Taker). This results in the following ticket:
Sunland Park, Race 1, 50-cent Pick 4: ALL with 1,6 with 3 with 1, 6, 7
There are 10 entrants in the first race, so this ticket is 60 total combinations (10 x 2 x 1 x 3). We will play them at the 50-cent base wager, for a total play of $30.
That's all for today. As always, good luck at the windows.