Will Rogers has a 10-race card, with a first post at 2:15 pm Eastern. Fonner has an 8-race program, with a first post at 5:00 pm ET.
We’re back at Fonner Park and Will Rogers Downs today. Will Rogers has a 10-race card, with a first post at 2:15 pm Eastern. Fonner has an 8-race program, with a first post at 5:00 pm ET.
There’s also a mandatory payout in the Fonner Park Jackpot Pick 5. With a carryover of about $500,000 going into today’s pool, there’s going to be a big pile of money for those who get the numbers right. We’re anticipating something like $2 million of new money to be wagered, all chasing the carryover.
While we generally despise these jackpot wagers, which are different from traditional multi-race wagers in that the majority the post-takeout pool is paid only when one, and only one, winner hits -- if there are zero winners, or more than one winner, the jackpot carries over to the next day -- and we virtually never play them, we are making an exception today, and will take a small stab at the Fonner Pick 5. We’ll post that play last.
The weather looks dry in both Nebraska and Oklahoma, so we’ve handicapped for fast dirt at both. Let’s go.
Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs, Dirt, Oklahoma-breds, 3 & Up
This maiden race for state-breds drew a field of eight. 3-November Mike, is a strong pick. He made his last start for trainer Scott Young at Sam Houston, where he finished a creditable 5th in the slop against a pretty tough field. The competition here is much, much weaker; we expect November Mike to dominate. Look for him to be on or near the lead. We will bet him to win at 2-1. The bet: Will Rogers Downs, Race 4, $40 to win on 3-November Mike.
Allowance, 1 mile, Dirt, 3 & Up
Seven go in this second-level allowance at a mile on the dirt. 8/5 morning line favorite 4-Taruca is another strong pick: he’s an amazingly consistent 5-year-old gelding who seems to fire every time he goes into the starting gate. His typical effort should be enough to win here, especially since he has an edge in tactical speed over the rest of the field. Look for him to be forwardly placed early, either on the lead or pressing the pace, and for him to make a winning move at the top of the stretch. We will bet him to win. The bet: Will Rogers Downs, race 5, $40 to win on 4-Taruca.
$10,000 Baxter Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3-Year-Olds
This little stakes drew a field of seven. We like the chalk, 2-Kat Dude, who starts for owner and trainer Marissa Black. He finished third in his last start, 15 lengths behind the winner in an allowance at Fonner on March 24, but we think that effort was better than it looks on paper, as that was a race for horses 3 and older, and he was the lone 3-year-old running against a group of older horses, who broadly speaking are far, far ahead of 3-year-olds this time of year. That he was able to run third is actually quite good, and today he’s running strictly against other 3-year-olds. He’s got controlling speed, and we think Kat Dude takes this race with a trip either on or close to the early pace. At 2-1, we will bet him to win. The bet: Fonner Park, Race 3, $40 to win on 2-Kat Dude.
$50,000 Highland Ice Stakes, 6 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up
The Highland Ice Stakes drew a nice field of nine. It’s a good race to handicap. We’re expecting a wickedly fast early pace, as there are a few runners in here with quite a bit of early zip, including a horse, 2-Oil Money, who is quick enough to have competed last out in an 870-yard Quarter Horse race. We’re consequently expecting the early pace to be so fast that it cooks all the horses close to it.
And that means the play is to bet a closer, and we like one at a price: it’s 6-Collusionist. This 4-year-old gelding has done his best running as a closing sprinter, and we think that he is going to be the perfect setup for that kind of move today. Look for him to sit back early, and to make a big late move. We think he’s going to get up late for the win, and at 10-1, we think he merits a play. We will bet him to win. The bet: Will Rogers Downs, Race 9, $35 to win on 2-Oil Money.
Races 4-8, post times 6:21 pm ET - 8:09 pm ET
Here are our picks for the Pick 5 sequence:
Race 4: 7-Where’s Rufus, 9-Ohtani
Race 5: 2-El Diablo Grande
Race 6: 5-Ship Stalker, 6-Smarty Party Papa, 7-Shooters Alley
Race 7: 2-Honey Hearts,3-Extreme Caution,5-May Flowers
Race 8: 4-Gone Preachin, 9-Born Force
We’ll play these all on a single ticket; there are 36 total combinations, and we will play the wager at the 50-cent minimum, for a total investment of $18.
That’s all for today. Enjoy the racing, stay safe, and, as always, good luck at the windows.