Week 1, Day 7. First post time is 2:06 pm EDT.
For the contest, each handicapper will designate one of his race picks per weekday and two on Saturday and Sunday. Win, place, show betting only. $20 per bet. Weeks run Monday through Sunday.
Play along and in future months you may have a chance to beat the pros.
RT had three picks yesterday due to a Friday scratch, but his first, 6-Liz's Cable Girl, in the 1st at Churchill, also scratched. In the 3rd race he had 5-Romantic Pursuit and cashed a $10 place ticket, returning $17. In the 8th he had 1-Manny Wah, who finished 3rd. Garrity finally had a good day. In the 9th at Belmont, he had $20 on the winner, 11-Vekoma, which returned $53. In the 8th at Santa Anita, he had $20 on the winner, 6-Honor A.P., which returned $64. RT is now -$103 and will have three picks today. Garrity is now -$23 for the week, with a chance to get into the black on the final day of week one.
Picks: Churchill Downs, Race 3, $7 to win, $13 to place on #3 Petrov, 2:06 pm EDT. Churchill Downs, Race 7, $7 to win, $13 to place on #9 Lead Guitar, 4:14 pm EDT. Mountaineer Park, Race 7, $20 on #3 Treasured Bond to show, 9:30 pm EDT
Why: First, Churchill Downs, 3rd Race. #3 Petrov (9/2) getting a class drop and a positive jockey change to Tyler Gafflione. Two back, he encountered heavy traffic to get up for show after giving a strong late kick. The extra ½ furlong will be a bonus today. He is 7:1-1-1 at CD for $10.6K per, far better than any other in this.
Second, Churchill Downs, 7th Race. #9 Lead Guitar (3/1) is 4:1-2-1 lifetime for $19.6 per time out and is racing unfer the tutelage of George Weaver who is 20% off the layoff and has had two brisk works recently. In his last at Keeneland this past fall, he blistered the track going 5.5f in 1:03.7, just missing by a head
Finally, Mountaineer Park, 7th Race is a $16.2K Allowance for WVa bred fillies and mares 3yo+ NW2 going 5.5f. Will #3 Treasured Bond (6/5) lose? If you believe that this front runner who cuts back in distance and class is a vulnerable favorite, then yes. Personally, I believe she gets it done tonight.
For full details of today's picks, you can go here.
Picks: Belmont Park, Race 9, $20 on #1 Flavius to win, 5:36 pm EDT. Santa Anita Park, Race 8, $20 on #1 Flagstaff to show, 7:18 pm EDT
Why: First, the $80,000 First Defence Stakes, 7 furlongs, Turf, 4 & Up at Belmont Park. We did not have to go very far into the past performances to find the pick in the First Defence: it’s the horse at the top of the first page, 1-Flavius, a 5-year-old son of War Front. He’s trained by Chad Brown, whose barn is hot right now: there were two turf stakes at Belmont yesterday, and in the first, Brown horses finished first and second; in the second his four entrants took the first four spots. We are going to try to ride Brown’s hot hand.
And we think Flavius fits from a form standpoint too: he’s coming off a layoff, but ran well leading up to it, and he has also run well at this 7 furlong distance. What seals the deal for us is the condition of the turf course: after heavy rain Friday night and Saturday, the Belmont sod still should have some give in it this afternoon, and Flavius ran well on soft grass in Europe last year. For our first contest play, we will bet 1-Flavius to win the First Defence Stakes.
Second, the Grade 2 Triple Bend Stakes, 7 furlongs, Dirt, 3 & Up at Santa Anita. The Triple Bend field came up short, and there’s an overwhelming favorite, 5-McKinzie, who’s 3/5 on the morning line, and figures to be even shorter at post time. This would normally cause us to avoid a race like this. But we like it as a betting race because we are going to play against McKinzie, as he’s returning from a race in Saudi Arabia, and we’re against him partly because we think the travel may have affected him, and partly because his effort over there was truly atrocious.
But rather than bet another entrant to win, we are going to play against McKinzie in a slightly different way: we’re going to bet that he’s going to run out of the money, and that means betting another horse to show. We will do it with 1-Flagstaff, who’s the 5/2 second choice, and looks to be a mortal lock to hit the board. This is essentially a free roll: if Flagstaff finishes third or better, then one of two things happens: either McKinzie finishes in the top three, the show payout for Flagstaff is $2.10, and we get our money back; or McKinzie runs out of the money, and the show payouts are big. On paper, this scenario looks impossible, but it has happened before, and it will happen again.
For the rest of my picks today, you can look over here.