A huge week for race and sports bettors with the Breeders’ Cup starting this Friday plus the big seminar Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Palace Station race book with free food and drinks.
This humble horse player and handicapper will be there along with the legendary pick six man himself, Professor Gordon Jones, and the all-knowing Ralph Siraco of the hugely popular Race Day Las Vegas radio show.
Twin Q Donnie will be helping out along with Paul Truitt who will be our MC. I will be giving away two beautiful GamingToday hats, so head to the Palace for a great time. We may even have a winner or two.
Here’s a look at the races, not knowing odds or official entries. These will be just some runners I will be looking at in the early going at our Palace Station seminar.
$1m BC Juvenile Turf
In the past the Euros have come in and dominated, having won the last four on the West Coast. Looks to be the same this year. The main ones look to be Commemorative, who won his last two going a mile on the grass over the pond, and looks like the real deal; Aidan O’Brien, always dangerous, brings in War Envoy. O’Brien also enters The Great War, who has been doing all his running/ sprinting on the grass. Wesley Ward sends out Hootenanny, who will be showing all of his early speed. Danny Boy from Dale Romans will be making a late run at what could be a nice price. Imperia and Kiaran McLaughlin could be this good from off the hot pace. Startup Nation was 55-cents-on-the-dollar in his last start when beaten by Imperia. Don’t take a short price in this wide open race.
$1m Dirt Mile
There will be some early heat in this race with Vicar’s in Trouble, Fed Biz, who almost beat Shared Belief in his last start, and Golden Cents, who won this race last year going wire to wire. If the track plays fair we can see Tapiture sitting off the hot pace and getting home late with Rosie in the irons.
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Euros again. Watch a filly named Sivoliere with jockey Gary Stevens, who comes off of knee replacement surgery but says he would not ride if he wasn’t 110%. This filly comes in from France and lands in the barn of Chad Brown. She is owned by Stevens’ very good friend Martin Schwartz and has been in a steady work mood at Belmont Park and looks ready to roll. O’Brien brings in Qualify who looks like a nice filly. We will be using both in the picks along with another Euro runner Osaila. Euros will dominate.
$2m 1 1/8 Distaff
Very competitive with defection of Beholder, who would have been a short price. Close Hatches, who bombed last out at 20-cents-on-the-dollar, will rebound. Ran second last year in this race behind Beholder. Untapable looks like the one to beat if she is on her game. The $1,000 mare who has won almost a million for her owners will be making a late run. Wouldn’t that be something if you purchased a horse for $1k and took a $2m race! Lotapa and Tiz Midnight have home field advantage. Five of the last Distaffs at Santa Anita have been won by runners who raced here last time out.
$2m Juvenile Filly
Todd Pletcher won here with Angela Renee and that is a big plus. He beat the Mark Casse filly Conquest Eclipse who was the 2/1 favorite in the race. Conquest Eclipse has been working lights out and looks to get revenge but 10 of the last 12 winners took their previous start. By The Moon, who won her last start, is in from Belmont and 12 winners of this race have come from there in their last start.
$2m Filly & Mare Turf
The Red Coats are coming with Dank, who won this race last year at 3/2 but his form looks to have gone south. In the last 15 years, 12 of the favorites have hit the board. Consider that when playing exotics. Girls running in sunny California have gone 0-31 in this race. Stephanie’s Kitten gives the U.S. a shot if Dank is not cranked. She is in from Belmont, having won the Grade 1 Flower Bowl at this distance. Fiesolana is in from France. Abaco ran right behind Stephanie’s Kitten in the Flower Bowl. Just The Judge gets here via Ireland, Chicago and Canada. Secret Gesture is in from France and looks high quality as does Tarfasha, who is trained by Dermont Weld. Veda, also in from France, could get a piece in a very wide open race.
$1m Filly & Mare Sprint
This has not been a good race for the chalk. Favorite has only won twice and that came in the last two years with Groupie Doll, so let’s look for a price. Judy the Beauty comes off the layoff but has been working well for Wesley Ward. Thank You Marylou could be a very nice price play from well off the hot pace. Artemis Agrotera is in great form and on a three race win streak. She is 2 for 2 at this distance.
$1m Turf Sprint
The chalk has finished first or second in 4 of the last 5. California runners have won all four races going down the hill on this very tricky turf course. Home Run Kitten fits the California angle and is 2 for 2 down the hill; Sweet Swap has won 4 of 8; Ambitious Brew lost by a nostril to the Home Run Kitten last out and has won 3 of 4 with that one nose loss. Reneesgotzip is aptly named and will be a player even though she has just a second and a third from her two runs down the hill.
Bob Baffert loves American Pharoah, who has big early speed and home field advantage. There is other early speed in here with the two Todd Pletcher runners Carpe Diem and Daredevil. Upstart lost to Daredevil last out in the slop and will like getting back to a fast track. Danny Boy who is also entered in an early race comes from off the pace if he goes here. In the last eight Juvenile’s the favorite has finished first or second and of the last seven at Santa Anita five were won by West Coast horses.
$3m BC Turf
Euros have dominated with 12 wins in the last 15, including 1-2 last year with Magician and The Fague. Magician is back to defend. Brown Panther really can run all day and the price just may be right. Flintshire finished second in the Arc de Triomphe and he has won over $2 million. Telescope has never been off the board in 10 lifetime starts with 4 wins, 5 seconds and a third.
$1.5m BC Sprint
California horses have won 6 of the last 8 runnings. Baffert has won four times and sends out Secret Circle, last year’s champ. Secret Circle lost his last start to Rich Tapestry who came in from Japan to beat him by a nostril. No mistakes this time. Work All Week is as steady a sprinter as they come with 11 wins from 14 starts.
$2m BC Mile
The field grew leaps and bounds with the defection of the great Wise Dan. Obviously has big early speed and could hold for a piece if left alone on the front end. Seek Again has been pounding heads with some good runners. Will make a late run. Toronado is a very classy runner from over the pond who will be a force and the one to beat. The last three winners exited from the Woodbine Mile, which makes Trade Storm a player, having won the Woodbine Mile beating Kaigun.
The $5m BC Classic
It’s all about the 3yo’s with the undefeated Shared Belief taking on all comers. The short price will keep this bettor away from him as 7 of the last 8 winners of the Classic have paid double digits. The great mare Zenyatta won at 5/2.
With Bayern, Moreno and Big Cazanova (if he gets in) setting a blistering pace, we could see Tonalist and Zivo blasting down the lane to get the win with Candy Boy making a big late run.
He has hit the board in all three of his starts here and is a must-use in the exotics at a price along with Cigar Street who will fall into a good stalking trip right behind the speed. He could get a jump turning for home. Art Sherman is hoping California Chrome can rebound. Chrome is 3 for 4 on this course.
Here are some early college games and my NFL play of the week:
Cincinnati -4.5 at Tulane: Green Wave doesn’t have enough offense. CINCY.
Notre Dame -15 at Navy: Middies find way to stay close. NAVY
Stanford +12 at Oregon: The Cardinal have beaten the Ducks the last two years. STANFORD.
Auburn +3 at Ole Miss: Rebels get back on the winning end in this revenge game. OLE MISS.
TCU -4.5 at W. Virginia: WVU at home with points a no brainer. WVU.
Last week: 3-5 Season: 38-30-1
Ravens +1.5 at Steelers: Who were those guys in the prison garb that scored 51? The real Gold and Black show up this week. RAVENS.
Last week: 1-1 Season: 8-5.
Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Follow Richard on Twitter @SabesBet. Contact Richard at [email protected].