AmWager Key Races & Bets for Saturday, June 1, 2019

Connaught Cup Stakes – Race 8 at Woodbine – Post Time 5:00 PM Eastern

Savage Battle is a lightly raced five year old with just 15 races under his belt, nine of those turf sprints. He has a fantastic record of 4-1-2 in those nine races, including a runner-up effort in the Colonel Power Stakes at Fair Grounds in February and he may be coming in under the radar opening at 8 to 1 here. It’s a big sign he’s live as Patrick Husbands gets on and the horse earned a strong 108 Equibase figure winning a turf sprint in January before earning a 106 figure in the stakes in February, with those figures competitive with the best in here. He comes from mid-pack and in this race with there likely to be a sizzling early pace battle he could get first run on the tiring pacesetters and come home on top. Shakhimat, who has done all his winning when leading from the start, has to go hard for the lead from the rail, but with need-the-lead types Yorkton and El Tormenta in the field there’s little chance any of the three “early” pace types gets the lead they need to succeed and a big chance they set up the stalkers and closers, foremost among them Savage Battle.

Eminent Force won’t go to post anywhere near his 20/1 starting odds with DaSilva named to ride but anything above 4/1 would be betting odds for me because this nine year old with 15 career wins proved he still has what it takes when rallying for second in April following three months off. He won in his third start of the 2018 meeting and this is only his second but the debut was at this seven furlong trip (on the main track) and he’s earned 10 wins from 32 starts on turf in his career. In short, I feel it would be a mistake to leave Eminent Force off any tickets we play involving this race particularly as he too may be up close with Savage Battle early and in a position to be in the exacta at the least down to the wire.

Curlin’s Honor and Emmaus both are win contenders and horses we must use on exacta and trifecta tickets, but opening at odds of 5 to 2 and 2 to 1, respectively, it’s tough to make a case to wager on either two win as neither is a standout. Curlin’s Honor rallied from 10th to third in the Cartier Stakes on the main track last month and last year missed by a neck in the Paradise Creek Stakes at this distance on turf in New York, but both were against three year olds only so he’s not yet proven at this level, or even on turf (where his record is 0-1-0 in three races). Emmaus lost by a neck in his U.S. debut in late April in a stakes at Belmont, which followed six months off, so he’s likely to improve, but to be honest with Moran riding so cold (1 for 62 at the meeting) it’s hard to bet this talented horse to win. Moran has 10 second place finishes at the meeting, and there’s nothing to suggest anything more than his current cold streak is just that, but it must be taken into account when considering a win bet at low odds.


Win Bets: Savage Battle to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

Consider an additional win bet on Eminent Force at 4 to 1 or more, for a smaller amount than on Savage Battle, adding a place bet at 7 to 1 or higher.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.


Instead of a win bet on Savage Battle and/or a win/place bet on Eminent Force we can consider these exactas: Savage Battle and Eminent Force over ALL (for $1) and then ALSO, the opposite, which is ALL over Savage Battle and Eminent Force.

Exactas: Box Savage Battle, Eminent Force and Curlin’s Honor.

Box Savage Battle, Eminent Force and Emmaus. (The strategy with these two exactas is twofold, to split the favorites as the exacta between Curlin’s Honor and Emmaus will be the lowest paying of all the possible combinations, and to maximize profit, hoping that Savage Battle and Eminent Force finish first and second, in which case we cash the bet twice).

Trifecta: Box Savage Battle, Eminent Force, Curlin’s Honor and Emmaus.

Race 6 at Santa Anita – Post Time 6:30 PM Eastern


This is a wide open maiden race which leads into a good betting stakes race so we can take some shots here as well as in doubles to race 7. King Jack appears to be a live first time starter because Smith is riding for Hollendorfer and Smith doesn’t need to ride maidens at this stage of his phenomenal career. Smith and Hollendorfer are 9 for 25 together in the last year and sire Jimmy Creed’s first time starters have won nearly 25% of the time. Best of all the colt put in a very sharp 58.2 five furlong workout, from the gate, on May 10, followed by a pair of six furlong “maintenance” workouts. On Easy Street ran on from fifth and last to second into a runaway seven length winner no horse was going to beat last month. The effort earned a 92 Equibase figure better than it usually takes to win at this level so he must be respected. Music to My Ears finished second in a big effort last month BUT that was at five furlongs on turf and so there’s no guarantee he can run as well on dirt, particularly as the effort only earned a 76 figure. Baffert’s Morning Snow is likely to go favorited because Baffert continues to win at an astronomical level with first time starters. Over the last two years, Baffert has saddled 97 first time starters in straight maiden races, and 48 (effectively 50%) of those have won. The rail can be intimidating so I don’t think he’s a standout and the works, although okay, aren’t that fast, but we can’t ignore that percentage Baffert has put forth. Last but not least, Moana Luna is a first time starter from the barn of veteran Headley, who also bred the gelding and owns him. Although he’s a Cal-Bred in open company, he fits as he’s a FULL BROTHER to $477K winner Cyclometer, who won stakes in open company. One of the dam’s first time starters won and another finished second. Canadian Luck doesn’t have flashy works but they’re consistent and although his sire (Distorted Humor) is known for producing two-turn runners, believe it or not he has sired 18% first out winners in sprints over the last five years.


Win Bets: King Jack and Moana Luna to win at odds of 5 to 2 or higher. Add a place bet on Moana Luna at odds of 5 to 1 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Doubles: Morning Snow, Moana Luna, Music to My Ears, King Jack, Canadian Luck and On Easy Street in Race 6 with Seranitsa and Hostess in Race 7.

Honeymoon Stakes – Race 7 at Santa Anita – Post Time 7 PM Eastern

Seranitsa makes her first start in California after being privately purchased. She has only run three times on turf and all were good efforts, first beaten a neck in January, then winning on March 2 before a third of six finish in a stakes on turf at the end of March. She’s now in the Drysdale barn and the veteran trainer has been sneakily good the past few months, shipping horses all over for wins in stakes. The fact Prat takes the call is a BIG sign in my opinion, because Drysdale and Prat are 10 for 50 in stakes the past five years and Drysdale is very good at getting horses to run well off these kinds of 60-90 day layoffs. The race Seranitsa finished third in on March 30 has become a very productive race, as the winner won a stakes two races later, the runner-up won a stakes two races later and the fourth and fifth finishers finished second in stakes out of that race. The 98 Equibase figure Seranitsa earned is AS GOOD or better than every other horse’s last race figure and she’s moving up a lot off a 6% winning trainer as well.

Hostess won the Providencia Stakes at this nine furlong trip in her U.S. debut in April and following six months off, no easy task. Then, when shortening up to a mile, her late kick may have been dulled as she only managed fourth. It may also have been the jockey change as Van Dyke rode her to victory and Blanc rode her last month. Van Dyke gets back on and the filly gets the same outside post she got when winning so that effort appears very repeatable. The Providencia earned her a 106 figure which is the highest figure earned by any horse in the race, period, so she deserves a ton of respect as a win contender.Maxim Rate finished a nose behind Hostess in the Providencia then won the shorter Senorita in which Hostess finished fourth so she has a shot as she is proven at the distance. Lady Prancealot was a pair of noses shy of winning in the Providencia and a half-length behind Maxim Rate in the Senorita so can’t be ignored either. Over Emphasize is the new face and ran well when second at this nine furlong turf trip last out against allowance company, with a competitive 97 figure.


Win bets: Seranitsa and Hostess to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more.


Seranitsa over Lady Prancealot, Over Emphasize, Maxim Rate and Hostess, THEN ALSO the opposite, which is Lady Prancealot, Over Emphasize, Maxim Rate and Hostess over Seranitsa.

Seranitsa and Hostess over Seranitsa, Lady Prancealot, Over Emphasize, Maxim Rate and Hostess.

Seranitsa, Lady Prancealot, Over Emphasize, Maxim Rate and Hostess over Seranitsa and Hostess.

Penn Mile Stakes – Race 11 at Penn National – Post Time 7:50 PM Eastern

The Black Album will be my choice to post the upset in this year’s Penn Mile Stakes, if he can break with the field as he failed to do in the American Turf Stakes last month, and if he can run down likely lone front runner A Thread of Blue. The Black Album won the Prix la Rochette Stakes at Longchamp in France last September and did so gamely by a nose to earn a 104 Equibase Figure which would be very competitive with horses likely to go to the post at much lower odds in this race if repeated. Highly regarded when imported to the U.S. last fall, The Black Album was entered in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf then took the winter off. When he returned to the races, the colt ran very well when third and beaten just a length in the Transylvania Stakes in April in spite of likely being in need of a race off the long layoff. Following that, The Black Album ran in the 13 horse American Turf Stakes on Kentucky Derby day. In that race, he hopped at the start and was away 12th in the field. After lagging nearly last for the first six furlongs, The Black Album rallied boldly on the turn and was within two lengths of the lead with less than an eighth of a mile to go. At that point, the energy he had expended during the rally caused him to make no further progress although he fought to the wire, finishing seventh but beaten the same two and one-half lengths by the winner he was behind the leader at the eighth pole. In the Penn Mile, if The Black Album can break better to race mid-pack in the early stages, and if he can put in the late kick he showed last year in France, he has a good chance to post the upset.

A Thread of Blue earned his first three wins leading from start to finish, including when taking the 11 horse Dania Beach Stakes field to task in February with a then career-best 99 figure. Then, for the first time in his career, A Thread of Blue showed a new dimension when stalking in third position for the first half-mile in the Palm Beach Stakes in March, taking over on the turn and winning by three-quarters of a length. The 102 figure earned in the Palm Beach was a new career-best effort, which he nearly duplicated in the tougher American Turf Stakes last month. In that race, A Thread of Blue established the pace easily in a field of 13 and was very game to the wire even when passed, beaten three-quarters of a length at the end and finishing a head in front of the third place finisher to earn a 101 figure. Jockey Luis Saez has been aboard for the colt’s last four races including three wins and from an inside post, horse and rider are likely to take advantage of that position to go for the lead from the start. As such, A Thread of Blue has every right to return to stakes winning form in the Penn Mile.

Forty Under won his first two races around two-turns on turf last year, the second and third starts of his career, including the Pilgrim Stakes in September. After a sixth place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, Forty Under took the winter off. Returning off more than five months off rest, his second place effort in the Woodhaven Stakes in April was a good effort and one he can improve upon, perhaps back to graded stakes winning form.


The Black Album to win at odds of 4 to 1 or higher, adding a place bet at odds of 7 to 1 or more.

Exactas: Box The Black Album, A Thread of Blue and Forty Under.

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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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