Key Races & Bets for Saturday, June 15, 2019

Ginger Punch Stakes – Race 5 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 2:49 PM Eastern


With Faith N Hope stretching out and likely to go for the early lead, running as fast or faster than she usually does, which is to say getting the opening half-mile in about 47, the race falls to the closers. Those are made up two distinct groups. The first group are horses like Aquemini, who has a career record of 3-10-5 which in my mind clearly states she doesn’t know how to win or is always closing too late to do so, as exampled by her most recent race when 18 lengths back early and second, beaten a half-length, at the end. Another in that group is Bitacora, with a career mark on turf of 4-8-1, her last win coming in this race one year ago and winless in eight races since although she has finished second twice and third (a neck from second) once. The last of the group is Supercommittee, who was second with an eighth of a mile to go in the similar Powder Break Stakes in late April, before (as usual) running evenly and ending up third.


The other group consists of two “WIN” types – Passion Plus and Una LunaPassion Plus has a record of 4-0-2 in 10 races on grass including the most important of those, her last race. On May 30 in her 2nd start following a long seven month layoff and her 2nd start after changing to the Sano barn, also her first with Zayas aboard, the filly rallied from 14 back to close with a flourish and be in front by two lengths at the eighth pole before coasting home. She should be stronger third off a layoff and with Zayas riding back could win again. Una Luna has a 4-2-2 record in 11 turf races and also won her most recent start, on 5/30, the same day Passion Plus won. Una Luna had Jaramillo riding that day, for the first time, and it was a career best effort the same as the career best effort Passion Plus put forth. Passion Plus earned a 90 Equibase figure for her win while Una Luna earned an 89 figure so it is very conceivable these two fillies could be fighting to the wire today if they repeat or improve upon those last efforts.


Win Bets: Considering Passion Plus opens at 12/1 while Una Luna opens at 3/1, Passion Plus is the much better bet, but I would bet them both to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more. I would also add a place bet on Passion Plus at odds of 3 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.



Box Passion Plus and Una Luna


Also, Passion Plus and Una Luna over Passion PlusUna LunaAqueminiBitacora and Supercommittee. Add Amaluna in the second position if she draws in from the also-eligible list.


For half-the amount you bet the above exacta (for example $1 if you bet $2 per combination on the above), play the opposite of the exacta above.


Trifecta: Passion Plus and Una Luna over ALL over Passion Plus and Una Luna.

 (This covers the possibility of Passion Plus and Una Luna finishing first and third)


Honey Bee Stakes – Race 10 at Monmouth – Post Time 5 PM Eastern


Servis is loaded with three horses in this race but all have similar ownership and two don’t have riders named so I suspect only one will run and that will be A Bit of Both, with Juarez named to ride. She’s VERY fast early, having wired the field in three straight, all on dirt. She reminds me of Servis’ top sprinter World of Trouble, who just runs the field off their feet nearly every time whether the race is on turf or on dirt. The only problem I see with A Bit of Both wiring the field is “IF” #11 Margie Is Livid gets in from the also-eligible list as that filly can run under 21 for the first quarter and she is absolutely a “need the lead” type the same as A Bit of Both is. So, for betting purposes I’ll use A Bit of Both but she won’t be my top pick.


That status goes to Queen of Bermuda who came back from five months off in April to finish sixth in a stakes as the 6 to 5 favorite, then improved last month to finish third of eight in another turf sprint stakes. She’s moving the right way and her third U.S. start could be her best yet. She won a group 3 stakes in September in an 11 horse field in Ireland so she has the best class in the race and with Bravo getting on it looks like all signs are GO.


Nightlife tried turf for the first time last out on 4/18 and won gamely by a nose. The race proved productive as the third place finisher won very nicely off the effort and with Ferrer, who really knows this turf course, getting on, an even better effort is likely particularly as this will be her second ever start on the grass.


There a lot of horses, six to be exact, to be used on some exacta tickets in the second position, including the two other Servis trainees – Golconda and Corn Off the Cob, as well as EyeintheskyMissmizzOrra Moor and the other also-eligible, Tide Storm.


Win BetsQueen of Bermuda at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

Nightlife to win at odds of 7/2 or more.

Minimum odds for considering a win bet on A Bit of Both are 7 to 2 “if” Margie is Livid runs and 5/2 if Margie is Livid does not run.


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.


Exactas: Queen of BermudaNightlife and A Bit of Both over Queen of BermudaNightlifeA Bit of BothGolcondaCorn Off the CobEyeintheskyMissmizzOrra Moor and Tide Storm


Race 7 at Santa Anita- Post Time 7:03 PM Eastern


Trainer Shelbe Ruis of Ruis Racing moved most of their stable’s horses out of California early this year and based them in Kentucky, near the family’s Chestnut Farm, but has begun to return to California and for Sergio particularly that appears to be a good move as he broke his maiden in February over the track with a strong 85 Equibase figure effort. He was cutting back from seven furlongs to six that day off a third place finish and I view his cut back from a mile (on grass) last out to 6 1/2 furlongs today in a similar light, particularly as he pressed the pace only a length off the leader from the start and most importantly, through the point this race ends. With Satori, Polity and Senditlikechilly all wanting the lead from the start or to press the pace close at hand, Gutierrez can relax Sergio off the pace in fourth to sixth just as he was for that 2/28 winning effort, so that looks repeatable here in this race with eight of the other nine all possessing just one career win just like he does.


Sir Eddie has the biggest class edge in the field, having only run in a claiming race once in 16 starts, that race in January when in for a 50K maiden claiming price, leading late and finishing second. He won his next start, in April, at this 6 1/2 furlong trip, easily then ran poorly in a starter allowance and when completely overmatched in a Cal-bred allowance on the turf last month. Back on dirt, back at the distance of his win, reunited with Prat (who rode him to the win) and facing much easier, Sir Eddie has a fine shot to run back to that top effort which earned him an 88 figure.


Senditlikechilly has a shot to avoid the likely early all-out pace battle between Satori and Polity, the latter with apprentice Diaz likely to let the horse roll. From the outside, although close up, it’s possible with the jockey change to Arroyo, Senditlikechilly can sit just off the pace as he did three back on 4/20 when he drew off to win by three and one-half lengths with an 85 figure. Last time out on 5/25, the horse sat in third early and then passed the leaders to be up by two lengths in the stretch before being passed but beaten only a half-length while nearly three in front of the third horse, so he must be respected with a good post like the eight post he won from in April.


Win Bets:  Sergio and Sir Eddie at odds of 5/2 or more.

Senditlikechilly at 3/1 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.


Exactas: SergioSir Eddie and Senditlikechilly over SergioSir EddieSenditlikechillySatori, Kidmon, Surfside Sunset, Polity and Mo Dinero.


Double: SergioSir Eddie and Senditlikechilly in Race 7 with Desert Law in Race 8.


Thor’s Echo Handicap – Race 8 at Santa Anita- Post Time 7:36 PM Eastern


Desert Law has won four of 12 career starts on dirt, two of those at Santa Anita and three of them at this basic six furlong trip. Returning from a June to May layoff in an “open” (not restricted to Cal-Breds) allowance race, he pressed a very hot pace from the start then tired a bit to end up fourth. That prep sets him up nicely for a new career best effort, better than the one he put in in this race last June which preceded the layoff, in which he earned a solid 106 Equibase figure. He has the right off-the-pace style in this speed laden field and Bejarano, up for the win last June and the comeback last month, rides back. The works since raced have been top notch, the first two of the three both being “Bullet” (best of the day) workouts at five furlongs.


The reasons the race sets up nicely for Desert Law are as follows – Coil Me Home added blinkers last time out and ran hard early so should run as hard or harder here from the rail which forces him to go from the bell, To The Wire and Smiling Angelo have had the lead at the quarter mile mark in nearly every one of their nine combined career starts. Prodigal Son is yet another who may go for the front, or want to press the pace.


That leaves Fire When Ready as the only horse I want to use in exactas with Desert Law because Fire When Ready can take advantage of an outside post to stalk the pace and could benefit when the pacesetters and pressers tire.


Win Bets: Desert Law to win at odds of 3 to 2 or more (a true low odds overlay)

Exactas: Box Desert Law and Fire When Ready. Also Play Desert Law over Fire When Ready.


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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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