Belmont and Santa Anita Horse Racing Picks for Saturday, September 26, 2020

Noble Damsel Stakes – Race 8 at Belmont – Post Time 4:42 PM Eastern

In this nine horse field (10 minus one entered for main track only), Sweet Bye and Bye is the one to beat and because the field is well balanced I believe she will go to post near her 7 to 2 starting odds, making her a KEY WIN BET on the day. She was six for 14 before going on the sidelines in January, then returning in August in the Tony Dutrow barn. The debut was a turf sprint and she ran huge to miss by a half-length and a head in that race, the Caress Stakes at Saratoga. Stretching out to this mile trip 25 days later, Sweet Bye and Bye gamely fought head and head the entire length of the stretch and came out on top by a neck. The 111 Equibase figure is tied for the best last race figure in the field (with Blowout) and is slightly better than the 110 figures Viadera and Noor Sahara earned when first and second, respectively, in the De La Rose Stakes, also at Saratoga this summer. Likely to take a big step forward third off the layoff, Sweet Bye and Bye can earn her eighth career win in her 17th start in this race.

Noor Sahara, Blowout and Viadera cannot be discounted as contenders to win or to hit the board so they will absolutely be used on exacta, trifecta and double tickets.


Win: Sweet Bye and Bye at odds of 9 to 5 or higher.


Sweet Bye and Bye over Noor Sahara, Blowout and Viadera

Noor Sahara, Blowout and Viadera over Sweet Bye and Bye

(My recommendation is to play the first of the two exactas for twice as much money as the second. For example $4 and $2)


Sweet Bye and Bye over ALL over Noor Sahara, Blowout and Viadera

(This covers one of the other five horses coming in second and compliments the first of the two exactas above)


Race 8: Sweet Bye and Bye

Race 9: Share the Ride

Race 8: Sweet Bye and Bye, Noor Sahara, Blowout and Viadera

Race 9: Share the Ride

Race 8: All

Race 9: Share the Ride

Vosburgh Stakes – Race 9 at Belmont – Post Time 5:14 PM Eastern

As you can probably tell from the double recommendations in race 8, Share the Ride is my one and ONLY selection to win this year’s Vosburgh. Sure, the other five horses all have races good enough to win, but at the same time all five do not look capable of beating Share the Ride in their current form, compared to his. Winner of three races from his first five, Share the Ride didn’t win again from May of 2019 until July 20 of this year. That win came off a six and one-half month layoff. It was also the first time the horse was entered for a claiming price. It was also his first start since being gelded. Trainer Arriaga picked Share the Ride up for 16K that day and since then he has run big in BOTH dirt sprints, first finishing second in August with a 108 figure then after two races on turf running the best race of his career with a 113 figure. That figure is the BEST winning figure earned by any horse in this field, EVER, with the exception of Firenze Fire, and it’s the best (fastest) race run by any horse in this field in 2020. Share the Ride earned that win leading from start to finish but has also won from off the pace. Franco gets on and in his current form, Share the Ride is the one the rest have to beat to win.


Win: Share the Ride at 2 to 1 or more.

Speakeasy Stakes – Race 5 at Santa Anita – Post Time 5:39 PM Eastern (2:39 Pacific)

This is a “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint the first full weekend in November and as such this nine horse field consists of three first time starters and three horses running on turf for the first time. One of those is Windy City Red, who broke his maiden easily at first asking on the all-weather surface at Golden Gate. The transition to turf is not nearly as difficult as for horses that have only raced on dirt, and the colt is handled by high percentage trainer Wong, who doesn’t ship to Southern California often but who is very dangerous when he does. Windy City Red earned a 79 figure in his debut, well within range of horses at much lower starting odds than his 15/1 odds, particularly when you consider two year olds can improve markedly from one race to another.

Amanzi Yimpilo is a filly facing males who ships in from New York for top trainer Wesley Ward, out of a third place effort in the Bolton Landing Stakes, making her the only horse in the field with stakes experience. She stalked in second early in that race and ran just fine with an 84 figure. She won her debut in June with an 85 figure, also in a turf sprint, and although she led start to finish first out and did not show a kick second time out, with blinkers coming off today I think she’s not going to be a need-the-lead types at it appears others in here are. Luis Saez comes in to ride and that’s a plus as well.

Feathers, the other filly in the race, also opens at double digit odds (12/1) like Windy City. Feathers won in her debut at seven furlongs on turf in England, tracking the leader and gamely winning by a nose, then she finished fifth in a stakes. Getting a good outside post and underrated jockey in Ricky Gonzalez, she’s got a shot to upset as well.


Win: Bet any of the three contenders at 4 to 1 or higher. If two of the three are near 4 to 1 at post time, BET BOTH.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. A Dutching tool lets you set the amount you want to bet or the amount you want to win, then based on the odds your bets are proportioned accordingly. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exacta: Windy City Red, Amanzi Yimpilo and Feathers over ALL.

Rodeo Drive Stakes – Race 7 at Santa Anita – Post Time 6:41 PM Eastern (3:41 Pacific)

Tonahutu has run three huge races in a row since Doug O’Neill reached in to claim her for $32,000 in May. A very consistent mare, Tonahutu has been first or second in 12 of 19 races including a win in the race she was claimed out of. Cedillo rode her for the first time last out and rode her exceptionally well when rallying from third to draw off by almost two lengths at the end. Although Tonahutu was in a claiming race in May, she fits with these as she missed by a half-length to Maxim Rate two before last, with Maxim Rate going on to win the CTT Stakes last month, and she missed by a nose to Bodhicitta one before last, with that one going on to win the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon. There’s also NO concern about Tonahutu’s ability to run 10 furlongs as her sire is Sir Prancealot, a European sire who has only had a few runners in the U.S. However, one of those is likely favorite Lady Prancealot, who won the Grade 1 American Oaks at this 10 furlong turf trip last December.

Mucho Unusual is the other main contender for win bets. She led late and came up a half-length short to Lady Prancealot in the American Oaks and ran well in three of four since, including when third of 10 in the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes in May. She will enjoy the stretch out to 10 furlongs from her last race at a mile and I’m not concerned about Prat getting off (for Bodhicitta) as Hernandez is an underrated turf rider. Mucho Unusual opens at 5/1 so offers value similar to Tonahutu, whereas the other contenders to not, in least insofar as win bets are concerned.

Bodhicitta (5/2 morning line) and Lady Prancealot (2/1) can win but don’t have to. The strategy in the exotic bets below will be to try to split them and get Tonahutu or Muchu Unusual in first or second, hopefully with one of those two but it will be okay if Bodhicitta or Lady Prancealot fill out the exacta as well. Maxim Rate can be used on exacta ticket as well. She won the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes in May, 2019 and is in top form versus cheaper with two wins and a loss by a head.


Win: Tonahutu and/or Mucho Unusual at 2 to 1 or more.

This is the kind of race where a “Dutching” tool like the free one at Amwager really comes in handy as it proportions your bets based on the odds so you don’t have to do the math for yourself.


Tonahutu over Maxim Rate, Bodhicitta, Mucho Unusual and Lady Prancealot

Maxim Rate, Bodhicitta, Mucho Unusual and Lady Prancealot over Tonahutu

Mucho Unusual over Maxim Rate, Bodhicitta, Lady Prancealot and Tonahutu

Maxim Rate, Bodhicitta, Lady Prancealot and Tonahutu over Mucho Unusual

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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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