Key Bets & Races for Saturday, November 24

Gio Ponti Stakes – Race 8 at Aqueduct – Post time 3:20 PM Eastern Time


On the heels of a nice profit last week on the turf at Aqueduct on this blog with Fire Away winning and Monster Bea finishing second, this stakes caught my attention because Fuel the Bern opens at 12/1. Racing for the tough Clement stable to start his career, he finished fast while green from 10th to 3rd in his career debut in October 2016, on the turf, then ran on dirt in November and went on the bench. Returning in September, Fuel the Bern ran poorly on dirt when nearly not finishing so was dropped into a 40K maiden claimer on turf. He won that race with authority by three and one-half lengths in a field of 11 and was immediately snatched up by solid trainer Gargan, perhaps with this turf stakes restricted to just three year olds in mind. Sure, the colt may have problems, but he just won convincingly on turf and is making his 3rd start off a very long layoff, often a peak effort in a horse’s form cycle. Gargan is having a very successful Aqueduct meeting, with a 4-4-1 record in 13 starts, and his main jockey (Carmouche) gets on, this jockey/trainer team wining nearly 1/3 of their starts. As such, all signs are GO for an odds beating effort. Small Bear and Hieroglyphics finished 2nd and 1st, respectively, in the similar non-graded Better Talk Now Stakes at Saratoga on 8/28. Both ran poorly in the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes after that but on the drop back out of graded stakes both their 8/28 efforts could be repeated and if they are these two could be right in the thick of the action on the wire.

Bet Fuel the Bern to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more and add a place bet if 5 to 1 or higher. Consider additional win bets on either Small Bear, Hieroglyphics, or both, at odds of 3 to 1 or more. Use a ditching tool like the one at Amwager to determine the proper amounts to be in order to maximize profit.

Play an exacta box consisting of Fuel the Bern, Small Bear and Hieroglyphics.


Hollywood Turf Cup – Race 7 at Del Mar – Post time 6:30 PM Eastern Time (3:30 Pacific Time)

Prime Attraction is the ONLY horse in the field who has any desire to lead early and will be able go as slow as he wants in the early stages. He nearly pulled off the 7 to 1 upset in the similar John Henry Turf Cup in October, beaten a head on the wire by multiple graded stakes winner Itsinthepost, and today he should not be caught. If Prime Attraction is to be caught, either Chicago Style or Prince of Arabia will do the catching. Chicago Style won a pair of races over the Del Mar turf at 11 furlongs in July and August under Van Dyke, who rides here, so this 12 furlong trip shouldn’t be an issue although it must be noted in the John Henry he finished a non-threating fifth, the only reason to believe a form reversal may be coming is the switch from Santa Anita back to Del Mar. Prince of Arabia is trained by Cassidy same as Prime Attraction and won at this 12 furlong trip in April with a rally from 7th of 8 so may be passing many of these and it’s not out of the question he could pass them all for the upset.


Bet Prime Attraction to win at odds of 5 to 2 or higher.

Consider win bets on Chicago Style and Prince of Arabia at odds of 7 to 2 or more. If you are an Amwager member use the dutching tool to allocate your win bet appropriately in order to achieve the best profit.


Play an exacta box between Prime Attraction, Chicago Style and Prince of Arabia.


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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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