Key Bets & Races for Saturday, December 2

Go For Wand Stakes – Race 6 at Aqueduct – Post time 2:06 PM Eastern Time

Verve’s Tale ran the best race of her career to date last time out (with a field high last race 109 Equibase figure) when leading late and ending up a head short of winning the similar Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm Stakes at Belmont. Even though that was a one turn route like this, the cut back in distance a 16th of a mile really helps as she led in that race at the point this one-turn mile race ends and she was 4 1/2 lengths clear of the next horse. Verve’s Tale is a winner at the level over the track, having won the Comely Stakes about this time last year and she should get a great trip off the hot pace likely to be set by Lucy N Ethel. Jamyson ‘n Ginger was privately sold to Juddmonte following her runner-up effort in June, which followed six months off. She ran 2nd in the 2016 Demoiselle on this day last year and has won both starts since moved to the Brown barn, Castellano aboard for both victories and riding today. Jamyson ‘n Ginger is on an upward pattern with a 93 figure two back and a 103 figure last out and could get to the 109 range Verve’s Tale is a capable of repeating from her last start but at 9/5 starting odds compared to 5/1 for Verve’s Tale, Jamyson ‘n Ginger isn’t a good win bet although she is an absolute must to use for multi-race bets (like the double and pick 3) we can start in this race. Highway Star is a perfect 4 for 4 at this one mile trip and 3 for 3 at Aqueduct. She ran poorly in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and if that was the result of a hard campaign she is likely to run poorly again. I am taking the stand that she didn’t enjoy traveling to California and back in New York, where all of her wins have come, she can return to the form shown one before last when winning the Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont with a 108 figure comparable to Verve’s Tale’s best and to Jamyson ‘n Ginger’s best.

Bet Verve’s Tale to win at 2 to 1 or more.

Play an exacta box between Verve’s Tale and Jamyson ‘n Ginger. Play another exacta box, this one consisting of Verve’s Tale and Highway Star. There’s no benefit to playing an exacta box with the two favorites Highway Star and Jamyson ‘n Ginger.


Demoiselle Stakes – Race 8 at Aqueduct – Post time 3:12 PM Eastern Time

Similar to last weekend’s Turf Sprint Championship Stakes, where Jason Servis had an uncoupled entry and we bet both, cashing at $15.60 with Rainbow Heir, in this year’s Demoiselle Stakes John Servis (Jason’s brother) send out both Daisy and Maurer Power, the latter the much better bet of the two not only because Maurer Power opens at 4 to 1 compared to 5 to 2 for Daisy but also because Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides Maurer Power. Before I discuss why that’s important, let’s talk about the filly. Maurer Power is 2-for-2 in her career, her most recent effort a sharp win at Parx with an 81 figure which is comparable to the last race figures of most of these. She’ going to love the two-turn trip she’s trying for the first time because she’s a daughter of Violence (who is by Medaglia d’Oro) and more importantly because her dam’s other 7 foals have 14 wins in 100 starts in dirt routes. The runner-up from her 10/21 win came back to win and the ONLY time Ortiz and Servis teamed up in the last year or so was for a big win by Mo Green this spring in the Top Flight Handicap. Daisy can’t be ignored, at least not when considering exotic bets in this race. She gets the ground saving rail and won the Grade 3 Tempted Stakes last month in only the 2nd start of her career. She’s also a perfect 2-for-2 and on an improving pattern with an 83 figure last out. Layla Noor helps make the exotics profitable if she runs as expected, opening at 12/1. She ran in her first dirt route last month in a race scheduled for turf and rallied from 8th of 10 to draw off and so it makes perfect sense high percentage trainer Delacour is giving her a shot here. Before that last win, Layla Noor finished fast from 12th to 4th in a KEY race on grass won by Rushing Fall, who came back to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in her subsequent start. Held Accountable opens at 8 to 1 even though she’s already a stakes winner, because she’s a New York bred facing open company. She’s improved in both starts since her debut and her runner-up finish last out at a mile suggests this 9 furlong trip won’t be an issue, not to mention the horse that finished 6th in that race has already come back to win. The race is very playable because the 2/1 favorite is Wonder Gadot¸ who is going to be bet based on the fact she’s dropping off a 4th place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, which was her first try on dirt. She had trouble in that race while rallying and that’s another reason bettors will flock to her but she hasn’t won on dirt and I’m not going to take a short price because of that. She should be considered for exotic wagers, however, as should Indy Union, who won a maiden race by 7 but it was a one turn mile. Her previous two dirt starts were not that great but she’s another to consider for exotics.

Bet Maurer Power to win at 2 to 1 or more.

Consider a win bet on Daisy at 2 to 1 or more as well. To determine the best way to wager for profit, use a ditching tool like the one at Amwager which helps you figure out how much to bet on two or more horses to get the same return.

Also, a small win wager on Layla Noor at 5 to 1 or more is something to consider.

Play an exacta of Maurer Power, Daisy, Layla Noor and Held Accountable over Maurer Power, Daisy, Layla Noor, Held Accountable, Wonder Gadot and Indy Union.

Consider playing the same wager above as a trifecta by using the same horses in second for the exacta in third for the trifecta .


Display Stakes – Race 6 at Woodbine – Post time 3:36 PM Eastern Time

Although I was disappointed Archaggelos didn’t make the trip to California for the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile or Juvenile Turf), I am pleased he is making one more start this year. Archaggelos finished 2nd in his career debut in July in a two-turn race on turf, then broke his maiden in a race which turned out to be a KEY race. Third place finisher Quail Hunt demolished a full field by open lengths in his next start and Archaggelos won the Grade 3 Grey Stakes at Woodbine and at this distance on 10/1. Archaggelos continues to improve with every start and as he’s already proven on turf and all-weather, could be a force to be reckoned with on both surfaces, as well as on dirt, because he’s a half-brother to Big Brown. Although Archaggelos is my top pick and a low odds overlay anywhere near his 3/1 starting odds, Pipers Warrior is a horse I can’t ignore either because he opens at 12/1. Pipers Warrior ran in his 1st two-turn race last month, his 3rd career starts, and powered off by four lengths with a career best 85 Equibase figure on par with the 88 figure Archaggelos earned winning the Grey Stakes a few weeks earlier. Pipers Warrior is cut out to be a good one going long, as his dam’s other foals are 11 for 42 in routes, including 400K winner Niigon’s Glory. As such, we may be able to extract a lot of profit from this race if Pipers Warrior runs well.

Bet Archaggelos to win at odds of 3 to 2 or higher.

Make a win bet, for a smaller amount, on Pipers Warrior at 4 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 10/1 or more.

Play an exacta of Archaggelos over ALL (as any of the other eight have a short to finish second).

Play another exacta consisting of Archaggelos and Pipers Warrior over all. (this covers the possibility that Pipers Warrior runs first and Archaggelos runs second).

Play trifecta’s (they are only $0.20 at Woodbine) as follows: Archaggelos and Pipers Warrior over ALL over ALL. (The cost of this bet at $0.20 is $22.40).

Play additional trifectas of Archaggelos and Pipers Warrior over ALL over Archaggelos and Pipers Warrior.


Cigar Mile Handicap – Race 10 at Aqueduct – Post time 4:16 PM Eastern Time

Tom’s Ready has earned all five of his wins at a mile or at seven furlongs, including a huge effort in the Bold Ruler Handicap last month at Belmont Park in which he earned a career best 122 Equibase figure. He was visually impressive in the Bold Ruler as he rallied from last of nine (eight wide) to drive past the field. Flattered since then when Bold Ruler runner-up Stallwalkin’ Dude won the Fall Highweight Stakes a little over a week ago and benefiting from a hot pace battle between Sharp Azteca and Seymourdini, the icing on the cake is that jockey Mike Smith comes in from California to ride Tom’s Ready for the first time and there is a Stats Race Lens angle just for this situation, which shows when there is a jockey change to Smith in a graded stakes in the last year, betting to win produces a 28% profit ($2.56 returned for every $2 bet). Americanize ships in from California on the heels of a pair of very strong wins since adding blinkers. His most recent victory came on the undercard on Breeders’ Cup Friday (November 3) in the Damascus Stakes in which he earned a career best 123 figure which matches up nicely with Tom’s Ready if repeated. Jockey Rafael Bejarano was aboard for the horse’s last two wins and comes in from California to ride so we should expect another top effort good enough to win the Cigar Mile Handicap. Beasley finished third in the Bold Ruler last month, just three-quarters of a length behind Tom’s Ready. Although he was fifth in the early stages while Tom’s Ready was ninth and was out finished by the winner, Beasley ran the best race of his career, earning a 121 figure. Considering he is just a three year old, Beasley has more improving to do and he should get a great trip stalking the pacesetters in the Cigar so we must respect his chances to be in the thick of the action at the end.



About some of the others: Although Practical Joke won the H. Allen Jerkens in August, that was against three year olds only and although his only start against tougher was when fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last month (121 figure), the 112 best figure he put forth this year isn’t enough to threaten the top contenders here if repeated. Mind Your Biscuits is a top sprinter but has run this far only once, in a maiden race early in his career. His career best effort came last December winning the Malibu Stakes with a 122 figure, but that was against his own age group and considering the main contenders in the Cigar Mile have run a mile or farther and won, Mind Your Biscuits may have his work cut out for him in terms of winning even though he definitely should be considered for the runner-up and third place spots on exacta and trifecta tickets we may play. Seymourdini and Sharp Azteca are both very good horses, with Seymourdini having earned a 119 figure when fourth in the Bold Ruler and Sharp Azteca having earned a career best 129 figure when second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. However, both have the same running style and will want to be in front from the start, so it is likely they will tire each other out just enough to be vulnerable to being passed by any number of stalkers and closers.



Considering all three win contenders are likely to go to post at odds for a profit (as Tom’s Ready opens at 8/1, Americanize opens at 12/1 and Beasley opens at 12/1), we should find a way to make a profit no matter which wins.  


Bet Tom’s Ready to win at odds of 5 to 2 or higher.

Bet Americanize to win at 3 to 1 or higher.

Bet Beasley to win at 7 to 2 or higher.

Play an exacta box consisting of Tom’s Ready, Americanize and Beasley

Play a trifecta in case they come in 1st and 3rd, which is: Tom’s Ready, Americanize and Beasley over Tom’s Ready, Americanize, Beasley, Mind Your Biscuits, Seymourdini, Sharp Azteca, Practical Joke and Summer Revolution over Tom’s Ready, Americanize and Beasley.


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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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