Key Bets & Races for Saturday, January 20

Sunshine Millions Turf – Race 7 at Gulfstream Park – Post 3:00 PM Eastern Time

When he won the Mecke Stakes in July over the Gulfstream Park turf, Spring Up was sent off at 7 to 2 odds and in that race he beat Galleon Mast, who won three in a row after that, all stakes on the course, before a second place finish behind Enterprising in the Millions Turf Preview Stakes. With Galleon Mast and Enterprising opening today at odds of 7 to 2 and 2 to 1, the 8 to 1 starting odds on Spring Up make him a definite play particularly as he’s in excellent form following a nose defeat in a classified allowance at Tampa Bay Downs in his most recent start. Better still, Spring Up will get a great pace set up as the horse just inside of him, Charlie Mops, is a need-the-lead type who adds blinkers so if Juarez drops Spring Up in behind the leader in the early stages he can repeat his score in the Mecke Stakes here.


Another value play is Second Mate, opening at 10/1, as he was just a nose behind Spring Up when second in that classified allowance at Tampa last month. As a three year old, Second Mate was stakes place on the grass and last spring he won gamely on the Gulfstream Park turf, the last time he raced over the surface until today. Incidentally, the only time Paco Lopez rode Second Mate was in that victory and Paco gets back on after not having ridden him since. In short, if we think Spring Up can win and offers value as well, we also have to consider Second Mate as he just as easily could have finished in front of Spring Up as behind him in their recent encounter.


Galleon Mast rounds out my top three contenders, having won those three stakes in a row on this course before finishing second last month at Gulfstream Park West, after leading in the stretch. Back on the course accounting for five of his seven career wins and over which he’s never been off the board in 12 races, and with Irad Ortiz, Jr. getting on  for the first time, Galleon Mast must be respected as a top contender here.


As for Enterprising, sure he can win but he doesn’t have a 33% probability to win as suggested by his 2 to 1 starting odds. He can and should be used on any exotic tickets and any multi-race tickets (like the pick 3), as should Swagger Jagger, trained by Maker same as Enterprising and RE-CLAIMED out of his last race when 2nd, one race after Maker lost him via the claim. He was a stakes winner as a three year old on grass and is in excellent form. Actually, there’s not a horse in here we should not consider for exotics if we are using both the price horses Spring Up and Second Mate, so we will also  use the others including Our Way and Manchurian High, the latter who won this race in 2016.



Win Bets: Bet Spring Up and Second Mate to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 6 to 1 or higher.

Note: The best way to bet multiple horses to win and insure the same return no matter which wins is called “Dutching” and has a great dutching tool for doing just that.


Exacta: Spring Up, Second Mate and Galleon Mast over ALL


Pasco Stakes – Race 8 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post time 3:42 Eastern Time

There’s a legitimate favorite in this race and a standout – World of Trouble. However, even at low odds there is profit to be made in exotic bets, trying to turn the same amount we might bet to win into the equivalent of a higher return. For example, if we bet $10 at even money we get $20, but if we bet the same amount in another way and gets $30 we are now getting 2 to 1 odds we couldn’t possibly get on a win bet.


World of Trouble won his debut last summer, in a maiden claiming race, by a whopping 14 lengths. Nobody claimed him which probably gave his connections some relief, particularly when in his next start three weeks later he led late and settled for second in a $200K stakes race. Sometime after that I’m sure the owner’s phone started ringing, and he was purchased by owner Michael Dubb, whose colors we see a lot these days in New York and elsewhere. Sent to the barn of Jason Servis, the colt resumed serious training just recently and appears ready to pick up where he left off, with a win as even his runner-up effort when last seen, with a 103 Equibase figure, puts the rest of these to shame if repeated. Although this is just the start of his three year old campaign, World of Trouble begins in a sprint at the distance of his last race, and with top jockey Gallardo signed on, for a trainer that wins at a very high clip (nearly 30%), World of  Trouble is by far the one to beat here.


Regarding how to make money on a legitimate favorite like World of Trouble, we will use Arazi Like Move in second and third on trifecta tickets as that one has a good closing style and just finished second in the Inaugural Stakes over the track. For multi race bets, there are two options below as well.



Win Bet: “IF” we can get odds of 3 to 2 or higher, bet World of Trouble to win.


Trifectas: World of Trouble over Arazi Like Move over ALL and also World of Trouble over ALL over Arazi Like Move.


Pick 3: World of Trouble in race 8 with Alinea and Artistic Quality in race 9 with ALL in race 10.


Double: Play World of Trouble in race 8 with ALL in race 9 (hoping for a longshot and as a means to counter the pick 3 if it our picks don’t win the second half of the double.


Wayward Lass Stakes – Race 10 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post time 4:15 Eastern Time

Tapa Tapa Tapa won as she pleased by 12 lengths last out on 12/23, over the track around two turns and off a seven month layoff. Based on that effort she opens at 2 to 1 here, and certainly if she repeats it she can win, but what if the effort was a fluke? It could be, considering her last win came 10 months earlier in the Suncoast Stakes around this time against three year olds only, with her other two wins on turf and all-weather. Tapa Tapa Tapa did beat Folk Magic and Ms. Scarlet Fever in that race, but both of those were, and still are, allowance types, having never run in a stakes previously until today.


Taking a look at her best efforts outside of that possibly flukish win with a 109 Equibase Figure reserved for Breeders’ Cup and Kentucky Oaks winners, Tapa Tapa Tapa’s best effort yielded a 97 figure, the same figure both Blue Collar and Full of Zip earned in their most recent wins. Blue Collar was privately purchased after her last win, her second win in a row, both coming since taking off blinkers, which incidentally is what Tapa Tapa Tapa did before her big recent win. Blue Collar is now in the strong Kenneally barn, with top jockey Gallardo riding, with a very sharp workout coming into the race and with a big shot to post the mild upset, opening at 9 to 2. Full of Zip offers an even better return, opening at 12/1, particularly because she’s housed in the top Graham Motion barn. She won a one turn mile at Laurel last out for that career best effort and has a work over the track to boot.


As stated previously, Tapa Tapa Tapa can win, as can Well Humored (two-for-two on dirt) and Sweet Legacy (whose trainer rarely ships to Tampa but has had success when he does). As such, we can play some exactas using those in the win spot with Blue Collar and Full of Zip in the second spot, as mentioned below.


Win Bets: Bet Blue Collar to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more, truly a KEY BET today.

Bet Full of Zip to win at odds of 3 to 1 and add a place bet at 6 to 1 or more


Exactas: Blue Collar and Full of Zip over Blue Collar, Full of Zip, Tapa Tapa Tapa, Well Humored and Sweet Legacy.


Then play the reverse of that exacta, which is Blue Collar, Full of Zip, Tapa Tapa Tapa, Well Humored and Sweet Legacy over Blue Collar and Full of Zip.


There are really no toss outs for second so we need to finish the exacta using the other three entrants in second by playing Blue Collar and Full of Zip over Ms. Scarlet Fever, Tejana and Folk Magic.


Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf – Race 10 at Gulfstream – Post time 4:30 PM Eastern

Daddy’s Boo opens as the 5 to 2 second choice while Starship Jubilee opens as the 2 to 2 favorite, and I can see why, as between the two they won 10 of 16 races last year. However, both failed as favorites on more than one occasion and in situations just like this so they are not standouts. The best value lies with Bonita, who won back-to-back stakes on this course last summer including one for Florida-Breds only just like this race. Zayas rode her both time and in both races the mare relaxed nicely while far back (7th and 8th) then put in a strong late run to draw off late. In her most recent race, Bonita stayed in a race moved to the main track and still finished 2nd in a fine effort, but back on the sod where she does her best running she has every right to win, opening at 6 to 1.



Win Bet: Bet Bonita to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.


Exactas: Box Bonita & Starship Jubilee, Box Bonita and Daddy’s Boo.

Also play Bonita over ALL and reverse that and play ALL over Bonita as perhaps a longshot can get in the exacta for a sweet profit.


Sunshine Millions Sprint– Race 11 at Gulfstream – Post time 5:00 PM Eastern

X Y Jet, who opens as the even money favorite, beats these “IF” he runs as he did winning the 2016 edition of this race. Note I didn’t say the 2017 edition as he was on the sidelines from November, 2016 until just last month when he came back to win the Mr. Prospector Stakes, a grade 3 stakes, here at Gulfstream. He’s been rested nearly a month so may not regress, BUT as a six year old, at least based on his Mr. Prospector effort, he’s not the horse he was in 2016 by any means. He only earned a 103 Equibase figure in that race and was in a drive in the stretch, compared to 119 to 123 figures in 2016. Maybe he wasn’t 100% fit after 13 months off, but maybe not, and from the rail he will have to be sent hard as there are more than a couple of horses who can and likely will want to stalk in the early stages.


With a horse likely to go to post as the odds on favorite, there will be great value on some others and this is why this race is a KEY BETTING RACE if I am right and X Y Jet can be beaten. I’ll start with Quijote, who opens at 8/1. He was 7 to 2 winning the Millions Sprint Preview in November and his odds would be even lower here if not for the presence of an odds-on favorite. Quijote won the similar statebred Big Drama Stakes in May, with a career best 111 figure, one that stands up very nicely in this field. With Saez getting on and having a 9 for 26 (25%) record when riding for this trainer, Quijote is the one I’ll consider first for win bets.


Storming My Way must be considered for a bet as well, opening at 15/1 with Rosario in the saddle just as he was for a powerful win last month over the track. That was just a claiming race but the 104 figure, and the 106 figure effort when 2nd two races before that, suggests this former stakes placed runner first very nicely here. Sweetontheladies is one more to consider, opening at 20/1. He was second to Quijote in the Millions Preview and won a pair of stakes earlier in his career, one of those last June over the track. Storming My Way lost any chance he had in the Mr. Prospector when he stumbled badly at the start and we can draw a line through that race so he’s got an outside shot to win and a decent shot to be part of the exacta.


Win Bets: Bet Quijote to win at odds of 5 to 2 or higher. Consider a place bet at 8 to 1 or more.

Consider win bets, at a smaller amount than Quijote, on Storming My Way and on Sweetontheladies at odds of 7 to 1 or more, adding place bets at 10 to 1 or higher.


Exactas: Quijote over ALL and then the opposite as well, which is ALL over Quijote. 

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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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