Key Bets & Races for Saturday, October 7

Cross Country Pick 4 – Starts at 4:13 PM with Race 8 at Belmont Park, the Champagne Stakes

Ticket A
Leg 1 (Belmont Park race 8) – Bahamian, Aveenu Malcainu, Honorable Treasure, Enticed

Leg 2 (Keeneland race 8) – Ezmosh, Bourbon Resolution, Enticed, Free Drop Billy, Givemeaminit

Leg 3 (Belmont race 10) – Diversify, Rally Cry

Leg 4 (Keeneland race 9) – Suedois, Mondialiste, Miss Temple City, Heart to Heart

The cost at the $0.50 minimum bet amount is $60 or $64, depending on which race Enticed (who is entered in two races) runs in.

Ticket B

Leg 1 (Belmont Park race 8) – Bahamian, Aveenu Malcainu, Honorable Treasure, Enticed

Leg 2 (Keeneland race 8) – Ezmosh, Bourbon Resolution, Enticed, Free Drop Billy, Givemeaminit

Leg 3 (Belmont race 10) – Diversify, Rally Cry, Pavel, Keen Ice

Leg 4 (Keeneland race 9) – Suedois, Mondialiste

The cost at the $0.50 minimum bet amount is $60 or $64, depending on which race Enticed (who is entered in two races) runs in.

If you played all the contenders and did not cut legs 3 or 4 the total cost at the $0.50 minimum would be $160

Champagne Stakes – Race 8 at Belmont – Post time 4:13 PM ET

The morning line choice is Good Magic, and he’s still a maiden. He finished second as the odds-on favorite in his debut on 8/26 at Saratoga and it was a decent effort but on the other hand he ran 2nd from start to finish, which suggests he will be on or near the lead in this 12 horse field with other “early” pace types to contend with. The main reason he opens at low odds is because his trainer is Chad Brown, and I think we can take a stand against him in a deep field which opens up profit opportunities. Bahamian ships out from California, having skipped last weekend’s Juvenile prep (the FrontRunner Stakes) for what will likely turn out to be an easier spot as there’s not Bold d’Oro (who won impressively) in this field. With “California” types speed, Bahamian may be on an easy lead in this one-turn mile (another reason his trainer likely opted for this spot) and never look back considering he’s likely to improve off what is already one of the best/fastest last races among this group, Bahamian having earned a 96 Equibase Speed Figure, just one-two points below the top figure earners in the field. Better still, the horse that beat Bahamian, Solomini, finished a solid 2nd behind Bolt d’Oro in the FrontRunner. Aveenu Malcainu is a New York bred who just won the (aptly named) Funny Cide Stakes and who is now two-for-two. The race has turned out to be a KEY race as both the 4th and 5th finishers came back to win. The 98 Equibase figure is tops in the field and as a 2 year old the colt can improve upon it. Trainer Englehart scratched the colt out of the $200K New York Breeders’ Futurity on 9/30 to run in this open race and considering the trainer is red hot in the last month I’ll side with his feeling this horse fits with the best 2 year olds in the country right now. Honorable Treasure debuted in a turf route and ran poorly then stayed in a sprint scheduled for turf and moved to dirt and romped home by 6 lengths with a 97 figure. This one turn mile is just fine considering the win came at 7 furlongs and he’s likely to take a big step forward as well. Enticed is entered in both this race and the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland but will likely opt for this spot. He’s the first foal from $1.6 million earner It’s Tricky and won with a lot of maturity from off the pace in his debut. Considering McLaughlin only wins with 6% of his first time starters, that says a lot about this colt’s ability.

Fair odds for win bets are as follows: Bahamian 5/2, Aveenu Malcainu 3/1, Honorable Treasure 3/1, Enticed 4/1

I would consider win bets on at least two of them at above those thresholds.

Play an exacta and trifecta box among those four horses as well.

Claiborne Breeder’s Futurity – Race #8 at Keeneland – Post Time 5:10 PM ET

Ezmosh has run three times and has improved each time. Although he is running around two-turns for the first time his win at a mile (around one-turn) last month was very impressive with the best last race Equibase figure (93) in the field. Javier Castellano rarely rides for this trainer, Brad Cox, who wins a lot of races (149 so far in 2017) and at a very good clip (26%), but when they team up they are 7 for 17 (40%) and that is notable. Ezmosh showed excellent early speed in that win last month and from a good inside post can either take the lead, or if another horse and jockey wants it more, can sit in 2nd or 3rd in the early stages. Bred to like this distance and then some as a grandson of Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus and with improving to do once more, Ezmosh gets slight preference among five win contenders. Bourbon Resolution is another horse that has run three times and who comes into the race off a career best effort, a win. That win earned the best last race figure of any horse in the field, 94, and he too is bred to run even better around two turns so improvement isn’t just possible, it’s likely. Showing he is holding top form nicely, Bourbon Resolution put in a strong five furlong morning workout that was the 2nd best of 49 on the day at the distance eight days ago as well. Enticed, who is also entered in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont, gets what could be a disadvantageous outside post in this mile and one-sixteenth race, but he comes from behind so I’m hoping jockey Lezcano just lets him drop back to mid-pack so as to not go too wide into the first turn and on the backstretch. He won his only start and although he’s the first foal of his dam, that dam (It’s Tricky) was a multiple grade 1 winner who earned better than $1.6 million so this colt could be any kind as he improves both physically and mentally. Free Drop Billy and Givemeaminit were a nose apart when finishing 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the Hopeful Stakes last time out and can move forward too.

Fair odds for win bets are as follows: Ezmosh 2/1, Bourbon Resolution 5/2, Enticed 7/2

I would consider win bets on at least two of them at above those thresholds.

I would play an exacta box consisting of Ezmosh, Bourbon Resolution, Enticed, Free Drop Billy & Givemeaminit.

Jockey Club Gold Cup- Race #10 at Belmont – Post Time 5:23 PM ET

Diversify has won six of nine starts, finishing 2nd in two of the other three. Although he rallied from off the pace once (ending up beaten a nose) Diversify likes to lead early and for the most part puts away any challengers in the opening strides and cruises around the track in front to the wire. Although his wins have come in statebred races, the Equibase Speed Figures Diversify has earned, particularly his most recent (118) when dominating by 11 lengths, are as good as those of the horses who have run well in open like the 119 Keen Ice earned when second to Gun Runner in the Whitney Stakes in August. As such, I expect Diversify to prove an elusive target on the front end in this situation.

Rally Cry is one of three entrants saddled by North American leading trainer Todd Pletcher, the other two being Destin and Keen Ice. Rally Cry is the least accomplished of the group, with his only stakes win coming in the Alydar Stakes in August. However, like Diversify, Rally Cry dominated in the Alydar (winning by nearly 9 lengths) and earned a 119 figure. Rally Cry has something else in common with likely betting favorite Keen Ice in that he was second to division leader Gun Runner the Woodward in his most recent race, which gives Rally Cry has every right to win. Pavel is a rapidly improving three year old, having earned a 97 figure when fourth in the Jim Dandy behind Good Samaritan before a 110 figure effort when dominating by six lengths in the Smarty Jones Stakes last month. With a running style that should see him sitting second in the early stages behind likely pacesetter Diversify, it is possible Pavel may get first run on the closers like Keen Ice, Good Samaritan and Highland Sky and prove tough to run down in the final stages to post the upset. Keen Ice continues to run big races on occasion and disappoint just as often. He has run 23 times in his career, with just two wins other than his maiden win, but those two wins were huge efforts that helped earn the bulk of the $3.2 million he has banked in his career. First, he beat American Pharoah I the 2015 Haskell Invitational, then nearly two years later Keen Ice won the Suburban Handicap rather authoritatively by three lengths. Most recently second to Gun Runner in the Whitney Stakes with a career best 119 figure, Keen Ice is the kind of horse that, if he shows up with his best, can win.

Fair odds for win bets are as follows: Diversify 2/1, Rally Cry 3/1

(I would set fair odds on Pavel at 3/1 but he opens at 5/2 so wouldn’t likely be a win play)

Shadwell Turf Mile- Race #9 at Keeneland – Post Time 5:45 PM ET

Suedois and Mondialiste share the same owner and trainer, but because this is a graded stakes they don’t run coupled (example 1A and 1B) for betting purposes. That is great for bettors, because they will both offer good odds, particularly Suedois, who has earned $766,000 compared to $1.8 million for Mondialiste, the latter somewhat known to North American bettors as he won the Grade 1 Arlington Million in 2016 and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile in 2015 here at Keeneland, also winning the Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile in 2015. Mondialiste finished 4th in that same race this year, but that’s just fine, as he was last of 12 early and was only beaten a nose for 3rd. He’s earned the majority of his $1.8 million at this mile trip and is truly a Grade 1/Group 1 miler whereas others in the field are grade 1 types but not at a mile or grade 2/3 types. Suedois just won a group 2 stakes at a mile in Ireland and gets Lasix for the first time, with regular rider Tudhope taking the call, which is interesting as Tudhope rode Mondialiste to win the 2016 Arlington Million. Back in the summer of 2016, Suedois finished 2nd in the Group 1 Darley July Cup so he’s proven at the level and could potentially post the upset here. Both look to be very competitive, with jockey Lynch taking the mount on Mondialiste.

Miss Temple City is the best of the North American contingent, as she not only beat males in the spring of 2016 in the Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland, she duplicated the feat winning the 2016 Shadwell Turf Mile. Fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile after that, Miss Temple City finished off a big 2016 campaign with another grade 1 win before taking time off. Disappointing in England in June off a layoff, Miss Temple City got back into top form with a win last month at this mile trip in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes and is as fit as she was entering last year’s Shadwell Mile, but does face tougher competition. Just the same the Equibase Figure she earned winning the 2016 Maker’s 46 Mile (124) is the best figure by any in here, with Mondialiste’s best 119 and Hear to Heart’s Best 118. Still, that was 18 months ago and her best figure this year is 108 so she will have to be at her best to repeat.

Heart to Heart will be 1st or 2nd from the start as he nearly always is, having now won 12 times in 23 turf races for $1.2 million in earnings. He led every step of the way in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap last month at Saratoga and missed by a neck in this spring’s Maker’s 46 Mile so fits on all counts. Although all the other trainers know what Heart to Heart’s strategy will be (go to the front), it’s unlikely any horse will challenge him early for fear of compromising their own chances, and if eft to his own devices, Hear to Heart will dig in and be there all the way to the finish as he was when 2nd in the 2016 Maker’s 46 Mile behind Miss Temple City or when beaten a neck this spring in that same race.

Fair odds for win bets are as follows: Suedois 3/1, Mondialiste 3/1 (but I would bet both regardless of odds)/

I would play an exacta and trifecta box consisting of Suedois, Mondialiste, Miss Temple City and Heart to Heart

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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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