Key Horse Races & Expert Handicapper Bets - April 17, 2021

Race 8 at Keeneland – Post Time 4:57 PM Eastern

Final Jeopardy (8 to 1 starting odds) and Empty Tomb (5 to 1 starting odds) are the keys to profit here, particularly with morning line favorite South end absolutely false (very vulnerable) at 5 to 2. South Bend returns from six months off, running two turns (1 1/16 miles) with no prep, in an allowance race. Although he has run in all stakes races going back to the fall of 2019, the class drop is a big sign this is just a prep for better and it’s highly unlikely he’s ready to run well enough to win. Add to that South Bend’s best race in the last 18 months isn’t nearly as good as either Final Jeopardy or Empty Tomb and how tough it is to win around two turns off a layoff this race becomes a KEY RACE to be sure because if South Bend stays low odds that makes the odds on our contenders much higher than they should be.

Final Jeopardy has won two of his last three dirt starts, the most recent in January when drawing off by three lengths. He ran in a race at Oaklawn last month with a stakes quality field and was overmatched, running sixth from start to finish. Considering both his recent wins came after really bad efforts, that’s not of any concern. His most recent workout was the best of 38 on the day for a half-mile, at Keeneland and from the gate, and the two wins earned 107 Equibase Figures which are absolutely the best in the field.

Empty Tomb was also overmatched in his most recent race, the Kentucky Cup Classic Stakes, also his first try on an all-weather surface. Prior to that he finished second in two straight, the best of which earned him a 106 figure which is very strong for this field. Meet leading jockey Luis Saez gets on for the first time and that only enhances the chances of Empty Tomb running as well as he did one before last which in this field is good enough to win.

Handicapper Picks

WinFinal Jeopardy AND Empty Tomb to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

This is absolutely the kind of race to bet two horses to win if the odds are right because of the false favorite South Bend.

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.

ExactaFinal Jeopardy and Empty Tomb over Final JeopardyEmpty Tomb and Royal Mesa (who has finished second in his last two races).


Race 8Final JeopardyEmpty Tomb

Race 9Say the WordMonarchs GlenTide of the SeaRed Knight

Pick 3:

Race 8Final JeopardyEmpty Tomb

Race 9Say the WordMonarchs GlenTide of the SeaRed Knight

Race 10LoopalluFinnegan

Note: Race nine at Keeneland is the Elkhorn Stakes and that is the Equibase weekly featured race so you can get that analysis at The top two win contenders are Monarchs Glen and Say the Word but Tide of the Sea and Red Knight have enough probability to win in my opinion we should use them on multi-race bet tickets like the double and pick 3 as well.

Get up to $500 signup bonus and cashback rewards when you bet with AmWager.

Woodhaven Stakes – Race 8 at Aqueduct – Post Time 5:19 PM Eastern

Last week the stakes at Aqueduct was very kind to us, resulting in a $22 winner and $59 exacta with our top two choices running one-two. This week the field is smaller for the turf stakes but there is a lot of value in betting Sifting Sands to win, as he opens at 5 to 1 in spite of being trained by Chad Brown, who saddled $22 winner Delaware last Saturday. Sifting Sands didn’t run well at all in his career debut last summer at Saratoga when exceptionally well regarded at 7 to 5 odds, but when he returned to the races as a three year old in January he ran exceptionally well. Relaxed in fourth in the early stages, Sifting Sands rallied on the turn to lead in the stretch and kept running hard. Very likely to improve second off the layoff and with Brown’s very strong 31% win rate over the last five years moving his maiden winners into stakes competition, I’ll give this colt a big push as another KEY BET on the day. The 4/5 favorite Hard Love is not a standout, not only because he is coming back from nearly five months off, but also because he just ran second around the track in his most recent start back in November, which is nothing to write home about. He did win his debut in a turf route so can fire fresh, but the difference between Hard Love having not run since November and Sifting Sands having just run five weeks ago is significant in my opinion.

Handicapper Picks

WinSifting Sands to win at odds of 2/1


Sifting Sands over Hard Love and Shawdyshawdyshawdy (who rallied from ninth to second in his most recent race)

Get up to $500 signup bonus and cashback rewards when you bet with AmWager.

Race 10 at Keeneland – Post Time 6:03 PM Eastern

This is a starter allowance race and many of these are hard-knocking horses with the ability to run well. We also have a 12 horse field so there should not be a heavy favorite, making this a playable race. That being said, the two which stand out against the other ten open at 7 to 2 and 3 to 1. Loopallu has been first or second in 10 of 16 career races, perhaps better still eight of 12 at this basic six furlong trip. He just won an IDENTICAL starter allowance race at Fair Grounds after two poorer efforts and when returning from a layoff last August he ran FOUR “A” races in a row for first or second place finishes so it’s highly likely he will be holding top form for this race.

Finnegan is the other main win contender, also with a very consistent record of eight first or second finishes in 14 races. Like LoopalluFinnegan enters the race off a win. That win came on March 25 and following nearly 10 months off so he should run even better. Better still, that race was a 5K claimer, which qualified him for these kinds of starter allowance races where otherwise he would be ineligible to run. Joel Rosario gets on for Wesley Ward, who also owns the gelding, and we should expect another big effort.

Handicapper Picks

WinLoopallu or Finnegan to win at 2 to 1 odds or more. In this case I would choose whichever of the pair is the higher odds near post time.


Since our two key horses are not high odds, and since they usually finish second if not first, the trifecta is the better play in my opinion.

Loopallu and Finnegan over Loopallu and Finnegan over Nice WorkHigh Five CottonKate’s Golden Dude and Can’t Say No.

Share This Story!

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.

Related Posts