Key Horse Races & Expert Handicapper Bets - March 13, 2021

Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes – Race 6 at Laurel – Post Time 3:03 PM Eastern

Dixie Drawl, who was very well regarded last month in the John B. Campbell Stakes at 5/2, but who ran sixth, comes back three weeks later at the nine furlong distance of his stellar nine length win just before that and I think that’s the key to posting the mild upset opening at 6/1. Winner of five of his last nine before the Campbell, Dixie Drawl is two for three at this trip and has earned all six career wins at Laurel and the effort on 1/23 earned a 111 Equibase figure which is THE BEST earned by any horse in this race, period, so running back to that effort makes him tough to beat.

Galerio is a very consistent horse BUT he’s as consistent at running second (10 times) as winning (eight) in his career. Furthermore, he is running nine furlongs for the first time whereas the other two contenders have not only run the distance, they have won at it, so although he’s a MUST for exactas and trifectas I won’t be considering a win bet on him opening at 7 to 2 odds too low for me.

Mischief Afoot offers a second win bet opportunity opening at 8/1 as a horse who won at nine furlongs one before last and who is making his second start off a layoff. Shipped up from Florida for this race, the four year old has improving to do and although he’s never run in a stakes any improvement off the career-best 102 figure effort at the end of January should get him in the top three at the least here and certainly I wouldn’t want to watch him win at 8 to 1 without having a few bucks on him.

ForewarnedCordmaker (a false favorite at 3/1 starting odds who is winless in nearly 18 months, Tattooed (good second in the General George sprinting last month) and Plot the Dots (stepping into stakes on dirt for the first time but 9 for 13 first or second in his career) all deserve some consideration for second and third on exacta and trifecta tickets.

Handicapper Picks

WinDixie Drawl to win at odds of 5/2 or more AND Mischief Afoot to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

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.

Exacta and TrifectaMischief AfootGalerio and Dixie Drawl over Mischief AfootGalerioDixie DrawlForewarnedCordmakerTattooed and Plot the Dots. (For the trifecta use the same horses in second and third)

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Private Terms Stakes – Race 8 at Laurel – Post Time 4:07 PM Eastern

This race for three year olds only is always interesting as some of these will go on to prep one more time then run in the Preakness in two months. Although morning line favorite Maythehorsebwithu is the logical choice off a record of 3-3-0 in seven tries including the Miracle Wood Stakes last month, he is trying two turns for the first time and it’s tough to back a horse at low odds to win trying something for the first time. However, Excellorator is doing the same thing, BUT opening at 6/1 there’s value for the risk so he’s the win bet and key to profit. Excellorator started his career on all-weather at Woodbine last year and finished second or third sprinting in three straight then tried turf last November and ran badly. Moved to conventional dirt last December, he won three in a row but his connections decided to risk him for a $62,500 claiming price last month and good trainer McMahon snapped him up. Getting top jockey Angel Cruz (24% wins in dirt routes for the last 12 months), this son of Orb has every right to run as well or better around two turns and he’s not a need the lead type so I expect him to be closing strongly late and hopefully post the upset.

MaythehorsebwithuShackled Love (a good second in a one turn mile like the favorite last time out) and Royal Number (dropping in class off a fourth in the Grade 3 Withers and a seven length winner at Laurel at this distance before that) are the horses to use on exacta tickets, as well as any pick 3 or 4 tickets played involving this race.

Handicapper Picks

WinExcellorator to win at odds of 2/1


Excellorator over MaythehorsebwithuShackled Love and Royal Number

MaythehorsebwithuShackled Love and Royal Number over Excellorator

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Silks Run Stakes – Race 11 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 5:19 PM Eastern

The Connector knows how to win, evidenced by a six for 13 overall record. Three of those wins came on all-weather and another two came at this five furlong trip on turf. He’s shipping in from Tampa so that’s why he opens at 8/1 even though he won two of his last three and was third in the similar Turf Dash Stakes last month, and getting Jose Ortiz to ride I think this four year old has a big shot to post the upset, opening at 8/1.

Carotari opens as the second favorite at 3/1, with Yes I am Free opening at 5/2. The latter is five for 11 with two seconds and the former has five wins and five runner-up finishes in 17 races so Yes I Am Free has shown more of a winning spirit BUT that one gets the rail he’s not had before in a sprint in two years and I think Carotari is more likely to win, just as he did last year taking this stakes, off the same prep in which he lost by a neck.

Mai Ty One On just beat Yes I Am Free by a neck on the wire at the distance over the course in a classified allowance race and rounds out the contenders.

Handicapper Picks

WinThe Connector to win at 2 to 1 or more.

“IF” Carotari goes to post at 5 to 2 or higher, he can be bet to win as well, and if so, this too is the perfect race for using a “Dutching” tool like the free one at Amwager, because it will allocate the win bets based on odds, putting more on the lower odds horse automatically. That is just one of many other great features and perks at

Exacta and Trifecta:

The Connector over Yes I Am FreeCarotari, and Mai Ty One On (same horses in third for the trifecta as second)

Carotari and The Connector over Yes I Am FreeCarotariThe Connector and Mai Ty One On (same horses in third for the trifecta as second)

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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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