Key Races & Bets for Saturday December 3rd, 2022

Stormy Liberal Stakes – Race 5 at Del Mar – Post Time 5:30 PM Eastern

Top win contenders:
oddly opens as the 4 to 1 second choice and although he is likely to go to post at lower odds, perhaps 3 to 1, he would still be a low odds overlay at those odds as he just won the Grade 2 Eddie D. Stakes and this is a non-graded stakes. He also won the Desert Code Stakes last year as a three year old and that was his second win in a row. The win in the Eddie D came following six losses since his Desert Code win and he is very capable of winning back-to-back, especially since he also ran big when missing by three quarters of a length at this five furlong turf trip at Del Mar in August. Bravo rode him for the first time in the Eddie D and rides back. Best of all Whatmakessammyrun put in a big three furlong blowout work a few days ago to show he’s on edge for a big effort again, and he was flattered from his Eddie D win because three horses behind him all came back to win their next starts.

Sumter gets a great outside post for this trip to not only avoid any traffic issues but also likely to sit second in the early stages behind likely front runner Hot Box. The colt ran big in back-to-back turf sprints at Del Mar last fall and returned this winter and spring to win a pair of stakes at a mile on grass at Santa Anita. He didn’t run as well around two turns in August off a four month layoff nor when shipped to Kentucky Downs in September, but back at Mandella’s home base he’s been working up a storm and gets Prat, who has a perfect two-for-two record on him when in the saddle.

There are a number of horses which can finish second and can be considered for exactas, including morning line favorite Lane Way as well as Rebel Posse and Turn On The Jets

Handicapper Picks

Win: Minimum odds at which win bets should be considered are 2 to 1 for Whatmakessammyrun and 5 to 2 for Sumter.

The BEST way to maximize profit when wagering to win on multiple horses is to use a “Dutching” tool, which allocates wagers based on the odds. has a great and easy to use dutching tool which allows you to set the amount of money you want to bet, or the amount you want to win, then does the math for you. It’s just one of many great tools, and perks, available at

Box Whatmakessammyrun and Sumter
Also Whatmakessammyrun and Sumter over Whatmakessammyrun, Sumter, Lane Way, Rebel Posse and Turn On The Jets

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Jimmy Durante Stakes – Race 7 at Del Mar – Post Time 6:30 PM Eastern

Top contenders:
Liguria appears to be a legitimate favorite, opening at 3 to 1, but in this 12 horse field I don’t expect her odds to drop much below that so she is definitely going to get first consideration for win bets among three horses which have the bulk of the probability to win. Liguria ships out from New York for Chad Brown and gets Prat to ride. After being one of the top jockeys on this circuit for years, Prat switched his tack to New York this summer and Brown took notice, giving him a lot of live mounts which resulted in nearly 60 wins from 200 starts (29%). Now that Prat has come back to southern California, he will likely get the bulk of the Brown shippers for stakes like this one. Liguria ran well in her debut in September when, after being bumped badly at the start and 10 lengths back early, she rallied for second. Her second start was a pip of a race as she was four back early and surged late to win by a neck. She’s getting better with each start and the 86 Equibase Figure earned last out is likely to be improved upon. Given it is one of the top figures in the field as it is, with that kind of improvement she could be the one to beat, particularly as she’s a FULL sister to Avenge who won seven of 14 turf routes for $850K and who won multiple graded stakes.

Decorated My Life is the X factor as she’s making her U.S. debut after four races in her native Ireland. Only the most recent is relevant as she won by a neck in a 12 horse field with a 90 Equibase figure. Blinkers go on and trainer Callaghan has had success with European shippers in their U.S. debuts so if this gal is ready there’s a chance she can post the slight upset, opening at 8 to 1.

Thebestisyettobe rounds out the trio of top contenders, as she’s another Irish bred filly who won in her first start, this summer in Ireland, then came to the U.S. and to the top barn of Phil D’Amato. She was the favorite in the Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes this summer at Del Mar but was off slow and didn’t run much. Blinkers were added second time in the U.S. and she responded with a big rally for second, beaten a half-length. Rispoli replaces Prat and that’s fine and the filly earned 89 and 88 figures in her two best races which are comparable to the best efforts of Liguria and Decorated My Life, hence this gal being another strong win contender.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Liguria appears to be a low odds overlay at her morning line odds of 3 to 1. I think she should be 2 to 1 and will bet her to win at those odds or above.
Thebestisyettobe and Decorated My Life should be considered for win bets at odds of 3 to 1 or higher.

This is another race where prorating our wagers based on the odds, using a dutching tool like the one which is free and easy to use at Amwager, is a great idea.

Exactas: In addition to the three main contenders I’ll also consider Sell the Dream, who finished second in her only two stakes tries on grass, including the Surfer Girl Stakes this summer at Del Mar where she led in mid-stretch.

Box Decorated My Life, Thebestisyettobe, Liguria
Box Decorated My Life, Thebestisyettobe, Liguria, Sell the Dream
Optionally you can play the four horse exacta box above as a four horse trifecta box.

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Hollywood Derby – Race 9 at Del Mar – Post Time 7:30 PM Eastern

Top Contenders:
There are MANY ways to go in this race but the horse which intrigues me the most, and which can make everyone a lot of money, is Clutch Hitter. He draws the 11 post BUT that’s insignificant as this nine furlong turf race starts at the back of the chute so there will be lots of time for Victor Espinoza to get good position and not lose ground around the first turn. Clutch Hitter comes out of the Let It Ride Stakes run on 11/11 at Del Mar, won by Handy Dandy, with Script a nose behind in second and with Spycatcher another three-quarters of a length behind in third. Handy Dandy was 5 to 2 that day, Script the lukewarm 5 to 2 favorite and Spycatcher 6 to 1. Notably, Clutch Hitter was 9 to 2 and he had absolutely NO CHANCE TO RUN AT ALL IN THE LAST EIGHTH OF A MILE. Clutch Hitter was in a great spot in the three path turning for home, about three lengths behind the leaders, and he was ready to run, but there was NOWHERE to go at any point after that and when he got a little bit of daylight very late he accelerated but it was way too late. He won two before that in his first two-turn turf race and he’s making his second start after two months off, with a sharp five furlong drill coming into the race as well. He opens at 15 to 1, which is KEY, because if he gets a path to run this time he can post the upset for a nice profit for those who back him, or even if second for a nice exacta payoff.

Wit ships in from Churchill for Pletcher, off a huge effort in the pretty similar Bryan Station Stakes for three year olds on the grass. In that race Wit moved up quickly on the turn from fifth to engage for the lead, then battled head-and-head the last eight of a mile before being a neck shy on the wire. Considering he had been off for two months he should run even better, and the jockey change to Prat certainly doesn’t hurt the cause as well.

Celestial City is another shipper from the east, having just won the IDENTICAL Grade 2 Hill Prince Stakes in New York at this distance. That was his second win in a row and he has no knocks, particularly as he won that race after going to one knee at the start.

Cabo Sprit also just won an identical race to this one, the Twilight Derby on 10/29. In that race he was behind horses at a critical stage but Joe Bravo did not panic as he moved the horse out a couple of paths, found a lane to run and spurted by for the win as the 5 to 2 second choice. Two before that Cabo Spirit won the La Jolla Stakes on this course so a repeat of either effort may be good for his third graded stakes win in the past few months.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Clutch Hitter at odds of 4 to1 or more.
A second win bet can be made on any of these three “IF” they are 4 to 1 or more as we need value for betting them in such a deep and talented field: Cabo Spirit, Celestial City, Wit.

Given Clutch Hitter will likely go to post at double digit odds, this exactly the perfect scenario for using a dutching tool to do the math and prorate our wagers if we bet more than one horse to win.

Considering the value offered on Clutch Hitter, there is money to be made even if he finishes second, so I will play an exacta of ALL over Clutch Hitter.

Additionally, I might consider a $1 exacta of Clutch Hitter over ALL and (the reverse) ALL over Clutch Hitter. This additional wager which has a cost of $20 may be better than $10 to win and place and helps maximize our profit if this long shot runs well.

Box Cabo Spirit, Celestial City, Wit and Clutch Hitter

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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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