Key Races & Bets for Saturday February 11th, 2023

Withers Stakes – Race 9 at Aqueduct – Post Time 4:27 PM Eastern

Main win contenders;
I have to start with Ninetyprcentmaddie, who opens at 8 to 1 as he has every bit as much chance to win as favorites Hit Show and Arctic Arrogance. Ninetyprcentmaddie ships up from Parx for very good trainer Reid, who has had good success in New York when he feels he has a horse good enough to compete on this circuit. The colt comes off a runner-up effort at seven furlongs in the Parx Juvenile Stakes and should relish this nine furlong trip. The dam produced Ninetypercentbryn for the same owner and that mare (who is one year older) has won nearly $300K while winning FOUR two-turn races. Raid is very good stretching horses out with nearly a 30% (9 for 28) win rate the past few years including in the 2020 Delaware Oaks and including a win and a runner-up finish at Aqueduct from three tries. The last two Equibase figures the colt earned were 86 and 89 and are right there with the 90 figure Hit Show earned in his most recent race. They are lower than Arctic Arrogance but that one may have knocks (see below) in addition to not offering the value for a win bet we’re likely to get on Ninetyprcentmaddie.

Hit Show has improved in each start since his debut particularly in his second route last time out in mid-December with a 90 figure. Cox wins nearly 30% of the time back to back and the works at Oaklawn coming into the race demonstrate the colt is holding top form.

Arctic Arrogance has LOST ground in the last eighth of a mile in his last two starts, first in the Remsen when a head behind the leader at the eighth pole and a half-length behind at the end then last month in the Jerome with the same position and loss of ground late. MAYBE blinkers on will help but considering he did the same thing in his second career start when leading late and ending up second, at 4 to 5, he’s not trustworthy enough to bet to win at low odds.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Ninetyprcentmaddie at 2 to 1 or more.

Box Ninetyprcentmaddie and Hit Show
Box Ninetyprcentmaddie and Arctic Arrogance

Ninetyprcentmaddie and Hit Show over Ninetyprcentmaddie, Hit Show and Arctic Arrogance over Ninetyprcentmaddie, Hit Show and Arctic Arrogance

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Suncoast Stakes – Race 9 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 4:48 PM Eastern

Main win contenders:
Ticker Tape Home AND Opus Forty Two are the keys to profit here, opening at 8/1 and 10/1, respectively, with favorite Wonder Wheel (even money) and Julia Shining (5 to 2) contenders for exotics, in addition to a couple of others (Charlie’s Wish, Fast Tracked).

Ticker Tape Home comes back from three months off in her first dirt route but that doesn’t concern me a bit as Casse won the 2021 Tampa Bay Derby with Helium off a FOUR month layoff and brings a horse back fit and places it correctly in these situations. The filly was the 8 to 5 favorite in the Display Stakes at Woodbine to end her two year old campaign and missed by a half-length after leading from the start. The 96 Equibase Figure earned was superb for a two year old and the best/fastest figure earned by ANY horse in the field, including Wonder Wheel, who earned a 94 figure for her Alcibiades win in October before winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (88 figure). Now more mature as a three year old and with top jockey Gallardo riding, Ticker Tape Home has as much probability to win as the two morning line favorites, but offers us much better return to has to be the top pick.

That being said, Opus Forty Two also has an upset chance. She finished second in her first two races, both turf sprints, and has won both starts since then, including the Gasparilla Stakes at Tampa last month. Trainer Delacour won the 2020 Suncoast with Lucrezia on a nearly identical pattern after she won a stakes sprint, with Centeno up as today, who rode Opus Forty Two to her last two wins. Delacour also has a very strong record of 8 for 13 on the stretch out in the last two years.

Delacour also saddles Fast Tracked, who opens at 20 to 1 and demands a token win bet at least because she too stretches out and Delacour ran second in the 2021 Suncoast with a horse which shipped in from Laurel off a similar pattern.

Back to the favorites, Julia Shining could be any kind as she won the Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes in only the second start of her career, after bobbling at the start. She’s a full sister to Malathaat, who won the 2021 Ashland Stakes off a four month layoff following her Demoiselle win, for Pletcher, so the pattern is unmistakable. On the other hand, Julia Shining only earned an 82 figure for her Demoiselle win which came one month after Ticker Tape Home earned a 96 figure, so although Julia Shining can run a new career best that still may not be good enough to win. Wonder Wheel returns from three months off as part of the uncoupled entry with Ticker Tape Home, who offers much more value from the same Casse barn. As mentioned previously, Casse won the Tampa Bay Derby with Helium two years ago off a layoff so the time off isn’t a concern. However, this is a multiple grade 1 winning filly returning in a NON-GRADED race which is not the goal (the Kentucky Oaks being the goal) and so she may not be fully cranked up to win.

Handicapper Picks

Win: I will absolutely bet BOTH Ticker Tape Home and Opus Forty Two at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

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

Exacta: We will split the favorites because there’s no value in the exacta with Wonder Wheel and Julia Shining finishing first and second or second and first:
Opus Forty Two and Ticker Tape Home over Opus Forty Two, Ticker Tape Home, Wonder Wheel and Julia Shining
Opus Forty Two, Ticker Tape Home, Wonder Wheel and Julia Shining over Opus Forty Two and Ticker Tape Home

Then, for just $1 or $2 and to maximize value, Opus Forty Two, Ticker Tape Home, Wonder Wheel, Julia Shining over Opus Forty Two, Charlie’s Wish, Fast Tracked, Ticker Tape Home

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Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint – Race 11 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 5:06 PM Eastern

Top contenders:
Full Disclosure has run two “A” races in a row, the most recent at this five furlong trip on the Gulfstream Park turf course, and it proved he belongs in this stakes. He’s now won three of his last five, missing by a neck in the other, all since joining the Dobles barn. Reyes was up for two of the wins and rides back and the race he just won on 12/22 turned out to be a KEY race with multiple horses coming back to win including the runner-up. The 107 and 106 Equibase figures from those last two races are better (faster) than most of these and opening at 10 to 1 this gelding with a 5 for 12 record gets slight preference.

Shekky Shebaz was nine to two back in a classified allowance at Woodbine on turf and finished second, beaten under a length, but opens at ridiculous odds of 15 to 1 for a horse who has banked over half a million dollars and who gets Castellano to ride. That near miss came off a seven month layoff so there’s no concern for the two month layoff and the horse has run really well at this trip at Gulfstream Park. His last two works have been fantastic as they were the best of 47 and 42 for four furlongs and considering he’s been first or second in more than half of his 32 races he’s going to make us a lot of money even if he runs second in the exacta.

Yes I am Free won this race last year by three lengths at eight to one, off a fourth place finish after a layoff, He enters this year’s race in even BETTER form off a win in a five furlong turf sprint last month. He has tactical speed and as long as he sits in third or so off the very likely HOT early pace provided by dueling leaders My Pal Mattie, Carotari (suspect at 3 to 1 starting odds), Rockcrest (who has to go from the rail) and possibly Classicstateofmind (adding blinkers), he might be able to get first run and the lead late in the stretch before the big closers get into high gear.

The morning line favorite is Belgrano at 2 to 1, having won the Janus Stakes at the end of December in his most recent start, at this distance on grass. He was 10 to 1 that day and in last year’s edition of this race he finished third behind Yes I Am Free, who also beat him one month later by a neck in the Silks Run Stakes, so although Belgrano is competitive and in top form, he’s no standout and can’t be bet to win at those low odds.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets: 7 to 2 odds are the minimum I’m setting on Full Disclosure, Shekky Shebaz and Yes I Am Free, and assuming the first two are going to go to post at those odds or higher near post time I will be betting both. Yes I Am Free opens at six to one and could be playable at 7 to 2 or more as well.

This is absolutely another race where prorating our wagering dollars to maximize profit is called for, using the free and easy Dutching tool at Amwager.

Exacta and Trifecta: Box Full Disclosure, Shekky Shebaz, Yes I am Free, Belgrano

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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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