Key Races & Bets for Saturday February 4th, 2023

Endeavour Stakes – Race 7 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 3:55 PM Eastern

Main win contenders;
Panama Red makes her U.S. debut after importing from Ireland last year, where she won or placed in four of nine races, all on turf. Her last two races of 2022 were by far her best efforts when second in fields of 11 and 12, leading with an eighth of a mile to go in the more recent of the pair before settling for second. Looking at her races prior to that she was highly regarded as she ran in group 3 and group 1 races, the equivalent of grade 2 and grade 1 races in the U.S., facing much better horses than she faces today. Since mid-December the filly has been working consistently for high percentage trainer Delacour, who has had a big meeting with 12 of his 25 starters finishing first or second, most with Centeno in the saddle as with this filly. As far as imports go, Delacour has a strong record of three for eight over the last few years so we can expect this filly to run as competitively in this race as she did in her last two overseas starts.

Surprisingly returned from nearly four months off near the end of December and finished second in the Tropical Park Oaks at Gulfstream Park, a fine effort from which she can improve second off the layoff. She’s won two of three on grass and Paco Lopez comes in from Gulfstream to ride for McGaughey so she definitely has a big shot to succeed.

Another horse making her second start off a layoff is Oliviaofthedesert, who won her comeback on the same day last month as Surprisingly ran second, but at Fair Grounds. That win came in a stakes fairly similar to this one. She had won a couple of stakes on dirt but this was her first on turf and she was flattered when the runner-up came back to win her next start to this gal must be respected as well.

Last but not least among a quartet of contenders is Marketsegmentation, who ships across from Gulfstream for Chad Brown off a win off a layoff as well. She continues to improve, has never been worse than second in three races, and when Brown ships to Tampa and gets Camacho to ride, he’s won eight of 29. The only knock will be her odds will likely be lower than the other three as she went to post as the four to five favorite in her most recent race.

Additionally, Scotish Star can’t be ruled out for a piece, but she does draw the 11 post. The race starts using the infield chute so she’s not likely as disadvantaged as if the race started in the stretch but she does have tactical speed and can be in the top two or three early. She too makes her second start off a layoff and before the rest won once and missed by a head in the other so could be competitive particularly as she goes back on Lasix. However, like Marketsegmentation, Scotish Star has gone to post at fairly low odds in her last three so doesn’t offer the value for a win bet as compared to the three main contenders above.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Assuming Marketsegmentation and Scotish Star will go to post at low odds, we should have VALUE on the other three, so I will set minimum odds to consider betting Panama Red, Surprisingly and Oliviaofthedesert at 3 to 1 and plan to bet TWO of the three which are the highest odds near post time.

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 Surprisingly, Panama Red, Oliviaofthedesert, Marketsegmentation
Box Surprisingly, Panama Red, Oliviaofthedesert, Scotish Star
In betting the two exacta boxes above, we are avoiding what is likely the lowest paying combinations involving Marketsegmentation and Scotish Star and we are trying to maximize profit by hopefully winning the exacta with the three horses at the best odds twice.

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Megahertz Stakes – Race 4 at Santa Anita – Post Time 4:30 PM Eastern

Main win contenders:
Oakhurst was 45 to 1 when rallying from ninth (of 11) to fourth in the much tougher Grade 1 American Oaks on opening day (12/26) of the Santa Anita meet. She ran the last quarter in that mile and one-quarter race in about 23 seconds flat and on the cut back to a mile that kind of late kick will serve her well, particularly with Prat getting on. Prat is rather cold to start the meet with just six wins in 87 races BUT he has finished second 23 times so it’s not as if he’s lost anything. That last start was her first since moving to the barn of top trainer D’Amato and the filly was stakes placed last year so has every reason to improve in her second local start and on the drop in class. Additionally, her late kick will benefit from the fact Hamwood Flier is a need-the-lead type who is coming back from a two month layoff, making her very FRESH, and she has led through very fast opening half-mile splits of 45 and change in two of her last three starts. Bay Storm is drawn inside of Hamwood Flier and could be sent for the lead, which really helps the stalkers and closers nicely like Oakhurst.

Another to benefit from the hot early pace is School Dance, who finished fast from sixth to win by four lengths three races back at this mile trip on the SA turf. That was her first start in California after shipping in from Florida and joining the D’Amato barn and more importantly her first with Vasquez in the saddle, who rode her to her second straight win and to a bang-up head defeat in the aforementioned Grade 1 American Oaks. Of the three contenders, School Dance is the one likely to be closest to the pacesetters and should get first run on them before Oakhurst and Nadette get into high gear.

Nadette was making her U.S. debut last October in the identical G3 Autumn Miss Stakes and ran very well. After breaking slowly in a field of 11 she relaxed in last for the first six furlongs then really closed late in the stretch from ninth to second. The winner came back to win again and this filly has been rested since but working great. Rispoli rides back and we can expect a top effort.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Minimum odds are 5 to 2 on all three contenders – Oakhurst, School Dance and Nadette and I won’t hesitate to bet one or two of them at or above those odds.

This is another race where we can, and should, bet two (or even three) horses to win using a Dutching tool like the one which is free and easy to use at and allows us to prorate our wagering dollars for the best advantage possible.

Exacta: Box Nadette, School Dance, Oakhurst

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Tampa Bay Stakes – Race 9 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 4:55 PM Eastern

Chez Pierre appears to have a substantial edge over the others in terms of probability to win, but Kentucky Ghost, Field Pass, Barberini and He’spuregold could offer good value for win bets (smaller amounts than on Chez Pierre) and overall this 12 horse field should provide a good opportunity for profit on exacta tickets.

Chez Pierre is undefeated in five races, three in his native France and two since coming to the U.S. last March. He won the first off the two off a 10 month layoff with a very strong 104 Equibase Figure which is stakes quality even though it was an allowance race, although it was a classified allowance. It was also at Tampa and with Centeno up, as was his second start last April, a powerful five length win at Laurel with an even faster 106 figure. There’s no concern for firing fresh in a turf route and his works for the comeback have been strong so he appears the one to beat.

That being said, there could be come nice prices offered on some of the others, starting with Kentucky Ghost, who drops from the G2 Ft. Lauderdale Stakes and the G2 Seabiscuit Stakes, both which were Lasix prohibited. He won before that in a $130K stakes level classified allowance race, with Lasix, at this distance, with a big 116 figure, and he won three before that, with Lasix, in New Jersey in a $110 K stakes with a 109 figure. If he repeats either of those two efforts he has a legitimate shot at winning and he’s won at Tampa as well.

Field Pass ships over from Maker’s base at Gulfstream and like Kentucky Ghost, has races which could win here if repeated. He missed by a head and a neck in the similar G3 Arlington Stakes at Churchill Downs last June with a 105 figure then two later missed by a neck in a 300K stakes on the turf then was moved up by DQ. He also won the Seabiscuit (G2) in 2021. Sonny Leon comes over from Gulfstream to ride and has a sneaky good record when Maker uses him, seven for 16 over the past two years. This is notable.

Barberini and He’spuregold can’t be ruled out as contenders either, but are a bit less probable than the top three. Barberini is trained by Delacour same as Chez Pierre and will go to post at higher odds because although he’s 5 for 10 in his career he’s not as accomplished. However, he earned a career-best 105 figure in his most recent start and won three in a row before that. The horse which won his last start on 12/17, Value Engineering, ran a BIG race in the McKnight last weekend when second to multiple graded stakes winner Red Knight.

He’spuregold gets a potentially disadvantageous outside post but this race starts from the infield chute so it might not be terrible. He’s won four of his last seven since returning from a layoff last May and the last win on January 1 came off a three month layoff so he could run even better than when earning a decent 103 figure last month.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets
Chez Pierre opens at 3 to 1 and will likely be bet lower so I think the best thing to do is to use the same amount we might bet on him to win on exacta tickets (below). So for Win bets I’d consider Kentucky Ghost and Field Pass to win at 7 to 2 or more.

He’spuregold opens at 15 to 1 and that’s too high to ignore as I think minimum odds are 6 to 1

Barberini opens at 30 to 1 and we’d be kicking ourselves if we didn’t bet a token $5 on him to win at 10 to 1 or higher.

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.

Chez Pierre over Barberini, Kentucky Ghost, Field Pass, He’spuregold

Box Chez Pierre, Barberini, Kentucky Ghost, Field Pass, He’spuregold

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Holy Bull Stakes – Race 12 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 5:43 PM Eastern

The morning line favorite is Cyclone Mischief at 2 to 1 based on his five and three-quarter length win at Gulfstream Park four weeks ago. That win came in a one turn mile, not a two-turn race like this one. It also came with first time Lasix, which he can’t race with today in this graded stakes. It is very interesting to note that I did a Race Lens query concerning Dale Romans with horses coming off Lasix and over the last five years in dirt routes the record is ZERO for 15. Although the 101 Equibase figure was big and better than any other horse’s figure in the race, it was such an outlier over his 78 figure earned when beaten 3 lengths in the Kentucky Jockey Club and when winning at this two-turn trip breaking his maiden before that, I think he’s a big candidate to REGRESS and am taking a complete stand against him.

Therefore the contenders to win become Rocket Can, Legacy Isle and Lord Miles.

Rocket Can returns to the races after a bit over two months off, tied with Cyclone Mischief as having the most experience of any horse in the field around two-turns as both have run the distance of one mile and one-sixteenth twice. However, whereas Cyclone Mischief has a win and a seventh place finish, with his most recent effort at a mile around one-turn, Rocket Can could easily run well enough to win by repeating either of those previous two-turn efforts. The first was a win on October 30 by two lengths and in a field of 10. He earned a then career-best 89 Equibase Speed Figure for that effort, which except for the 101 figure Cyclone Mischief earned in his one-turn mile win last month, is the fastest race by any horse in the field. Then it gets better as Rocket Can earned a 97 figure in a strong allowance field of nine two year olds on November 26, missing by a half-length and gamely holding second by a neck. Now he returns as a more mature three year old and has four workouts in Florida this month as well as Junior Alvarado in the saddle. Mott and Alvarado teamed up for two wins last Saturday including aboard Art Collector in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational. Interestingly enough Art Collector won that race after being off since October 1, and since Rocket Can returns from a layoff since November 26 there is no concern about his firing with a big race good enough to win this year’s Holy Bull Stakes.

Legacy Isle would be undefeated in three races if not for being disqualified out of winning the Mucho Macho Man Stakes last month and placed second. He has improved in each start, beginning with a wire-to-wire sprint win in September with a 70 figure, and then improving to an 80 figure in late November before an 82 figure effort last month. Although the win last month was earned leading from start to finish as in his debut, Legacy Isle proved versatile when relaxing in fifth before rallying to win in his second career start. Getting the services of red hot jockey Luis Saez, who has won 25% of the races he’s ridden in over the last 30 days, the son of 2011 Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford has a decent shot to make his mark in the three year old division just by continuing his pattern of improving efforts and figures.

Lord Miles is the most lightly raced of the top trio of contenders in this field, but he may have the talent to leap frog them in terms of his efforts and figures to win. After a powerful nearly six length win in a six furlong sprint debut in November (with an 81 figure), Lord Miles stepped up in class right into the stakes ranks and stretched out to a mile for the Mucho Macho Man last month. He lagged back in eighth in the field of 11 in the early stages then began a rally from sixth on the turn and into the stretch before putting in a visually impressive late surge to end up third, beaten just a neck for second. Although the 80 figure earned wasn’t an improvement off his debut, Lord Miles did step up in class nicely and was competitive. Now he gets the ground saving rail as well as a change in jockey to Irad Ortiz, Jr. and blinkers go on for the first time. Altogether, these changes can help him run even better, along with his breeding as he’s by Curlin so he should really appreciate the added distance. As such, Lord Miles can’t be ruled out as a top contender to win this race.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Rocket Can at odds of 5 to 2 or more.
I might consider either Legacy Isle or Lord Miles for a second win bet, at 3 to 1 or more.

Exactas: Box Lord Miles, Legacy Isle and Rocket Man
Even though these three are likely to be the second, third and fourth choices in the betting, since we’re leaving off the favorite there is decent return for the risk potential.

If you want to spend less to (hopefully) make more, then I would play exacta boxes of Rocket Can and Legacy Isle and Rocket Can and Lord Miles.

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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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