Key Races & Bets for Saturday January 20th, 2024

Interborough Stakes – Race 8 at Aqueduct – Post Time 3:47 PM Eastern

Contenders: Rosebug, Self Isolation, Dr B, Hot Fudge

Rosebug is the one we must look at first as she opens at 8 to 1. In the hands of Bill Mott, she shipped from Aqueduct to Ohio last November and was beaten a length and one-half in the Mahoning Distaff Stakes. She’s been off since then and ran her best race of 2023 off a layoff in January so coming back from a layoff here we can expect a top effort. She’s never been worse than second in three races at this seven furlong trip and the effort off the layoff last January earned a career best 104 Equibase Figure, which if repeated gives her a strong shot to post the upset.

Self Isolation has won nine of 27 races, better still seven of 19 on dirt including two at Aqueduct. She finished fourth in this race last year at 8 to 1 and opens at 12 to 1 here for the consistent Jacobson barn which has had half of its 26 starters at the meet finish first or second. Although less probable to win than Rosebug, but offering much better odds than either Dr B or Hot Fudge, we must consider her for any wagers we make involving this race.

Dr B and Hot Fudge open at 5 to 2 and 2 to 1 odds, respectively, so although they can be used on exactas or other exotic bets we make in the race they don’t offer enough value for win bets in my opinion. Dr B has six career wins in 22 races BUT also seven runner-up finishes so although she just won the higher level Go For Wand Stakes on 12/2 there’s no guarantee she can win two in a row because after winning the 2023 Go for Wand she lost six straight. Hot Fudge brings a strong six for 11 record into the race including four for five at Aqueduct. The most recent was in the similar Garland of Roses Stakes on 12/9 and although she’s consistent, with 95, 97 and 94 Equibase Speed Figures in her last three races, the 104 and 94 best last two by Rosebug and the 95 and 93 best last two by Dr B, as well as the pair of 100 figures Self Isolation earned in her best two races in the past year, make it hard to consider a win bet on Hot Fudge at likely low odds.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Rosebug at odds of 5 to 2 or more. Self Isolation at odds of 4 to 1 or more.

When considering win bets on more than one horse, an advantage lies in using a “Dutching” tool. There’s a free “Dutching” tool at Amwager, which allows us to set the total amount we want to bet, then prorates our wagers for the best mathematical edge. This is just one of many tools, and perks, available for racing fans at Amwager.

Rosebug over Self Isolation, Dr B and Hot Fudge
Self Isolation, Dr B and Hot Fudge over Rosebug

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What a Summer Stakes – Race 8 at Laurel -Post Time 4:02 PM Eastern

Contenders: Headland, Kant Hurry Love, White Chocolate

Headland is a very consistent mare, having won or placed in 23 of 43 career races on dirt. One of those wins came in the identical Willa on the Move Stakes four weeks ago, with Cruz up for the first time and riding back today. She won back to back last summer and certainly might do so again.

Kant Hurry Love missed by a neck to Hot Fudge when shipped to New York for the Garland Of Roses Stakes, and we’ll know whether Hot Fudge held her form by the time this race is run as she is scheduled to run in the Interborough Stakes 15 minutes before this race is supposed to be run. Like Headland, Kant Hurry Love is very consistent, with 12 first or second place efforts in 19 races, with one question mark being she’s never run at Laurel.

White Chocolate “MAY” be the one to catch, as she has led from the start in all four races since moving to the Summers barn. She has never been worse than second since her debut two years ago and the only question is whether she might have the early lead to herself like she needs to, because Ms Bucchero on the rail has also shown the desire to lead early and might take away the advantage White Chocolate might otherwise have.

Handicapper Picks

Win: All three win contenders open at odds of 3 to 1 or less which is just about fair odds given all three have about the same probability to win. There’s an opportunity for a nice profit using some higher odds horses in the next race which is where she should look for our best profit potential. However, if ANY of the three horses happen to be 3 to 1 or more near post time they are worth wagering on to win.

Race 8: Headland
Race 9: Brother Conway, Classier, Cowan, Dollarization, Greeley and Ben

Race 8: Headland, Kant Hurry Love, White Chocolate
Race 9: Dollarization, Greeley and Ben

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Fire Plug Stakes – Race 9 at Laurel – Post Time 4:33 PM Eastern

Win contenders: Dollarization, Greeley and Ben, Classier
Exotic bets contenders: Brother Conway, Cowan

Dollarization would be a FANTASTIC bet to win and on exacta tickets anywhere near his 10 to 1 morning line. In the nearly identical Dave’s Friend Stakes four weeks ago, Dollarization rallied from sixth with an eighth of a mile to run to be beaten just a half-length by Greeley and Ben. Based on that you’d think their odds would be similar, but Greeley and Ben opens at 4 to 1 while Dollarization opens at 10 to 1 and that’s impossible to pass up. Dollarization won the very similar Lite the Fuse Stakes in September as well and repeating either that effort or his most recent gives him a nice shot to post the upset win.

Greeley and Ben is now a 10 year old just $13,000 short of $1 million in earnings. He’s won 25 of 43 races including back-to-back three weeks apart in December, on 12/2 and 12/23. He ran poorly in the mud in New York one week later on 12/30 and that can be ignored. Back at Laurel and reunited with Toledo, up for his two Laurel wins last month, he must be respected a lot.

Classier likes to win, evidenced by a seven for 22 career record. Better still he’s four for six at Laurel including the Henry Clark Stakes in April. He’s been freshened nearly two months and won last March off a similar layoff and he’s won five of eight since moving to the Magee barn so there are really no knocks.

Cowan and Brother Conway are both contenders as well, with Cowan having led late in Dave’s Friend before being swallowed up by Greely and Ben as well as Dollarization but still beaten just a half-length, head and nose for the win. He was overmatched in a pair of grade 3 stakes in New York before that and his best effort if repeated makes him competitive. Brother Conway has won four in a row and his only real knock is he’s moving into a stakes race for the first time but otherwise he fits on all counts.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Dollarization and Greeley and Ben should strongly be considered for win bets at odds of 3 to 1 or more.
Fair odds on Classier are 7 to 2 and if his odds are higher than that, and one of the two above has odds lower than 3 to 1, he should be our second win bet in the race.

This is another race where the free (and easy to use) Dutching Tool at Amwager should come in very handy when making win bets on more than one horse.

Dollarization and Greeley and Ben over Dollarization, Greeley and Ben, Classier, Brother Conway and Cowan
Dollarization, Greeley and Ben, Classier, Brother Conway and Cowan over Dollarization and Greeley and Ben

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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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