Key Races & Bets for Saturday January 7th, 2023

Jerome Stakes – Race 8 at Aqueduct – Post Time 3:16 PM Eastern

Top contenders:
Lugan Knight has run in three one-turn races to date, not much different than this one-turn mile trip at Aqueduct, finishing in-the-money in all three races. The best of the three came in his most recent start on November 26 when, although third, Lugan Knight earned a career-best 93 Equibase speed figure. Not only that, but he did so behind Victory Formation who is still unbeaten in three races, including the Smarty Jones Stakes on New Year’s Day, a Road to the Derby points race just like the Jerome. Victory Formation improved by six points over his previous effort, which suggests Lugan Knight will be in the 99 to 100 speed figure range with his effort in the Jerome and that is good enough to win.

General Banker has won or placed in four of eight races, including two of four one-turn races on dirt. Better still, since adding blinkers in October, General Banker has improved his figures in three straight races, from 86 in October to 93 in November to a career-best 103 figure last month when winning the New York Stallion Series Stakes by eight lengths. That race was run at seven furlongs at Aqueduct and I expect General Banker to run as well or better running one furlong further in this event.

Arctic Arrogance is likely to be the betting favorite in this year’s Jerome Stakes, because he finished second of seven last month in the higher level Remsen Stakes over the track. Taking the lead from the start in that mile and one-eighth race, Arctic Arrogance was in front at the mile mark, the point at which the Jerome ends, and battled gamely to the wire to be beaten just one-half length while one and one-half lengths ahead of the third horse. Arctic Arrogance is also an improving type, having earned an 85 figure near the end of September, then improving to 90 in October and finally to a career-best 100 figure last month. The only knock I can find is the colt has showed only a need-the-lead style in all four of his career races to date. That could prove problematic considering Narciso Dali led from start to finish in his most recent race, as did Circling the Drain, and Valenzan Day as well as Andiamo a Firenze have also done their best when leading early or very close to the front.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Lugan Knight and General Banker at odds of 5 to 2 or higher.

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Exacta: Box Lugan Knight, General Banker, Arctic Arrogance

Race 8: Lugan Knight, General Banker, Arctic Arrogance
Race 9: Unbridled Bomber, Shooger Ray Too, Eloquist

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Queens County Stakes – Race 9 at Aqueduct – Post Time 3:45 PM Eastern

Top contenders:
With a four for eight record in 2022 including a win in an identical nine furlong, $150K stakes over the track in his most recent start, you’d think Eloquist would open at 2 to 1 but he opens at 10/1. He won just one of his first seven races but in the middle of his three year old year something changed and he got very, very good. He’s won three in a row and can win on the lead or from off the pace, on a fast track or on a wet track, and as a newly turned four year old he may not have peaked yet so he although there are two others which have about the same chance to win, he is definitely the best bet of the trio.

Shooger Ray Too also opens at odds which make no sense given his record, with is 5-6-2 in 19 dirt races. He won the identical Bucks County Stakes at nine furlongs one before last in October, at 5 to 1 odds, then ran inexplicably bad but was given two months off and appears to have turned a corner otherwise trainer J.T. Servis would not be shipping him from Pennsylvania to New York and getting Adorno, who was up for the big six length win in the Bucks County, to ride.

Unbridled Bomber opens as the second choice on the morning line at 7 to 2 and has a fine shot as he’s won two in a row, both over the track including one before last at this nine furlong trip. He’s MUCH more probable to win than 2 to 1 morning line favorite Law Professor, who is zero for three at the distance and who is going to be bet because he ran second to Life is Good in the four horse Woodard Stakes by basically following the winner around the track. On the other hand, Unbridled Bomber won each of his last two easily by almost five lengths and has more than a decent shot to win his third in a row.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Eloquist and Shooger Ray Too to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

This is another race where, if win bets on multiple horses are called for, a dutching tool like the one which is free and easy to use at Amwager, will help us get the most value out of our win wagers.

Box Eloquist, Shooger Ray Too and Unbridled Bomber
Eloquist and Shooger Ray Too over Forewarned, Unbridled Bomber, Shooger Ray Too, Plot the Dots, Law Professor, Eloquist, Thomas Shelby

Unbridled Bomber over Forewarned, Shooger Ray Too, Plot the Dots, Eloquist, Thomas Shelby
We are leaving out the lowest paying combination of Unbridled Bomber over Law Professor

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California Cup Oaks – Race 8 at Santa Anita – Post Time 6:30 PM Eastern

Top Contenders:
Quickly Park It, Cholly and Carole Lombard start at odds of 8 to 1, 6 to 1 and 8 to 1 and are the keys to profit in this one mile turf test for newly turned three year old fillies running a mile on turf. The morning line favorite is Sell the Dream at 2 to 1 and she’s vulnerable as she’s run in five stakes to date and although second or third in four hasn’t really shown she can win. Quickly Park It won a stakes for OPEN (not restricted) company at this mile turf trip one before last on 10/29 in Northern California, moving rapidly from last of seven to win by six lengths. She didn’t run as well in the Jimmy Durante Stakes last month BUT was off slow and steadied, AND most importantly the jockey change to Hernandez is a HUGE one which can enable her to run back to her big effort one before last.

Cholly stretches out to two turns and moves to turf, off a very nice win last month. She’s bred to handle the grass and distance just fine as a daughter of Mo Town and Dettori, who has won four races so far at the meeting, gets on for the first time, so we can expect another big effort.

Carole Lombard gets the ground saving rail and won easily at this mile turf trip last out in only the second start of her career. Vasquez rides back and if she improves just a bit off her last effort she will be right there at the end in this race.

Handicapper Picks

Win: I will consider ALL three contenders for win bets, betting two of the three at the highest odds, at 7 to 2 or higher.

This is another race where, if win bets on multiple horses are called for, a dutching tool like the one which is free and easy to use at Amwager, will help us get the most value out of our win wagers.

Carole Lombard, Cholly and Quickly Park It over Carole Lombard, Cholly, Loyal to a Fault, Quickly Park It, Sell the Dream

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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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