Marine Stakes – Race 5 at Woodbine – Post Time 3:26 PM Eastern

Analysis and main contenders:
The reason for choosing this race to start this week’s KEY betting races is the morning line odds of 6/1 for Simcoe are ridiculously high.

Turf King opens at 2 to 1 and as far as those being near the horse’s odds near post time those are correct because he’s trained by Chad Brown and finished third in the Jersey Derby in his last start. HOWEVER, that race was on turf and although Turf King broke his maiden on all-weather in his debut in February that does NOT necessarily mean he has a 33% chance to win this race based on the composition of the field and the fact none of his three races would be dominant here if repeated, noting he earned his two wins by a neck, and a head, respectively. The second morning line betting choice at 3 to 1 is Twin City, who has never been worse than second in six races. On the other hand, his wins were by a nose and a neck. His ONLY route win on all-weather was his maiden win and although he should run well and is highly likely to be in the exacta, he’s not a standout either.

Simcoe is no standout, but he has the same probability to win, or slightly higher, than either Turf King or Twin City so at the least they should all be around 3 to 1, making Simcoe’s 6 to 1 odds a 100% overlay. Like Turf King and Twin City, Simcoe has won twice, BUT unlike either of the other two, both of Simcoe’s wins came in all-weather routes, and the most recent was in an allowance race on June 4, as compared to maiden wins by the other two. That win was a very strong effort, the FASTEST in the field by far as evidenced by a 98 Equibase figure, compared to 90 for Twin City in the seven furlong King Corrie Stakes on May 21, and compared to 93 for Turf King in his maiden win in February. I expect the same or better from Simcoe in this race as he showed four weeks ago, and that makes him the one to beat, and to bet.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Simcoe to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more.

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Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes – Race 7 at Delaware Park – Post Time 3:30 PM Eastern

Analysis and Contenders:
Eight of the 11 entered can run well and it is unlikely there will be a strong favorite, with the morning line favorite opening at 4 to 1. That makes this a VERY good betting race, as long as we can find horses which are keys to profit based on their high probability to win, or at the worst finish in the top three. There are three of those – Sopran Basilea, Talbeyah and Miss Yearwood. Sopran Basilea won both a group 3 stakes race then a very important group 2 stakes (with a $300K) purse in Europe in 2021 as a three year old, then picked up where she left off in April of 2022 as a four year old, winning at this 11 furlong distance. She went winless in six straight after that BUT four were fine efforts for either second place finishes (three times) or a fourth place effort in a BLANKET finish where she was beaten a nose and two heads for the in. She imported to the U.S. last fall and made her local debut in May in the Grade 3 Gallorette Stakes on Preakness day, running very well to go from last to second while no match for the winner. The horse she beat for second by a neck came back to win and this gal can do the same thing for Graham Motion in her second start after seven months off.

Miss Yearwood was the 9 to 5 favorite when last seen also near the end of May, winning the Keertana Stakes ($200K purse) over 11 other horses. She rallied very well from 11th of 12 early and into SLOW fractions, showing a lot of ability in the process while winning her second marathon on turf in a row. Landeros rides back and this gal has NO knocks at all and every right to win.

Talbeyah finished fourth in the Keertana behind Miss Yearwood but might have been closer if not for significant traffic trouble from the top of the stretch until way too late. She looked full of run and was hopelessly blocked and although she has only won one of five races since coming to the U.S. two of her 2021 turf efforts in Europe were sensational and if repeated make her very competitive, as well as impossible to ignore as she opens at 15 to 1.

The horses with a shot which we can use on exacta and trifecta tickets, and which I wouldn’t argue with anyone who wanted to bet them to win if they are high odds (10 to 1 or more) near post time, are Parnac, Lovely Princess, Frivole, Viareggio and Deciding Vote.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Getting the best reward for the risk for win bets is the key here, so I will bet TWO of these THREE – Talbeyah, Sopran Basilea and Miss Yearwood – at odds of 7 to 2 or higher.

As we may be considering win bets on more than one horse, and with there likely to be a significant odds disparity between the horses we wish to bet to win, this is a great race to take advantage of the mathematical edge provided by a “Dutching” tool, which prorates wagers for the best value. There’s a free dutching tool at, where you can set the amount you want to bet or the amount you want to win, and the math is done for you to help achieve the best edge. This is just one of many tools, and perks, for bettors at

Exactas: Talbeyah, Sopran Basilea, Miss Yearwood over Parnac, Lovely Princess, Talbeyah, Frivole, Sopran Basilea, Miss Yearwood, Viareggio, Deciding Vote

AND, also the opposite exacta, which is: Parnac, Lovely Princess, Talbeyah, Frivole, Sopran Basilea, Miss Yearwood, Viareggio, Deciding Vote over Talbeyah, Sopran Basilea, Miss Yearwood

If two of the three top contenders (Talbeyah, Sopran Basilea and Miss Yearwood) finish first and second, we win both exactas.

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Highlander Stakes – Race 8 at Woodbine – Post Time 5:03 PM Eastern

Analysis and main contenders:

My analysis for this race, and the top contenders, is heavily weighted on the early pace scenario, which could be affected by scratches. If it is not, then it is HIGHLY probable Cadamosto will use his rail position to try to get the lead from the start, as he did one before last in April (following six months off), and as he did in May in his first start when pressing the pacesetter in second. He is owned by D J Stable and trained by Mark Casse, who also have Masseto in the field, and that one is a closer so it is possible Cadamosto is here to insure an honest pace for his stablemate. It must be noted Husbands is named to ride both so one may scratch. In addition to Cadamosto, One Timer is an ABSOLUTE need-the-need type, having earned ALL six wins (from nine race) leading from start to finish. Striker has led from the start and through the opening half-mile in two of his last three starts, and tried to lead in the other but settled for second, so it appears he may want to lead from the start as well although it should be noted he earned his first two wins, in his first two starts, from off the pace. The difference is for those last three races blinkers have been worn, and will be worn today. Silent Poet, who won this race in 2021 after settling in third in the early stages, is now an eight year old and although likely not as good as he was in 2021 and prior to that, is another likely to be hot on the heels of the early pacesetters.

With so many horses wanting the lead from the start, or to press the pace, the race should be won by either Lucky Score or Masseto (who as mentioned above may or may not run given Husbands is named to ride both he and Cadamosto). Lucky Score is absolutely the one to consider first, given he opens at 20 to 1 odds in spite of being the third of the trainees from the top barn of Mark Casse. Lucky Score was off from November of last year until June 4 and got in a fine prep when rallying from ninth of 10 early to second at the end. He’s going to improve a lot second off the layoff, noting he finished fifth in his first start of 2022 before winning second off the layoff. He won the Grade 3 Vigil Stakes on the main track last summer so he fits with these and Civaci got to know him when riding for the first time last out and rides back. Lucky Score was privately purchased sometime after his third place effort in the Grade 2 Kennedy Road Stakes last November and should start to earn whatever his current owners paid for him, noting he’s already earned more than $300K while being first or second in eight of 14 races.

Masseto imported to North America in the summer of 2021 as a two year old and was highly regarded, going to post at 2 to 1 in the Juvenile Sprint Stakes at Kentucky Downs, where he was no threat and finished fifth. Returning last June he won easily on the Woodbine turf then apparently had a setback and wasn’t seen until June 15 of this year, again putting in a visibly impressive effort to win by three lengths. He was stakes placed as a two year old in Ireland and should have a big say in the outcome as well.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Both Lucky Score and Masseto should be bet to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

This is also a race in which a dutching tool like the one at Amwager which is free and easy to use, to allocate our wagers based on the odds of the horses we are betting to win, will prove to be a big advantage.

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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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