Key Races & Bets for Saturday June 3rd, 2023

Royal North Stakes – Race 7 at Woodbine – Post Time 4:16 PM Eastern

Analysis and main contenders:
There’s little doubt Our Flash Drive will be the favorite in this race based on her six for 15 overall record and the fact she won the Whimsical Stakes (on the main track) a few weeks ago, following six months off. She’s won twice on the Woodbine turf but the last of those wins was 22 months ago in a race restricted to three year olds. She also won the De La Rose Stakes last summer at Saratoga but that was also a restricted race, in this case for horses which had not won a graded stakes in 2022. The fact is her last graded stakes win came at seven furlongs on the main track and so although she’s in top form and can improve off her first start after the layoff, she’s no standout, and she’s not a good win bet either. As such I’ll use her on exacta and trifecta tickets and on double tickets from this race to race eight but otherwise Adaay In Asia is the horse I’m concentrating on for profit.

Adaay In Asia makes her U.S. debut sporting a very strong seven for 18 record, with five of those wins coming on grass in 12 races. She won FOUR in a row in July and August, two of them handicap races in fields of nine and 14, respectively and the second of the two had a $120,000 purse. She earned the equivalent of 101 Equibase Speed Figures in all three of those wins and in one she closed from last of 14 to win, at seven furlongs on a left-handed track like here, so she has what it takes and the only question is whether she’s ready and able to run as well as she did in any of those four races. She can, because trainer Christophe Clement RARELY ships to Woodbine with a foreign shipper, but the ONE and ONLY time he did previously, last October 1, he won, using Kimura as he’s doing here and that’s all I need to know to consider Adaay In Asia ready to win in her North American debut, and in this stakes race.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Adaay In Asia can be bet to win at 2 to 1 or more.

Exacta: Box Adaay In Asia and Our Flash Drive
Adaay In Asia and Our Flash Drive over Adaay In Asia, Our Flash Drive, Bay Storm, Demidog, Millie Girl, Sweet Enough
You can play the above exacta as a trifecta as well, using the same horses in second above in both second and third.

Race 7: Adaay In Asia, Our Flash Drive
Race 8: Missy Greer, Purrfect

Race 7: Adaay In Asia
Race 8: Missy Greer, Purrfect, Moira, Il Malocchio
Note: We are not playing the lowest paying combination of Our Flash Drive and Moira and are trying to maximize our profit.

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Belle Mahone Stakes – Race 8 at Woodbine – Post Time 4:48 PM Eastern

Analysis and main contenders:
Missy Greer makes her first start in five months and would be the “lone front runner” even if not coming back from a layoff but as a “fresh” horse is going to absolutely have the front all to herself from the start and the five horses inside her in the gate have no interest in leading early. Although Missy Greer has never run on all-weather she’s bred to like it as a daughter of Nyquist. Trainer Gargan ships up from New York and has a very good record on the all-weather surface at Gulfstream consisting of eight wins from 27 route races on the same surface at Woodbine, and with horses coming back from four months (up to one year) on the shelf his record of six wins in 21 races also suggests we should not be concerned with Missy Greer being fit and ready to play “come catch me” with this field.

Purrfect ran just ONCE previously on all-weather using Lasix, as she’s entitled to do today shipping from Kentucky. That was a career-best effort on January 19 where she rallied from fifth to win easily, at this distance. She finished third and fifth in two stakes after that at Turfway Park without Lasix and I suspect the reason Stidham is shipping her here is in the hope she’ll run as well as she did in January, when she earned a very strong 110 Equibase Speed Figure, which is BETTER than the best figure heavy favorite Moira has ever earned. Additionally, before leaving Stidham’s base in Delaware, Purrfect put in a very strong half-mile drill in 47 flat which was the BEST of seventy-one at the distance on the day so she is likely entering this race in top form.

Moira has no knocks except she will be the prohibitive betting favorite. Still, she’s NOT a standout as she’s coming back from seven months off, making her first start as a four year old as well. She won her debut in the fall of 2021 at this distance so coming back in a route without a prep isn’t an issue. The issue is the ONLY time she raced at Woodbine on the main track against “Open” (not restricted) company, she finished second, in the Mazarine Stakes in November 2021. Attard has a strong eight for 22 record with horses coming back from six months off or more into routes on the all-weather, but he’s 0 for 4 in a subset of that which is STAKES races like this one. All in all I think Moira can win but I’m betting others for better return and only using her on one exacta and one trifecta ticket as listed above.

With a career record of four wins and six second place finishes, in 21 races, nearly 50%, Il Malocchio is a horse we must consider for exacta and trifecta tickets. She won her last two races of 2022, at Woodbine, the first the Grade 3 Maple Leaf Stakes at 10 furlongs and the second the restricted La Prevoyante Stakes at this distance, then she finished fourth in the same race Purrfect was fifth in at Turfway Park in April. She has been working consistently for red hot Drexler and could continue her competitive ways in this situation.

Handicapper Picks

Win: BOTH Missy Greer and Purrfect can be bet to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

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Box Missy Greer, Purrfect
Box Moira, Missy Greer, Purrfect
Box Moira, Missy Greer, Purrfect, Il Malocchio

Trifecta: Box Moira, Missy Greer, Purrfect, Il Malocchio

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Pennine Ridge Stakes – Race 9 at Belmont – Post Time 5:12 PM Eastern

Analysis and Contenders:
Silver Knott makes his North American debut and should add to trainer Charlie Appleby’s incredible record with horses shipping from Europe to run in stakes races. Going back five years, Appleby has won with 11 of 26 horses, with another seven finishing second. Only six of 26 were off the board, and his most recent win came in New York just four weeks ago with Ottoman Fleet in the Fort Marcy Stakes. Jockey Richard Mullen came from Europe to ride Ottoman Fleet and accompanies Silver Knott for this Pennine Ridge Stakes, and the only previous time Silver Knott ran in the U.S. was in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf where he was sent to post as the seven to five favorite and rallied from 10th with a HUGE burst of speed to come up a nose short on the wire. That effort earned a 106 Equibase Speed Figure and only ONE other horse in this field has every broken the 100 figure threshold so if Silver Knott is ready to run well, which it appears he is making his second start after coming back from six months off, he is the horse to beat.

That other horse with a competitive figure is Far Bridge, who like Silver Knott in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup, came up a nose shy of winning after a visually impressive rally. That came in the American Turf on Derby day four weeks ago, and it followed wins in his two other starts. This colt by English Channel has a big future and if Silver Knott doesn’t win, he does.

For the exacta and trifecta I’m using Kalik, who finished second in his turf debut last October, took five months off and who is undefeated in two races since, both turf routes. He’s making his third start off a layoff and improved from an 82 figure in March to 94 last month so is going in the right direction, but appears a cut below Silver Knott and Far Bridge.

Handicapper Picks

Win: I’m looking for at least a little value here and so I will insist on at least 2 to 1 odds before betting either Silver Knott or Far Bridge to win.

Box Silver Knott and Far Bridge
Silver Knott and Far Bridge over Silver Knott, Far Bridge and Kalik

Trifecta: Silver Knott and Far Bridge over Silver Knott and Far Bridge over Silver Knott, Far Bridge, Kalik

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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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