Key Races & Bets for Saturday May 25, 2024

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Pennine Ridge Stakes - Race 7 at Belmont at the Big A - Post Time 3:39 PM Eastern

Top Contender: Royal Majesty
Others win contenders: White Palomino, Triple Espresso

Royal Majesty debuted in England last October and finished fifth of 11 but was a different horse just three months later when running in Florida, having moved to the barn of trainer Bill Mott. After racing in eighth in the field of 11 for the opening quarter mile, Royal Majesty moved up to seventh, then fifth, then third, before showing a lot of physical and mental talent to win by a neck. Next placed in the Colonel Liam Stakes in March, Royal Majesty could only manage a fifth of nine finish. However, last month at Keeneland the colt showed even more ability than he had in his debut when showing a strong turn of foot going from sixth on the far turn while four paths wide to within a head of the lead with an eighth of a mile to go. Drawing away from the other 10 horses to win by two lengths, Royal Majesty earned a career-best 97 Equibase Speed Figure and as it appears he is likely to improve again that makes him a strong contender to win this year’s Pennine Ridge Stakes.

White Palomino may be taking a big step up in class moving from the maiden ranks into stakes company but the 97 figure earned in that win on April 6 suggests he deserves to be in this field. That was only the second race of his career, the other a third place finish nearly three months earlier in January. Trained by Chad Brown, who won this race last year with Kalik as well as two other times in the past 10 years, White Palomino gets the ground saving rail and could get a great trip from that position to win again. On the other hand, it must be noted that per a Race Lens query, over the last five years when Brown runs a three year old in a two-turn stakes race on turf off a maiden win, his record is 5-4-5 in 38 races.

Triple Espresso won on turf three races back in January, also with a big burst of speed rallying from fifth with an eight of a mile to run before drawing away at the wire. That effort earned an 84 figure, but two races later in the Jeff Ruby Steaks Triple Espresso improved to a career-best 93 figure and appears capable of even better in this race. In that race Triple Espresso finished fourth but was beaten by a head for third and was another head behind the runner-up, while the winner was four lengths in front. That third place finisher was Seize the Grey, who won the Preakness Stakes last week. Moving back to grass after that decent effort on all-weather, Triple Espresso could return to competitive form good enough to have a say in the outcome of this race.

I’m taking a stand against favorite Legend of Time. He had no excuse at all for finishing fifth on Derby weekend in the American Turf Stakes at 6 to 5 as he raced close up in second then faded to fifth. I can’t make the case there’s anything in his form or workouts which warrants a turn around in form.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Royal Majesty at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.
White Palomino at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

In this race there may be an opportunity for a mathematical edge by using 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 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: Box Royal Majesty, White Palomino, Triple Espresso

Cliff Hanger Stakes - Race 7 at Monmouth - Post Time 3:54 PM Eastern

Top Contender: He’spuregold
Other win contenders: Laughing Boy, Dataman, Forever Souper

He’spuregold runs second off a layoff and returns to the Monmouth turf, two big reasons he’s the one to beat. He’s won five of eight on the grass at Monmouth and two of 16 at other tracks. He won the Irish War Cry Stakes on this course last July in his second race off a layoff and with Lopez aboard and he makes his second race off a layoff here and Lopez rides. He earned a 105 Equibase figure when fourth in a highly rated classified allowance last month in Florida and he should run even better, having earned a 106 figure last summer winning the Irish War Cry.

Laughing Boy may be less probable to win than He’spuregold, but then again he opens at 20 to 1. He actually has the third highest career earnings in the field at nearly $375K, and he originally finished second at this level (on dirt) in the Excelsior Stakes in New York on March 30, then was moved into first after the winner was disqualified. He ran poorly when shipped to Kentucky for a grade 3 race but this is a non-graded race and although he’s 0 for 2 on grass in his 32 race career, that’s not enough to make a determination HE CANNOT run well on grass. Jacobson ships him down from New York and if he can repeat his Excelsior effort, Laughing Boy can absolutely run a lot better than his odds suggest he will.

Dataman and Forever Souper are contenders but their odds are too low to consider for win bets, opening at 3 to 1 and 5 to 2, respectively, and likely to go lower. Dataman won the Henry Clark Stakes at Laurel on the grass last out on April 20 and won two of five last year including another stakes on the grass but he’s no standout even if he runs his best and He’spuregold runs his best. Forever Souper has won two of three this year including two stakes BUT BOTH were restricted to Florida breds. When put in open company and sent to post as the four to five favorite last month, he finished third in the Henry Clark behind Dataman. He had some traffic trouble in the race and will be over bet because of it.

Handicapper Pick

Win: He’spuregold at 5 to 2 or more.
We can’t pass up Laughing Boy at odds of 5 to 1 or more.

This could be another superb race to use the dutching tool which is free and easy to use at

Laughing Boy and He’spuregold over Laughing Boy, He’spuregold, Dataman, Forever Souper
Laughing Boy, He’spuregold, Dataman, Forever Souper over Laughing Boy and He’spuregold

Mr. Steele Stakes - Race 9 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 5:01 PM Eastern

Contenders: Eldon’s Prince, Win for the Money, Me and Mr. C
Other contenders: Love Me Not, Eyes on the King, Main Event

Eldon’s Prince may have been a bit overmatched when last seen in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Stakes but this non-graded level, and field, should hit him right between the eyes. He won a classified allowance race, just about the same level as this one, one before last in January over the course at the distance, and he did it very gamely when battling head and head the entire length of the stretch. That’s the effort I think he’s capable of repeating here and it could be good for the mild upset win, opening at 6 to 1.

Win for the Money has finished first or second in seven of 12 races, with one more runner-up finish than win. However, he’s only run twice on grass and two of those were top efforts, one a win last July and the other a win last April, where he was disqualified for interference and placed second. Last fall he finished second in tougher grade 2 and 3 stakes on all-weather in Canada and he won last July off a three month layoff and nearly won last March off an 11 month layoff so we can expect a top effort off a six month layoff today.

Me and Mr. C leads the field with 10 career wins and nearly $600,000 in earnings, He finished third without much of an excuse when last ween on March 24 but nearly won a $100K handicap race two before that with a huge rally from seventh to miss by a neck. Last Summer he won the Schuster Memorial on the turf at this distance and then the Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Cup on the grass and repeating either of those could be good for his 11th career victory

Handicapper Picks

Win: Eldon’s Prince, Win for the Money and Me and Mr. C all have about the same probability to win, so have about 3 to 1 fair odds. We should let the public decide which we will be based on the two which the public doesn’t think have a much of a chance. What that means is we should be one or two at the highest odds of the trio, at 3 to 1 or higher, near post time. Once again, using the free dutching tool at Amwager may help maximize our profit.

Eldon’s Prince, Win for the Money and Me and Mr. C over Eldon’s Prince, Win for the Money, Me and Mr. C, Love Me Not, Eyes on the King, Main Event

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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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