Key Races & Bets for Saturday November 11th, 2023

Pebbles Stakes – Race 6 at Aqueduct – Post Time 2:17 PM Eastern

Top win contenders: Implicated, Sacred Wish, Plentitude
Exacta contenders: Silver Skillet, Rhiannon

Stephanie’s Charm will have to go fast early from the outside and given that when last seen in the Jockey Club Oaks she opened up a 13 length lead after a half-mile the early pace is likely to be fast. This is insured with Precious Avary also in the race and having earned her last FOUR wins leading from start to finish. From the rail, Implicated gets a great trip, just like she got when rallying from third one year and two weeks ago, over this course, in the Chelsea Flower Stakes. She was off for 50 weeks after that and obviously needed the race on 10/19 but it was a good one nevertheless as she pressed the pace in second then faded to fourth. She’s going to be a lot more fit today and the fact this Chad Brown trainee has the style to win, has the ground saving rail, is a stakes winner over the course and opens at 12 to 1 demands she be the horse we look to first when considering win bets.

Sacred Wish won the similar Winter Memories Stakes one before last on 9/15, rallying from fifth and drawing off late. She was much farther back early (10th versus fifth) one month later in the Valley View and only managed fourth but that was Keeneland and now she’s back in New York and has every right to rebound back to the Winter Memories winning form.

Plentitude won the first two races of her career, the second on the grass, then finished fourth of eight in a stakes in July, also a sprint. She goes long off a four month layoff and for the Clement barn that’s no concern. She’s a FULL SISTER TO Agate Road, who won the Pilgrim Stakes around two turns on this course, and she this filly could be sneaky good opening at 10 to 1.

Among the rest, Silver Skillet was no match for Sacred Wish in the Winter Memories when clearly second and might run the same way here, while Rhiannon is another trained by Brown but opens at 2 to 1 on the strength of a maiden win by seven lengths in her first turf race and second start in September. Rhiannon is overbet and it is asking a lot to go from maiden to open stakes winner so I think she’s good for a minor share at best.

Handicapper Picks

Win: 7 to 2 are minimum odds for a win bet on the three contenders – Implicated, Sacred Wish and Plentitude.
The way I play a race like this is to wager on the two of the three at the highest odds. Considering Sacred Wish opens at 5 to 2 we will likely end up betting the other two to win, hopefully near their double digit starting odds.

If we bet more than one horse in a race like this, the best advantage is had 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 in total 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: Implicated, Sacred Wish and Plentitude over Implicated, Sacred Wish, Plentitude, Silver Skillet and Rhiannon.

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Red Smith Stakes – Race 9 at Aqueduct – Post Time 3:43 PM Eastern

Top win contenders: Nineeleventurbo, Limited Liability, Marwad
Also can be considered: Cross Border, Verstappen

Nineeleventurbo SHOWS UP every time, at least this year, with five wins and a runner-up finish from six starts, although he was disqualified from one of the wins for interference. He’s won at three different tracks and his last win came at 12 furlongs so this 11 furlong trip is not an issue. With it likely any two, or all three, of the “Early” pace types (Main Event, So High, Tide of the Sea) are going to get tired battling with one-another from the start, Nineeleventurbo should get first run on any of the deeper closers and win.

Limited Liability missed second by a neck in the similar Sycamore Stakes last month at Keeneland, two before that finishing second in the Louisville Stakes. Both were 12 furlongs so he too cuts back an eighth of a mile and appears very capable of running well enough to win.

Marwad gives us value opening at 10 to 1. He was five to one when second, beaten under a length, in the similar Mac Diarmida Stakes in March. He then took seven months off and his race on 10/14 appears to be nothing more than a prep for this race as it was a mile and one-sixteenth on the all-weather in Florida. Castellano, who rode Marwad to a nice win at this 11 furlong trip on turf in January right before he finished second in the Mac Diarmida, gets back on and this lightly raced horse has every right to post the upset.

Cross Border is a nine year old who still has top ability in races like this. He’s earned $1.3 million in his career and rejoined the Maker barn this summer after racing a few times in Hurdle races. He won the 2021 Bowling Green Stakes at 11 furlongs, the same race the old veteran Channel Maker won this year, and he fits like a “T” coming off a win in a minor stakes at Delaware Park at 12 furlongs in September.

Verstappen got as close as third in the stretch in the $1 million Kentucky Turf Cup when last seen on September 9, after a big second behind Channel Maker in the Bowling Green Stakes at this distance. He had previously won the 12 furlong Elkhorn Stakes in April to prove he fits at this level in marathon turf races and he rounds out a quintet I think all have a shot, which hopefully means no heavy favorite and a lot of value if we’re right.

Handicapper Picks

Win: 7 to 2 are minimum odds on Nineeleventurbo, Limited Liability and Marwad and I think betting the two at the highest odds near post time is the best way to play win bets.

This should be another good great race to take advantage of the mathematical edge provided by a “Dutching” tool like the one available free (and easy to uses) at

Exactas: The best strategy is to try to split the five contenders using a “three by two” exacta, then reversing it so if two of the top three choices finish first and second, we win both bets.

Nineeleventurbo, Limited Liability, Marwad over Nineeleventurbo, Limited Liability, Marwad, Cross Border, Verstappen
Nineeleventurbo, Limited Liability, Marwad, Cross Border, Verstappen over Nineeleventurbo, Limited Liability, Marwad
Trifecta: Box Nineeleventurbo, Limited Liability, Marwad, Cross Border, Verstappen

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Maple Leaf Stakes – Race 7 at Woodbine – Post Time 4:03 PM Eastern

Top win contenders: Ever Smart, Millie Girl
Secondary contenders: Talbeyah, Il Malocchio

Il Malocchio won the 2022 edition of this race, beating Angelou, and both are in good form off third and second place finishes, respectively, behind Millie Girl in the Ontario Matron Stakes four weeks ago. Those aren’t the only horses in competitive form, but I’m going to start with Ever Smart, who is likely to go to post at decent odds and who starts at six to one. Starting her 2023 campaign in April in Northern California, Ever Smart placed third in a non-graded stakes, then missed by a neck and won by a head, also on turf. Next, in August, Ever Smart won a non-graded stakes on the grass before trainer Neil Drysdale shipped her to Kentucky Downs to run in a very high level classified allowance race. Although fourth in that eight horse field at a mile, Ever Smart arguably ran the best race of her career, and it must be noted the winner of that race, Dominican Pioneer, has a big shot in the River City Stakes at Churchill Downs today (race 10). Trainer Drysdale rarely ships to Woodbine but did so with Miss Dracarys, who won the Dance Smartly Stakes in August. Trevor McCarthy rides Miss Dracarys today as well, in the Bessarabian Stakes (race 9) and I think Ever Smart is sitting on an effort good enough to win based on her Kentucky Downs race when last seen.

Millie Girl inhaled the field to go from eighth of 10 to win the Ontario Matron by a head four weeks ago. She was making her second start off a two and one-half month layoff and stretching out from a sprint to a route, so better can be expected. Her 106 Equibase Speed Figure is nearly identical to the 107 Ever Smart earned in her most recent race and since Hernandez rides back and since, as a daughter of Hard Spun, I have little doubt she can run effectively at this 10 furlong trip, Millie Girl has a decent shot to win her second stakes in a row.

Talbeyah is an interesting longshot. This mare won on the all-weather main track at Woodbine in May of 2022, following seven months off, before a last of seven finish as the five to two second choice in the Dominion Day Stakes in July of last year. She moved to turf for her 2023 debut in January in Florida and finished fifth of 10, then four months later was fourth of 12 in the nearly quarter million Keertana Stakes at 12 furlongs on turf. For Talbeyah’s next start, top trainer Mark Casse chose the Robert G. Dick Memorial at 11 furlongs on grass at Delaware Park, and in that race, to put it mildly, she wasn’t given the best ride. Starting to accelerate with a quarter mile to run, Talbeyah went four wide but still got in traffic behind horses and never really got to stride out as she was capable of. That turned out to be a productive race, as the third place finisher (Parnac) won the Grade 2 Flower Bowl Stakes in her next start. Before coming to North America, Talbeyah won not once, but twice, at this 10 furlong trip, and she’s already proven on the all-weather main track at Woodbine. Patrick Husbands, the #1 jockey for the Casse barn, rode her in her North American debut win and gets back on, not having ridden her in 14 months. The jockey change and surface change, plus the fact she had trouble in her last race or might have posted the upset, gives Talbeyah a look at the outcome in this race.

Il Malocchio won this race last year at nine to one and prior to that had finished second on the main track as well in a good effort. She went from a 99 figure in the prep to 105 in this race and enters this year’s race off a 105 figure effort when beaten a head and a half-length by Millie Girl in the Ontario Matron so is coming into the race in similar form. If there is a knock, it’s that she has a record of 5-6-4 in 25 starts so appears as happy finishing second or third as winning. On the other hand, although Civaci gets off to ride Solo Album (also for Casse), with leading jockey Kimura getting on and having won 25% of the time he’s ridden for Casse this year and last, it is hard to take a stand against Il Malocchio as a contender, especially as she opens at 5 to 1 odds.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Consider win bets at 7 to 2 or higher on Ever Smart and Millie Girl

As it is likely Millie Girl won’t meet that threshold (she starts at 3 to 1), then we can also consider a win bet on Talbeyah at 4 to 1 or more. Il Malocchio also has fair odds of 4 to 1 but is unlikely to offer the value Talbeyah does. We can profit from her winning, as well as Millie Girl, in exactas as below.

No exactas are specifically recommended as any of the 13 can finish second, but if Ever Smart and Il Malocchio go to post at less than fair odds then particularly as any of the 13 can finish second I would consider an exacta wheel of Millie Girl and Il Malocchio over ALL

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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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