Key Races & Bets for Saturday October 15th, 2022

Sands Point Stakes – Race 9 at Aqueduct (Belmont at the Big A) – Post Time 4:58 PM Eastern

Spirit and Glory opens at 8 to 1 and may actually be the horse to beat, with 5 to 2 morning line favorite Pizza Bianca not necessarily a false favorite but certainly vulnerable coming back from four months off against some other three year old fillies who have run as well as she has, and more recently. Spirit and Glory imported to the U.S. earlier this year and won nicely in her first stateside start in June, then two later won the Virginia Oaks in a 14 horse field. She did so in visually impressive fashion rallying from 12th early, to seventh with a quarter mile to go, then rallying four paths wide from sixth to the front and pulling away. The Equibase Speed Figure earned was 103 which is the same as Dueling Grounds Oaks one-two finishers Vergara and Skims earned, and similar to the 105 figure Pizza Bianca earned winning last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, which she has NOT duplicated since. On a pattern for more improvement in her fourth start in the U.S., Spirit and Glory is reunited with Dylan Davis, who rode her to victory in June, and those are just some of the reasons she is the top pick here.

Skims and Vergara have no real knocks and open at odds worth considering for win bets, of 5 to 1 and 9 to 2, respectively. Both ran their career best races last out and were very game in battling head-and-head with one another for the last quarter mile. Rested nearly six weeks I don’t expect either to regress and Skims gets a jockey change to John Velazquez which may help her chances of making up the head she lost to Vergara by last month.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Spirit and Glory at odds of 5 to 2 or more.

I’d also consider whichever of the other two Skims and Vergara are the highest odds near post time, at odds of 3 to 1 or more.   


When betting on two (or more) horses to win, we should always try to “DUTCH” the bet, which means to prorate our total wagers among the two horses based on the odds. has a free and easy to use Dutching Tool available where you can set the amount you want to bet, or the amount you want to win, and the math is done for you. This is just one of many tools, and perks, available to the bettor at 



Spirit and Glory over Skims, Vergara, Eminent Victor and Pizza Bianca

Skims, Vergara, Eminent Victor and Pizza Bianca over Spirit and Glory

Spirit and Glory, Skims and Vergara over Spirit and Glory, Skims, Vergara, Eminent Victor and Pizza Bianca



Race 9: Spirit and Glory, Skims, Vergara

Race 10: Glitter Up, Miss Tapirado


Race 9: Spirit and Glory

Race 10: Glitter Up, Miss Tapirado, Breeze Easy, Mrs. Green, Madrilena

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Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes – Race 9 at Keeneland – Post Time 5:16 PM Eastern

“IF” Paris Peacock wasn’t in this field, the race would be unplayable as McKulick would be the legitimate 1 to 5 favorite. That isn’t the case, so this becomes a race we can potentially make a decent profit in if we’re right.

Paris Peacock can post the mild upset over the very talented McKulick in this year’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes. The filly had some hard luck to start her career when finishing second five times, and third once, in her first six races. Two later the light bulb went on as she won in a field of 12 in August, then came a breakout performance on September 17 in the Lavarack & Landwades Stud Stakes. In that race, and among a field of 16, Paris Peacock rallied from mid-pack and engaged the leader with a hundred or so yards to go, then slowly inched away at the end. She had shown the same kind of winning spirit one month earlier when beating 12 other horses and earning a 97 Equibase Speed Figure, improving to a new career-best 107 figure the next month. She’s trained by Jessica Harrington. Many American racing fans may not be aware of who she is, so I will share her record. In the last five seasons in Europe, Harrington has won $5 million each season, including 15 group 1 wins. In her career of over 13,000 starts she’s saddled the winner or runner up in nearly one-third (4,300) of those races. Paris Peacock gets the services of Florent Geroux, who is seventh among all jockeys in North America in 2022 with more than $13 million in earnings, so I expect Paris Peacock to continue to improve enough and win this race.

McKulick has done little wrong in seven career starts, all in the U.S., even though she was bred in Great Britain, as she’s finished first or second in six of those seven, five of those first or second place efforts coming in graded stakes. The best of which came in her most recent start in the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational, in which she made a quick move from fourth on the far turn to get the lead and won by a half-length at the end. That effort earned her a 111 figure. Prior to that, she earned a 107 figure when finishing second in the Saratoga Oaks Invitational, so she is certainly capable of taking another step forward and running even better. On the other hand, McKulick earned a 112 figure winning the Belmont Oaks Invitational in July so that effort and her last may be the best she can do while Paris Peacock may have more improving to do off her most recent race. In any event, the battle between these two fillies could prove to be an exceptional one to witness.

California Angel won a turf route in her career debut 13 months ago, no easy feat in and of itself, then two races later won the Jessamine Stakes on the Keeneland turf course with a visually impressive effort as she rallied from 12th of 13 and eight paths wide turning for home, getting up by a head at the end. Last fall after the big win at Keeneland, California Angel wasn’t disgraced a bit when only beaten four lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. After poor tries on dirt she returned to turf for a fine runner-up effort in the LaCombe Memorial Stakes in March. Taking six months off following that effort, California Angel returned for a fine third of 11 finish in the Dueling Grounds Oaks last month, earning a new career-best 100 figure in the process. Likely to improve back on the Keeneland turf she proved to like last fall and likely to improve second off the layoff, California Angel might be considered a legitimate long shot contender in this field.

Handicapper Picks

Paris Peacock to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

A smaller, perhaps even token, win bet can be made on California Angel at 6 to 1 or more.

Exactas: Box Paris Peacock and McKulick

For a smaller, perhaps much smaller (just $1 or $2), box California Angel and Paris Peacock and box California Angel and McKulick

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Race 10 at Aqueduct (Belmont at the Big A) – Post Time 5:26 PM Eastern

This first level allowance race for fillies going six furlong on the grass features a field of 10 and no solid favorite. With that in mind we’ll start with Glitter Up as the top contender, with Miss Tapirado not far behind in terms of win probability. Glitter Up fits the condition to a “T” off a maiden win over the track at this distance last month with Davis up then as now. She had moved to turf for the first time this year right before that and ran her best race of 2022 when third, then improved markedly last out when leading by a length and one-half shortly after the start and coasting home by two lengths at the end. The only other early speed in the field appears to be Get the Candy and that one has a disadvantageous post so it’s likely Davis will be able to get Glitter Up to the rail where she can run the same race. That last effort was on a three race patter of improvement, resulting in a career best 91 Equibase figure which she can better here and post the mild upset, opening at 8 to 1.

Miss Tapirado has the best chance and to close and win if the Glitter Up can’t lead from start to finish, having rallied from last of 10 to miss by a neck on the wire under identical conditions one day before Glitter Up earned her win. Jose Ortiz rides back and her 5 to 1 starting odds are higher than probability suggest they should be as she could easily improve for Mott off that last effort and earn career victory #2.

Breeze Easy has run in four stakes since importing to the U.S. and drops into allowance so will likely be favored but she’s no standout although she can win. Her U.S. debut at seven furlongs on grass was her best effort when a neck shy of winning and she’s only been beaten four lengths or less versus much tougher since so she can run a top race at this level repeating any of those efforts, plus she gets Lasix for the first time.

Mrs. Green made the lead late in the race and settled for third at the end, a neck behind Miss Tapirado, in their common race last month. She had won at Saratoga prior to that and missed by a nose before that so another competitive effort is likely.

Madrilena should be respected as a contender if she gets into the race as she makes her third start and second in a row on turf after importing to the U.S. and coming back from seven months off. She led by two lengths late in a salty field at the HIGHER Non-winners of 2 x level last month at Kentucky Downs before being beaten by a neck on the wire and Castellano gets on so she definitely fits with these.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Glitter Up and Miss Tapirado at odds of 7 to 2 or more.
This is absolutely another race where betting two horse to win and using a Dutching tool (like the one which is free and easy to use at helps us get an edge.

Glitter Up and Miss Tapirado over Glitter Up, Miss Tapirado, Breeze Easy, Mrs. Green and Madrilena
Glitter Up, Miss Tapirado, Breeze Easy, Mrs. Green and Madrilena over Glitter Up and Miss Tapirado

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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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